That is the premise of Nightstalkers: Book of Truths. Rather prescient, I think.
Of course a lot more goes on. I base a lot of my fiction on fact so here are the facts and the very opening of Book of Truths:
Author’s note: I write factual fiction. I gather real events and add in a fictional premise and characters.
Yes: There was a Marine named Smedley Butler and he was awarded two Medals of Honor.
Yes: Churchill did say that truth must be attended by a Bodyguard of Lies.
Yes: The officially acknowledged first nuclear weapon ever “lost” by the US was in 1950 over Canada. Sorry, Canadians. Our bad.
Yes: When Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara instituted technical launch codes on nuclear weapons to prevent unauthorized deployment, the Strategic Air Command, on its own, decided to override that by setting all the codes to 00000000 and they stayed that way for a while before anyone caught on.
Yes: The Pentagon did secretly remove President Nixon’s ability to launch nuclear weapons in his erratic, waning days before he resigned.
Yes: President Jimmy Carter did send the nuclear launch authorization codes out with his laundry.
Yes: President Ronald Reagan had the codes in his pocket when he was shot and they ended up on the emergency room floor, forgotten about.
Yes: General Curtis LeMay strongly believed in a preemptive first strike against the Soviet Union.
Yes: The Russians did open their nuclear “football” in reaction to a satellite launch by the Norwegians.
Yes: The scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project did have a betting pool as to the yield of the Trinity Test, with the low end being a dud and the high end igniting the sky on fire and incinerating Earth.
Which leads us to today where…
Roland stood near the closed ramp of the Snake, rigged with parachute, M249 squad automatic weapon strapped tight to one side and dressed in a Level A Hazmat suit. His fellow Nightstalkers bet the over or under whether there actually was a nuke in the site he would be jumping down toward, and then whether it would go off when Roland landed on top of it.
Roland had big feet.
In the cargo bay, between the cockpit and the ramp where he waited, the other five members made their next bets…well, four, since Moms rarely joined any betting pool. She considered it unprofessional of a team leader to engage in pecuniary entanglements with team members. At least that’s the way Eagle, the pilot, explained it. On the other hand, maybe she had more important things on her mind, like the possibility of a nuke going off.
The ones taking the over on the detonation didn’t contemplate that none of them would be around to collect if they won.
“Fifteen minutes,” Eagle warned over the team net from the cockpit. “Depressurizing in two.”
“Check oxygen,” Nada ordered. All five in the cargo bay gave him a thumbs up after making sure their rigs were pumping oxygen into their Hazmat suits from the internal bottles. They gave Nada the thumbs up. “Ready back here,” he informed Eagle.
Moms held up a finger, cutting the betting chatter on the team net. Her head was cocked slightly to the side, which indicated she was listening in on the secure frequency back to the Ranch outside of Area 51. Which meant she was being briefed by their boss, Ms. Jones.
After thirty seconds, she nodded and spoke on the team net. “Doc, are you getting the alert message Ms. Jones forwarded?”
Doc was seated toward the front of the cargo bay, a laptop open. He’d pulled off his Hazmat gloves so he could work the mouse pad and keyboard. “Yes. I have it,” he said in his clipped Indian accent. “It is most strange. I have never seen this alert code before. Rather archaic.”
“Figure it out,” Moms said. “ASAP.”
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Nixon.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
7 August 1974
President Nixon sat alone and weary in the early morning darkness contemplating non-existent options within the positive psychosis that had become his last refuge. He was in his White House private office, surrounded by legal documents, books, spools of tape, transcriptions and bottles. He’d run out of Coca-Cola sometime during the night, and was now drinking straight rum on the rocks, but the alcohol did little to dull the pervading sense of betrayal.
The room was lit only by the reflection through the windows of the exterior security lights, which cast long shadows through the room. He sat in an armchair, a set of headphones on his lap, the cord of which dangled to the reel-to-reel machine. He just couldn’t understand why everyone else didn’t hear the tapes the way he did; understand that he had acted in the best interests of the country.
The previous day and evening had been, in his opinion, a non-stop barrage of betrayal and cowardice. Kissinger had pleaded in person; Governor Reagan had called from California; a harsh letter had been hand-delivered from George H. W. Bush who was the National Chairman of the Republican Party; a parade of naysayers had trooped down from Capitol Hill; all pushing for him to resign. And in the midst of it all, Ehrlichman and Haldeman had been calling the White House switchboard, desperately trying to get through to ask for Presidential pardons, an even more certain sign the clock was ticking.
The media was the worst, especially those parasites from the Washington Post who’d splashed what should have been classified information all over their pages. Phil Graham would roll in his grave if he knew how his wife and Ben Bradlee now used his newspaper. Nixon clenched his fist, furious with Bradlee, that hypocrite, who was tearing him apart daily, but had had no problem with his sister-in-law, Mary Meyer, banging Kennedy. Of course, she’d ended up with a bullet in her head and one in her heart less than a year after Kennedy took one. Not much reporting on that either, Nixon thought.
The door opened without a knock, and Nixon turned his gaze toward it. A ghost of a smile touched his lips as he recognized the only person he would allow to penetrate his private sanctum: his daughter, Julie. As trouble had come cascading down on him, Nixon had been disappointed that his wife had faded away, but encouraged that Julie had taken her place to the point where the press were calling her “the First Lady in practice.”
Julie had traveled across the country the past year, giving over a hundred interviews, trying to get people to see the reality of the President’s position. For that, Nixon was greatly indebted to his daughter. He tilted his head up and she kissed him on the forehead before sitting down on the leather couch close to his chair.
“You’ve heard?” Nixon asked.
His daughter nodded sadly. “They’ve turned. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I thought at least a few of them would stand with you.”
“And David?” he asked, referring to her husband, David Eisenhower, grandson of the former General, and the man under whom Nixon had served as Vice President for two administrations. Just two months ago, his daughter and her husband had stood in the East Garden, and she had told the press that her father planned to fight this crisis ‘constitutionally down to the wire.’
He saw a flicker of concern on her face. “He’s been fielding calls all night, trying to generate support. He says you should take a break. Go to his camp,” she added with a brave attempt at a joke as she referred to the Retreat that President Eisenhower had named after his grandson when he took office.
“You know Roosevelt called Camp David ‘Shangri-La,’” Nixon said. “I could use a Shangri-La right now. A little escape from reality.”
He caught his daughter’s glance at the bottle of rum, but she said nothing about it, instead focusing on the problem. “You’re right about the situation. I know you as well as anyone. I know the burden you carry. To resign now would be to admit you had done something wrong—and that simply did not happen. The President is above it all, and has to act in the best interests of the country in ways ordinary people cannot possibly understand.”
Nixon nodded. “Only someone who wears the heavy mantle of the office can truly comprehend what’s involved. Even the great Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander had that Summersby woman, and don’t forget the U-two scandal.”
The President didn’t see his daughter’s sudden stiffening at the mention of a forbidden family topic. “And Kennedy—don’t even get me started on the women and the Bay of Pigs and the other disasters the man perpetrated in his few years in office. Hell, Kennedy got us into Vietnam, and I had to get us out. I did that. And China!” Nixon’s voice had a wavering edge to it. “No one talks about China. It’s Watergate this and Watergate that, but never a mention of China. I split the damn Commies up. Russia and China. Opened China up to us.”
“Dad.” Julie Nixon-Eisenhower’s voice was low, and he didn’t hear her the first time she said it, so lost was he in his diatribe. “Dad.”
The President paused and looked at his daughter, something in her tone getting through to him. “Yes?”
She couldn’t meet his gaze. “The General wants to speak with you.”
“I’m sorry.” She went over to the door and opened it, beckoning. Surprisingly she slipped out the door, and the President fought back a surge of irritation as he recognized his Chief of Staff entering.
“What is it?” Nixon snapped.
The General was a dark shadow, silhouetted against the open door, his military bearing unmistakable despite the suit he wore. “There are some people you need to talk to, sir.”
Nixon frowned. It was four in the morning and he was facing the most difficult time of his life. The last thing he wanted was another former colleague who had turned on him. “Who?”
“They have something you need to read.”
“I’m in no mood for—“
“You need to talk to these men,” the General interrupted in a voice used to issuing orders, which caused the nominal Commander-in-Chief to half rise out of his chair, the headphones falling to the floor with a clatter.
“How dare you—“
“It’s the Jefferson Allegiance, sir. I warned you.” Without waiting for assent, the General turned to the open door and gestured. Four men filed in, and the General departed, shutting the door behind him. The President slumped back wearily into the chair.
“Who are you?” Nixon demanded. His hand shook as he grabbed the bottle and poured a dash of rum over the half-melted cubes in his glass. He took a quick swallow, trying to alleviate the pounding in his head.
One of the men stepped forward in the darkness, a wooden tube in his hands. He had thick, flowing white hair. “I am the Chair of the American Philosophical Society, and with me are the Philosophers, Mister President. We have a message for you.”
Nixon stiffened as he heard the titles. “Who is the message from?”
“Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and a legal majority of Congress.” The Chair opened the end of the tube and carefully pulled out a scroll, yellowed with age. He extended it to Nixon.
The President didn’t take it. “I have no time for games.” Nixon was trying to buy time, but he knew it had run out.
“This is no game, Mister President,” the Chair said.
Nixon reached up and turned on the light next to his chair, barely illuminating a small circle around him. The man appeared to be in his fifties, tall and distinguished. He was not military, that much Nixon could tell.
“You work at the Post, don’t you?” Nixon demanded. “For that ass, Bradlee.”
“My job is not important,” the Chair said. “Just my duty.”
The other three men were still as statues. All were in uniform and had the same stiff bearing as the General. The three major services were represented by the uniforms: Army, Navy and Air Force. Stars glittered on the men’s shoulders, but not enough to bring light to the gloomy room.
The President finally took the scroll, feeling the fragileness of the paper. He carefully opened the scroll. There were four sentences followed by numerous signatures. The first sentence, Nixon immediately recognized. The following three, though, were startling to say the least, but what he had been warned about.
Nixon noted the signatures, recognizing the names of men long ago turned to dust, but whose power lived on.
The Chair continued. “We require you to resign the Presidency or face the consequences implicit in the words you’ve just read. The country is in no condition to go through a long impeachment, nor do we think it is good for the country to be so divided at such a dangerous time.”
Nixon shook the document as if he could make the writing slide off the page.
“It’s the Jefferson Allegiance,” the Chair said. “It is law, sir, part of the highest law of the land. And it will be enforced. So you have no option other than to resign.” He did not wait for a reply. “Your Chief of Staff has already coordinated with Vice President Ford. You will eventually be pardoned and live the rest of your life in peace. But you must vacate this office. Your crimes against the Constitution and the country have become unacceptable.”
Nixon stared at the writing. “This can’t be true.”
“It is true,” the Chair said, “and frankly, sir, you can’t take the chance. It will harm the country greatly if we have to enforce the Allegiance, but we will. It’s our sworn duty. You know you have violated the law and exceeded your powers. The country is divided and on the precipice. It is our duty to bring it back on course. You have no other option than to do what we demand.”
The Chair reached out and took the document. He gingerly rolled it, then slid it into the tube, and sealed the end. “If you have not announced your resignation within twenty-four hours, the Philosophers will present the Jefferson Allegiance to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the generals and admirals in charge of all the major commands, who will take action.”
With that, he turned for the door and left, the three military men following. The door swung shut, leaving the thirty-seventh President of the United States alone once more in the dark.
Not for long. His Chief-of-Staff, General Haig, once more entered unbidden.
“You know what they told me?” Nixon demanded. “What they showed me?”
“Can it be enforced?”
The General took a deep breath. “Mister President, I took an oath on the Plain at West Point on Reception-Day—the very first day I was there—when I was a Plebe. The same oath every military officer takes. I didn’t swear to defend the country. Or the people. Or even the Presidency,” he added pointedly. “I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“But the Allegiance isn’t part of it,” Nixon argued.
“Incorrect, sir. The Allegiance is part of the Bill of Rights,” Haig countered. “And—“ he paused and took a deep breath—“when I received my third star and was promoted to Lieutenant General, I was made to re-swear my oath. Except there was an addition—I was told there was a secret addition to the Bill of Rights: the Jefferson Allegiance. I wasn’t told what it was, but I was informed that some day I might have to enforce it.”
Nixon leaned back wearily in his seat. “So the Joint Chiefs will uphold the Jefferson Allegiance?”
“Every officer in the military will, if they become aware of it.”
“That would be a coup!”
“No, sir,” the General said firmly. “It would be enforcing the highest law of the land. And then the country would go back to the way it was originally designed to work.”
A long silence played out, the words seeming to sink into the books lining the walls of the room.
“Leave me,” Nixon finally ordered.
The General spun on his heel and departed, shutting the door.
The 37th President of the United States was alone in the dark once more; the only sound his labored breathing. That slight sound was over-ridden by the shrill ring of the phone. Another violation of the isolation Nixon had ordered. Rattled by the recent visitors, he turned on the speakerphone. “Yes?”
A voice echoed out of the small box next to the phone. “Mister President, this is Lucius. I understand you’ve had some visitors.”
How could he know so quickly? Nixon wondered. “They just left. What are you going to do about–”
“I’m afraid The Society can’t help you, sir.”
Nixon’s hand tightened on the receiver, the knuckles turning white. “You promised—“
Once more he was cut off. “You’ve received all the support The Society could give you, and you over-stepped the boundaries. The tapes are too damning. We cannot have the Allegiance invoked. You are now on your own. Good luck in your new life.”
Many of my books deal with history. After The Jefferson Allegiance is The Kennedy Endeavor.
Don’t forget to check out all the free slideshows on history, interesting people, survival, how to write and more at my Slideshow page.
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Kennedy by his mistress, Mary Meyer.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
22 March 1962
President John F. Kennedy, as was the custom for his lunches with J. Edgar Hoover, had the Oval Office emptied of everyone, even his brother Robert. To Kennedy, today was looking to be a particularly odious session, as Hoover was carrying a particularly thick file.
Kennedy had been advised by Eisenhower to continue a tradition begun by FDR: inviting the head of the FBI to lunch at the White House every month. It was under the principle of keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Since taking office, Kennedy had stretched the interval out to every two months, and he was hoping he could eventually go without seeing the grotesque man at all. Bobbie wasn’t happy about the luncheons either, because technically Hoover worked for the Attorney General, although the man never acted like he answered to Bobbie. Or even the President, Kennedy reflected as he sat on the couch across from Hoover, a low, ornate, coffee table between them; Jackie’s choice.
Hoover dropped the thick file onto the coffee table with great relish. Kennedy didn’t rise to the bait. Instead he waited as his secretary refilled his coffee cup, offered some to Hoover, and then departed. Kennedy took a sip of coffee and waited some more, refusing to descend into Hoover’s gutter.
“Interesting wiretaps,” Hoover finally said. “Should I set the stage for them?”
Kennedy shrugged, knowing the old man would say what he wanted, regardless. His back was aching and he shifted, trying to adjust the brace strapped around his body. He glanced at his watch, thinking ahead to his schedule for the afternoon.
His thoughts came to an abrupt halt at Hoover’s next two words: “Judith Campbell.”
Kennedy tried to stay relaxed. “Who?”
Hoover gave that sickening smile of his. “Las Vegas. Nineteen sixty. The filming of Oceans Eleven. Your ‘buddy’ Frank Sinatra. He introduced you to her. Don’t you remember?”
“I can’t recall. I don’t even remember being in Vegas.”
The smile grew wider. “I can assure you that you were,” Hoover said. He opened the folder and on top was the picture of a woman. He slid it across to Kennedy, who didn’t pick it up.
“She’s quite beautiful,” Hoover said. “Interesting timing. You were seeking the democratic nomination at the time. Apparently you were seeking more than that, as you became involved with Miss Campbell.”
“I’m afraid your information is—“
“Incorrect?” Hoover completed for him. “Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? I never share information unless I am certain it is correct.” He grabbed the next picture in the folder and tossed it on top of Campbell’s. Kennedy’s stomach tightened.
“Perhaps unknown to you at the time, but certainly known afterwards, was that Sinatra also introduced Miss Campbell to this man.” He leaned forward and tapped the picture. “Sam Giancana. A criminal. Head of what is called ‘the Outfit’ in Chicago. Since there is no organized crime in this country, the Outfit is a bunch of thieves and murderers.” The sarcasm was dripping from Hoover’s words.
“It wouldn’t surprise you, of course, to know that Miss Campbell is also Mister Giancana’s mistress?”
Kennedy couldn’t tell if it was a question or not, so he remained silent.
“Of course not.” Hoover answered his own question. “Since Miss Campbell calls you here at the White House using the phone in Mister Giancana’s apartment in Chicago.” Hoover picked up a third picture and threw it down. “Your father. Joseph Kennedy. He had dealings with men like Giancana, especially during Prohibition. I believe the Sinatra introduction was at his behest.”
Kennedy had not thought of that, but he knew as soon as Hoover said it, that it was true. Chicago. Of course. His father pulling strings.
Hoover pursed his lips as if in thought. “Now this part is not validated, but comes from credible sources. It seems someone from your campaign gave a bag of cash to Giancana back when you were seeking the Democratic nomination. You did win Illinois, mainly because of a huge push in Chicago. Some would say a statistically impossible push. A lot of votes from the grave.”
“What do you want?” Kennedy had had enough.
Hoover picked up the next item in the folder. A thick sheaf of papers. “Come now, Mister President, are you really trying to hire this Giancana fellow and his ‘Outfit’ to assassinate Castro?”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Hoover blinked. “You really don’t know about that? Curious. Your precious CIA is keeping secrets from you, too. But, like me, they know your secrets.”
“What do you want?”
Hoover reached over and grabbed the sheaf of papers and the photos, making a large show of putting them back into the folder and shutting it. Kennedy didn’t miss that there was a lot in that folder that Hoover had not brought out.
“It isn’t what I want. It’s what we want.” Hoover lifted the lapel on the right side of his suit jacket, revealing a medallion. “The Society of the Cincinnati, Mister President.” With his other hand he tapped the thick folder. “We have you—and your brother—by the balls, to use a crude but appropriate metaphor. If I ask for something, we want it. Do you understand?”
Kennedy just stared back at the old man.
Hoover stood, tucking the folder under one arm. “Right now, all we want it is for your brother to change his mind and sign off on the paperwork on his desk to wiretap Martin Luther King.”
“I don’t—“ Kennedy began, but stopped as Hoover waved the folder, as if fanning himself. “All right.”
5 August 1963
“I love you, too,” President Kennedy said, and then hung up the phone, severing the line to his wife in Hyannis Port.
“How is Jackie?” the only other occupant of his private dining room on the second floor of the White House asked.
Kennedy grimaced, both from the pain in his back and the recent conversation. “Not good. The heat is bad, she feels ill and she’s scared.”
“Of course she’s scared. She already lost one child. I know how she feels.”
Kennedy watched as Mary Meyer took a sip of her drink. He enjoyed her company—one of the few people he felt comfortable being alone with and simply talking, but to be honest, he still missed their affair.
“Graham shot himself,” he said, referring to the Washington Post publisher who had killed himself with a shotgun just two days previously. And who, back in January, had pushed his way to the podium at a conference of newspaper editors in Phoenix—even though he wasn’t supposed to speak—and drunkenly delivered a tirade that included references to the President’s ‘new favorite,’ Mary Meyer. He had been wrong about the ‘new’ part, Kennedy mused. He’d known Mary since college, and she’d long been a staple of White House life.
“I heard,” Mary said. “I feel for his wife. He’d just gotten out of the hospital. They thought he was better.”
“He was out of control,” Kennedy said. He had been intimate many times with Mary, and even though that part of their relationship had ended with the dual pressures of Graham’s publicity and Jackie’s pregnancy, he still felt a tight bond. He’d once smoked marijuana with her, even tried LSD—not his thing—and she’d been there with him through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, and many other significant events of his Presidency. Always someone he could confide in and count on for solid advice. “What’s wrong, Mary? Is it Jackie? She’s fine with your being here.”
Mary Meyer shook her head. “I was approached by some men. They wanted me to give you a message and they showed me something.”
She shook her head. “I can’t tell you, except that they’re for real. Three high-ranking generals and someone—let’s say he’s on a level with Graham.”
Kennedy frowned. “What did they show you?”
“A document.” Mary got up from her end of the table and sat caddy-corner to the President and took his hand.
Kennedy was surprised at the move and the look on her face. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Have you ever heard of the Jefferson Allegiance?”
Kennedy gripped her hand tighter. “A rumor of it. No one has ever confirmed its existence though.”
“It exists. They showed it to me.”
Kennedy could feel his back tighten, the old injury from PT-109 coming back to haunt him as it always did when he was under stress. “Why did they show it to you?”
“They wanted me to give you a message. And they knew you trusted me.”
“Go on,” Kennedy prompted.
Mary’s tongue snaked over her lips, a sign of how nervous she was. “They said that they respected what you did during the Missile Crisis. That it was important that one man be in charge and handle things. That it was one of those unique moments with high stakes where the responsibility and decision-making had to rest on the President’s shoulders.”
“But?” Kennedy prompted.
“The Bay of Pigs. The Wall being built in Berlin. Your recent speech there worried people. They felt you were continuing to challenge Khrushchev. That it had become personal. And the involvement in Vietnam greatly concerns the military men.”
Kennedy scoffed. “There are only eleven thousand men in Vietnam—all advisers. And the Pentagon has promised they can be withdrawn by the end of the year after they crush the Vietcong rebels. Vietnam is not an issue.”
“That is not the way the Philosophers see it.”
“The ‘Philosophers’? So it’s true that they guard the Allegiance.” He stared at her. “Is it as powerful as rumored?”
Mary nodded. “If they invoke it, they would remove you from office. And that’s just the beginning.”
The silence in the dining room lasted a long time before Kennedy spoke again. “What do they want?”
“For you to use the National Security Council for advice more often. To back off Vietnam. Back off of pressing Khrushchev.”
“Do they want an answer?”
“They told me they would get their answer from your actions.”
“I don’t like being threatened,” Kennedy snapped. “I get it from both sides. The damn Cincinnatians and Hoover. Now the Philosophers. I’m sick of it.”
“There’s something else,” Mary said.
“What?” Kennedy knew he was being short, but the pain in his back and this information along with Jackie being miserable in Hyannis Port was ruining what he had hoped would be a pleasant evening.
“Did you know the CIA is trying to use the mob to kill Castro?”
Kennedy leaned back in his chair, trying to ease the pain in his back, pulling his hand out of hers. “Hoover said something to me about that. I thought he was bluffing.”
“I asked Cord,” Mary said, referring to her ex-husband, who was high in the ranks of the Agency. “He said ‘of course not,’ which means of course they are.”
“Goddamnit,” Kennedy slammed a fist onto the tabletop, causing the crystal to bounce.
“The Philosophers want you to get on top of that. After the Bay of Pigs, there can’t be another Cuban fiasco. They say it’s very complicated and dangerous and that the Cincinnatians are involved.”
“Who the hell runs this country?” Kennedy demanded.
Mary got up and walked behind his chair. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around his chest. “I’m worried, Jack. Very worried for you. Cord didn’t just lie to me. There’s something going on. Something very dangerous. Promise me you’ll be careful?”
Kennedy was hardly comforted by her touch or her words, but he nodded anyway. “I promise.”
Tomorrow: how is was used against Nixon.
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Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
18 February 1945
President Roosevelt sat at his friend’s deathbed, aware that soon someone would be sitting by his. He felt the slightest movement through the wheels of his chair. The USS Quincy, named after the birthplace of two Presidents, was one of the new Baltimore Class cruisers churned out by the United States since the start of World War II. The sea off the coast of Algiers had minimal effect against its heavy metal sides.
The man in the bed, Major General Watson, had been by Roosevelt’s side through the entire war. To lose him now, with the end in sight, deeply saddened Roosevelt, sapping the satisfaction from the accomplishments of the past three weeks. Via the Quincy he’d met Churchill in Malta on the 2nd of February, Stalin and Churchill at Yalta after that, then King Farouk, Emperor Haile Selassie and Saudi Arabian King Ibn Saud on the Great Bitter Lake a few days ago.
Watson had collapsed after they passed through the Suez Canal and not regained consciousness, nor was he likely to according to Roosevelt’s personal doctor. Roosevelt’s hope was that his friend would last until they got back to the States so that he could accompany him back to his home, adjacent to Monticello in Virginia. Roosevelt had stayed at Watson’s Retreat at Kenwood numerous times during his presidency, often making the quarter mile journey next door to Jefferson’s house in the company of Ed Watson and his wife.
The hatch to the cabin swung open and General Marshall came inside, securing the heavy metal door behind him.
“George,” Roosevelt acknowledged.
“Mister President.” Marshall came over and looked down at Watson. “No change?”
“I am afraid not.”
“The Ambassadors will be on board shortly,” Marshall said. “Your briefing for them is prepared.”
The last thing Roosevelt felt like was another meeting. But briefing his ambassadors to the United Kingdom, France and Italy, on the agreement at Yalta was imperative. “I’ll be ready.” His hands were gripping the arms of his wheelchair. “I’ve known Ed a long time.”
Marshall took a chair from the tiny desk in the cabin and settled his bulk into it. “He was in Washington on and off for decades. Wasn’t he an aide to President Wilson?”
Roosevelt felt uncomfortable discussing Ed as if he were not here. “He’s been with me since thirty-three,” Roosevelt murmured. “Longer than anyone else except Eleanor.”
“I was talking with General Watson last week about something interesting,” Marshall said.
Something in the General of the Army’s tone roused Roosevelt out of his melancholy. “And that was?”
Marshall leaned back in the metal chair and waited as ship’s orders were broadcast throughout the cruiser, and then relative silence fell once more. “In ancient Rome when a general or emperor won a great victory, there would be a Triumph in Rome when they returned. A great procession into the city to celebrate the victory.”
Marshall paused, then continued. “General Watson reminded me of something. He said that the victorious leader, riding in a chariot, had a slave standing behind him. The slave held a wreath over his head and whispered in his ear: ‘Respice post te! Hominen te esse memento.’”
“My Latin is rusty,” Roosevelt said dryly.
“It means: ‘Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man.’”
“A warning,” Roosevelt said, arching an eyebrow.
“A reminder,” Marshall said mildly. “Your cousin, Teddy, made a promise in nineteen-oh-four, not to run again in oh-eight. He kept that promise. But he did run in nineteen twelve under his own Bull Moose platform. He won all but two of the Republican Primaries, but still lost the nomination at the convention. Have you ever wondered why he lost that nomination?”
“My cousin and I were never on such an intimate level of discourse.”
Marshall nodded toward the figure in the bed. “You know General Watson is one of the Philosophers, of course?”
Roosevelt put a hand on the left wheel of his chair and pulled back, turning to face the head of the Armed Forces. “Yes.”
“He told me that your cousin lost the nomination because the Philosophical Society opposed him.”
“But Teddy still ran on his own ticket,” Roosevelt pointed out. “Damn near won it all because he was supported by the Cincinnatians. Most votes anyone outside of the two parties has ever received. Beat out the Republican candidate who’d been nominated.”
“But he didn’t win. Wilson did.”
Roosevelt glanced at the man in the bed, then back at the man in the chair. “True.”
“You’ve been elected four times,” Marshall said. “Twice as much as any other President. You got us through the Depression and through the war. The end is in sight.”
“It is,” Roosevelt agreed, waiting for the bottom line, knowing that Marshall was maneuvering the way a politician would, not a general. Roosevelt also knew that the five star general was telling him what Watson would have, if he could. Those trips to Monticello had not been without their lessons.
Marshall continued. “In thirty-nine, despite the country’s neutrality, you declared a state of limited national emergency. There is no such term in the Constitution or even in subsequent laws passed by Congress. In March of nineteen forty-one, you got Congress to pass the Lend-Lease program.”
Roosevelt pulled out his cigarette holder and loaded it. “Are you telling me my accomplishments or my crimes?”
Roosevelt chuckled. “Do you know how I got Lend-Lease through Congress?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I had my people push it through while sixty-five House Democrats were at a luncheon.”
Marshall didn’t seem to appreciate the humor. He continued. “In May of forty-one, when we still weren’t at war, you dropped the ‘limited’ from the state of emergency and declared a state of unlimited national emergency. Under this, you could, and did, organize and control the means of production, seized commodities, deployed military forces abroad, imposed martial law, seized property, controlled all transportation and communication, regulated the operation of private enterprise, and restricted travel.”
Roosevelt spread his hands as an innocent man would. “Would you have preferred I had not done those things?”
Marshall pulled a lighter out and lit the President’s cigarette as he brought it to his lips. “No, sir. They were necessary to win the war.”
“And I told Ed that I’d restore all our liberties as soon as the war is over.”
“Yes, sir,” Marshall agreed. “And that is why the Philosophers have not taken action despite the unconstitutionality of many of your actions. The Jefferson Allegiance remains in check.”
“So what is the problem?” Roosevelt asked, more sharply than he intended.
Marshall went over and swung open one of the small portholes to let fresh air in. “The recent conferences, sir.”
“I thought they went quite well.”
Marshall blinked. “Sir. Stalin is a thug. A despot. You and Churchill handed him Eastern Europe on a platter.”
“He promised to hold elections,” Roosevelt said. “More importantly, even you agreed that we need the Russians for the final invasion of Japan.”
“I do agree with you on that,” Marshall allowed. “But it went too far. You gave up Poland. You agreed that citizens of Poland and Russia would be repatriated whether they wanted to or not. You gave Stalin practically everything he wanted.”
“Stalin agreed to join the United Nations once we form it,” Roosevelt countered.
Marshall appeared not to hear. “And the meeting with King Ibn Saud. Sir, there are great strategic implications in the Middle East for the future. Both in terms of the displaced Jews, but more importantly, the oil. Japan went to war with us when we embargoed their oil. The Germans went into Russia for the oilfields. Oil is the key. I fear we’re setting up problems that are going to take generations to untangle.”
“You say ‘we,’” Roosevelt noted, “but you mean me.”
Roosevelt nodded ruefully. “Do you think I don’t know that?” He nodded toward the comatose General in the bed. “I hope I go quickly.”
“Sir, Stalin took too much away from Yalta. And Ibn Saud too much from the Great Bitter Lake conference.”
“We need the Russians for Japan—“ Roosevelt began, but Marshall leaned forward and whispered.
“Sir. We have the Manhattan Project.”
“If it works,” Roosevelt replied. “That’s a mighty big ‘if’ to roll the dice on the lives of millions of American servicemen. Frankly, I’d rather it be Russian blood spilled in Japan than American.”
“Sir, we must look beyond the end of the war and—“
“Please,” Roosevelt said in a low voice. He pulled the remnants of his cigarette out of the holder and slid another in, then extended it to Marshall who dutifully lit it. “I can’t see beyond the end of war, George. It’s been thirteen years. I’m tired. I’m sick. My friend is lying here dying. I’ll be gone soon enough. Enact your Allegiance if you want, but by the time you do, I doubt there will be a need.”
Roosevelt leaned his head back against the rear of his wheelchair. “I am looking behind me. And I am but a man.”
In two days– how it was used against President Kennedy.
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Roosevelt– by his daughter!
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
4 March 1905
President Theodore Roosevelt listened to the sounds of revelry from the ballroom with deep satisfaction. He had the people’s mandate now. Even though he’d been President for three years, ever since McKinley was struck-down by an assassin in Buffalo in 1901, he’d felt a degree of lame-duck status. He’d held power because of a single bullet, not the will of the people. At least that’s what some had whispered. Not swearing his oath of office on a Bible after McKinley expired had also caused great controversy, an oversight he had not repeated earlier today.
Roosevelt’s shoulders slumped as he heard the familiar voice. He didn’t bother to turn. “Yes, Baby Lee?”
“I come bearing greetings,” Alice Roosevelt said.
Roosevelt finally turned and faced his daughter. She was his first born, but he had spent little time with her over her twenty years of life. He supposed that had contributed to her independent spirit, to the point where many considered her out of control. Sometimes he regretted abandoning her to relatives after her mother, his wife Alice, died two days after her birth. But on the same day, his own mother had died, and the dual blows had been too much to take. He’d headed west, losing himself on the frontier for several years with his grief.
“From whom?” Roosevelt asked. Sometimes he missed those days, riding with Sheriff Bullock of Deadwood, hunting, ranching and just being out in nature. Almost as much as he missed his first wife. He never used her name and thus he never used his daughter’s given name, something he knew irritated her, but he could not bear the pain.
Alice was draped in a silk dress, risqué to say the least. Roosevelt knew better than to say anything to her about it. He’d been asked once by a visitor, after Alice interrupted a meeting in the Oval Office for the third time, whether he could control her. He’d answered truthfully: ‘I can either run the country or I can attend to Alice, but I cannot possibly do both.’
“From the American Philosophical Society.”
Roosevelt stiffened, focusing on his daughter. “What do those old fools want?”
Alice almost twirled, the silk catching the light. She’d bought enough of it on the recent junket to Japan and China to make a thousand dresses. He did have to admit, though, that she had done well diplomatically, enchanting the Emperor of Japan and the Empress Dowager of China. Of course, she’d also jumped into the ocean liner’s swimming pool fully clothed along with some fool congressman. Wherever she went, scandal followed.
“They are not all old fools,” Alice said.
“Just tell me what they want so I can get back to the celebrations,” Roosevelt said, looking past her to the door leading to the election party.
“Ah, father,” Alice said, coming close and looking up at him with soulful eyes. She had inherited her mother’s beauty, and sometimes he wondered if that’s why he kept his distance from her—the memory was too sharp, the pain too deep. He averted his gaze.
“I know this is your party, Father,” she said. “But really, you’d want to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening. You like the attention.”
“The old Philosophers,” he prodded, trying to get her back on task. Her tongue was as sharp as her wit, and he bore many a scar from both.
“As I said, and you did not hear, being occupied with your own thoughts as always, they are all not so old anymore. In fact, one is quite young. The youngest ever elected Chair.”
“What fool did they pick?”
“And not just the youngest,” Alice said, with a smile that lit up the room, “but also the first woman.”
Roosevelt felt an icy feeling grow in his gut, much as he had felt in Yellowstone the first time he faced a grizzly. “They didn’t.”
Roosevelt closed his eyes and sighed. This was the last thing he would have expected. Which is why, he knew, the guardians of the Allegiance had done it. “What do they—you– want?” he demanded through gritted teeth.
Alice hopped up and sat on the lid of a grand piano, her legs dangling, exposing too much ankle. “We know you inherited the Spanish-American War after McKinley’s untimely departure from this mortal coil. We were not pleased with the ‘causus belli’ for that war. ‘Remember the Maine,’ indeed.” She peered at her father. “You were under-secretary of the Navy at the time. Perhaps you know something about that event you have not shared with your own daughter?”
“It was a Spanish mine,” Roosevelt snapped. “There is nothing more to it.”
“A most convenient mine,” Alice said. “We sense the long reach of the Cincinnatians.” She waved a hand, dismissing that topic. “The Allegiance has only been invoked once and even then, didn’t have to be used. Another President was warned. We see a dangerous trend, though. Jefferson, Polk and Lincoln all superseded their authority. Johnson did too, but he got impeached, simpleton that he was. The Cincinnatians have pushed this country into illegal and unjust war more than once in their desire for an American Empire. Much like the Romans did so long ago.”
Alice continued. “But you have to allow those three earlier Presidents their motives. Both Jefferson and Polk saw a threat to our country’s commerce: Jefferson not wanting to lose access to New Orleans, and ending up with much more than he could have ever dreamed of in territory; Polk wanting access to San Francisco, and also ending up with much than he too could have ever dreamed of. Lincoln’s motivation was to preserve the Union at any cost, although one might see an inherent paradox from the Founding Fathers in that. The Confederacy was, after all, exercising its states’ rights to separate from the Union. Something Jefferson would most likely have applauded.”
Roosevelt knew this was revenge. For all those years he’d shuttled her from relative to relative. He’d once tried to send her to a very proper school for girls in New York City, and she had sent back a letter promising: ‘If you send me, I will humiliate you. I will do something that that will shame you. I tell you I will.’
And now she had done something far, far worse.
“You’ve won four more years, Father,” Alice said. “Congratulations. But we know what you have done and what you want to do. The Philippines. Colombia. Honduras. The Dominican Republic. Cuba. The Canal you want to have built.” She laughed, a most pleasant sound, contrasting the words that came from her mouth. “’Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far’?”
“What do you want?” Roosevelt finally gave in, facing her directly.
“Jefferson wrote ‘Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.’ You seem to take the opposite point of view, Father.”
“What do you want?”
“We know you are popular. We know confronting you with the Allegiance would be dangerous for the country. So we offer a compromise. You get four more years. But we want you to publicly promise tonight, this very evening, that you will not run for re-election in nineteen-oh-eight.”
Roosevelt took a step back, as if he’d been hit by a bullet. “You joke.”
“I’m afraid not, Father. We will confront you if you don’t make the promise. It will be a bloody mess, for both you and the country, if the military has to act after you are confronted. You can spend the next four years enjoying your Presidency or defending it.”
“A lot can happen in four years,” Roosevelt said.
Alice nodded and hopped off the piano. “I know, Father. But I also know you. I told the other Philosophers that if you gave your word, you would keep your word.”
A muscle rippled along the side of Roosevelt’s jaw.
Alice hooked her arm through his and propelled him toward the door. “Come. Let’s have you make the announcement, then join the party.” She paused just before the door and looked up at him. “After all, Father, four more years; certainly enough time for you to enjoy the Presidency. And then you can go back to civilian life and enjoy your family. Correct?”
In two day– how the Jefferson Allegiance was used against Franklin Roosevelt.
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Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Lincoln at the end of the Civil War.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
13 April 1865
Abraham Lincoln was tired to his core, and had told his secretary he would not be seeing any more visitors today. He sat in his office, eyes closed, hoping the headache that had troubled him all day would go away. He should be rejoicing, partaking in the fruits of a bitterly won victory.
Just ten days previously, Richmond had fallen. Then four days ago, Lee had surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia. The whereabouts of Jeff Davis and the remnants of the Confederate government were unknown, but there was no doubt they were in full flight.
The Civil War was over.
At a cost Lincoln could hardly bear to contemplate. Ever since the rebels had fired on Fort Sumter, four years and one day ago, the telegraph wires had brought the grim numbers. Over a quarter million Union soldiers dead. No one knew how many Southerners, but given Grant and Sherman’s ruthlessness the past year, Lincoln had no doubt the Confederate losses were about the same.
What scared him, kept him awake at nights and caused his current headache, was realizing that a larger job loomed—mending a broken country. One could win a war of arms, but it was the hearts and minds that concerned Lincoln. There was much bitterness and anger on both sides, and he knew he would have to walk a narrow and treacherous path to bring the country together.
He’d laid the groundwork years ago when he assembled his first cabinet: what some had dubbed ‘the cabinet of rivals.’ He’d tapped three men, opponents for the Republican nomination, and bitter enemies: William Seward, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates to fill positions in his administration as Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General, respectively. The move had shocked everyone in Washington, including the three men. They’d demurred initially, and Lincoln recognized in them the same disdain others in the Capitol had for his rustic background and lack of political experience, especially since he’d been sent packing from Washington after only one term in Congress. Lincoln knew, though, that bringing the country together after four years of war was going to take much more than bringing respect and cooperation from three such strong egos. He also knew a few of the men were Cincinnatians, a price he had been willing to pay to keep the country together.
Lincoln heard the private door to the Oval Office open. There were only five people who were allowed to come through that door. He hoped it was Mary, but the heavy clump of boots informed him the hope was in vain. More problems.
He opened his eyes and relaxed slightly. The mighty Ulysses. Still glowing from the surrender at Appomattox. As always, Grant held out a cigar as he settled into the seat across the desk from Lincoln.
“No, thank you, General,” Lincoln said, as always.
“The city is alive, President,” Grant said. “You should go out and pick up some of the energy. Bask in the glow of victory.”
Lincoln grimaced. “Basking is not my forte.” Grant had two modes: in battle and energized, or morose and drunk. The drinking had been a large issue, but Lincoln took results wherever he could find them. However, it was hard to tell which mode the General was in this evening. Lincoln could smell the alcohol, but Grant appeared strangely animated. Victory could do that, Lincoln supposed.
Grant fiddled with his cigar, seemingly uncertain, something Lincoln had never seen in the man. His decisiveness had been his greatest attribute. “Is there something amiss?” Lincoln asked.
“Sir—“ Grant began, but halted.
“Go on,” Lincoln said, feeling his heart sink, knowing this was to be another burden of some sort.
“There was a meeting earlier today,” Grant said. “I met with the Chair and the Philosophers.”
Lincoln stiffened. “And?”
“They are very concerned.” Grant had his eyes downcast. “The war is over. Of that there is no doubt.” Grant lifted his dark gaze, meeting Lincoln’s eyes. “I told them to wait. To let things settle down. But they wanted me to talk to you.”
Lincoln knew what Grant was talking about, but he still felt a surge of anger. So soon. He had not expected this so soon. “I did not seek power for glory or riches. You know that better than most. I took the steps I did for the Union. And I didn’t hide them.”
Lincoln knew he had done many things in violation of his oath of office and the Constitution. He’d unilaterally expanded the military; suspended habeus corpus; proclaimed martial law; had citizens arrested; seized property; censored newspapers; and, perhaps most galling to many, issued the Emancipation Proclamation. All without consulting Congress. He imagined old Polk would be laughing heartily if he could have seen the events of the last four years.
“I understand that, Mister President,” Grant said. “That’s why I have gotten the Chair to keep the Allegiance in hiding. I told him it would not be needed. Not now, nor in the future. Once peace has taken hold, I am sure we will be back to where we were before the war.”
It will never be the same, Lincoln thought, but did not say. He pressed a long finger against his temple, trying to calm the pounding in his head. “You are quite correct. The Allegiance will not be needed. I will relinquish all those extra powers I have assumed in the name of the emergency as soon as the country returns to normalcy.”
“And the Cincinnatians?”
“They too will be in check. I needed their support for the war, but not any longer.”
Grant heaved a sigh of relief. “Very good, sir. I will tell the Chair.” Grant stood to depart.
Grant turned. “Yes, sir?”
“Remember this meeting. I once walked into this room with the Allegiance years ago. You just walked in with the threat of the Allegiance. Some day if you sit in this room, remember what happened, and remember the dangers of the power of this office and of the Cincinnatians.”
Grant removed the cigar from his mouth and nodded. “I will, Mister President.”
“Very good.” Lincoln remembered something. “Mary wants to go to the theater tomorrow night. Would you and Missus Grant like to join us?”
“I will consult with her, but I see no reason why we would not.” Grant turned for the door.
“Very good,” Lincoln said.
Grant paused as he opened the door. “What theater, sir?”
“The Ford Theater.”
In two days, how it was used to stop Teddy Roosevelt. By his own daughter!
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where it is used to halt President Polk when he had imperial aims.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
22 August 1848
President Polk figured it had to be a hell of a lot hotter down south for the Mexican President than even Washington in the summer, although some might question that. A bead of sweat dripped off Polk’s nose and onto the copy of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which he had been reading one more time, savoring the terms, as if he could feel the actual growth in the United States that the Treaty decreed.
Polk was staying in the White House, an insane decision for anyone who had survived a Washington August. But there was work to be done, and even the specter of yellow fever couldn’t persuade Polk to head to the cooler mountains as most Washingtonians with means had done. He could hear the mooing of cows from the large open pasture to the south of the White House, and the occasional rattle of a passing carriage, but otherwise the capitol was still.
Polk turned his chair to a map, his most prized possession since coming into office. He had made four promises when elected to office and the map represented two of them:
-Acquiring some or all of the Oregon Territory.
-Purchasing California from Mexico in order to have access to the port of San Francisco to open trade to the Pacific.
Drawn in fountain pen on the map by his own hand were the successful results of those two promises: the Oregon Territory and a huge chunk of land including Texas and the southwest from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing all of the California Territory.
It was the second largest expansion of the United States since Jefferson had purchased the Louisiana Territory. It was Manifest Destiny and Polk had done it, stretched the United States from Atlantic to Pacific. That he had done it with blood via a war some considered imperialistic wasn’t something he concerned himself with.
Polk leaned back in his chair and barely noticed as he wiped the sheen of sweat off his forehead. He looked over, irritated, as his secretary cracked open the door and stuck his head in. “Sir, there are some gentlemen here to see you.”
Polk waved. “Send them in.” He stiffened as he saw former President John Quincy Adams leading three men into the room: General Zachary Taylor, who was getting altogether too popular for winning the war Polk had instigated with Mexico. There were more than whispers that Taylor wanted to run for President under the banner of the opposing Whigs.
There was also a tall, rangy freshman Congressman named Lincoln, who had been a minor thorn in Polk’s side during the run-up to the war. The press had dubbed him ‘Spotty’ Lincoln for the resolution he had tried to get past Congress, demanding that Polk “show me the spot” where American blood had been spilled that precipitated the War with Mexico, claiming it had happened on Mexican soil, not American. The resolution had failed, and Polk was determined to crush Lincoln’s political career.
Lastly, there was old General Winfield Scott, who had opened the way to the ‘Halls of Montezuma’ as the press liked to dub it.
Polk stood, focusing on Adams. “Sir, what brings you here?”
Adams had a black, wooden tube in his hand, which he placed, to Polk’s chagrin, right on top of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. “Let me be frank,” Adams said. “You began this most horrid of wars by direct provocation of the Mexicans. Generals Taylor and Scott, while supporting you publicly, verify that privately.”
Polk glared at the two generals, but they seemed impervious.
Adams continued. “You used the war to further your Imperial goals, which is inconsistent with our Constitution. And you are a front man for the Cincinnatians.”
Polk slammed a fist onto the map. “We now stretch from sea to sea. We won the war. We—“
Adams cut him off. “Mister President, I don’t care what the immediate results are. You manipulated the military for the agenda of a select few. As Congressman Lincoln noted, you declared war the way a monarch would, not a President.”
“I dealt with the problems I inherited with the office,” Polk argued. “Texas was annexed by Congress four days before I took office. The Mexicans had already promised war if that happened. Conflict was inevitable.”
“Not if you had used diplomacy instead of the army,” Adams countered. “You sent General Taylor and his troops into disputed territory without consulting Congress.”
“This is true,” Taylor said.
“Indeed it is,” echoed Lincoln.
“But Congress voted for war,” Polk said.
“On the basis of a fake ‘causus belli’,” Lincoln said.
Scott finally spoke up. “The army is sick of such a war. We lost more men to disease in that God-forsaken place than the enemy. It cannot happen again.”
“How dare you all—“ Polk began, but Adams cut him off.
“Read this, sir.” He picked up the wooden tube and screwed off the end. He pulled a scroll out and unrolled it on top of Polk’s map.
Polk leaned over and read the few sentences. Startled, he looked up at Adams. “What—“
“Look at the signatures,” Adams commanded and Polk obeyed. Before the current President could say anything, the former President continued. “The War is done. The treaty ratified. You’ve had your glory. You have a year left in office. You will not start another war. You will not violate the treaty to grab more land from Mexico or cross swords with the British in the Oregon Territory. You will not run for election again. You will tell your fellow Cincinnatians they have what they sought and that is enough.”
Taylor spoke up. “Or else we will enforce the Jefferson Allegiance as you have just read.”
“Do you understand?” Adams asked. “You will abide strictly by the Constitution for the remainder of your term. Clear?”
Polk weakly nodded, slumping down into the chair where just minutes ago, he had been reveling in his achievements. What they had just dictated meant he would be the first President not to seek re-election since the founding of the country. It was unheard of. But so was the document he had just read. He numbly watched as Adams rolled the scroll and stuck it back in the tube. The men turned and marched out of the room leaving the President alone.
President Polk grabbed the map and tore it to shreds.
Tomorrow: How it was used against Abraham Lincoln.
THE FIRST DAY: ARRIVAL
“Damn it, Darlene! I told you not to watch that fake news. There aint no such thing as aliens. All of this has been bullshit so the government can come get my guns. Turn it off. And get your damn dog off the couch.”
“I don’t think so,” Darlene muttered watching the images from Russia and the massive alien spaceship. “That’s a lot of work just to come and get your guns, Bobby.”
Thin, almost starved-looking, Darlene had badly dyed reddish hair self-cut shaggy short. Her arms scrolled with tattoos. She wore ripped jeans and a red t-shirt with the Marine Corps emblem on the front. She was sitting cross-legged on the nice leather couch, Bobby’s only legacy from his stepmom, peering at the TV. It was all kinda confusing cause some of the feeds would go blank and the news folk were scrambling to figure things out.
One hand absently scratched Rex’s head. The dog was a mutt, something German Shepherd/Chow/Mexico street fighter. She’d found him wandering about a few months ago and viewed him as a good luck charm and more trustworthy companion than her quasi-boyfriend of expediency.
Bobby didn’t like bad news, or fake news as he called it. “I told you to turn the damn thing off!” He grabbed his AR-15 off the pegs by the door to the trailer, single-wide, but some day she’d dreamed of double-wide as long as she had to stay here. Looked like that dream wasn’t gonna come. All bad things must end.
“Don’t you dare!” Darlene yelled as Bobby leveled the rifle at the TV.
It had a fancy sniper scope that had cost a week and a half of her waitressing tips and initiated a terrible row between the two of them as Darlene didn’t see the need, given Bobby only shot cans, plus he didn’t even know how to zero it in. The fight had been more a drunken brawl, followed by reasonably decent make-up sex. That still didn’t make up for the money, but it didn’t seem that was going to matter now either.
Bobby fired four rounds, fast as he could pull the trigger, blasting the screen.
“Great shooting, numb-nuts,” Darlene said. “Shoulda saved your ammo. I think we’re gonna need it.” She didn’t point out he hadn’t needed that damn, stupid scope to hit the TV. Rex growled at Bobby. “Easy,” Darlene said. “Now aint the time for our plan. Gotta wait boy.”
“That plan thing aint never funny,” Bobby said. “You and that damn dog.”
“Why do you think it’s a joke?” Darlene stomped out of the trailer in her heavy black boots, Rex at her heel. She stood in the ‘front yard’ comprising of desert and pulled the smokes out of roll on the left arm of her t-shirt.
“You should quit,” Bobby said from inside the nebulous safety of the ripped screen door, but his voice was a bit subdued, as it always was after he did something stupid, which was much more often than Darlene liked.
“Don’t matter now,” Darlene said, staring out over the desolate west Texas landscape. “Shoulda bought that double-wide, Bobby, when I told you to. At least we’d have been going out happier.”
While the massive Swarm Battle Core settled into high orbit, 20,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, the results of the Metamorphosis were walking, crawling, swimming, slithering, stalking and winging their way to designated warships for the pending drop on the planet.
The Core’s orbit was opposite the planet’s rotation. For the first go-around, the Core was traversing the northern hemisphere, just above the Tropic of Capricorn as data indicated it would be the source of most Scale opposition. Weapons systems on the surface of the Core were powered up.
It was all standing operating procedure for a reaping.
Even 20,000 miles up, the sphere was massive. Six thousand miles wide at the center and four thousand at the polar axis, it was much larger, and much, much closer, than the moon. As the Core orbited the planet, it began targeting procedures to negate potential threats prior to drop. Numerous sites had already been determined due to intercepts across the array of electromagnetic transmissions from the planet. More would be determined as the Scale life, in this case humans, reacted.
There was no rush.
The result was inevitable.
Here is an excerpt from the book, The Jefferson Allegiance, where Hamilton and Jefferson agree to write it.
This book was a #2 national bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it came out!
27 July 1803
President Thomas Jefferson waited, no doubt in his mind that Alexander Hamilton was late to prove a point. Hamilton always had to prove a point, even if there was none.
Jefferson was alone in an office in Philosophical Hall on Independence Square in the heart of the nation’s largest city: Philadelphia. Jefferson tipped his chair back, placed his feet on the desk and stretched out his long legs. The ride from Washington had been made in darkness and thus in difficulty, the carriage driver unable to see all the ruts and holes in the road from the United States new capitol to the original capitol.
Thinking of the city he’d come from, Jefferson looked up at the painting of its namesake on the wall. Good old George. Gone less than four years now, one would think the man a saint the way the papers and people still went on about him. Jefferson gave a fond smile, remembering how Washington, in the early days of the Continental Congress, had protested loudly that he did not wish to be Commander of the fledgling Colonial forces, yet somehow had managed to put on his old French & Indian War uniform every day when he came to protest not becoming that which his clothing clearly demonstrated he dearly desired.
Watch what a man does, rather than what he says, Jefferson thought. And Hamilton being late said much.
The door to the room swung open and then slammed shut. Hamilton strode across the room as if he owned it. The way he walked into every room.
Jefferson got to his feet. “Mister Hamilton.” He extended his hand.
Hamilton barely shook the hand, then, without a word, went to the other side of the table and sat down. A breach of etiquette in the presence of the country’s President, but Jefferson knew Hamilton felt brazen, having been the instrument three years ago to swing Congress to vote Jefferson into office over Burr, when the two had been tied in the Electoral College. It had not been a sign of support for himself, Jefferson knew, but Hamilton’s intense distaste of Burr that had been the deciding factor.
“Shall we get to business?” Hamilton said.
Jefferson sat down. He’d considered how to approach this on the ride from Washington. “As you know, I was not present during the drafting of the Constitution.”
Hamilton tapped the top of the desk irritably. “And? Is that your excuse for your recent unconstitutional action regarding the Louisiana Purchase?”
“No,” Jefferson said. “I make no excuse. You are quite correct. It was unconstitutional.”
Hamilton sat up straighter, his eyes narrowing, suspecting a trap. “You admit as much?”
“I just did.” Jefferson held up a hand to forestall his long-time opponent. “I’ll give you my arguments so you can ignore all the tripe in the papers. And then I’ll tell you what I have learned from my own actions, and what I propose, and why I ask for your assistance.”
The line between Hamilton’s eyes got even deeper, but he nodded.
“Briefly then,” Jefferson began. “New Orleans controls the Mississippi. He who controls the Mississippi, controls all our country’s river traffic west of the Appalachians. When I took office, we thought New Orleans was under Spanish Control. What I quickly discovered was that Napoleon, in secret, had gained control of New Orleans from Spain in eighteen hundred. Learning of this, and fearing loss of access to the port, I secretly sent emissaries to Paris to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans.”
Hamilton started to speak once more.
“Please,” Jefferson said. “Hear me out, good sir. I know I did not have the Constitutional right to be doing such negotiations in secret. However, I felt the importance of New Orleans and the danger of an Imperial French presence on our country’s borders superseded my executive limitations, and time was of the essence. I was acting for the greater good.”
Jefferson quickly went on. “I also knew, through my own sources, that Napoleon was in trouble. He was building a fleet of barges to invade England. That was his focus. However, the slave revolt in Haiti was draining his resources, troops and money. The slaves, hard as it might be to believe, were defeating his forces. As they continue to do to this day. I fear the end is close in Haiti, and it will be the slaves who prevail.
“Please believe me when I say my ambassadors only went to Paris to purchase New Orleans. We offered Napoleon ten million for the city and river rights. When Napoleon’s man countered with an offer of the entire Louisiana territory for fifteen million, my ambassadors were astounded, to say the least.”
Hamilton finally got some words in. “I had not heard this about New Orleans. The report was your people went looking for it all.”
“No, sir,” Jefferson said. “But even you will admit it was too great an offer to refuse. It was an offer that ended the French presence on our boundary and doubled the size of our country at less than three cents per acre.”
Hamilton snorted. “But you don’t have the money. Is that why I am here? You finally agree with me on the national bank?”
Jefferson nodded. “Yes. We must have one to finance the purchase.”
Hamilton could not hold back his triumphant smile.
Jefferson continued. “I’ve already directed Treasury Secretary Gallatin to contact you and ask for your help.”
Hamilton shook his head. “Gallatin will want to issue stock for it. He’s already—“
Jefferson quickly cut in. “No stocks. We’ll have a debt as you wish. Gallatin doesn’t like it, but I’ve already given him the order.”
Hamilton’s smile faded, wary. “Then what do you want of me? Absolution of your illegal act in making the purchase in the first place? I could have my people in Congress move to impeach you.”
It was Jefferson’s turn to snort. “You think that would get far?”
Hamilton leaned forward. “Then why did you have me come here in the middle of the night and meet in secret?”
Jefferson placed both hands on the table. “I am not blind to what I have done. I am aware I overstepped my Executive authority. Only two other men have worn the title of President of the United States. General Washington—“ Jefferson used the term he knew Hamilton preferred for the late President, as the two men had served together for many years in uniform—“was a great man. You and I know the nation and Congress would have voted him President for life if he desired it.”
“I wanted him to be President for life from the very beginning,” Hamilton countered.
“That argument was defeated during the writing of the Constitution,” Jefferson said. “And, besides, you know that General Washington wanted no part of staying in power. He desired to go back to Mount Vernon and Martha, and live the rest of his days in peace.”
“He was tired of the heavy burden he bore,” Hamilton acknowledged.
Jefferson saw his opening. “I bear that burden now. And there will be those beyond me who will bear it. Perhaps you. I circumvented Congress on the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase. It made me recognize that this office that I hold is at the whim of any elected Caesar in Presidential clothing.”
Jefferson could hear the crowing of roosters in the distance as dawn came to Philadelphia, and he waited to see how Hamilton would react.
“What are you proposing, then?” Hamilton asked. “You’re pointing out the obvious: that the checks and balances written into the Constitution aren’t adequate to prevent the Republic from failing. It is flawed. I said so then, and subsequent events have proven me correct.”
“You are correct. And I know what you and your Cincinnatians are up to. I have the votes in Congress to outlaw you and your group as enemies to the state. The bill is already drawn up and my people ready to present it. President Adams got his Alien and Sedition Act passed; I have no doubt I could resurrect the Sedition portion and use it on your Cincinnatians.”
Hamilton leapt to his feet. “How dare you threaten—“
“It is not a threat, Mister Hamilton. It is a negotiation. Please sit down.”
Hamilton did not do so, but he stopped yelling. “What negotiation? What do you want?”
“I want there to be a secret check on power run amok, primarily by the President, but also to prevent a group like your Cincinnatians from toppling the freely elected government or gaining undue influence. To maintain the country as we envisioned and wrote into the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
“And how do you propose such a secret check be enacted?”
“We’ve already agreed that the Constitution, as currently written, is not sufficient to keep the country on course. Our country has just doubled in size. The United States will grow more and more powerful. As it does, the office of President, by nature, will attract the power-hungry. At a distance, the people have a limited ability to identify Presidents with sufficient emotional stability to ‘know thyself.’ Thus, the office of the President is run by the personality of the man holding it. You’ve seen what I just did with the Purchase.
“At the same time, business will grow. Money will be consolidated in the hands of a powerful few who control that commerce and industry. Your Cincinnatians. It is a repugnant inevitability. That’s a very dangerous thing for a Republic. We don’t want our country to go the way Rome did.”
Hamilton slowly sat down. “You want a new Amendment to the Constitution?”
“No,” Jefferson said. “I’m not stupid, Mister Hamilton. Presenting that admits my own malfeasance in the Purchase. As I said, this must be done in secret. I want you and I, as heads of the two parties, to agree to an Allegiance. The Jefferson-Hamilton Allegiance. We will take this Allegiance back to our parties and get just enough members we trust to sign it in secret to pass, and then I will sign it into law. No one is to speak of it. It will be hidden away. But it will be law and it will be the final check on the President and the power-hungry rich who do not have the country’s best interests at heart.”
Hamilton was silent for a few seconds. “What is this Allegiance you wish to put my name to?”
“Did you know this chair I am in,” Jefferson said, “is the exact same one in which I was seated when I wrote the Declaration of Independence?”
“Show me this Allegiance,” Hamilton snapped, but Jefferson knew his reference to the classic document he had penned was now in Hamilton’s head.
Jefferson walked over to a bookcase and picked up a piece of parchment. He brought it back. Hamilton unrolled the paper. It only took a few seconds to read. “I do not want my name on the title of this.” He looked up. “So this is why you founded the Military Academy last year? I thought that a most strange move for you.”
“I dwell in reality,” Jefferson said. He waited a moment. “Does that mean you agree to the body of the Allegiance?”
Hamilton hesitated. “In exchange for not attacking the Society of the Cincinnati? And establishing the national bank?”
Hamilton grabbed a fountain pen, dipped it in the ink well, and signed his name at the bottom. “I will bring it back to you with the signatures needed.”
“I know what you’re thinking,” Jefferson said. “You’re thinking what you hold is no great matter. That it would never be enacted. I hope that is true. But it is the ultimate check against a President who seeks to be King, and against your Cincinnatians or any group like it.”
Hamilton rolled up the parchment. He tucked it under his arm and stood. “When I bring it back, and then your people and you sign it, what is to be done with it?”
“Let me worry about that. I will have people appointed to be caretakers. People that can be trusted with such power, desiring none of their own. People that can keep a secret.”
Hamilton laughed. “Remember what old Benjamin said about people keeping secrets. Three might if two are dead.”
Jefferson met his adversary’s eyes. “Let us hope it does not come to that.”
Hamilton gave the half-smile that Jefferson had always interpreted as the man thinking he held the winning hand. Perhaps he did, Jefferson allowed as Hamilton departed. But there was more to Jefferson’s plan for the Allegiance than he had told Hamilton.
Jefferson laughed. And given Hamilton’s insistence, it had a new, simpler name:
Tomorrow– how the Allegiance was invoked against President Polk
They came up with The Jefferson Allegiance. A secret document signed by a majority of Congress and then hidden away with the location only available by using the Jefferson Cipher.
Over the course of history the threat of unveiling the document has stopped several Presidents. My blogs over the next few days will show these events.
Often fiction precedes fact. Several of my books have dealt with the Presidency. The Jefferson Allegiance and The Kennedy Endeavor, of course. But there is also The Line, about a military coup unfolding in the vein of Seven Days in May. Then there is Nightstalkers: Book of Truths where the plot revolves around a serum getting loose in the White House where it forces people to tell the truth. That one was very prescient.
Here are some of the facts from The Jefferson Allegiance:
The Historical Facts
If a book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides if we choose.” Thomas Jefferson. 1814.
In May of 1783, the Society of the Cincinnati was founded. A leading member was Alexander Hamilton, and the first President of the Society was George Washington, before he was President of the United States. The Society of the Cincinnati is the oldest, continuous military society in North America. Its current headquarters is at the Anderson House in downtown Washington, DC. Besides the Society of the Cincinnati, Hamilton founded the Federalist Party, the first political party.
“Can a democratic assembly . . . be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy. Their turbulent and changing disposition requires checks.” Alexander Hamilton. 1787.
Thomas Jefferson was not allowed membership in the Society of the Cincinnati.
“Your people, sir, are a great beast.” Alexander Hamilton. 1792.
In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson, well known for his strong opposition to a standing army, established the United State Military Academy, the oldest Military Academy in the Americas. In 1819, he founded the University of Virginia, the first college in the United States to separate religion from education.
In 1745, the American Philosophical Society (APS), the oldest learned society in North America was founded. Thomas Jefferson was a member for 47 years and its President for 17 years. He subsequently established the adjunct United States Military Philosophical Society (MPS) at West Point with the Academy Superintendent as its first leader. The APS has its current headquarters in Philosophical Hall on Liberty Square in Philadelphia. The MPS appears to have disappeared.
“I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom.” Thomas Jefferson. 1816.
Besides the APS and MPS, Jefferson founded the Anti-Federalist Party.
“The mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, not a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the Grace of God.” Thomas Jefferson. 1826.
Tomorrow? 27 July 1803, when Jefferson and Hamilton agree to write the Allegiance and why.