TLIAW: Against the Grain

Deleted member 81475

Wow, I wasn't expecting the utopian version so soon. Very excited!

My read is that this isn't a utopia, the OP implied it would have no set goal, just be following AATWT in the collaborative worldbuilding and alternating writers for the terms.

Could certainly end up a utopia relative to our world, but that'll depend on where our authors take us! After that Texas TLIAW (and others), very excited for Wolfram's follow-up.
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My read is that this isn't a utopia, the OP implied it would have no set goal, just be following AATWT in the collaborative worldbuilding and alternating writers for the terms.

that’s right! Should be a “normal” TLIAW with no goal of being overly optimistic or pessimistic. We just all wanted to build off each other’s world and as Wolfram said, it almost adds a sort of realism when there isn’t a God-like author controlling the direction
Really enjoying this so far, quite an interesting POD with a realistic-looking portrayal of Wallace.

Looking forward to seeing what the next author does!
that’s right! Should be a “normal” TLIAW with no goal of being overly optimistic or pessimistic. We just all wanted to build off each other’s world and as Wolfram said, it almost adds a sort of realism when there isn’t a God-like author controlling the direction
So if it is a “normal” TLIAW, it should take longer than a week x'D
34. John Gilbert Winant (R-NH), 1949-1953
34. John Gilbert Winant (R-NH)
January 20, 1949 – January 20, 1953


"Doing the day's work day by day, doing a little, adding a little, broadening our bases wanting not only for ourselves but for others also, a fairer chance for all people everywhere... [H]aving dared to live dangerously, and in believing in the inherent goodness of man, we can stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence."
Despite a certain resemblance in the hair and eyebrows, John Gilbert Winant and his predecessor took vastly different paths to the White House. Wallace was born in a farming family of modest means in Iowa; Winant to a well-to-do business family in Manhattan. Wallace was an intellectual titan widely regarded as one of the leading lights of scientific agriculture; Winant was a poor student who dropped out of Princeton. The first political office Wallace ever ran for was the Vice Presidency at the age of 52; Winant won a seat in the New Hampshire State House before he was thirty and rose to the Governorship before he was forty.

That said, their political styles were not dissimilar. Both were lifelong Republicans; neither considered that to conflict in any way with ardent support of the New Deal or service in the Roosevelt administration. As Governor, Winant was as enthusiastic a New Dealer as any Democratic Governor, passing minimum wage laws and working to promote employment in New Deal agencies; this service no doubt helped convince Roosevelt (who referred to him as "Utopian John") to appoint him Chairman of the Social Security Board in 1935, then Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1941, where he developed close friendships with King George VI and Winston Churchill, as well as an even closer relationship with Churchill's daughter Sarah. Perhaps conscious of a shared perspective, Wallace initially retained him in office; however, when Wallace attempted to shuffle Winant to Moscow in 1946 (in part due to Wallace's desire to build closer relations with the Attlee ministry, which Winant had fewer ties to than the Tories), Winant instead returned to Concord to write his memoirs and contemplate his future, soon thereafter accepting a professorship at Princeton.

His lack of partisan office and general withdrawal during the Wallace era likely made his Presidency possible. The Republican Party was split deeply between two major factions. One, typified by figures like Governor (and 1944 nominee) Thomas Dewey, Governor Harold Stassen, and Senator Leverett Saltonstall, wished to maintain elements of the New Deal within a broader capitalist society, take a harder line on the Soviets than Wallace while still believing in the possibility of mutually beneficial trade and contact, and achieve liberal social goals through modest regulation. The other, radicalized by Roosevelt and Wallace, wanted to immediately restore the Coolidge-era economic package and unilaterally implement a policy of aggression towards the Soviet Union, beginning by nominating a hard-right figure like New Hampshire Senator Styles Bridges or - even better - General Patton or MacArthur.

These factions went to war at the 1948 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Stassen was the most successful liberal by a wide margin in the primaries, winning states as far apart as Oregon and Pennsylvania; however, regarded as a youthful lightweight, Dewey still had a solid base of support. Meanwhile, MacArthur won four states, including his home state of Wisconsin as a write-in, without at any point actually forthrightly admitting that he was, in fact, an actual candidate. Robert Taft, a hero of the Old Right who worried time was passing him by, punched his ticket with a credible victory in his home state against tough opposition. Bridges and Saltonstall also made bids from favorite-son perches. The first ballot had MacArthur, Stassen, and Dewey all within a hundred delegates of each other; the second wasn't much more conclusive, and it took five rounds to convince party grandees that it was time to break out the cigars and start making calls.

Winant was, perhaps, chosen more out of geographic convenience than for any other reason, but his choice was nevertheless logical. Though generally a liberal, particularly on domestic policy, his honorable service in World War I, internationalist service in the United Kingdom conservatives saw as the cornerstone of European defense against the Soviets, and (most importantly) his choice of resignation over complicity in Wallace's foreign policy all made him at least tolerable to the party's right. Summoned to Philadelphia, he endured a three-hour interview by various party officials, then was placed on the ballot the next morning. On the sixth ballot, aided by timely endorsements by Bridges, Dewey, and Saltonstall, he narrowly clinched the nomination. A group of MacArthur's supporters (MacArthur himself remained above the fray, privately expecting a Wallace victory and a 1952 campaign) promptly walked out, pledging their service to the young dissident Captain John Crommelin, whose well-publicized resignation letter and Alabama upbringing made him the perfect Dixiecrat candidate.

The 1948 election is probably best-known for being the first Presidential election in which debates were held. Crommelin declined, loudly referring to them as a "sham", but Wallace and Winant both took time out of their schedules to debate in front of an audience of dozens of reporters and two live broadcast microphones at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. As in many debates, the tone mattered more than the substance; Wallace and Winant broadly agreed, for example, on desegregation, but Wallace's energetic defense of his administration and awareness of his difficulties with Congress gave him a frenzied air, while Winant's New England sangfroid made him sound more like Roosevelt than a stereotypical Republican. On foreign policy, meanwhile, Winant accepted the basic tenets of the Wallace Doctrine, but though his distinction between "reasonable judgment of ends and means" and "Soviet domination of Eastern Europe" was light on difference, it played well in America's living rooms. More than that, the two idealists' audible respect for one another helped defuse tensions and convince wavering Wallace-leaners that Winant was neither a Hooveresque dinosaur nor a paranoid conspiritarian. Fears that Winant and Crommelin would split the conservative vote and allow Wallace through - or that Wallace and Winant would split the liberal vote and allow Crommelin through - or that the three of them would, between themselves, divide the vote badly enough to force the election to the House - proved to be unfounded.


Wallace drew his strongest support from the Farm Belt and the West, for a very specific reason: he had, with the aid of a public protest movement led by such luminaries as Walter Reuther of the UAW and Annie Stein of the CIO, maintained the wartime Office of Price Administration well past the end of the war. Consumers appreciated the controls on inflation but disliked the persistent shortages and the pervasive black-market trade. Producers, on the other hand, particularly of agricultural and mineral primary commodities, were ardently in favor. To some, this showed the depths of America's abiding support for the New Deal; for others, it represented Wallace's failure to extend his optimistic vision beyond those who would directly profit. And if Winant and Wallace had one big difference on policy, it was this: Winant wanted the OPA gone. Stocks for the manufacturing companies who had chafed under its regulations began to tick up the day after election day, and families across the Corn Belt and in mining towns expressed concern that their jobs might be in danger. Shortly after the inauguration, Winant was able to act on this goal, and prices were fully 'normalized' by the end of 1949. Despite discontent on the right of the party, though, he stopped there - there would be no large expansions of the New Deal under his tenure, but there would be no great contractions either.

This sense of steadiness and collegiality, as well as the general postwar boom in the American economy, led many to refer to Winant's administration as a second Era of Good Feelings. Despite an Old Right that fulminated about Communist conspiracies and atrocities, the "Broad Center" (as Arthur Schlesinger put it) of American politics shared a general outlook and goal in a way rarely matched by future administrations. When allegations came out of corruption in New Deal agencies, Winant appointed a Democratic Senator, Harry Truman, to investigate and pledged to listen to its recommendations; when members of the ILWU struck ports up and down the West Coast over the winter of 1949, Winant personally visited to talk the workers and management into "a constructive agreement".

But the good times were not to last. The first turning point came in the great no-man's-land of the Wallace Doctrine, neither explicitly drawn into the spheres of influence nor left up to contestation - more specifically, it came in Algeria. A series of clashes between protestors, gendarmes, and pro-French militants had helped bring about a militant nationalist movement, and the Algerian Communist Party - which had long broken off from its French counterpart - made a play for leadership, backed by Soviet funds and arms. In March 1950, Amar Ouzegane proclaimed the Revolutionary Committee for Algerian Independence, led by the PCA; the Algerian War of Independence had begun. The French government, led by Prime Minister Bidault, pleaded with Winant for aid; Winant dithered, and initially tried to negotiate peace talks, but his own Europhilia mixed with America's business ties to France and domestic anti-Communism, leading him to commit American money and arms to the fight against a Red Algeria.

As the conflict escalated, many Americans expected a war, and many American firms expanded production in anticipation - particularly as nationalists across the Arab world, disgusted with well-publicized French atrocities and bolstered by Soviet funds, became more militant in the face of crackdowns by spooked local governments. As the war went on, Winant escalated further, allocating more resources and sending American 'advisors' to France. But ultimately, this was something of a bluff - not only was Winant not willing to commit the United States to a broadly unpopular war it had little reason to fight that might lead to direct conflict with the Soviets, confidential assessments indicated that the military would face substantial obstacles in launching a full-scale war halfway across the world without more preparation. There would be no war, which meant that the economic capacity spent on it already would have nowhere to go except inflation. Spiking inflation led to downstream effects, most notably with labor, as workers struck to reduce the distance between their sticky wages and the rapidly-moving CPI - most significantly, major strikes at U.S. Steel and General Motors led to substantial disruption in both the steel and auto industries. The stress of these issues took a toll on him, and the posthumous publication of his diaries revealed that he had seriously contemplated suicide, as well as considering resigning from the Presidency. On the latter front, he was talked down by his predecessor, who argued that the crisis required a steady, reassuring hand. Still, Winant privately decided not to run for re-election, a commitment he made publicly late in 1951.

The 1950 midterm elections were a mixed bag. Many turned against the administration (and the Wallace-Winant liberal consensus more broadly), but the disorganized nature of the opposition limited the gains of "Independent Conservatives" in the North to a few seats. Meanwhile, many placed the blame for the inflationary crisis on "Big Labor", closely associated with the Democratic Party, particularly in large industrial states like New York and Illinois. Though both houses of Congress remained in Democratic hands, the Republicans nearly held steady in the House, and exit polls seemed to indicate that the results had more to do with idiosyncratic local factors than with Winant.

The latter half of the Winant presidency was more like the early part. The economy slowly equilibrated, and commentators who had deplored his inattention to labor discontent now found much to admire in his ability to leave well enough alone. Winant put his political capital behind a civil rights bill that died in the Senate (though he was able to end legal segregation in the District of Columbia and limit discrimination by the Federal Housing Administration), as well as a bill that raised the minimum wage to 80¢/hr and expanded it to large retail establishments and local governments, which passed; he also worked to increase American participation in international organizations, signed trade deals with Latin American countries (including Peru, which had recently elected Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre as the continent's first explicitly Marxist head of state) on favorable terms, and signed the bills that made Alaska, Hawai’i, and Puerto Rico the 49th, 50th, and 51st states.

Though detractors have claimed that his administration had little tangible legacy to speak of, his role in solidifying the New Deal Consensus was massively significant. The notion that government should be actively involved in the economy and providing for the poorest Americans, that the role of the government in labor disputes was to mediate rather than crushing strikes, that the Wallace Doctrine was more than a temporary armistice - all were subject to contestation, and Winant continued all of them out of sincere belief rather than political convenience. And his passivity worked - other than the crises of 1950, his presidency is remembered as a period of broadly good times, and centrists still harken back to it as a golden age. It is worth noting, however, that there was a great deal of discontent - far-right groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Wide Awakes recruited heavily amongst those who considered the consensus dangerously communistic, the Communist Party did well among those left behind by the new economy, and many minorities (particularly African-Americans in the South) saw negligible improvements in their situation.

Winant returned to academia after his Presidency, first at Princeton and then at a visiting professorship at Cambridge, before his death of natural causes in 1961. Like Wallace, he mostly stayed out of overt politics after his tenure, rarely commenting on his successors' administrations.

Deleted member 81475

Gil Winant! An excellent choice who I've never seen utilized, and probably one of the best Republicans possible to secure Roosevelt and Wallace's legacies for the short-term. I wonder how long after his presidency or death the affair with Sarah Churchill will become public knowledge.

That performance and stronger nominee by the Dixiecrats is concerning. A bigger name like Patton or MacArthur could almost certainly deadlock the electoral college, and do better in the north under an Anti-Communist label (or something a bit more original). It's a shame his foreign policy experience didn't translate into more successes, but there's less room for them in a less Cold War-y environment. Even as a slightly less impressive president than some, I'm happy to see his ending happier.

Also excellent ambiguity as to who might succeed him. Enigma could justify a whole span of outcomes moving forward.

signed the bills that made Alaska, Hawai’i, and Puerto Rico the 49th, 50th, and 51st states

And don't think we missed these :p
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Presidential review time.

While I don't understand much of the politics used here, from what I could gather, Winant is actually a cool guy.
Awesome! Very glad to find out about a new politician in Winant, cool and original choice. I do wonder if there will be an overcorrection at some point and the GOP (or hardline hawk Democrats for that matter) pivots to a harder line on the USSR.
if you're looking for a potential president for early cold war america who did not support the internment camps you'll be looking a long time
Most apologised, Warren refused to. While broadly people may have supported it, Warren took an active part in it, more so arguably than even DeWitt. After internment, he still fought to keep them out of California. Even Stimson wasn’t that detestable, and he signed off on the damn executive order.

I was not aware of this. I retract my statement
Sorry, but it just makes me mad how people can accidentally whitewash him, when he was in a way, a monster. I haven’t seen to many TL’s that talk about that, but a lot that venerate him. If Warren is made president in this TL, I hope it’s treated with the same tact as Wallace and Winant, just like how they aren’t written as one tone pathetic characters, Warren should be no angel!
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