Playtest: 1797 list of Most Influential Americans

The following is a politician ranking by one of the playtesters, Caleb Perry. He’s occasionally created a “Top 10” list as the playtest has progressed. This is his most recent Top 10 list below:

Cal’s Most Influential Politicians in American History: 1797

1. Benedict Arnold.  The First President of the United States. Benedict Arnold did the unthinkable — He completely reversed his tarnished legacy in our timeline and forged a path as one of America’s greatest founding fathers. Benedict Arnold first served as a general, and then took the seas as our nation’s first Chief Admiral. Admiral Arnold was seen as a hero of the Revolutionary War and he wrestled control of the seas from the British in the first year of the war. Arnold not only helped end the war on the battlefield, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris that concluded in the UK formally recognizing our independence. 

However, President Arnold will not be remembered as fondly as Chief Admiral Arnold. Arnold was elected unanimously after his service in the war. However, he inherited an economic depression, a military that could not even fend off natives on the Northwestern border, and widespread social unrest. He compromised his Traditionalist values in favor of saving the country, but this only stopped the nation from spiraling further. He worked together with both parties to establish the US Navy, academies for the Army and Navy, fund the first National Road, create the offices of the Attorney General and Secretary of the Navy, and conceptualize the US Supreme Court (filled with members of the other party). These institutions may have stopped the bleeding immediately, but they would need time to heal the wounds the country felt so deeply. On top of this, Arnold corruptly protected close allies with evidence against them that they may have been British loyalists in secret. The nation expressed their anger with him and the state of the country and he lost his reelection in a landslide. 

President Arnold’s presidency is also remembered for his refusal to contest the election results and setting the precedent of a peaceful transition of power. Military loyalists urged him to invoke martial law and invalidate the election results and he calmed those voices and peacefully stepped down. He sparked a Right-Wing Revolution in the Federalist Party that has led to the parties dominant ideologies being reversed from those in our own timeline. He will now be serving as an Advisor to President Pierce Butler (#1 -> #1, Unchanged)

2. Francis Lightfoot Lee.  The Second President of the United States. Francis comes from the politically connected and renowned Lee family, and their legacy IOTL is mostly that of Founding Father Richard Henry Lee and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. In this timeline, however, Francis is the only Lee that has come to relevance. He served in the Continental Congress and pushed for war with the British. After the signing of the Constitution, Lee quickly became the voice of the Democratic-Republican Party on conservative matters. 

In the wake of the anger towards President Arnold,  Mr. Lee rode into the presidency in a landslide. But, he soon realized that the President’s job isn’t as easy as it looked on the outside. President Lee had few friends in Congress and was constantly reminded that Speaker Michael Jennifer Stone was the King of Congress of whom all appointments and legislation would need the approval of. During his tenure, the federal government mismanaged a cataclysmic flooding in Georgia, mismanaged the response to the Whiskey Rebellion, and lost again and again to natives in Ohio. He became the first president to utilize a veto (of the US Mint and Cotton Tax) and consequently the first president to have their veto overridden by 2/3 of Congress. 

During his tenure, the state of the country improved significantly despite relative inaction from the president. The legislation of his predecessor began to work to bring the country to a healthy and stable state. Despite this, Lee would lose reelection in an incredibly messy election with three candidate finishing in front of him. (NEW, Unranked -> #2)

3. Joseph Bloomfield.  Bloomfield is another very unexpected name on the leaderboard, and despite his youth he has stayed active throughout the early era of American politics. He was a purely political appointee to the Continental Army, foreshadowing the partisan era that is to come. However, despite his lack of military experience, he would go on the become the Father of the Nation, finally ousting the British in the final battle of the Revolutionary War and securing our independence.

After his brilliant military service, Bloomfield defeated longtime incumbent William Franklin and became the 2nd Governor of New Jersey. As a long-time governor, it seems likely he will gain presidential ambitions. Political observers expect a presidential run from Governor Bloomfield in the next few years. (#2 -> #3 -1)

4.  William Paterson. William Patterson is the author of the Declaration of Independence, and served six years in the Continental Congress. His brilliance showed through with his articulate expression of grievances against the crown. He has strong talents in Governing, Legislative, Judicial, and Administration so he could find a place to secure his future as one of America’s greatest. He was present at the Constitutional Convention, and President Arnold appointed him as our nation’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. (UNCHANGED)

5. George Wythe. George Wythe was a relatively low key Continental Congressman. He had a good track record of representing Virginia. That was it. However, his brilliance was recognized when he was chosen by his peers to lead the Constitutional Convention over many other talented candidates. In addition to leading debate on our nation’s founding document, he actually wrote the Constitution itself. His mind is unmatched, and he will be remembered with William Paterson as the two greatest minds of the Revolution. Wythe would go on to become one of Virginia’s inaugural Senators and remains as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He was one of three candidates who finished above President Lee in 1796 and he declined to contest the results of the election when it could have seen him take the Vice Presidency. (UNCHANGED)

6. Artemis Ward Ward controlled the military from the beginning of the Revolutionary War, despite several mishaps. He won most of the battles of the entire war and the success rate of his rotating band of generals was very, very low. His military influence has been enormous, but he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on domestically. After the Revolutionary War, he was viewed as a war hero. He was snuffed in the Constitutional convention, and was killed in battle during one of the first skirmishes with natives under President Arnold. (#3 -> #6, -3)

7. Benjamin Franklin.   Franklin did pretty much exactly what he did IRL: Secured the alliance with France and then served in the Continental Congress. Without France, the United States would not have won the Revolutionary War. His death earlier than IRL gives him pretty much no chance to build on his legacy. (#6-> #7, -1)

8. Daniel Hiester. Not a single one of us knew who Hiester was before the game began, but we all know of him and his family now. Due to a lucky random event at the beginning of the game, HIester gained ability in every area of the game and became a true Renaissance man. As a Faction Leader, he continued to build up abilities and positive traits while serving as a thorn in the side to President Arnold and President Lee alike. He served in the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War, and then as Governor of Pennsylvania briefly. 

Then, he rode the wave against President Arnold and became our nation’s 2nd Vice President. He stayed relatively lowkey but remained influential on party affairs. In 1796, he ran for president again and finished second to Businessman Pierce Butler, becoming the first VP on a split party presidency. (NEW, Unranked -> #8)

9. George Washington. The George Washington of A More Perfect Union is unrecognizable next to the George Washington OOTL. General Washington was a failed Revolutionary War general who quickly grew to be overwhelmed, lost his natural talent in the face of his defeats, and was actually fired! However, Washington staged a political comeback by going on to serve in the Continental Congress, becoming the 7th President. Washington would go on to sign the Constitution and win the Vice Presidency under Arnold. 

In Arnold’s landslide defeat, Washington would receive more electoral votes than him, saving his own political career. Washington would go on the be elected the House of Representatives and is now working his way up through Congressional leadership. (#8-> #9, -1)

10. William Paca. Paca is the longest-serving Governor in US history at a whopping 17 years as of the time of writing this. He flipped from the Red to the Blue Party while in office and to solidify his grip on power he invented Pacamandering (gerrymandering) to ensure that districts would be drawn the way that gives him and his party the most power in the state of Maryland. He also became the first governor do Court Paca-ing and ensure that the judiciary would never challenge his hold on the state. While he does not have much direct influence on national politics, his underhanded tactics would become a cornerstone of American politics in due time. (NEW, Unranked -> #10)

Those who fell of the cycle this week:
Alexander Martin (#7) The first Continental Congress President and Governor of North Carolina. 
William Franklin (#9) The long-serving governor of New Jersey, illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin, and soon-to-be Secretary of the Treasury. 
Andrew Adams (#10) The longest serving legislator in our American history. 

Potential Blue Statesman to Watch: Andrew Jackson.  Frontiersman Andrew Jackson is young, but he’s continued to build up some powerful traits in his home state of Tennessee. In due time, he is sure to not only secure military fame but is virtually guaranteed his pick of the governor’s mansion, senate seat, or representative seat. 

Potential Red Statesman to Watch: Pierce Butler. President Pierce Butler is the richest person in America and an unapologetic slaveholder. His iron-fist leadership of the right-wing Federalist Party allowed him to soar all the way from the private sector to the presidency with President Arnold’s endorsement. Time will tell if his presidency will be better than that of his mentor and advisor. 

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