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An encyclopedia of Robert Sobel's alternate history For Want of a Nail that anyone can edit!
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For Want of a NailEdit

For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga is one of the classic works of alternate history. In it, business historian Robert Sobel wrote about an alternate world where the American Revolution was unsuccessful. However, instead of writing a novel set in an alternate timeline, Sobel chose to write a history book from an alternate timeline. The result is a history of an alternate North American continent from 1763 to 1971, including all the scholarly apparatus of an academic work: footnotes, a bibliography, three appendices, a map, an index, a preface by the author (an alternate Robert Sobel), and a critique by Professor Frank Dana, a hostile historian.

The book's point of divergence from our own history is a British victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777, leading to defeat for the American colonists in the American Revolutionary War, which is known in the alternate history as the North American Rebellion. Afterwards, the defeated colonies are reorganized into the Confederation of North America, a dominion of the British Empire that gradually gains complete autonomy over the next fifty years. Meanwhile, the defeated rebels leave the colonies to settle in northern Mexico, where they found the State of Jefferson. In 1819, Jefferson and Mexico merge to form the United States of Mexico. For Want of a Nail then follows the histories of these two North American nations as they interact with each other and with the rest of a changed world, down to the time of the book's publication in the early 1970s.

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Like any history book, For Want of a Nail references thousands of people, places, events, and organizations, most of which are unique to the alternate history it describes. The Sobel Wiki exists to serve as an encyclopedia of this richly-detailed alternate world.

Although most of the articles are written from an in-universe point of view, they can also contain italicised information from the point of view of someone in our world (IOW).

For All NailsEdit

In 2001, a number of alternate history enthusiasts at the soc.history.what-if Usenet newsgroup (including Sobel Wiki creator Johnny Pez) joined together in the For All Nails project: to extend the Sobel Timeline past its original 1971 terminus, and to correct the various errors, contradictions, and improbabilities that For Want of a Nail suffers from. The result was a series of over 350 Usenet posts, mostly narrative vignettes of life in the Sobel Timeline, but also including newpaper and magazine articles, letters, and vitavision transcripts. Dan McDonald, one of the participants, began archiving the posts at his website, but real life intervened, as it so often does, and the kebe.com archive remains incomplete. In order to remedy this deficiency, the Sobel Wiki includes a second archive of For All Nail posts here.

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Featured ArticleEdit

John Hancock

John Hancock of Massachusetts.

The North American Rebellion (1775 - 1778) was an uprising among the colonists of British North America that marked the final phase of the American Crisis. Although unsuccessful, the Rebellion led to the granting of limited self-rule to the colonists under the Britannic Design of 1781.

Since the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, there was growing friction between the colonists and the British government, centered on the question of whether Parliament had the right to impose taxes on the American colonies. In 1774 Parliament passed a series of acts to punish the Massachusetts colony for the Boston Tea Party, including revoking the colony's charter and closing Boston to commerce. The colonists responded by organizing the First Continental Congress, which called on the Massachusetts colonists to resist British authority and organized an embargo of British goods throughout the colonies.

The rebel colonists in Massachusetts formed an illegal shadow government called the Massachusetts Provincial Congress on 7 October 1774 under the leadership of John Hancock. The Provincial Congress began raising militia to resist the rule of General Thomas Gage, who had been appointed Royal Governor of the colony earlier in 1774. In January 1775 Gage received orders from the British government to take stronger measures against the rebels. The following month, Massachusetts was declared to be in a state of rebellion. (read more)

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