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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 sixty years. Meanwhile, the defeated rebels leave the colonies to settle in northern Mexico, where they found the State of Jefferson. In 1820, 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 Nails posts here.

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Featured ArticleEdit

John Jackson

K.A. President John Jackson.

The Jackson restructuring was a major reorganization of Kramer Associates carried out by Kramer President John Jackson between 1929 and 1932. The reorganization served to decentralize control of the company by redistributing assets from the parent company in San Francisco to eleven daughter companies located around the world.

The Jackson restructuring was a response to the attempt by newly-elected Mexican President Pedro Fuentes to establish control over K.A., since he believed that the company held too much power in Mexico, and he was determined to curb that power. Fuentes decided to copy Governor-General Henderson Dewey's tactics in the C.N.A., and appoint a commission under Secretary of the Exchequer Stanley Zwicker to "investigate large corporations in the United States of Mexico, and make suggestions for legislation." Fuentes announced the creation of the Zwicker Commission on 17 June 1929.

Jackson's sources within the Fuentes administration kept him fully informed of the president's thinking, and he was able to launch his countermeasures a month and a half before Fuentes' announcement. Jackson called a press conference on 5 May 1929 to announce the restructuring. (read more)

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  • new page Sprague Bill
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    New page: The Sprague Bill was a piece of legislation introduced in the Mexican Congress in the early 1830s that would have subsidized efforts to find iron and...
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    Added category: Legislation of the U.S.M.
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  • new page Progress Party
    created by Johnny Pez
    New page: The Progress Party was a faction of the Continentalist Party led by Jefferson businessman George McDuffie that broke away in 1832. McDuffie and his...
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    Added category: Political parties of the U.S.M.
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    new comment by DaveMB
    Comment: Interesting question.  She must have been involved for several years in order to be trusted with the operation where we first saw her, and the...
  • new page George McDuffie
    created by Johnny Pez
    New page: George McDuffie was a major figure in early efforts to bring the industrial revolution to Jefferson in the 1820s. This was a time when both Great...
    Added category: Mexican businessmen
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  • discussion page Talk:Waste Management
    new comment by Johnny Pez
    Comment: You know, Astrid seems awfully upset at the idea of some random guy getting bumped off. How long has she been in the spy business?
  • new page 1926 Mexican elections
    created by Johnny Pez
    New page: The 1926 Mexican elections took place in April 1926 for the purpose of choosing the President and Congress of the United States of Mexico. It...
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    Added category: Mexican elections
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  • edit 1932 Mexican elections
    edited by Johnny Pez diff
  • edit Burgoyne Herald
    edited by Johnny Pez diff
  • new page 1932 Mexican elections
    created by Johnny Pez
    New page: The 1932 Mexican elections took place in April 1932 for the purpose of choosing the President and Congress of the United States of Mexico. It...
    Summary: create article
    Added category: Mexican elections
    Added photos:
  • new page Benedict Machine Tools
    created by Johnny Pez
    New page: Benedict Machine Tools S.A. was a Kramer Associates daughter company created as part of the Jackson restructuring engineered by K.A. President John...
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    Added category: Kramer Associates subsidiaries
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