March 4th… but not before doing some scenario planning.
51: Nero is made princeps iuventutis, "ruler of the youth." Some very bad scenarios ensue.
1238: Battle of the Sit River in present day Yaroslavl between the Mogols led by Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis, and Russian forces led by Yuri II. The Mongol invasion of Russia is perhaps the ultimate example of something extremely unlikely coming from out of left field to completely alter everything. The "Kievan Rus civilization," which had been a vibrant force for over 300 years, is utterly destroyed, and Mongols dominate Russia for two centuries afterwards.
1493: Columbus arrives back at Lisbon from the Bahamas with some news. "I was headed toward Japan. Funny story…"
1776: Score one for game theory: The Continental Army under George Washington uses cover of darkness to drag cannons, captured ten months earlier at Fort Ticonderoga and transported secretly by Henry Knox all the way to the outskirts of Boston, to the top of Dorchester Heights above Boston and Boston Harbor, forcing 10,000 British troops and many British ships to depart hastily before the Americans fire a shot, ending the 11-month Siege of Boston.
1794: The Eleventh Amendment is passed, establishing our sacred right to something or other that I will bet you have to look up on Wikipedia.
1837: The City of Chicago is incorporated. Within 23 years its population has grown from almost nothing to 112,000, and Abraham Lincoln is nominated for president in "The Wigwam," establishing Chicago as the sacred capital of the Republican Party for all time.
1865: The Confederate States of America adopts a new flag, "the blood-stained banner." Solace, perhaps, for those of us who believe that our own contemporary legislators are uniquely focused on the stupidest things at a time of crisis.