The Salem Duel

Governor William Phipps of Massachusetts refuses to do anything about the witch trials. In 1693 he gives out a statement approving of the witch trials. This issue divides Massachusetts, but most are opposed to the ongoing witch trials and even doubt the existence of witches. A grieving father, Mark Wilson is angry at Governor William Phipps. In 1692 his daughter, Hannah Wilson had been convicted and burned as a witch. In 1694 he challenges William Phipps to a duel. After he defeats and kills Phipps he is arrested for murder and sentenced to death. This leads to riots among his supporters who call for his full exoneration. Wanting to avert tragedy William Stoughton who as Lieutenant Governor succeeded Phipps after his death not only exonerates him but calls for an amendment making the winner in a duel the new governor in order to avert future rifts in society following these events. This passes and Stoughton appoints Wilson as his lieutenant governor and then resigns making Wilson the new governor. Overtime all colonies adopt this law.

Meanwhile in Europe witch trials continue on up until the 20th century.

==The Dueling Act

== Great Britain passes the Dueling Act outlawing the practice including in the American colonies in 1774. The new law is passed after a British appointed governor dies in a duel. This fans the flames that would later lead to the American Revolution. In the minds of Americans dueling is tied up with the issue of "witch laws", which are regarded as "dangerous superstitions". Americans fear that banning dueling would lead to bringing back witch laws.

Constitutional Convention

After the American Revolution the founders put a dueling clause in the Constitution, institutionalizing it only for the office of president.

The Burr Duels

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson runs against John Adams for president. John Adams wins. Almost immediately Thomas Jefferson challenges him to a duel. But Aaron Burr got to him first. Burr wins the duel with John Adams and is almost immediately challenged by Alexander Hamilton. Since Hamilton was born in Nevis and so not a natural born citizen he is ineligible for the presidency and so Burr did not have to accept the duel, but did anyways. Defeating Burr would have put Thomas Jefferson in the presidency. Hamilton still saw Jefferson as preferable to Burr. However, Burr defeated Hamilton. Though Jefferson said he supported Burr in the duel this lead Burr to be suspicious of Jefferson thinking he and Hamilton had conspired.

Burr begins instigating problems in the Spanish territories. American colonists start flooding the area. In 1800 just before the election revolutions in Louisiana Territory and Mexico break out. Burr wins reelection.

Louisianian & Mexican War

The United States enters the war in 1801 on condition that the rebels join the United States. The war lasts two years and the entire Louisiana and Mexican territories are American possessions.

The Slavery Duels & The Civil War

Some of the most extreme abolitionists begin challenging Southern governors to the duels. American presidents mostly stay out of the debate, claiming to just support state's rights because they don't want to risk a duel. As a result of Southern governors being challenged northern governors begin getting challenges as well. One of the most famous duels was the John Brown duel in 1859 where he wins against the governor of Virginia and as governor vetoes every bill saying he will not stop vetoing until slavery is illegal. In 1860 Abraham Lincoln is elected president and immediately receives several duels from pro-slavery people. Lincoln is defeated by John Wilkes Booth. The South breathes a brief sigh of relief. Then several people duel Booth. Fremont loses, but Hannibal Hamlin defeats him. After five successful duels the South begins seceding except for Virginia, whose secession law is vetoed by John Brown. The South loses the war in 1865 after Hamlin's reelection. One big problem is that the South itself is plagued by division. Jefferson Davis does not survive the war. He is killed in duel by his own vice president, Alexander Stephenson in 1863, who is killed the same year by Rick Lemberg, a Jew and close friend of Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin. Benjamin himself was ineligible due to being born abroad. In 1864 after several failed attempts at duel the Southern War effort breaks down. North Carolina and Tennessee actually quit and apply for readmission. Historians agree that antisemitism broke the Southern resolve. Southerners did not want to fight for a Jewish President.

Ironically, Lemberg becomes president in 1866 after being pardoned by Hamlin and then challenging him to a duel and winning. He loses overwhelmingly in the 1868 election. The South does not support him because of antisemitism and the North is against him because he had been the leader of a country they had just been at war with and because of his pro-slavery views. Rick Lemberg tries again but is killed by Ulysses S. Grant.


The Reconstruction era is rocky from the start. Once military rule is lifted the Southern States have a string of white and black governors due to constant dueling. Grant himself gets through his two terms with no duels. Strangely everyone who applies to duel him winds up dying before the duel can take place. Some historians believe Grant himself was responsible for these deaths.

Hayes-Tilden Duel of 1876

The 1876 election is in a crisis that can't be solved. Hayes and Tilden both agree that whoever wins will face a duel so they decide to just cut to the chase and get it over. Tilden wins, becoming president and begins to undo civil rights laws passed earlier. Julius Jackson, a former slave is concerned about this development and challenges Tilden to a duel. He wins, and proves impossible to defeat in duels, going through 20 in his first four years as president. He is not renominated but wins a duel immediately after the 1880 election. He wins again after the 1884 election and the 1888 election before dying in 1890. After this an amendment is passed barring presidents to at most two terms regardless of winning any duels. The Jackson presidency is seen as helping secure civil rights as he stacked the Supreme Court with African-American justices. 6 years later Plessy v. Ferguson would make it clear segregation was unconstitutional.