here are many interesting “what ifs” of history. To attempt to answer them is an intellectual game that sometimes gives insight into the reality that did occur. In this lecture, we examine the American republic as it had developed from the time of the founders to the election of 1860 and the secession of the Southern states. How would the father of the country have reacted to Virginia’s abandoning the Union? Perhaps the speculative answer to that question can shed some light on what really happened.