Before Gilead Edit
The Sons of Jacob were essentially a U.S.-wide, religious-patriarchic "group" (series) or "top-secret Think Tank" (novel) of heterosexual men (and their wives and women). They blamed the pre-Gilead culture of the United States, which they perceived as sinful, for the ongoing fertility crisis. An early group member describes the organization as "group that wants to set things right, clean up this country", so they presumably even initially wanted to seize power for themselves in a totalitarian regime by using some warped trappings of Christian religion as propaganda, though some members actually believed in "doing God's work" to "make the world better". The Sons of Jacob were managed by a junta called the "Committee", which "issued the orders" for "three strikes" of alleged terrorist attacks.
It is possible that the group already had notable influence or contact persons in the U.S. government before these events, see The Other Side/Notes.
Coup d'etat Edit
Despite the FBI already closing in on the conspirators, they were able to launch three (TV series) alleged terrorist attacks that killed the President and most of the Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.
The further process of the takeover that ultimately led the Sons of Jacob regime to power is quite vague. According to Offred, the Sons of Jacob (she refers to them as "they" in the series) or "the army" (novel) blamed the massacres on terrorists (novel: "Islamic fanatics") and declared a state of emergency. Later on "they suspended the Constitution" of the United States under the pretext of restoring order, which "they said would be temporary" (Offred).
In a flashback of A Woman's Place, several conspirators are seen being tasked with "security" issues in a U.S.-flagged office, among them Mr. Waterford and Mr. Putnam, where they shut out a female member (Mrs. Waterford) from their political decisions because they "won't let" women "forget their real purpose" again (Putnam).
Commander Fred later refers to Nick that a "Field Commander" of the conspirators "took New York", and a refugee mentions to Luke that "D.C. fell", which implies military resistance against the takeover flared up at some time.
After the takeover Edit
The Committee, now in charge of governance, used the imposed martial law to establish a patriarchal, theocratic regime with its own paramilitary forces (known as Angels and Guardians), and later to take away women's civil rights to own property and to hold down a job.
The new regime eventually proclaimed the Republic of Gilead and ordered to detain and enslave fertile women as "Handmaids". It moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical regime of Christianity-inspired social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes.
Despite the success of their coup d'état, the Sons of Jacob were unsuccessful in completely destroying the United States Government, who established a government-in-exile in Anchorage, Alaska. In addition to not destroying the US Government, the new Republic of Gilead government also faces up against armed resistance from numerous (and large) sections of the American populace who oppose the Gilead regime.
Known Members Edit
- In an event of catastrophic occurrence that kills the President and many officials (like the above-mentioned terrorist attacks), the designated survivor would become the Acting President of the United States under the Presidential Succession Act (3 U.S.C. §19).
- The TV show "Designated Survivor" depicts an assassination of similar extent.
- The freezing of women's bank accounts was largely attributed to financial records being stored electronically and labelled by sex.
- The Sons Of Jacob appear as those in power right after the "terrorist" massacres. This could mean the "designated survivor" belongs to the organization. A clue given in The Other Side (cp. "Notes") seems to back up this.
- The US Government-in-exile also has it own "designated survivor" in the immediate time period after the coup d'état .
After the takeoverEdit
According to reports circulating inside Gilead, there are still pockets of resistance in California, Florida, as well as the other Southern states (comprising of Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) and Chicago, Illinois, which are presumably larger than admitted by the regime's own propaganda. This indicates the Sons of Jacob were unsuccessful to take complete control of the continental United States (see "Theories"). Offred refers the scope of Gilead is currently uncertain. "The edges [...] vary, according to the attacks and counterattacks".
The armed resistance to Gilead also solidifies the unpopularity of the Sons of Jacob and the establishment of the Republic of Gilead among the majority of the American people.
Sphere of control Edit
The only parts of the United States the Sons of Jacob control as the Republic of Gilead are the eastern seaboard states and possibly the Rust Belt states.
The Sons of Jacob were unable to seize complete and total control of the United States Armed Forces (who remained loyal to the US Government-in-exile) and America's military (and nuclear) assets. The Sons of Jacob also has to contend with multiple (and well-armed) rebel and citizen militia units who oppose the Sons of Jacob/Republic of Gilead and support the complete and total restoration of the United States of America.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Handmaid's Tale (Novel), Epilogue, "Historical Notes on The Handmaid's Tale"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Episode 8, "Jezebels"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Episode 6, "A Woman's Place"
- ↑ Episode 5, "Faithful"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The Handmaid's Tale (Novel), chapter 28
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Episode 3, "Late"
- ↑ Episode 7, "The Other Side"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Episode 2, ", Birth Day"
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 The Handmaid's Tale (Novel), chapter 5
- ↑ Episode 1, "Offred"