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I do enjoy reading this timeline, is one of my favorites! So many details, so many things happening around the whole world... Such an interesting setting, painstakingly built along the years. It feels alive! The bias in some of the sources is funny, too.

And the chapters are not too long. Nor are they too short. They have just the size they need!
I don't comment much, but I read every update and I love this timeline, specially how events around the globe connect with each other and make this world come alive.
Extract and Exploit: Comprehending Colonial Capitalism
"...Rhodes lived at the leading edge of the coming colonialist economy that would soon dominate Africa, drawing much from the plantation economies of the New World in how he developed his empire in the Cape. 1883 became the year in which everything finally came together for the ambitious young businessman. In the Cape elections that returned Saul Solomon's government, Rhodes was elected as a member of the ruling Liberal Party, which he supported financially both in South Africa and in Britain proper; he consolidated ownership of several rival fruit farms [1] and officially combined Rhodes Farms, Cape Holdings and the Dominion Orchards into a conglomerate which would bear a soon-infamous name - South African Fruits, the predecessor of modern day Saf Holdings Limited, one of the largest and most influential food and agricultural companies in the world. Rhodes boasted that SAF would be "the East India Company of Africa" before long and took great interest in the previous year's successful voyage of the Dunedin from New Zealand, which demonstrated refrigerated ocean shipping. By decade's end SAF controlled not only vast acreages of fruit farms but also processing and distribution in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and soon also Durban, as well as every single refrigerated warehouse in British South Africa. Rhodes' conglomerate came to trade on the London Stock Exchange and enjoyed investors from nearly every Western industrialized country; his substantial vineyards provided the elite of Britain a steady supply of high-quality wines that were not from hated France.

Of course, this being colonial Africa, the rise of SAF in the 1880s was one marked by horrific abuse. Rhodes paid working class immigrants from Europe terribly and used his monopoly power to drive down wages; black agricultural workers, primarily Xhosa, were imported by the thousands to work his plantations in conditions similar to Confederate or Brazilian plantations and earned so little, and with their earnings tied to "company stores" on the estates they worked, that any remittance flow was negligible. Rhodes forbade the use of any language but English on his plantations and so set up schools for evening courses to "civilize" his native workforce, or at least the ones who survived; with SAF's dominant economic position, the "company schools" also served to drive further the cleavage between the Cape Dutch and steady flow of British arriving in the Cape..."

- Extract and Exploit: Comprehending Colonial Capitalism (Cornell University, 2014)

[1] IOTL of course Rhodes made his fortune with De Beers, but with the Kimberley fields held by the the pseudo-feudal Boer Republics, Rhodes finds his fortune in another field - fruit, which he dabbled in quite successfully OTL as well. Here it's the lynchpin of his conglomerate instead.
The Scramble for Asia: Colonialism in the Far East in the 19th Century
"...Amédée Courbet and his Tonkin Fleet, led by his flagship Bayard, arrived in Ha Long Bay as the most substantial deployment of French forces to the Far East in decades. The Navy, for now, remained in command of forces in Tonkin, reorganized by Imperial decree as the Tonkin Expeditionary Corps, as Foreign Legion, Marines and even one Army battalion were routed into Indochina, and Courbet had arrived to finish what Riviere had started.

Courbet wasted no time. Within days of arriving, he held a war council at Haiphong where French commanders and a number of allied Vietnamese officials concurred that the formal Vietnamese Court of Hue was aiding the Black Flag Army that had humiliated France at the Paper Bridge. An attack into Tonkin would follow a show of force to coerce Vietnam to sign an armistice by attacking Hue directly - fears of a Chinese response were overruled by Courbet and Jules Harmand, Commission-General of Tonkin, who viewed the attack as an "act of virility" that would cow China into submission [1]. Already in possession of letters from Minister of War Boulanger encouraging him to "use all methods necessary" to dispose of both local and Chinese threats to French hegemony, Courbet drew up French forces in Cochinchina to support his attack on the Perfume River and the Thuan An forts that guarded the approach to Hue, leaving the growing Expeditionary Corps in Haiphon to prepare for a campaign in Tonkin to eviscerate the Black Flags.

The French request to surrender the Thuan An forts was rebuffed, and four hours of bombardment ensued, severely damaging Vietnamese efforts to hold the forts when landings were conducted [2], allowing for a quick clearance of the forts. Vietnamese casualties of dead and wounded were well over 3,000 - for the French, a few dozen. The collapse of their defensive line, which left Hue entirely exposed to capture, quickly moved the Court to sign the Treaty of Hue, recognizing French hegemony over Vietnam and legalizing its occupation of Cochinchina. The Vietnamese Court survived but was now entirely subservient to the French resident-commissioner. As for Tonkin, it was also included in the treaty, with free commerce on the Hong River guaranteed - already a French goal - and now placing the Expeditionary Corps its opportunity to crush the Black Flags and pacify the restive region for good.

The rapid French victories over an insurgent local force in a region already viewed as their sphere was welcomed in most European courts, even in Britain. It was not, however, welcomed in China, contrary to the beliefs of the French mission there. The rapid mobilization of French forces in the region and the defeat of a Chinese Army in Tonkin earlier in the year outraged the Qing Court, especially when France attempted to protest a Korean tribute payment that autumn. [3] In the views of Peking, they now had a belligerent enemy throwing its weight around both on its south and northwest..."

- The Scramble for Asia: Colonialism in the Far East in the 19th Century

[1] Sure Jan
[2] Basically the bombardments start earlier in the day than OTL
[3] And this is where French influence in Korea over the last 15 years starts to be genuinely important
Rhodes has become an evil vintner/plantation owner instead of an evil diamond mine owner, while France is sinking more money into East Asian colonial wars rather than wars in Europe. In combination with a gradually more assertive Korea and a Meiji Japan looking hungrily at forming her own imperial empire, and I have a feeling that something will go wrong for France, thus ending the influence of Les Trois for good.
Rhodes has become an evil vintner/plantation owner instead of an evil diamond mine owner, while France is sinking more money into East Asian colonial wars rather than wars in Europe. In combination with a gradually more assertive Korea and a Meiji Japan looking hungrily at forming her own imperial empire, and I have a feeling that something will go wrong for France, thus ending the influence of Les Trois for good.

Just can't imagine a scenario where Rhodes *isn't* a repugnant villain, especially since he was born well before the POD (not that I'm being super strict about use of historical vs. fictional persons)
Old Bull: Francisco Serrano and Modern Spain
"...though Spain remained economically and militarily behind her European peers despite the stability and security Serrano's government brought, and the new trade ties with Latin American states enhanced Madrid's position, it was nevertheless an age of modernity and innovation in the last Serrano ministry. Most prominently was the invention of the submarine torpedoboat in 1883 by Isaac Peral, [1] a Spanish Naval officer; despite the limitations of the Armada Real (despite Spain having indigenous shipbuilding capabilities many naval states lacked), this innovation would remain a legacy of the Serrano era, particularly thanks to Serrano's encouragement of the project when he was personally briefed on it by Admiral Topete [2]. Peral's electric submarine, despite being only coastal, would debut in sea tests and manage to outmaneuver a cruiser both in night and day drills, and would remain faster and more effective in its late 1880s version than most submarines of other countries even two decades later [3]. Though Serrano would not live to see the submarine's deployment, the use of submarine for coastal defense - and its rumored existence - further enhanced Spain's position in both Europe and in the New World, where in the 1890s and beyond the submarine was deployed most aggressively to defend against other colonial powers, as well as the Philippines where the Peral Class I's successor, the Peral Class II, would actually see combat experience [4]..."

- Old Bull: Francisco Serrano and Modern Spain

[1] A year earlier than OTL
[2] A much more enthusiastic reception than Peral actually received
[3] True to OTL
[4] Flashforward!
The Grand Consensus: The Longstreet Machine, Reconciliation and the Dawn of the 20th Century in Dixie
"...for as trade barriers fell - a reduction in tariffs in the United States, particularly those that affected Confederate cotton, combined with a growing replacement of British and French financing with that of Wall Street - the economies of the "brother republics" became more intertwined through the 1880s, coinciding with one of the biggest economic booms in American history and a strong recovery of both the industrial and agricultural sectors in Dixie after the malaise of the preceding decade. Capitalists from New York and Philadelphia stepped off steamboats in Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans to conduct business with prospective partners over lunches and drinks served by slaves without batting an eyelash; though nascent Dixie economic nationalism was only in its infancy regarding "Yankee ownership," for the most part such investment was welcomed. Collection of customs duties in both directions made the patronage jobs in Cincinnati, Alexandria, Evansville, New Orleans and Cairo extremely lucrative; Southern railroads became a hot investment at the New York Stock Exchange thanks to the currency discrepancy. In the year 1883 in particular, more money flowed across the Ohio than in the last ten years combined, and Union investments in the South increased by nearly a quarter per year through the Great Panic. [1]

Southern exports thrived, and even its internal market with cottage industries did well despite being flooded with Northern and European finished goods. Despite an emerging glut in steel thanks to US production, the proximity of the new city of Birmingham, Alabama to mineral deposits made it a new boomtown, as did the cheapness of its slave and free white labor; protective tariffs allowed by the Nashville Amendments would soon insulate Birmingham from the flood of competing product, further enriching the L&N Railroad as well as the Tennessee Company that dominated the coal and iron trade. It was the age of "cotton, coal, and cattle" - the three major industries of the South, consolidating and finally helping empty the Crackervilles of their mobs of poor white unemployed men.

Of course not all was well between North and South or even internally in this age. The "divestment" movement was born in the fall of 1883 as former abolitionists, led by Frederick Douglass, began a campaign starting with the Boston Thanksgiving Conference for Freedmen where Douglass called for a cessation of "purchasing, financing or abetting in the trade of goods or materials in any way touched by the institution of chattel slavery." Boston and Providence newspapers spoke approvingly of divesting of Dixie assets, and over the next several years an offhand comment by Douglass would begin to lead to a new social reform campaign that moved in tandem with the growing labor and temperance movements in the Union. It would be nearly a decade before the divestment campaign would attract Southern attention, by which point it would be one of many factors pointing both nations towards the end of Reconciliation.

But even at this "high water mark" of Reconciliation, there were still tensions. The Confederacy regarded the Caribbean as much its backyard as the US had interests in the Pacific and off Canadian waters, and growing American business presence in the region alarmed and alienated many New Orleans businessmen. To protect domestic producers, the Blaine administration quietly increased tariffs on beef and coal in order to stave off cheap Confederate imports in its Tariff Reform Act of 1883, and such tariffs would be increased twice again by decade's end; the growth of plantation-style cattle ranches in Texas and Florida was said to inspire much of the move, as were reports of slaves being sent into coal mines for the tasks regarded as too dangerous for whites. And further still was discomfort even on Wall Street at how slaves were used as leveraged financial instruments, [2] used as tools to mortgage and lend against, leading even Jay Gould to ask where Confederate investment money was coming from during a meeting in Atlanta..."

- The Grand Consensus: The Longstreet Machine, Reconciliation and the Dawn of the 20th Century in Dixie

[1] This will kick off the beginning of Part V
[2] An innovation that had begun in the antebellum period but which the Civil War ended OTL before it really took off
The Sword Draws Ink: Circulation Wars, Newsman Rivalries and the Rise of the Modern Media in the 19th Century
"...Pulitzer saw an opportunity in the New York World, bought on the cheap from Jay Gould and giving him a footprint not only in Missouri, where his Liberal paper had drawn ire from the Democratic establishment and his personal rivalries with other newsmen, but now also the biggest city in the country. Within a few months Pulitzer had turned the World into one of the city's best sellers, with lurid headlines and sensational public interest stories, nearly sextupling the readership from the time he had purchased it by the end of 1883 [1]. Working to his advantage was the lack of another populist paper that held a Liberal line; the Times and Herald were independent and staid; the nakedly Liberal partisan Tribune, under Whitelaw Reid, a more high-minded broadsheet. Only the Sun, a Democratic paper, had the same working class appeal. [2]

This would of course not last forever, as the mid-1880s were the time when the most prominent of the turn-of-the-century newsmen, Roosevelt, had his moment of change. With the collapse of the Republican Party, the young Theodore Roosevelt had not followed his father in politics but instead aimlessly tried his hand at the law, at writing history books, and after the death of his wife, squandering some of his inheritance on ranching in the Dakota Territory, where he lived as a cowboy. Only on a Navy cruise where he sent dispatches back for the Sun did he discover his love of journalism and his interest in pursuing that path; after marrying Edith Kermit upon his return and fully divesting of his ranch assets, he set about making a name for himself first at the Sun, where he began to gain an interest in more populist appeals bubbling up in the city's working class base, and soon thereafter he would move to the Herald. Little could young Teddy have known as he entered the Herald's offices in the months before the historic 1886 mayoral election [3] that he would one day own that very same paper..."

- The Sword Draws Ink: Circulation Wars, Newsman Rivalries and the Rise of the Modern Media in the 19th Century

[1] He really pulled this off!
[2] Not necessarily the same political alignments as OTL (Pulitzer, obviously, was in real life a Democrat)
[3] I'm excited for what I have in store here
Bismarck Ascendant: The Era of the Iron Chancellor
" of the great ironies of the 1883 Crisis was that Waldersee had always been mistrusted by Bismarck, bordering on active dislike, and it was only vacillation by the Chancellor and a desire to defer to Moltke's judgement that left the ambitious and reactionary quartermaster in place. Bismarck's address in early September to the General Staff, though fairly boilerplate and uncontroversial in its content, left Waldersee convinced that the "great crisis" he had foreseen was coming to a head, and that the time when Germany would either descend into chaos or rise even stronger was upon him.

Of course, Bismarck's power base at this point had been whittled down to conservatives in the Reichstag and the Landtag, and the Prussian officer corps - particularly at the staff level - was full of men with similar political views. However, just because the military hierarchy was generally skeptical of the Reichstag's restive liberal and Catholic lay parties that had effectively stymied Bismarck's dominance in the previous two years, did not mean that Waldersee's views enjoyed broad sympathies. Friedrich was not his father, but he was also much closer to Vice Chancellor Bennigsen than to any of the Progressive leadership; he was a liberal by German standards but only nominally a democrat, and his well-known hostility the Catholic Church hierarchy left his coalition in the legislature internally divided. Friedrich had supported his father Wilhelm's ability to dissolve the Landtag if it refused him military budgets, and had never criticized one thaler of spending on the Heer or the miniscule Kaiserliche Marine; he had personally opposed all of Bismarck's wars on principle but fought gallantly in them out of duty, and was rarely seen outside of uniform. In short, the idea of a Kaiser hostile to the military - and of a military openly hostile to him - was fanciful, outside of Waldersee's genuinely radical circle. And even if Friedrich had been alienated politically from the military, which he wasn't, the Prussian officer corps was steeped in deference to absolute monarchy.

Nevertheless, the opposition of Friedrich and his allies to the Anti-Socialist Law renewal persuaded Waldersee that the time had come to put his plans in motion, and he dragged a reluctant Hanhke and Schlieffen along with him. Waldersee wanted to place Prince Heinrich, not known to have any particular political interests of his own, on the throne; Prince Waldemar was only fourteen, and though a regency had appeal, Waldemar was close to his otherwise withdrawn mother Viktoria, whom Waldersee would have preferred to have seen shot. As the political standoff in Berlin intensified, Waldersee identified friendly staff officers and regimental commanders between the Havel and the Oder, drawing up his plans, coordinating with a small circle of conspirators, and waiting for the right spark to light what he saw as his glorious German flame..."

- Bismarck Ascendant: The Era of the Iron Chancellor
Everything about this Waldersee coup is so stupid... this mad idea that the good German Volk will just rally behind a blatantly reactionary coup against the Kaiser defies all political logic. Fortunately, the fallout from this incident should be enough to reduce the power of the Prussian army and elite thanks to support from Friedrich and his group of liberals.
Titan: The Life and Presidency of James G. Blaine
"...the summer of 1883 thus in many ways would come to be seen as the high-water mark of the Blaine Presidency, even as he had his successful landslide reelection ahead of him in only a year. It was the fourth straight year in which the government operated at a surplus, and Blaine deferred to Garfield's proposal to use the surplus for internal improvements, in a victory for the throwback Whigs dotted throughout the Liberal Party. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1883 [1] was thus passed with an eye towards improving inland waterways, canals (in particular the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in order to avoid having to route ship traffic to Baltimore or Washington through the Hampton Roads) and harbor dredging, with a large number of Democratic votes as well (conspicuously without the votes of Pendleton or Bayard, however), but the negotiations for the act were based largely around discussions within the Liberals themselves; Blaine insisted on tariff reductions to partner with the act, in order to reduce future surpluses, which he viewed as inappropriate for the Treasury to so consistently run. The tariffs wound up being "adjusted" rather than reduced, with an overall reduction of only 2.1% in the overall rates while some products in fact had their duties raised, most prominently on coal. 1883 saw one of Wall Street's best years on record, unemployment declined sharply coming out of the 1880-82 recession, and America seemed to be on the verge of boom times rivaling those of the late 1860s again. The years 1883-86, indeed, would see as much new railroad track laid as in the entire 1870s during the Long Depression..

The partnership between Blaine and Garfield was at its strongest in other ways; the Speaker of the House defied custom by introducing legislation in Congress to ban polygamy [2] and campaigned publicly for it, becoming the first Speaker to serve not just as a presiding officer but as a public figure. The Garfield Act was aimed squarely at the Latter Day Saints, better known as Mormons, a religious sect most concentrated in Utah Territory who enjoyed markedly little popular support in the East. Despite an act specifically targeting their practice of polygamy not being particularly controversial for the mainline Protestant majority, Garfield nevertheless took it upon himself to speak at Liberal gatherings in Philadelphia and New York to promote the act, gave a well-received address at a temperance rally where he put his talents as an orator to use in firing up the crowd against polygamy in addition to their opposition to drink, and was interviewed in multiple newspapers over the course of the summer. By the time the Act came up for a vote in Congress, the Speaker had independently driven popular support for the previously obscure issue. It passed overwhelmingly in the House; however, it was passed only narrowly in the Senate, on a party-line vote, a surprise to Garfield after a majority of House Democrats had voted for the measure banning polygamy in federal territories as a felony, forbidding polygamists or "unlawful cohabitants" from serving on juries, voting or holding public office, and disincorporating the LDS Church. [3] In tandem with the Blaine Amendments spreading throughout states forbidding state funds for parochial schools, the Garfield Act can be understood as part of a broader assault on minority faiths by the Protestant Liberals. It certainly was by Mormons, who would sue the government and who became a reliable Democratic vote in future years.

In 1883 Blaine also made several moves with an eye towards foreign affairs, as always spearheaded by the spirited John Hay, who many came to describe as "Blaine's brain." After years of tensions, enhanced due to Blaine's well-known Anglophobia, the Hay-Granville Agreement began efforts to arbitrate, with the help of Spain as a neutral country friendly to both states, disputes over Canadian seal hunting in Alaskan waters, the boundary disputes of the Yukon, and American fishing rights in the North Atlantic. The negotiations would continue for half a decade, largely due to the sticking point of Canadian desires for reparations for the damages of Fenian raids in the 1860s. Nonetheless, it was a minor thaw in the long-frosty tensions outside of commercial matters between London and Washington. Blaine similarly took Hay's advice on a domestic matter than had foreign impacts; the Chinese Immigration Act of 1883 was passed with large majorities in Congress, with every Western Senator and Representative in favor from both parties and the Democrats nearly lockstep in support as a party. The Act would have banned all Chinese women (who were often dismissed as disease-ridden prostitutes) from entering the United States unless they could prove, from Hongkong or Canton, that their husbands were already in the United States. It would have also banned "coolie labor," which appealed to many Liberals who viewed the importation of Chinese workers as akin to slavery that the 13th Amendment had abolished, and would have severely restricted the number of non-diplomatic Chinese persons allowed to enter every year. Hay, worried about how such an act would go over in China, lobbied aggressively against the bill's passage; when it succeeded in the House, with half of the Liberal caucus voting in favor, he spent much of the autumn personally imploring Senators not to pass it "lest China slam her doors to us for the next fifty years over this betrayal of our treaty obligations," asking instead to be allowed to renegotiate treaties with China to reduce arrivals. The bill barely passed the Senate and Blaine vetoed it after personal intervention by Hay. He was praised for the move in Eastern newspapers, even Democratic ones; in the West, Blaine was pilloried. When his veto could not be overcome in either house after Garfield's aggressive whipping against a veto override by Liberals, California Representative William Rosecrans - a Catholic who loathed Blaine and a Union Army veteran of some renown - declared from the floor of the House, "With this veto, Blaine assigns himself the same role in the West as Abraham Lincoln assigned himself in the South." The comment outraged and polarized Washington society, but also made the previously obscure Rosecrans a star with Democratic supporters in his home state.

Blaine's penchant for attracting scandal only escalated in tandem with the affair over the veto. The Star Route scandal, in which postal officials were found to be engaging in graft and bribery in awarding western delivery routes, had already affected his administration despite their aggressive pursuit of the investigation and prosecutions. The close relationship of Hay to Robert Ingersoll, the attorney defending many of the accused (most of whom were acquitted, only further fueling public outrage and conspiracies about the Blaine administration), did not help, [4] and Democratic newspapers spun every rumor of discontent within Cabinet, particularly the salacious idea that Attorney General Evarts wanted Hay fired, with New York's Sun newspaper openly speculating that Hay was personally involved in securing acquittals. The "Golden Boy" image of Hay, who was seen as Blaine's clear protege, was the target, and another matter that emerged in late 1883 added to the public case - the construction of lavish mansions on what is now known as Dupont Circle in Washington by members of Blaine's Cabinet as well as Congress, including - perhaps most prominently - the President himself, who lived in the half-finished manor, being built at his own expense, while the Executive Mansion, in need of serious repairs, was remodeled for most of his Presidency. That Hay and his friend Henry Adams had built an even more audacious mansion nearby just a year earlier, and now Treasury Secretary Sherman, Assistant Secretary of State Lincoln and several Senators were constructing similar homes for themselves, led to an obvious question for inquiring Democrats: where was the money for these ostentatious homes coming from? Though it would not metastasize in time for the 1884 elections, the image of high-living Liberals, in hoc to the wealthy and the influential, caring little for the common man, had its origins in the Dupont Circle Controversy of the early 1880s. For a party founded in opposition to the corruption of the Chase Presidency and the "tainted legacy" of John T. Hoffman's time in New York, the image of impropriety was profoundly damaging..."

- Titan: The Life and Presidency of James G. Blaine

[1] Internal improvements combined with minor tariff adjustments is true to history; it was one of Chester Arthur's acts in office, though Blaine here is a little more in favor of the matters than Arthur was (having read about Arthur and this period of the Gilded Age researching this project I can see why he was so forgettable but he also wasn't that bad of a President. He embraced civil service reform despite being a Conkling crony originally and passed some good measures. It probably doesn't help that Republican Presidents of the period OTL were very CTRL+V and interchangeable overall)
[2] IOTL the Edmunds Act; here Edmunds is on SCOTUS and, perhaps more importantly, anti-polygamist James A. Garfield wasn't killed by his doctors after being shot
[3] All real impacts of the Edmunds Act
[4] Much like IOTL, this Star Route scandal is part of what drives the impetus for the Civil Service Reform Act
Everything about this Waldersee coup is so stupid... this mad idea that the good German Volk will just rally behind a blatantly reactionary coup against the Kaiser defies all political logic. Fortunately, the fallout from this incident should be enough to reduce the power of the Prussian army and elite thanks to support from Friedrich and his group of liberals.

The crazy part is he actually wanted to do this in real life! It's just that Friedrich died pretty much immediately upon taking the throne and Waldersee was buddy-buddy with Willy, so it never came together (then Willy fired Waldersee for having the audacity to slap him around and embarrass him during field maneuvers just a few years later).
The Eaglet Takes Flight: The Reign of Napoleon IV 1874-1905
"...the birth of Marie Eugenie Pilar Bonaparte, Princess Imperial, on August 19, 1883 brought a new title to Napoleon IV - that of fatherhood. Across the country, the royal birth, coming after a difficult pregnancy for the Empress and the public mourning of her miscarriage two years prior, was celebrated with church bells ringing, factories shuttering for an entire week for celebrations, and Europe's royalty sending the Young Eagle their regards. In his diary, the Emperor remarked, "I have felt no stronger love, loyalty or pride in my life. Nothing compared to the moment they handed me my daughter, my dear Marie Eugenie, so I could hold her in my arms. Everything I have is hers."

Empress Marie de Pilar recovered much quicker than doctors had expected and was able to attend her daughter's baptism at Notre Dame, along with the Dowager Empress Eugenie, the daughter's namesake. Much of European society was there - the soon-to-be-widowed Queen Thyra of the Netherlands, grieving the loss of her own child; Prince Heinrich of Germany, on behalf of his father; Prince Arthur of Britain, on behalf of his mother; Franz Josef of Austria made the trip himself with his daughter Sophie in tow, as did Leopold II of Belgium, bringing his own son along, an important event as it began the longstanding admiration the future Leopold III would have for the French monarchy and the beginning of Belgium's pull into France's undertow. [1] Even Russia's Tsarevich Alexander came, well known for his loathing of every European court. In some sense, France would now have a continuance of its monarchy, as Marie Eugenie would be eligible to be Empress unless she were to one day have a brother. And nearly as soon as she had been born, the Emperor continued to yearn for a son, in large part due to his desire, as he admitted in his diary, to have a different relationship with his own children than his distant father had had with him..."

- The Eaglet Takes Flight: The Reign of Napoleon IV 1874-1905

[1] This is meant to be exactly as ominous as it sounds
The Knights of the South: Secret Societies in the Confederacy
"...though the Klan had collapsed as an effective political organization and the Knights of the Golden Circle went into fringe obscurity after the spectacular failure of the Cuban Expedition, the appeal of secret societies in the Confederacy, particularly the artificial stylings of chivalrous ideals and comparisons to the knights of old, remained as strong as ever. After the decline of the Klan, which brought "chivalry to the masses," the white underclass was largely barred from inclusion in various knighthoods, which became ever-more exclusive and generally served more as secretive social and economic clubs for the planter and merchant elites. Kuklos Adelphon, the original Southern social fraternity that had declined in the antebellum era, was reconstituted at the University of Virginia in the late 1870s (when exactly is up for debate) and by the end of the next decade was the secret collegiate society of choice for the most exclusive sons of the oligarchy at the major universities of Dixie. As the Democratic Party that was reformed under James Longstreet and to a lesser extend John Breckinridge rapidly spread its dominance across the land via rigged elections, boss politics not unlike the Latin "cacique" system, and threats of impeachment against officials who did not toe the line, the knighthoods, like so many other social institutions of the South in this era, transitioned into a position where they found their niche in the regime. Party bosses had to lean on and depend upon groups like the Knights of the White Camelia in Louisiana or the Knights of the Red Rose in Tennessee for funding and acquiescence to candidate recruitment and selection, which all happened behind closed doors; the Brotherhood of the Skeleton Cross in Virginia was important for its ties to the Richmond elite; Kuklos Adelphon became an important breeding ground for young men ambitious to enter law, commerce or medicine to make contacts within the party machinery. Elections on college campuses for student organizations even became intertwined with knighthoods, fraternities and the Democratic Party; by the early 1910s, coalitions of fraternities and knighthoods (the Confederacy would have no coeducational public or private institutions until the 1930s) effectively ran not just student unions or academic clubs but the entire social life of campuses with the approval of friendly administrators. [1] The one-party state ushered in by the Democrats touched every aspect of Southern life.

Where the declining Klan did make some impact, however, was in the ranks of the state constabularies that became another tentacle of the Party's machinery. The decentralized sheriffs and local law enforcement of the antebellum era gave way slowly, first in Virginia where it was not the Democrats but the brief reign of the Readjuster Party [2] that established the Commonwealth Constabulary (today known as the Virginia State Police), which absorbed all sheriffs, formal slave patrols and municipal police forces into a single entity due to an 1883 reform to lower costs and create an efficient, standardized methodology of law enforcement. The Crackerville men who had largely fueled the Klan were choice recruits, and remnant Klan chapters soon came to control the base of the Constabulary in the same way that Skeleton Brothers were appointed to head it, despite the Readjuster ethos of populism. The Constabulary was made subservient to Virginia's professional, well-regarded Militia (what would be known as a National Guard in the United States) and thus began the Confederate tradition of law enforcement carrying a paramilitary role, even down to its ranks and traditions. Within a few years, when the state was back under Democratic control, the idea was exported to other states - by the mid-1890s every state had centralized its law enforcement duties under the umbrella of its militia, with local control of policing eliminated entirely. The "Chief Constable of the County" replaced the county sheriff; the head of state constabularies (or, in Texas, the uniquely-named Texas Rangers) was a lucrative patronage position answering only to the state's governor and the supreme uniformed officer of the state militia. Membership in knighthoods and the potential to rise in social ranks as a result became a carrot for strictly following orders for the poor whites who often filled the ranks of the Constabularies; and with the transformation of decentralized policing into yet another cog of the secretive, all-encompassing machine known throughout Dixie merely as "the Party"..."

- The Knights of the South: Secret Societies in the Confederacy

[1] Drawing inspiration from OTL University of Alabama's "Machine"
[2] More on this in a bit
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