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"...further outrages on the convention floor at the Wigwam emerged as Iowa's Horace Boies declared in a thundering address before the delegates that "to re-nominate this man would be to consign our party to the worst caricatures of it; as a vessel for patronage rather than merit, an instrument of corruption of the organs of our Republic, a machine of thievery, and a monument to the bossism that caused the eruption of public discontent two decades ago and once again rears its head today!" The Tammany-controlled Hill delegates from New York, closest to the stage, erupted in fury; Midwestern delegates, fewer in number, exploded in joy. Critically for Hill, though, he had Stevenson on the floor as his campaign manager, whipping support from wavering delegates, particularly from his native Illinois, where he was seeking the Governorship that fall. The other advantage to Hill was that Boies' Western, free-silver and radical orientation was shared by two other candidates with major profiles - Richard Bland of Missouri, the original Silverite and a proponent of trying to absorb back the Populists, and William Rosecrans, one of the so-called Dragons who had nearly nipped Custer to the nomination in '88. Hill had shifted in the direction of the radicals on the silver question, creating a difficult conundrum for those whom considered it their primary issue; they were unlikely to find another candidate who like Hill could both credibly deliver a sizable, if wounded New York machine, but not be in hoc to the interests on Wall Street who wanted to maintain the 8:1 silver standard or even reduce it further to contract the money supply, what was known as the "bitter medicine" philosophy to curtailing the ugly ongoing depression. Further complicating the math for Hill after Boies electrified his opposition was the quiet reminder in Bland's meandering, ill-received address that Tammany's shenanigans had cost Democrats the valuable Governorship of New York, now held by Jacob Sloat Fassett, the head of the committee that had begun the great roundup of machine figures and perhaps even threatened the President himself with state charges, a question Hill was not eager to have litigated before the Edmunds Court.

The four-way split for the silver faction created openings; Pennsylvania's 42-year old former Robert E. Pattison, a Governor in the mid-1880s who was close with Philadelphia boss Lewis Cassidy despite his profile as an anti-corruption reformer and an agnostic on the money issue previously, came out as a supporter of the status quo, a unique position on the convention floor, and as a youthful alternative who had carried a staunchly Liberal state in difficult conditions, having nearly pulled off a massive upset two years earlier to return to the Governor's mansion and missing by a hair. The other new face that emerged suddenly from the crowd was that of William Freeman Vilas, one of the "mandarins of the Midwest" who had delivered Custer the critical delegates four years earlier and now was the definitive boss of the Wisconsin Democrats. Close to Stevenson and Chicago's former mayor Carter Harrison, who was part of Stevenson's whip team, he was the only true hard-money Democrat but also close to the German community that had delivered the Midwest in '88 and lost it for Democrats in '90. As Hill's fortunes seemed to flail, Vilas emerged as a potential backup option to Stevenson and Harrison.

Roosevelt's column the night after Boies' speech, as the debate over the party platform descended into chaos and even physical fights as planks such as the money question, tariff reform, and civil service, was nothing short of incendiary: "Horace the Hero emerges as the man of the hour, as Bland lives up to his name with his faltering address to an army of bitterly divided partisans; it appears the success of the People's Party has served not as notice to the Party of Jackson of its need to reform and innovate in its approaches as remaining the party that represents the common man but as an invitation to descend into thuggery and dispute. In Chicago today we saw two men who would be easily comfortable in Omaha with the party of Weaver, Simpson and the Bryan brothers; depending on how the convention unfolds, they and their supporters may be so inclined as to join them. 'Boss Hill' and his minions such as Stevenson and Harrison continue their assault on meritocracy, public service and perhaps even democracy itself; their delegates represent an unflappable core around which all others must orbit. Old and tired windbags such as Rosecrans from the Pacific Coast trot out to attempt to relive the days when they may have inspired trust in their fellow partisans; new names such as Vilas or Pattison emerge, out of step with the mania of free silver and plentiful money that the Blandites think will drive us from our meagre times [1], and in Vilas' case out of step with the anger spilling across the land regarding the outrages of the Hill administration."

In the shadow of the fierce report from Chicago, published unedited in the
Journal, the convention continued its bitter fury. Hill's people were outraged, and the ugly dismissal of Bland and Rosecrans by delegates seemed to suggest that Roosevelt's paper was gaining sway. Not in its native New York, though; Hill gained delegates as Vilas was eliminated despite enjoying a unique bloc to himself, to the shock of many, and before long it was Pattison and Boies arrayed against him, alone. Though very different men in attitude and experience, both zeroed in their focus on Hill's clashes with Congress, on his well-publicized corruption scandals, on his fraying relationship with the well-regarded Bayard (who declined to attend the meeting), and the "den of thieves at Tammany" who made the backbone of his campaign. The hinge point of the convention, though, came when New York Mayor Hugh J. Grant [2], a well-known Tammany man, came to the stage to formally place Hill's name into nomination for another round of balloting. In a thunderous address, he declared, "Forget not what our President has been through; the ordeals he has endured, the burning hatred of the ruling class in Washington that ate happily at the trough of plenty during the Blaine years and now shirks blame for the depravation that followed. Forget not the words of the partisan press that has sought to pierce him like the spear that struck Christ upon the cross! Forget not that he took his most solemn oath at one of the darkest hours of our Republic's history, not on the Capitol steps but in the shadow of the cold body of our murdered President Custer! You come here and claim to be Democrats, representing the people, yet no man has been harried by the classes of affluence and avarice like David Hill, no man more made enemy of the moneyed powers that have yoked this land under the guise of liberalism!"

Grant's speech broke enough delegates off to get Hill over the edge, thanks to some aggressive last-minute whipping of Midwestern delegates by Vilas, who threw his support for the President in late. Hill, in New York as the convention went on, eagerly accepted the news of his nomination via telegram; he was informed in the same telegram by Stevenson that his victory had come with a price. The Vice Presidential ballot threatened to be equally chaotic, with Pattison refusing to be nominated, but the Hill delegates moved as a bloc behind Vilas. The deal seemed clear - Hill would give Vilas the Vice Presidency, a potentially valuable role after the last two Presidents had perished in office, after Vilas had helped Stevenson tip the delegate count in the President's favor. The allied supporters of Boies and Bland angrily staged a walkout; Pattison, still at the Wigwam, gave a speech encouraging his people to stay as Western Dragons got into fistfights in the streets outside. The Chicago convention had been hoped to be a unifying moment for the badly divided, adrift Democratic Party; it had only divided it further [3]..."

- Boss Hill

[1] To be fair to Bland, tight money was what caused the Panic of 1870 and coining silver under Hoffman and Hendricks did help the matter, so... yeah
[2] This was indeed his name. You are welcome to imagine mid-1990s era Hugh Grant getting up and addressing a convention through awkward pauses and other Grant-isms
[3] Much like the OTL 1968 DNC in the same city!
Very late here, but I came across this while researching for another timeline I'm working on: do you know if Carter Harrison Sr. supported the gold standard?
Very late here, but I came across this while researching for another timeline I'm working on: do you know if Carter Harrison Sr. supported the gold standard?
You know I honestly have no idea. I’m not sure how much attention City politicians paid to that, especially machine pols. Seeing as he’s not from the Northeast or necessarily identified anywhere I’ve seen as a Bourbon I’d guess he’s not a huge gold guy but then again the silver debate didn’t really explode back as a prominent issue until 1896, after he’d been assassinated
Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy
"...Ripon's "moment in the sun," as Chamberlain derisively and jealously [1] called his Foreign Secretary's much-celebrated and feted post-Madrid victory lap reception in the courts of Europe, was followed up by yet another masterstroke - the Hamburg Agreement, signed late in 1893, with Britain, Germany and Italy (at German insistence) as parties. The Agreement did not hold the force of a full treaty but nevertheless represented what Ripon described to the Cabinet as "a common course of common interest." Building off of his newfound relationship with the German diplomatic delegates of Madrid, with whom he had discussed on the sidelines of those negotiations a side deal, the Hamburg Agreement declared that all three powers would respect the territorial integrity of China and oppose its partitioning. Italy's inclusion was seen as key as it was one of the few burgeoning colonial powers that had yet to establish any kind of toehold in the Orient; even little Portugal had Timor, after all. So to foreclose an Italian concession anywhere in China was seen as a big move; however, beneath the surface, it had other reasons, that of mutual British and German concerns about rising Franco-Russian partnership in the Orient and the possibility that those two empires would attempt to break off pieces of China between themselves and further cement their position.

There was nothing permanent about Hamburg; the agreement had an expiry of 25 years later, or 1918, to allow future foreign ministries flexibility depending on how colonial matters and the strength of the Chinese state unfolded over future decades, with Ripon hoping that reforms in China would eventually strengthen it enough to rebuff any French designs. As it was disseminated to other world capitals, it was touted as a mere continuation of what had been agreed upon at Madrid; much as Siam's territorial integrity and independence was guaranteed by three European powers, now so would China's. It was interpreted very differently elsewhere, though; tentatively positively by the Netherlands and Spain, which were now concerned that their small navies and large East Indies holdings would become ripe fruit for a Germany or Italy that may want colonial holdings in the Orient and enthusiastically in the United States, which now did not need to worry about an imperialist "scramble" for Chinese territory and being shut out of the vast Asian markets entirely by European powers, with President John Hay going so far as to compare the Agreement to the "Open Door Note" he had penned as Secretary of State a decade earlier, taking partial credit for the idea and satisfying him that his Anglophilia and admiration for Lord Ripon was sound. Even Japan, just starting to flex its muscles after two and a half decades of breakneck industrialization and modernization, was glad to see that there were some limits to European ambitions in the Far East and that it was, for the time being, unlikely to be directly threatened.

The Agreement was met much more coolly in France and Russia, however, where while no explicit territorial seizures in China were under consideration even in theory, it was seen as being aimed directly at them. France in particular, while begrudgingly accepting the pact publicly, silently fumed and viewed it as an insult, negotiated without them at the table in secret between two rival powers seeking to compound their setback at Madrid while they could..."

- Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy

[1] Chamberlain may currently be one of our protagonists but as always, books that aren't about him specifically won't be as deferential to him
The German on the Spanish Throne: The Reign of Leopold I
"...Ruiz Zorilla's health worsened suddenly and without warning; the Prime Minister would live another twenty months in terminal decline in Burgos until his death in June of 1895. It was the first time a Prime Minister had died mid-term since the Constitution of 1870; Serrano's death had occurred between elections and the swearing-in of the new Cortes. As new elections before a Cortes expired were supremely difficult to call without consent of both monarch and legislature, it fell to Leopold to select the next Prime Minister, one who could command a Cabinet. Serrano had always dominated government and Ruiz Zorilla had been the clear leader of the broad but narrow coalition vaulted into power in 1890; though Leopold had often fumed privately at Cristino Martos' antics in dividing the National Liberals, he wouldn't mind the Radicals and their regionalist or republican allies infighting for the next few years until the National Liberals could, either on their own or in tandem with the Conservatives, return to power.

For that reason, he selected the moderate Radical Minister of Justice, Nicolas Salmeron, as the next Prime Minister - and in doing so plunged Spain into its worst political crisis since the Carlist Wars, worse even than the Berlin Insult or his heavy lobbying to defeat the Philippine Commission. The Cortes had gathered and by a narrow, informal vote whipped to back Pi for the role; even moderate friends of Salmeron, and Salmeron himself, viewed the Minister of the Interior as the natural ideological heir to Ruiz Zorilla and the most logical choice due to his age (he was nearly seventy), longevity in government and how he carried the most respect out of anyone on the Spanish street, where to many of the poor working class who had put the Radicals in office he bordered on a secular saint. Leopold would hear none of it; he viewed his choice of Salmeron as the pragmatic option, seeing him as a statesman who hailed from the resigning Prime Minister's party and bloc and whom he explained in a speech to several noble advisors "I trust to do his duty to Spain first and his ambitions last." Ruiz Zorilla, for his part, attempted to quietly persuade the King to change his course, but Leopold refused; the Constitution granted him and him alone the ability to name a Prime Minister of his choice who could command the support of the Cortes, and he had done so. "I have taken your recommendation," he curtly told Ruiz Zorilla at El Escorial, "but this is Spain, not Britain." Ruiz Zorilla claimed to Pi shortly before he died that Leopold added, "Be glad you live where there even is a constitution," a charge that was not levelled until it was found in Pi's papers after both men had died.

Salmeron wavered, debating refusing the office and forcing the King's hand. Pi, for his part, tried not to demagogue in favor of the position, but seemed to be doing so when he acknowledged a large, favorable crowd on the Plaza Mayor [1] and said, "You are Spain, and today you make me very proud!" Violence in Pi's native Barcelona erupted as anarchists attacked policemen and soldiers; the Army was mobilized as fears of mass insurrection spread. Leopold did not flinch, however; he was a liberal and a constitutionalist but he took his duties as sovereign seriously, and viewed Pi, despite the man's advanced age, as a dangerous ideologue, fierce opponent of monarchy and even a Trojan horse for the burgeoning anarcho-syndicalist movement that would so plague Europe in the decades to come, though that movement had yet to earn that name. Over dinner with his sons, Leopold declared that Pi was nothing short of a "Spanish Marx" and that he would abdicate before letting the man lead a Cabinet, so personal had the vendetta become.

Finally, the primistas (largely rudderless since the death of Martos earlier that year) and most of Sagasta's serranista faction agreed to back Salmeron until the next elections, moving a fluid bloc behind the King's choice. Though the Conservatives of Canovas and the fringier Carlists would refuse to vote to accede to the selection if it came to that, the recalcitrant serranistas pledged secretly to merely abstain. Pi relented and encouraged Salmeron to accept the position rather than further the instability, and though the vote of the Cortes on a Prime Minister was purely advisory and held no force of law, the body nevertheless assented to Salmeron.

The crisis would create deep scars in Spain for decades, however. Never again would the monarchy be seen as an apolitical force; for many of the idealists and even republicans who had acquiesced to the liberal constitution of 1870 out of pragmatism, they saw Leopold's actions as a promise broken not only by the document's proponents but by the King himself, who had once sworn to abide by it and the people's elected choices. Conversely, many liberals and effectively all pro-monarchy Conservatives saw the affair as indeed an endorsement of the structure of Spain's government; rather than plunge the country into chaos, as had happened so often in the sixty years before the ouster of the Bourbons, the "Hohenzollern Constitution" had held, the King had served his purpose in safeguarding Spain's order and a dangerous, secularist socialist sympathizer had been kept out of power. No matter how one interpreted the tense weeks in 1893 when Spain seemed ready to erupt over "the King's Choice," as Salmeron became derisively known for the rest of his life, one thing was clear - the country's politics had been forever changed and polarized..."

- The German on the Spanish Throne: The Reign of Leopold I

[1] One of my favorite spots in Madrid

(Author's note: This is a good example of textbooks showing their bias a bit - in reality, Francisco Pi y Margall's political views were a bit more complex than just "yay anarchy!" He was a federalist first and foremost and admired the United States; his skepticism of centralized monarchy came from a very specific Catalan experience. Colors a lot of the ideology of the Catalan independence movement today, indeed)
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Hmmm this is interesting and I wonder if the main Spanish parties can resist the temptation to pursue the Caciquismo they did in OTL as this is certainly going to radicalism the north and south against Madrid.
Hmmm this is interesting and I wonder if the main Spanish parties can resist the temptation to pursue the Caciquismo they did in OTL as this is certainly going to radicalism the north and south against Madrid.
Caciquismo is definitely ongoing (not as bad as in Mexico or as OTL, but it’s still there). The Serrano majorities in particular were built on that in the provinces
Oooh dear well so long as nobody starts trouble with the army and gives it a (more) political mindset since if I recall Hugh Thomas has Cacquismo 's faults as the back drop for the Promo de Rivera regime
Oooh dear well so long as nobody starts trouble with the army and gives it a (more) political mindset since if I recall Hugh Thomas has Cacquismo 's faults as the back drop for the Promo de Rivera regime
Ah yes good old Primo.

Spanish politics will be a fair bit more stable than the conditions that led to Primo (they already are by virtue of the Third Carlist uprising being crushed quickly) but there’ll still be some volatility
Hmmm that's an interesting point actually. The quieter '70s may make Spain more radical and not less so. I recall my lecturer telling me once that after the disaster of the first republic republicanism in general suffered from a major image problem and the word republic itself was used to describe a shambles or generally messy situation. Without this first hand experience and the cultural biases derived thereof it might be more feasible that the middle classes are more inclined to radical politics or a moderate kind of republicanism, especially given Leopold's constitutional faux pas.
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Hmmm that's an interesting point actually. The quieter '70s may make Spain more radical and not less so. I recall my lecturer telling me once that after the disaster of the first republic republicanism in general suffered from a major image problem and the word republic itself was used to describe a shambles or generally messy situation. Without this first hand experience and the cultural biases derived thereof it might be more feasible that the middle classes are more inclined to radical politics or a moderate kind of republicanism, especially given Leopold's constitutional faux pas.
Good point!

I feel like soon-ish is when you’d see this manifest, maybe late 1890s/early 1900s. Radicalism is already popular across Europe thanks to the 1890 financial panic and it’s pre-growth in the decades beforehand; but the liberal middle classes of Spain that credited Leopold for defeating the twin Carlist and Confederate threats simultaneously has aged, and the younger generation probably doesn’t appreciate the pre-1868 chaos they’ve never known but their parents and grandparents recall
Beyond Bondage
"...President Hay claimed to have been shocked by the outpouring of criticism of his inviting Booker T. Washington to the Executive Mansion to dine as a guest of honor - Missouri and Maryland newspapers in particular decried him as "tainting the halls of Washington, Jefferson and Jackson" - but Washington himself, and most Blacks at this time, were skeptical that the President was indeed that naïve. That said, the Hay-Washington dinner was an important milestone in the Union; an educated, well-regarded Black man of national renown and a reputation for civil rights activism invited at the personal request of the head of state to have dinner would have been unthinkable in the courts of Europe, to say nothing of the Confederacy, where the event was perhaps even more broadly publicized (in most Northeastern and Midwest papers, the dinner was a mere footnote) than north of the Ohio and the dinner was yet a further arrow in the quiver of those who purported that Hay was a "champion of the Negro" and that the Liberal Party of the United States was at the center of a conspiracy to end slavery and impose a puppet regime of Blacks controlled by Wall Street bankers over the Confederacy [1].

Nothing could have been further from the truth, of course - Washington noted in his diary that it pained him to see that the bulk of the White House domestic staff was Black; "I am reminded of the house Negro on Dixie's plantations," he wrote, also noting, "for all the President's genuine interest in Black literacy and Black entrepreneurship, I was curious, though did not ask my generous host, exactly how many of the Negroes who poured our French wine or served us our sumptuous four-course meal could read." Though the matter of the servile White House staff did not arise between them, Washington was not one to waste an opportunity, especially not during a period of time when men of his political persuasion were ascendant politically; many of the most powerful men within the Liberal Party's Congressional leadership, particularly in the Senate, were former New Englander abolitionists, many of them key Republicans under Lincoln and Chase thirty years before who took an instinctive interest in the welfare of the Black American. Hay himself was famously Lincoln's private secretary and a known idealist around liberal democratic republicanism and an educated, entrepreneurial population undergirding it; his influential Vice President, Joseph Foraker, was perhaps even more progressive on matters of race, having helped repeal Ohio's Black Codes as Governor of said state and having come up in Cincinnati politics thanks in large part to the city's robust and wealthy Black community. Though younger and more radical Black activists such as WEB DuBois and William Trotter would in later years - especially in the aftermath of the Great American War - criticize Washington for wasting the opportunity presented in this narrow window in the early 1890s and being too accommodationist, at the time Washington and his fellow travelers viewed the Liberal Party of John Hay as their best vehicle for creating a Black community that could finally wield true influence despite its small numbers.

Core to Washington's vision was the Negro Business League, today's venerable and politically powerful American Black Business Association (ABBA), a nationwide network of Black businesses ranging from local Black-owned banks to grocers, tailors, launders, and restaurateurs. The NBL's main campaign was for an end to Black Codes (which would successfully occur with the repeal of West Virginia's in 1907, the last state with such laws in place) and for Black literacy, with Washington taking the view that the slavocrats of the Confederacy knew what they were doing in banning their slaves from reading. "To read is to be; it is to understand the world, the possibilities of it. To be free one must understand liberty, and to understand liberty one must be literate." The Liberals, for their part, were welcoming to this campaign; Black voters had helped carry Delaware, Ohio and Indiana's legislatures in narrow contests and were seen as a potential entry point to the fiercely Democratic states of Maryland and Missouri. News reports of the atrocities committed against slaves in the despised southern neighbor also persuaded increasingly civic-minded Northern bourgeois whites that the Black rights effort was as important to a "moral and orderly society," as Progressive campaigners would soon term it, as temperance, suffrage and trust-busting.

It helped, of course, that Blacks in the Union were generally skilled trades professionals or yeoman farmers, mostly middle class small business owners, spoke English better than the oft-broken slave patois of their Dixie cousins, and unlike many of the new-arriving European immigrants were near-universally pietistic Protestants, and unlike Chinese were Christian, period, and bore Biblical names. To the WASP of the Northeast, the Black voter was a potential ally, though always to be a co-pilot rather than holding the wheel themselves, in keeping the Protestant nature of the state intact. In this respect, the Black church became an important vehicle for Liberal organizing as well; in the 1890s, the institutional power of churches grew tremendously, both white and Black, and perhaps the most politically influential Black man besides the rising Washington or Douglass in his twilight years was Henry McNeal Turner, a free-born man from South Carolina who was at the heart of the Black church in his writings and a budding Black nationalist, an early and consistent agitator for American businesses to take a harder line against Confederate trade. Already plugged in to the political superstructure of the Liberals since the end of the War of Secession, the reach of his fiery sermons expanded thanks in large part to the Progressive campaigns trying to recruit Black religious leaders to support their own pet causes and then on the force of their own power, aligning a network of sympathetic churches with Douglass's dying cause of advocating divestment from the "slave economy" south of the Ohio..."

- Beyond Bondage

[1] Seems on brand for their line of conspiratorial thinking
Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany
"...the dream had been of a Victoria and Albert on the continent, a pair of consorts ushering in a new liberal era of constitutional monarchy, deference to the people, and the slaying of Prussianism forever. To many, the ascension of Frederick in 1878 after his autocratic father's assassination promised the fulfillment of the Spring of Nations thirty years prior. That dream died, or at least went into a deep slumber, on November 18, 1893, when Frederick let out his last breath, his voice so weak his last words could never be recorded for posterity - he died a month to the day after his 62nd birthday. He was a shriveled shell of his formerly robust self at his passing, his hair shock white and skin almost gray, having lost almost thirty kilograms in the final weeks of his life and having been bedridden since August. The last sustained conversation he had had was to endorse a new Vice Chancellor of the Reichstag; his lucidity over the next seven weeks was questionable. He was able to see his newest grandson, Henry's second son, named Frederick in honor of the dying Kaiser [1]; the Crown Prince was at his father's bedside with both his sons, along with all his sisters and mother. Waldemar's train coming back from his regiment in Luxemburg was late; Waldemar would weep for weeks that he wasn't there when Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia, expired. Viktoria, for her part, was beside herself with grief; her vision of a new Germany, unrealized as she came to realize her husband's constrictions by Germanic duty and culture and indeed his own eventual disinterest in "becoming British" once the realities of the crown set in, was gone. Her son's ascension to the throne did deliver a Kaiser less directly politically influential, though perhaps not in the way she had hoped; rather than an enlightened liberal to steer the Reich into the new century, Henry's distinct disinterest in politics allowed a reemergence of Junker influence..."

- Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany

[1] Heinrich being Kronprinz means him and Irene feel pressure to crank out more babies than OTL
Heinrich: The Life and Legacy of Germany's Goldkaiser
"...the day he had prepared for for thirteen and a half years, since learning via overseas cable of Wilhelm's drowning death, had arrived: Heinrich I, German Emperor, was upon the throne. With one hand resting on the head of his eldest son Wilhelm and the other pressing a kerchief to his eye as he wept, he had watched his father, hands peacefully clasped over a cross on his chest, expire; his mother inconsolable and Irene in numb shock, Heinrich resolved himself to make his first act as Kaiser that of stepping out to the gathered nobles and bureaucrats outside the chambers and declare Kaiser Friedrich III's passing in person, rather than relying on a porter. He was hailed as Kaiser immediately, and hands were kissed; Caprivi went before Hohenlohe.

Heinrich's diaries reveal a man overwhelmed; the return of his father's cancer on the heels of the diagnosis of Willy's [1] haemophilia the year before had wrecked him, as had the sleepless nights over the Bangkok Crisis. The first time he wore his regnal dress uniform (conspicuously, a Naval uniform), he relied on Kaiserin Irene's steadfastness to prevent from breaking down in tears at the pressure of the moment.

But if there was a moment in which the "Golden Kaiser" lived to the occasion, it was this one. Mere days after his father's death, Heinrich made his first public appearance in opening the Reichstag after the September elections, once more steered by the coalition government of Vice-Chancellor von Bellestrem. Typically a perfunctory occasion (and one he had performed twice before, in his father's 1887 sickness and inability to speak after his throat surgery), Heinrich instead took the opportunity to declare what type of Kaiser he intended to be, as he prepared to move into the Sanssouci and his mother sat in the box in grieving black. Now known as the "Pledge for Peace," Heinrich emphatically described Germany's rise and consolidation as a force for peace and order in Europe, taking the moment to note that the 1893 Reichstag elections had occurred towards the end of the 25th year of a unified Reich and that the rapid growth in the German economy and prestige since then was a testament to the German people. The key passage: "During this quarter-century, general war has evaded Europe; in the preceding quarter century we saw revolutions and conflict, one after another. Hungary and Frankfurt in 1848, France and Italy, Italy and Austria, Austria and Prussia with Denmark, Austria and Prussia against one another, the rebellion of the Poles in Russia, Prussia and France; since then, only Russia and the Turks have shed blood on this continent's soil, and the great powers of Europe have instead found peace to be its own virtue. It can be said definitively that this great peace, preceded by bloodshed across the continent for over a century, has occurred simultaneous with the proper place of Prussia within Europe, as the center of Germany, and her promise to Europe remains a peaceful one, underwritten by guns and armies that I pray will stay forever silent and in their barracks, but that will act as guarantor of a prosperous and harmonious Europe for the remainder of my days."

The speech was met with a muted response at its time, particularly by German liberals, but was understood as straightforward: that coming out of the Bangkok Crisis and its earlier Samoan debacle, Germany did not intend to be cowed again and that it saw its armed forces not as an offensive weapon but as a bulwark against opportunistic neighbors - in other words, the open secret that was the Iron Triangle of France, Austria and Denmark, formed over twenty years ago with the treaties still in force. It endorsed a unitary German identity while celebrating Prussian uniqueness; it explicitly delivered the message that German unification was the cause of peace, and that a weak and divided Germany was a recipe for European disaster. That Germany's key ally, Italy, had been unified simultaneously was lost on no one; an axis of nation states formed around ethnic and cultural identity sat at the heart of Europe and that ideological worldview had been detailed in a parliamentary setting for the first time.

As Germans and the world would discover, the lengthy speech was what would soon be considered classic Heinrich. It was written with the assistance of advisors, in this case Chancellor Hohenlohe, whom the new Kaiser came to rely upon the way his father had relied on Bismarck when Wilhelm I had been taken too early by an assassin's buckshot; it oscillated between eloquent and awkward, concise and meandering; it was outwardly affable and conciliatory, describing a peaceful and contented Germany, but with the subtext of promising to remind her neighbors how the last round of wars in the 1860s had gone. It managed to combine a stark paean to Prussian militarism without sounding bellicose; it was meant to be optimistic and forward-looking, but in foreign embassies and courts, was taken as unintentionally tactless at best and an unspoken threat at worst.

Such polarized reactions can best be underlined in the very different conversations about the Pledge for Peace in London and Paris, respectively. In Whitehall, where many officials knew Heinrich from his time spent as his father's unofficial ambassador to the Royal Navy and mercantile exchange with Germany was starting to pay genuine dividends for the country's economy and diplomacy alike, the thrust of the speech was understood as a declaration of Germany's arrival upon the world stage but one committed to peaceful coexistence with her neighbors with a calm and sturdy reminder that Prussia's military was undergoing reforms (reforms Britain was aware of through its robust spy network and Prince Waldemar's loose lips during his brief time studying with cousins at Cambridge). That Heinrich had delivered this message awkwardly bothered Britain little, and besides, what was Prussia if not a state as enamored with its army as Britain was with her Navy? George V, whose destiny would be intertwined with his dear cousin's thanks to their accessions to their respective thrones within months of each other, certainly would speak similarly of Britain.

The French meanwhile, saw it as an insult. Already offended by the treaties of Madrid and Hamburg, now here was a young, handsome and virile Kaiser, a popular Naval officer to boot, loudly boasting of German strength and taking credit for the peace the continent had enjoyed for a quarter century after what France saw as Germany's wars of aggression. Government officials cursed the new Kaiser and began to dread what his accession meant; Napoleon IV, as was his wont, took a calmer tack, but acknowledged with dismay that his Great Detente with Friedrich, already diminished thanks to the old Kaiser's death, was unlikely to survive the new political realities from his Cabinet's reaction to Heinrich's speech much longer..."

- Heinrich: The Life and Legacy of Germany's Goldkaiser

[1] His eldest son is TTL named Wilhelm rather than Waldemar, seeing as Waldemar is still alive and Ol' Bill is... well, not.
wikipedia.en - Frederick III of Germany
Freddy III of Germany.png

Frederick III (18 October 1831 - 18 November 1893) was German Emperor and King of Prussia from June of 1878, when he acceded the throne upon the assassination of his father William I, until his own death of throat cancer in November of 1893. He was succeeded by his second son, Henry I. The husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom's eldest daughter, also named Victoria, he was anticipated to usher in liberal rule in Germany with his wife as consort; political realities in Germany in the wake of his father's assassination and the strength of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck made reforms difficult, and indeed Frederick worked to stymie some reforms favored by Bismarck such as old age pensions and sick pay. His rivalry with Bismarck and the Chancellor's eventual sacking, instigated by Frederick's refusal on principle to crush Socialists in Germany any further than he already had triggered the attempted putsch by General Quartermaster Alfred von Waldersee and a cadre of sympathetic officers on November7, 1893 as the conclusion of the famous Heissersommer; the move gave way to some centralizing reforms by Frederick's allies in the National Liberal Party, such as Rudolf von Bennigsen and Bismarck's replacement as Chancellor, the Prince of Hohenlohe. The remaining decade of Frederick's life was primarily spent battling throat cancer, which first emerged in 1887 and was successfully operated upon (albeit at the near-total loss of his voice) by a team of esteemed German doctors using innovative surgical procedures the next year, but nevertheless, despite a brief setback in a relatively unimpactful and bloodless colonial war with the United States over Samoa, Germany's economy was the fastest-growing in Europe after only France and under Frederick's reign Germany was fully realized as an industrialized imperialist world power, where only a quarter century earlier it had been a union of largely rural statelets under joint rule for the first time. Frederick's legacy - as a liberal, as a reformer, and in comparison to his more notable father, William, and son, Henry - has been debated continuously by historians for over a century since his death, with critics dismissing him as a weak ruler bossed around by his wife and by his Chancellors whose indecision caused an attempted coup in the heart of Berlin, while his proponents cite his example as a model which his celebrated son would follow and view his able stewardship through the staredown with Bismarck and the Waldersee Putsch as critical to the fomenting of constitutional order rather than personalist politics in Germany.
All Hail to Goldenkaiser!
By the way, what is happening in Ottoman Empire? As I remember, last time we looked at them, they were pushing Turks and industries to Balkans and changing demographics of it. I am curious about how Abdulhamid II kept the throne until he died. I except Young Turks to not push a coup against him or something like that?
All Hail to Goldenkaiser!
By the way, what is happening in Ottoman Empire? As I remember, last time we looked at them, they were pushing Turks and industries to Balkans and changing demographics of it. I am curious about how Abdulhamid II kept the throne until he died. I except Young Turks to not push a coup against him or something like that?
That's right! The demographic transition ongoing prior to OTL's Russo-Turkish War is never interrupted, and the (larger) inflow of immigrants to settler states in the Western and Southern Hemispheres has a much more Balkan flavor to it.

Abdulhamid II not losing that war and Turkey's position much stronger basically allows some of the Tanzimat to proceed and a constitution to be put in place (though Abdulhamid is who he is; the pace of reform slows quite a bit and the secret police is still around). Without the paranoia of losing or the humiliation, we see an economically stronger Turkey integrated with the Franco-Austrian bloc via Serbia, which has an Obrenovic King; that in turn has a happier populace and a less repressive government, and that's basically butterflied the Young Turks, for now. Many of their goals are being pursued peacefully, decades in advance.
The Aspirants: The Rise of the Liberal Party of the United States
"...the Panic of 1893-94, typically referred to by its latter year despite beginning in November of 1893, was nowhere near as severe as that of 1890 or even 1882; the liquidations of National Chicago Railroad and Great Northern's entry into receivership happened at a time of severe investor concern after the death of the great financier Anthony J. Drexel had left his Drexel & Morgan bank, easily the most powerful in the country, at a crossroads. That D&M was selling gold to the Treasury and issuing bonds to the public in tandem with those sales became public knowledge around the same time; savvy investors had known for some time, via intermediaries close to Treasury Secretary William Allison, that the Treasury and National Bank were partnering to restore the heavily depleted gold reserves at both institutions after keeping them low for years to steady the money supply, and that the Treasury was even going so far as to set a firm limit on the pounds of gold bullion it would discharge per month moving forward.

These transactions caused a vast spike in the price of gold; as silver was the alternative, and both Treasury and the central bank were using their ample silver reserves to buy back the gold, the price of silver commensurately crashed. All three episodes in tandem created a vast run on the banks, where gold withdrawals were refused and people were paid in silver instead. The entire episode, characterized by Hay as a foreseeable debacle executed poorly by Allison, was arguably necessary to strengthen the currency and make sure the Treasury's gold reserves, nearly exhausted by the bank run and stabilizing actions of 1890, remained sound. "I have been persuaded over many years now that some amount of silver in circulation will of course serve as an ample backstop to a true run on gold," Allison acknowledged in his memoir, looking back at the 1878 Silver Purchase Act he had helped write and pass and how it had in fact not destroyed the American economy, "but in the fall of 1893 it was plain that the Treasury had too much silver and too little gold, and rebalancing was necessary. It was simply poorly timed." Despite the market panic - between November of 1893 and the bottom of the market in September of 1894, the value of the newly-constituted Dow Jones Average declined 44% - unemployment barely rose and no major bank failures occurred. Allison and A.U. Wyman, President of the National Bank, met their target of replenished gold reserves and a healthier balance sheet ahead of time despite the rise in gold prices. Compared to some truly apocalyptic panics and bank runs, this one would quickly be forgotten to history; a shame, as it was an important event for several reasons.

The first was that it was one of the events that finally began to persuade some of the laissez-faire Liberal old guard that government economic intervention genuinely could work; that such a maneuver had been executed by Allison, a pragmatic but old-fashioned Senator, with minimal damage earned more converts in the Senate than perhaps any other Treasury Secretary could have. This alone remains a long-ignored legacy of the otherwise orthodoxly conservative Hay years. Longtime proponents of a more activist government, such as Garfield and Hoar, were similarly enthralled that in the twilight of their careers their thoughts on the matter seemed to be winning out.

Indeed, it was the second reason that the Panic of 1894 deserves to emerge from the shadow of its infamous older brothers which helped light a fire under many Liberals. While the mid 1890s are now recalled as the dying days of Gilded Age excess, immortalized as the "Gay Nineties" by aloof conservatives who had not lived through the depression in later years, the practical implications of economic regulation were not the only consideration. The Panic of 1894 was immortalized in contemporary Populist media (and, to a lesser extent, Democratic papers) as not just an unfortunate reality of needing to bite the bullet and pursue an intentionally deflationary act in the short term for long-term stability but as a Wall Street conspiracy to severely restrict the currency, as had been done in the early 1870s, and return entirely to the gold standard. Such angry denunciations moved the silver debate back into vogue after it had bubbled along for years; it also unleashed a surge of anti-Semitism, as age-old tropes of Jewish bankers found fertile ground amongst the farm cooperatives and union halls of the West. If the Panic of 1890 had radicalized the American working class, the government triggering a panic on purpose as an early form of economic shock therapy only further cemented angry, resentful and even conspiratorial thinking on the American left.

To the leading Liberals of the day, the ethnic demagogy and patronage-based machine politics of the Democrats was bad enough; the Populists, with their escalating radical demands and persuasive, charismatic spokesmen in Weaver and Bryan were nothing short of a gradually-forming mob that could potentially threaten the constitutional order. Events on the horizon in 1894 and the emergence of a new bete noire named Eugene V. Debs helped persuade a gaggle of reformers in Liberal Clubs around the country that a response was in order, and that the Liberal Party would need to represent a broad and deep middle ground between the excesses of the nouveau riche aristocratic class they had traditionally been associated with - increasingly personified in President Hay, the so-called "Golden Boy of the Gilded Age" [1], and the "the mobs" coalescing in a simmering pool of white-hot anger.

The Progressive wing of the Liberal Party, in so many words, was about to be born..."

- The Aspirants: The Rise of the Liberal Party of the United States

[1] Unfortunately can't take credit for this nickname
Programming Note:

After reorganizing/merging some entries in my outline, I've decided I'm going to speed things up a bit so we can get to some of the fireworks/interesting stuff sooner. The 1890s and much of the 1900s ITTL are really just setup for some of the more chaotic things I have planned for the 1910s-1930s and I think that'll be much more fun to write, as much as I've loved researching and digging into so many of these Gilded Age figures whom I previously knew little about
Programming Note:

After reorganizing/merging some entries in my outline, I've decided I'm going to speed things up a bit so we can get to some of the fireworks/interesting stuff sooner. The 1890s and much of the 1900s ITTL are really just setup for some of the more chaotic things I have planned for the 1910s-1930s and I think that'll be much more fun to write, as much as I've loved researching and digging into so many of these Gilded Age figures whom I previously knew little about
I like the slow move of the TL, but your decision works, especially since I can see many of those chaotic things on the horizon.
The Revisionism of Reconciliation: The Real History of the Confederate Grand Consensus
"...the National Reform League unveiled its "Program for Reform" at its annual conference, held in Atlanta. The League was careful not to use words such as "platform" or "convention" - it was, in its own words, a vehicle purely for social and political reforms. Democratic politicians were mostly careful not to attend, but it was well known who favored the NRL and who did not; it was mostly a gathering of middle-class urbanites to roll out an endorsement list and political program they hoped to lobby the Congress to be elected in 1893 to pursue. For the consternation it drew from Morgan and other conservatives in Richmond, the reforms were fairly light - most prominently in the political sphere, it called for a reduction in poll taxes (implemented as an annual registry fee for county expenses), the abolition of states requiring military or constabulary service to vote (which half of the states had implemented), placing more government positions under a civil service registry with examinations rather than as patronage jobs, local control regarding temperance, and a secret ballot. The last provision was to the Morganites the most alarming - Dixie society was built upon a bedrock of careful hierarchy and social desirability; the public vote helped ensure that nobody voted "wrongly" in their county elections lest they draw social disapproval and ostracism. As the typically quiet midterm elections approached, it was as always a contest within Democratic conventions of pro-and-anti administration forces, cutting across strange and often local lines. But for the first time, the NRL was wading into the weeds - they released lists of endorsed candidates in every state but Florida, organized to send activists to conventions to attempt to secure commitments on reforms, and held rallies and events that had a freewheeling, almost carnival atmosphere of optimism. Though they made little impact on Congressional elections - as few as five outright NRL-backed Congressmen were elected - they had considerably more success at the legislative level in the six states that aligned their legislative elections with national ones, most notably Georgia, where as much as a fourth of the new legislature would have been endorsed and campaigned for by the NRL. The organization had officially arrived, and without the campaign of harassment that met labor unions or the Farm Alliances; nevertheless, Morgan and his faction were not amused..."

- The Revisionism of Reconciliation: The Real History of the Confederate Grand Consensus
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