Dixieland: The Country of Tomorrow, Everyday (yet another Confederate TL)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by TastySpam, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. LuckyLuciano Well-Known Member

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    May 15, 2018
    Wasn't Luitpold Pro-Prussian and wanted a german empire with prussian king? Ludwig was the fierce anti-prussian OTL. Or did something happen to make Luitpold anti-prussian
     
  2. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Aug 3, 2013
    Very interesting world you have created here, keep up the good work...
     
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  3. TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you are right, that was a mistake on my part. Thank you for the pointer, I'll go fix it now!
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 18 - The Confederate Presidential Elections of 1873

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The Confederate Presidential Elections of 1873
    President Bragg was a notoriously mercurial President, micromanaging almost all of his cabinet officials while regularly firing and hiring new ones. Vice-President Reagan similarly had no role in governance. Bragg openly floated the idea of increasing the term limits, but didn't have a large enough majority in Congress to punch such an idea through. The Constitutional Democrats and the True Whigs were each rallying behind one of their own to oppose whoever attempted to succeed Bragg. Robert Toombs for the Constitutional Democrats and Robert Rhett for the True Whigs. The Constitutional Democrats were seen as a larger bloc in the Confederate Congress than the True Whigs (the True Whigs were often thought to have a political bass that overlapped more with the CSIPers) and as a result, Toombs was viewed as a likely next President. Notably, the CDs were strongest in Georgia and Texas, the TWs strongest in Mississippi and South Carolina, and the CSIPers strongest in Virginia and Tennessee.

    Bragg supporters were terrified that his industrial and national policies would be rolled back, but the Bragg Administration was largely in chaos, partly due to Bragg's refusal to appoint a successor (after his bid to extend term limits failed, Bragg instead openly compared himself to George Washington and liked to pretend he was above the electoral process). His actual supporters worried about his successor though and with the strength of the Constitutional Whigs, who were moderately opposed to his largely unpopular military-led economic reconstruction policy as the antithesis of "Southern freedom." Riding on a white horse to rescue Bragg's CSIPers ended up being a total outsider, former Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, whose anti-elite, anti-Northern, and anti-black rhetoric galvanized more poor and working-class workers back into the CSIP coalition. Most of the technocrats in the actual Bragg Administration had jumped ship by the time the election had rolled around, making it easier for Forrest's charisma to seize control of the party - the remaining CSIPers figured his charisma was their best chance of retaining control. Forrest infamously branded both his cavalry sabre and katana (from his Japanese adventures) on the campaign trail, simply recounting how many people he had killed (and pointing out that "[insert unpopular group, usually blacks or Northerners] watch out") without talking at all about policy. Indeed, they were correct. On election day, Forrest nearly perfectly replicated Bragg's victory six years ago, causing great fear and consternation amongst more pragmatic elements of the CS and US political class.

    However, in office, President Forrest proved surprisingly more pragmatic than most had expected. Although it was widely expected for Forrest to restart slave raids over the Northern border, a very dangerous policy, Forrest himself quipped that he wasn't going to bat for some "other goobers trying to make cash." Indeed, even his famously harsh view on slaves seemed to soften in office, partly due to his famous meeting with Frederick Douglass. Indeed, "Forrest goes to Douglass" became a common term to describe how only a politician with an incredible reputation for staunchly supporting one side of a political issue could ever take actions that seemed conciliatory to the other. Although President Forrest obviously never mobilized against slavery (as almost no one with any position in Confederate polite society did), he at least appeared to drop most of his political promises to tighten the lids on slavery. Indeed, under British pressure (who often noted that refusal to agree could jeopardize British financing of railways), Forrest agreed to modest tax incentives for manumission. This was of course both extremely unpopular and rarely used by Confederate slave-owners, but it was often used in foreign-funded projects/businesses to evade paying any taxes (while manumitting some slaves in the process). This was instrumental to foreign investment in the CSA, because the once-international pariah become less of a pariah to European investors once 1) they didn't have to pay any taxes and 2) could still signal moral opposition to slavery. Manumission did not become widespread, but even the creation of a small class of free blacks would prove controversial.

    President Forrest further displayed his independence by vetoing measures restricting the movement of free blacks (most likely by slave hunters wishing to kidnap them into slavery again) a veto he surprisingly was able to sustain by even many pro-slavery politicians citing with him (as they understood the population of free blacks was very small in the Confederacy but such a law would destroy its international reputation even further). Like most of the Confederate military class, Forrest believed that a "Third War of Independence" was inevitable and that the Confederacy had to overrule most of its domestic political class in order to retain some semblance of international standing. Although trying to retain the slavery and white supremacy system, most of these generals attempted as Bragg and Forrest did, to soften the edges in order to ensure the continued military and economic build-up of the CSA. In many areas, small cottage industries popped up where Southron families (often the women) spun cotton into raw fabrics, which could be brought to the local small town, hauled into a larger rail-hub town, sent to a port, and then shipped abroad. Alternatively, some were shipped up to the USA, though the rail gauge issue weakened the comparative advantage of exporting to the USA. The Confederate Army continued to become the primary pathway for social advancement for poor Southroners - indeed, the expanding role of the army was the most controversial aspect of the post-war CSA order, because the South, angering most of the Constitutional Democrats, retained a quasi-unconstitutional standing army even when the North itself did not. Indeed, the Confederate Army remained one reason the opposition could never unite against the CSIPers - the True Whigs were perhaps the most extreme militaristic group in the country (most advocates of filibustering and the "Golden Circle" were True Whigs), and they hated the anti-army Constitutional Democrats just as much as they hated the pro-British economic policies of the CSIPers. As secure as the CSIP position was, Southron society remained violent, divided, unequal, and in many ways, insecure, all problems that would eventually come to a head after Forrest's 1877 death in office...
     
  5. Odinson "With me, Professor Foxtrot!"

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    I can't believe I'm saying this, but Forrest is my favorite confederate president in this timeline so far. Keep up the good work!
     
  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 0.5 - The Disappearance of Stonewall Jackson

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The Disappearance of Stonewall Jackson
    Historians still quibble today on how history might have changed if not for the events in the aftermath of the Battle of Chancellorsville. The chaos that engulfed the Army of Northern Virginia after the death of General Robert E. Lee (from friendly fire no less) may have been accidentally instrumental to the Confederate escape from Vicksburg, which was then clearly instrumental to Braxton Bragg's destruction of the Union's Army of the Cumberland at the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. Bragg was never really able to replicate another victory on the scale of Chickamauga-Chattanooga, but he was certainly able to parlay his fame from those battles into a presidential term. The other great hero of the Confederacy, Stonewall Jackson, never fully recovered from less-fatal friendly fire wound, and although he was instrumental in slowing down the union advance through Virginia, surprised the rest of the Confederacy by simply totally disappearing from established Confederate society. After a brief tour of the North where he met various Union veterans and several prominent Northern writers and speakers, Jackson had barely returned to the Confederate States when he simply packed up, left his estate, to a destination clearly unknown by the general public. The "Disappearance of Stonewall Jackson" would for many years, be one of the strangest unanswered mysteries of the post-war Confederate States of America, largely because so few anticipated the actual answer.
     
  7. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

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    Huh, the military's prominence makes me wonder if a coup might ever be in the works for old Dixie. Maybe if they get into another fight with the Union?
     
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  8. Zheng He Well-Known Member

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    Very good...
     
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  9. Underboss_3 Escalator Temporarily Stairs

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    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Well now I have to know where Stonewall ends up.
     
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  10. Blobfish Shoom

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    Oct 20, 2018
    If nothing else the man has hustle.:)
     
  11. DAv Middle Class... sorry

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    England
    So the Confederacy has found some help in moderating somewhat. Have to see if that really helps thdm long term.
     
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  12. traveller76 Member

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    Fort Worth, TX
    Will we see Confederate military veterans as soldiers of fortune in various conflicts as a way to keep sharp and earn money? Would the Confederacy sell weapons and military equipment for hard currency?
     
  13. Ruschurch Professional Time Waster

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    DETROIT
    Just read through the whole timeline, love your work!
     
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  14. TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    Don't hate me, my next Stonewall-related chapter is going to be called the Melancholy of Stonewall Jackson
     
  15. Underboss_3 Escalator Temporarily Stairs

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    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Haha. Considering Stonewall's still alive, I feel like every day is extra for him anyway.
     
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 19 - The Yuanhua Restoration

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The Yuanhua Restoration

    Knowing that the Dowager Cixi was soon to come back to Beijing, the nobles actually in charge of selecting the next Emperor made a rather odd choice. The Tongzhi Emperor was the last surviving son of the Xianfeng Emperor, and thus it was not clear who would actually take the throne.[1] It was not unprecedented for Manchu Emperors to not be related directly to the past one - smallpox often ravaged Manchu, who had less of a resistance than the native Han. The pnly historical norm was that the next Emperor had to be from the next generation - but there was no real next generation born quite yet. In addition, many in the court feared that a young Emperor would just empower the Empress Dowagers and Prince Gong. At this point, the goal became shifted to simply finding the oldest person in the same generation of the Tongzhi Emperor. The most prominent leader in the absence of Cixi was the Prince Chun, who was the most prominent official aligned with Cixi who wasn't exiled. It was widely expected that a child from the Imperial Clan would be adopted and proclaimed the next Emperor.

    However, ties with Britain had also become very important due to the increasing rivalry with Russia. During the Qing-Japan War, the Imperial Russian Army took advantage of the power vaccuum that resulted from the Qing pulling back forces from Xinjiang, Russia signed a treaty with local leaders in the Ili region of Xinjiang where they agreed to Russian sovereignty - Imperial Russian troops quickly moved in order to guard their new territories. This outraged the Qing Court, which was unable to respond because the threat from Japan was so much closer to home. The Russian court followed up by signing a treaty with the rebel Yakub Beg (who had ironically once fought against Russian imperialism as a soldier for the Khanate of Kokand). When Yakub Beg's rule proved brutal, involving ethnic cleansing against non-Muslims and Muslims of other sects, local figures seeing that the Qing were absent, called instead for Russian intervention, rebelling against Yakub Beg. Local Russian generals, seeing a golden opportunity, immediately marched their troops into the region, overthrowing Yakub Beg and annexing the area directly to Russia. The response outraged Great Britain and the Qing, the former seeing this as a dramatic escalation of the "Great Game" in Asia, as Russian influence now extended to the Turpan gates at the Tiemen Pass, gaining control of almost all of Dzungaria. Qing forces were forced to retreat to the Xingxingxia Pass near Kumul, which would quickly become a heavily fortified redoubt against Imperial Russia. The Russian advance only stopped after an outbreak of war with the Ottoman Empire necessitated a transfer of troops to the Caucasus.

    The only two successors valid among the first-rank princes were known to have extremely anti-British sentiments, Zaixun, the future Prince Zhuang, and Zaiyi, the future Prince Duan. Ultimately, they settled on Zaize, a second-rank lower-ranking prince who himself was only adopted to that position. However, at 8, he was the oldest eligible prince besides the aforementioned two. The obscure prince than ascended, taking upon a regnal name as the new Yuanhua Emperor (元化). Unsurprising to all, the Yuanhua Emperor quickly issued a decree retracting the Tongzhi Emperor's exile of the Empress Dowager Cixi and Prince Gong, who quickly returned to the capital, chastened but still influential. The most influential man in the rest of his upbringing would be the Prince Chun, who had taken a role in selecting the new Emperor.[2] The Prince Chun continued most of Empress Dowager Cixi's policies, further guided by necessity of close relations with Great Britain.

    The navies of the Four Viceroyalties were largely destroyed with the remnants largely in the hands of the fifth Northeastern viceroyalty. The Qing court had little power outside of the Zhili (capital region) around Beijing and more or less had to cajole viceroys and their private armies if they wanted to make war. As a result, it was shocked with Viceroy Gordon immediately transferred the remnants of all four navies directly to the Imperial court. This came as a surprise, because the viceroyalties jealously guarded their naval assets and were loathe to hand them over. Viceroy Gordon also tried to transfer his army over to the capital region, but he found out that the local armies largely refused to accept centralized command from Beijing, so many of those forces stayed with the viceroyalty. Regardless, the military assets granted to the capital came as a great surprise to the Qing Court, who quickly had to wonder how to actually pay for upkeep. Unlike the viceroyalties, the court didn't govern territory upon where which taxes could be directly levied. By 1876, the Imperial Court was entirely funded by the Imperial Maritime Customs Services (administered almost entirely by British bureaucrats), which was established by force in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking after the end of the First Opium War. As a result, the Qing Court quickly looked towards Great Britain to fund its new Imperial Army - one reason why Gordon took the unprecedented act of turning over forces directly to the Qing Court was that the British foreign service was aware that this would happen. The traditional Qing foreign policy was to play the foreign powers off against each other, but the threat from Russia and Japan quickly forced the Qing to reconsider.

    As a result, an agreement was worked out between Great Britain and the Qing Court. In the 1877 Treaty of Peking, it was agreed that the British Exchequer would transmit funds to the Qing Court, a generous amount of funds more than sufficient to pay for upkeep for the new Imperial Army and Navy, which were tasked with the job of patrolling and defending British investments in China. For consideration, the Qing Court was to offer a 100-year lease of Port Arthur near Dalian to Great Britain, contingent on the payment of this fee. Port Arthur was picked by the Qing simply because its proximity to Russia (and Russian designs on it) meant that giving it to Britain was a perfect way to alienate the two powers, which Qing diplomats sought to do. The Qing was also to procure the ships necessary to rebuild its fleet from Great Britain, taking loans from Great Britain. The interest on these loans would be interestingly be paid by surplus funds after upkeep to the Imperial Army and Navy were paid. Although the agreement was to prove a huge boon to the Imperial Qing Court, giving them financial stability and a centralized army/navy for the first time since the Taiping Rebellion destroyed their old armies, many Chinese observers were shocked and horrified at the degree of foreign influence in China. Most notably, the British Ambassador to the Qing Empire was known to be the only ambassador not required to make the formal kowtow to the Qing Emperor and many native Chinese intellectuals were outraged that most important documents dealing with foreign affairs or the military were written in Manchu and English, and only then-after translated into Chinese. Regardless, the Qing Court declared the beginning of a "Yuanhua Restoration" where the military prowess of the Qing Empire was to be reignited through close cooperation and tutelage of foreign powers (in particular, Great Britain). Further inflaming many intellectuals, British fashion became a craze in most of the major big cities as many government ministries were given names inspired by the British government (although this was largely ceremonial, as the inner-workings of those ministries were largely left unchanged). Qing China became a bright spot in British foreign policy - while other British influenced nations were busy trying to end European economic influence (such as Egypt under Isma'il Pash), Qing China was openly welcoming it, provided that it was not Russian. In outrage over the Russian land grab, Qing foreign policy became based almost entirely around isolating and surrounding Russia, which necessitated excellent relations with any other European power willing to play ball.

    This inflamed Anglo-Russian relations to all-time lows, and after a dispute where Russian subjects from Xinjiang were denied extraterritoriality (due to the Qing stance that the territories were illegally occupied Qing territory), the Russian ambassador left Beijing completely, claiming that the Qing Government was simply a British colony and that communicating with them was pointless. The lack of a Russian diplomatic presence in Beijing would quickly prove dangerous to all parties involved.

    ---
    [1] The OTL Guangxu Emperor (Prince Chun's son) was ceremonially adopted as the Xianfeng Emperor's son (despite the Xianfeng Emperor being dead for a long time), and then allowed to succeed as his "last remaining son." Empress-Dowager Cixi helped pick her nephew, against the wishes of Prince Chun. ITL, she's on vacation right now.
    [2] OTL, the Prince Chun was marginalized because his son had become Emperor, which made things awkward for him.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 20 - The Awkward Condominium

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The Awkward Condominium
    The Qing Empire had only narrowly avoided another catastrophe in another of its tributary states. In the French Cochinchina, Lt. Francis Garnier, acting without orders from Paris, launched in expedition in late 1873 into Tonkin in order to settle disputes between the local government and a French businessmen. A force of Vietnamese soldiers and the famous Black Flag Army attacked Garnier's battalion, killing him and capturing most of the soldiers. The incident sparked calls among many French nationalists, distrustful of the new Napoleon IV, to intervene.

    The Qing court was already in meltdown over the war with Japan in Korea. However, French diplomats were keenly aware that the British were standing firmly behind the Qing Empire. Although both sides had to openly display a hawkish willingness to fight, the reality was that neither side wanted a war. The Qing could not afford another front, as strained for cash as they already were. The French didn't want to start a war against the Qing for fear of alienating the United Kingdom.

    Ultimately, British diplomats, fearing a Qing-French confrontation, brokered a deal that proved to be mutually acceptable to both sides. Ultimately, under the agreement between Zhang Zhidong (Viceroy and de facto leader of Guangxi/Guangdong) and French Foreign Minister Charles de La Valette (known as the Valette-Zhidong Agreement), the Nguyen Dynasty was to simultaneously be a tributary of the Qing Court and a protectorate of the French Empire. Negotiated without any Vietnamese input, the agreement gave France free shipping and docking rights in Annam-Tonkin. Da Nang and Qui Nhon were exclusively open to French merchants, who enjoyed extra-territoriality in Annam-Tonkin. However, the French did not gain special privileges in Qing bureaucratically-administered territory.

    French negotiators were actually surprised - the Qing had offered much more than the French had expected. Those seeking for a military confrontation were immediately silenced, as support for an actual war was actually lukewarm.[1] In contrast, local Vietnamese officials and friendly Chinese, such as Phan Dinh Phung and Liu Yongfu, felt betrayed by the Qing, who had signed over all kinds of rights to the French without any Vietnamese input. Intellectuals across Asia were rather alienated by the Qing's lenient treatment of French demands, in contrast to to their harsh opposition to actually less aggressive Japanese demands, citing this as an example of "racial perfidy." In reality, the Qing approach differed because France was viewed as a much more powerful threat than Japan, and their British sponsors put significant pressure on them to play nicely with the French.

    Although Emperor Tu Duc thought he could play off the Qing and French against each other, the reality is that most Vietnamese intellectuals immediately began to equate the Qing and French as two sides of the same coin. With Emperor Tu Duc childless and sterile due to a bout with smallbox, court officials became immediately placing into action schemes and plots for an expected post-Tu Duc vacuum, setting the stage for serious future turmoil and conflict.
    ---
    [1] OTL, the conquest of Tonkin/Annam were widely unpopular in France.
     
  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 21 - The Birth of Federal Austria

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The Birth of Federal Austria
    The defeat of Austria at the hands of Italian and Prussian troops in the Austro-Prussian War drove the Empire into a panic of the likes it had never seen. The nation was bankrupt, its armies in shambles, and in a precarious diplomatic situation, with frayed relations both with Russia and Prussia. Imperial Chancellor Beust desired more than above all, revenge against Prussia, but it wasn't clear how to achieve this.

    First, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise was rapidly concluded in negotiations with Hungarian politician Gyula Andrassy. After the pullout of French troops in Italy, Beust, seeking revenge against Prussia, quickly brokered a legitimate alliance with the French Napoleon III, who was desperate during the Luxembourg crisis to seek more allies abroad. The Hungarians under Andrassy were outraged, but as long as an actual war wasn't declared, they held their fire. In the end, Prussia backed down in the face of Italy and Austria both siding with France, which annexed Luxembourg. As Franco-Italian relations collapsed in the aftermath of the Riot of Rome, the Austro-Hungarians declared full support for the French position, with Emperor Francis Joseph I openly declaring himself the representative of the one true Pope in Avignon, further poisoning relations with the liberal secular regime in Italy, which quickly laid territorial claims on both Austro-Hungarian and French territories.

    With the weight of the French support, Beust worked to defeat the warmest political sympathizers towards Prussia, namely the German liberals.[1] In the aftermath of the Luxembourg Crisis, the German-Liberals (or Constitutional Party) was entirely dismissed from office, replaced by the conservative Federalists of Count Potocki and Count von Hohenwart. Beust openly favored the Federalists and sought to permanently outflank the German liberals by promoting what became Hohenwart's radical plans for Slav accommodation within Cisleithania (in Hungary, the leading Magyar politicians vetoed any consideration of Slav accommodation). Under Beust's stipulation, the primary goal of Austrian foreign policy was to retain as much influence in the South German states as possible (using Roman Catholicism as a cudgel) while buttering up Russia to either be pro-Austrian or neutral in any future confrontation. Notably, Beust and Bismarck both viewed Russia as the most important diplomatic prize.

    In 1870, the Hohenwart government pushed through radical reforms of Cisleithania. The process was begun under the Potocki cabinet, but he swapped positions with Hohenwart just because it seemed unsightly for an ethnic Pole to push policies so hostile to German interests. The original plan was to reform all of Austria-Hungary, but the Hungarians vetoed any such constitutional changes within their lands. Moravia and Silesia were immediately annexed by Bohemia (with their Diets combined with Bohemia), which split off the Sudetenland.

    Legally, the Austro-Czech Compromise was extremely convoluted, as it was forced to work within the constitutional confines of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. The Bohemian representatives to the Reichsrat promised not to take their seats, holding an alternative Parliament of the Kingdom of Bohemia instead. The Austrian Reichsrat would then pass a law permanently ratifying within Bohemia all laws passed by the Bohemian Parliament and not seating any Bohemian representatives. Bohemian Reichsrat members (constitutionally mandated) quickly became a notorious Austro-Czech joke, as their job was to literally do nothing except collect a salary.

    Most outrageously, to calm many of the pan-German liberals, most of the rest of the Austrian crownlands (including the Sudetenland) were amalgamated into a new Kingdom of Germany. As a result, Cisleithania (Austria) became federally comprised of the Kingdom of Germany, Kingdom of Bohemia, Kingdom of Dalmatia, Kingdom of Galicia-Lodomeria, and the Kingdom of Bukovina (a remarkably increase in the prestige of Bukovina, which only became a Duchy in 1848). For now, Germany, Dalmatia, Galicia, and Bukovina would be governed directly by the Reichsrat, though not Bohemia. However, with the example set by Bohemia, the ground had been laid for the other kingdoms to become autonomous. In contrast, with the Kingdom of Hungary still remaining united under Magyar control, the strongest kingdom in Austria-Hungary would clearly be Hungary, which was remarkably outraged over this development in Austria. The federalization of Austria clearly put political pressure on Hungary to pressure, something that the Hungarian political class flatly refused. In addition, liberals in Austria were horrified and angry, raging that they had been permanently locked out of power by a conspiracy of elite nobles, conservatives, and ethnic minorities (Count Potocki was particularly hated as someone described as a mixture of all three).

    Abroad, accommodation of the Slavs was deemed necessary in order to build good relations with Russia. In a secret meeting between Chancellor Beust, Tsar Alexander II, and Prince Milan I of Serbia, the parties began to carve up spheres of influence in the Ottoman Empire. This diplomatic breakthrough was made possible only by the Austrian willingness to compromise and take a much smaller sphere of influence than most foreign observers, including the Russians, though they would be entitled to. This was possible within Austria because of Beust's primary focus on defeating Prussia.

    In a discussion with how important Austria's position as a leading Catholic power was in order to contest Prussian dominance of South Germany, the Russians agreed to clamp down on any intellectuals calling for Pan-Slavism in Catholic regions, such as Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Galicia. In exchange, Austria permanently disclaimed any sphere of influence in the Ottoman Empire, except for the Romanian United Principalities as a consolation prize. When Alexander II asked why, Beust commented that the Hohenzollern prince of Romania concerned their interests in Germany, and the Russians accepted this. The Austrians also agreed to stay neutral in any conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire and in any settlement between the Great Powers that they expected to result over the Ottoman Empire, support the pre-settlement status quo (which would presumably heavily favor Russia). The obvious understanding would be that Serbia would have first dibs on Bosnia. Regardless, the Russian sphere of influence in this agreement would include the rest of the Ottoman Empire, including Dobrudja (which the Russians hoped would link Russia and Constantinople together).
    ---
    [1] OTL, a detente with Germany led Beust to oppose the Fundamental Articles. ITL, the still anti-Prussian Beust supports them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  19. Threadmarks: Chapter 22 - The John Sherman Administration (1873-1876)

    TastySpam Well-Known Member

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    The John Sherman Administration (1873-1876)
    When President Sherman was sworn into office, it was quickly surmised that one-party rule had come to the United States. If even Abraham Lincoln himself was unable to defeat the Republican political establishment, than who could? However, this quickly misunderstood the nature of the American two-party system, where the opposition party rapidly moves to fill any ideological niches in the voting public.

    The first few years of the Sherman administration were marked with a severe recession as the hawkish fiscal policies of the Sherman administration led immediately to both an end to inflation and an end to economic growth. Although Sherman and his Republican Congress were some of the most productive in history, bulldozing over objections from his own party to hike tariffs, lavishly fund internal improvements, enshrine American adherence to the Gold Standard, and admit several Republican-leaning states. However, Sherman disappointed many supporters by refusing to withdraw from circulation the greenbacks-then-in-circulation and by not tackling the issue of Civil Service Reform, which he understood correctly would split his party. In addition, he never tackled the issue of Catholic immigration from Europe, also knowing that this would split his party.

    Although the economy was on track by 1875 and 1876, the economic recovery came too late for the Republican Party. Former Democratic party members and Republican dissidents running under the National Union label surged in Congress, with their fractious caucus surging from roughly 24% of the House to 64% - and from 11% of the Senate to 34%, in one of the largest wave elections in American history. The National Unionists were united behind a vague platform of more greenbacks, civil service reform/good government, and most notably, Chinese exclusion. State parties affiliated with the National Union Party typically had extremely inconsistent names due to nature of party splitting and re-merging during the Civil War, such as the Missouri Unconditional Unionist Democratic (MUUD) Party.

    The National Unionist House Majority was emboldened by their success, and went on to pass several bills, which the Republican Senate never took up. The most divisive was Civil Service Reform, which the Republican Senate failed to take up despite many Republicans defecting. The National Unionists also passed legislation reversing most of Sherman's fiscal policy. The most popular act was the Chinese Exclusion Act, President Sherman declared that he would most likely veto the bill as too extreme and as a result, the Republican Senate never took up a vote. Instead, President Sherman, also increasingly worried that trade with China was quickly becoming a British monopoly (which it was), proposed an alternate law which would make it a federal crime to import any labor into the United States to work for wages set below a certain point. In his view, such a law would more or less prevent the important of most Chinese labor. However, many American businessmen were horrified at the notion that this would be a gateway drug into a concept of a "minimum wage", a crazy new "Progressive" idea being floated by radical social reformers. National Unionists pilloried the idea as did many Republicans, but the concept proved popular among the Republican rank-and-file.

    The relations between President Sherman and President Forrest also irritated many of their base supporters, since it rapidly became far more pragmatic than most partisans would like. Both countries, mired in some sort of recession (especially the Confederacy), saw restoring economic growth as their top priority. Under American urging, President Forrest personally squished an attempt by several border state governors to ban new railroads from being built on the United States style rail gauge (mandating British-style rail gauges, a state law that would have severely curtailed any US investment), sparking a political crisis that eventually consumed the Forrest presidency.

    This pragmatic relationship partly emerged because relations with America's northern neighbors at the time were rather poor, because Republican Party stalwarts were widely believed to have sheltered and supported Orangemen terrorists in Manitoba in their attacks against Canadian government officials (especially Catholics), and Sherman obviously refused to turn over American Republican Party activists to British authorities. With tariffs on the northern neighbor continuing to be high, commercial competition between America and British businessmen dominated relations with both North and South. Although some radical Republicans evinced a desire to "march south under a banner of liberty", the broad consensus within the Republican Party was more or less a sense of "good riddance." Not to mention that the South was a bastion of former Democrat politics!

    The other major issue of the Sherman administration was the problem of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo had been annexed by the United States during the Lincoln administration as a place to send escaped slaves, who trickled in from the Confederacy and were obviously not returned. However, the territorial governor of Santo Domingo and father of the annexation treaty, Buenaventura Báez, was proving a severe embarrassment due to his open corruption and thuggishness - and the fact that he wasn't even holding up his end of the bargain in accepting escaped slaves! In addition, the Dominican Army never disbanded and was in constant warfare with insurgents and irregulars, who openly called for independence from the United States. Although the intellectuals of America were outraged, President Sherman deployed troops to Santo Domingo. The nation was scandalized by the Battle of La Vega (in the mountains outside of La Vega), where American troops under the command of General George Custer were ambushed and killed by Dominican insurgents, which forced Sherman to redouble his military commitment to Santo Domingo. Despite this violence, most Republicans considered Utah a considerably more problematic territory than Santo Domingo, just because of how scandalous they found bigamy. When fringe politicians called for withdrawal from Santo Domingo, the rejoinder was typically "and Utah too?"

    As President Sherman approached re-election, the National Union Party regrouped, eager to take a bite out of the cautious Sherman. The National Union Party, still emboldened from their 1874 triumph, was filled with a majority of delegates who sought to nominate a candidate who could energetically draw a contrast with the reserved Sherman. However, the National Unionists remained an ideologically heterogeneous coalition of "Not-Republicans" across the nation, and as such, many recoiled at any kind of powerful ideological stance. After a remarkable amount of ballots, thirty-two, a compromise candidate, Charles Adams of Massachusetts, the son of John Quincy Adams, was nominated, with his running mate, Henry Payne of Ohio.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  20. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition! Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2017
    Location:
    Secret Catholic World Domination Conference
    I’m afraid there’s a problem here. Both Great Britain and the (Northern) US used the same 4’-8.5” gauge (or 1435 mm for you metric types) for their tracks. It was the South that deviated from both of them, requiring, pre-Civil War, a gauge change before traveling further north, then a massive regauging effort by the Corps of Engineers as the Union armies moved south to keep them supplied properly.
     
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