Fenians, Brits, Mexicans, Canucks and Frenchies....OH, MY! An alternate American Civil War

Chapter 204
November, 1884


The November election of 1884 would prove pivotal to the nation and much of this would fall upon the internal dissention within political parties as much as rivalry without. Ex-Senator James Blaine would refuse to support his own party's candidate, Charles Eliot.

For Eliot's party, the President of Harvard would do enormous damage to his own candidacy by publicly condemning female suffrage and education, vowing to abolish most sports other than rowing and tennis (thus proving his elite credentials) and publicly castigating the Grant Administration for the "aggression" in Venezuela.

Though calling the American actions to seize much of Venezuela's non-developed regions a "crass opportunistic act" may be correct in many eyes, undermining the leader of your Party does not gain one many favors, especially from the still-popular Grant.

But perhaps as damaging was Eliot's open disdain for labor unions and his public bragging of using Harvard students as local strikebreakers. This would not play well with the large labor classes of the northeast where any victorious Republican would expect a near sweep in the latter half of the 19th century.

Eliot was soon viewed as arrogant, aristocratic and eccentric even amongst his own party.

Thomas Hendricks, on the other hand, was a lifelong politician, a moderate, and smart enough to know when to shut the hell up or say the blandest thing possible.

For a Democrat to win an election in 1884, a number of key states must fall just right. Eliot's positions and lack of Grant Administration support (and, to a lesser extent, Blaine's support) would see Illinois, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania fall to the Democrats for the first time in a generation. This was enough to swing the electoral college to Hendricks.

Though there were some allegations of fraud, the Grant Administration would investigate and publicly declare the race the cleanest ever run. By December, Eliot would concede and publicly congratulate Hendricks.

Unfortunately, there would be no pats on the back of Vice-President-elect Randall as the Congressman died in December after a long bout with illness. Though elated with their first Democratic President since 1860, the Democrats were also painfully aware that the Republicans maintained a majority in both Houses of Congress....and without Randall, the next person in line should the aging and frail Hendricks expire.....next in line as "Acting President" (only the Vice-President was seeing as BECOMING the President in the succession laws) would be the President Pro Tem of the Senate.....almost certainly a Republican (for the past year, this has been Vermont Senator George Edmunds, a man who apparently rejoiced in tweaking the nose of southerners on a daily basis for decades).

Almost immediately, cries of conspiracy rose among the Democrats and several Senators and Congressmen would demand a Constitutional Amendment to put Cabinet members in line for Succession....or at least a new election....if an elected President and Vice-President both died in office (or in Randall's case, BEFORE taking office). Naturally, the Republicans laughed, knowing that there was no way such an amendment would pass.

However, there was a rapid stampede to Constitutional lawyers to see what, if any, differences in actual powers would be actions by an "Acting President" versus a VP becoming President and if there was any sort of time limit to these "Acting" powers. None existed in the Constitution and the state of Hendricks' health would become of paramount concern for Democrats nationwide.

Louisiana and Florida

Among the other momentous events of 1884's election was the welcoming to the Union of five new western states (Idaho, Cheyenne, Montana, Dakota and Santee) as return to the Union of the states of Louisiana and Florida. The Republicans would eventually gain eight of the ten new Senators and three of the five new Congressmen from these territories.

The Grant Administration and Freedman's Bureau would monitor the election and declare them "clean". The Democrats would take Louisiana's Legislature and send two Senators and half of Louisiana's Congressmen to Congress. Lightly populated Florida, on the other hand, having been largely populated over the past two decades by northern migrants, Freedmen from other areas of the south and one of the larger influxes of European settlers, would fall to the Republicans with all but both Senators and all but one Congressman falling to them.

On the whole, the Republican Senate Majority actually INCREASED by 3 members in 1884 despite the Democratic Presidential victory and the Republican Majority in Congress fell by only one seat.

Naturally, with a Democratic President, it was assumed that Reconstruction would be ended soon, if only by the President vetoing budgets for the Freedman's Bureau and military.

It was also assumed that Hendricks would immediately accept the return of South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama to the Union.
Nice chapter. I wonder how Hendricks will handle the presidency as the first Democrat president in 24 years since the Civil War. Hopefully he doesn't go around messing with the Freedman or go around trying to openly appease the South. If he tries anything, the Republicans will take him down and might have support from various Democratic factions who don't like him. Hendricks will have to work hard in uniting the Democratic party. Let's hope the states still under Reconstruction don't go crazy against the remaining freedman population still living there. Keep up the good work.
Chapter 205
December, 1884

Southern Anzoategui State, Venezuela

While the inland southeastern state of Anzoategui was perhaps less affected by the war than the coastal regions, the area DID face a devastating array of irregulars and renegades who used the breakdown in civil order of the Venezuelan hinterlands to their own advantage to settle old scores. Caudillos from ancient powerful families were murdered. Indians, Mestizos and Mulattos were massacred or impressed into armies. Women were raped and children left to starve.

Governor Lynch of Guyana would authorize General Rosecrans to cross the border and wipe out bandits and brigands with impunity. Augmented by 2000 American regulars and another 1500 Guyanan volunteers, the Americans brushed aside any organized resistance. They would gain the loyalty of several tribes and large numbers of mestizo and mulatto residents. Information was readily passed on in hopes that the Americans could establish order and halt the slaughter. Much of Sucre and Monagas States would similarly face heavy civilian casualties.

By the New Year, Rosecrans was organizing local militias to augment the Americans.

North-western Venezuela

By December, the Venezuelan Civil war had devolved from political in nature to entirely personal. Juntas now graced the cities of Caracas, Valencia and Barquisimeto where strongmen wrestled for power. Generals declared themselves Presidents. Presidents became dictators. Dictators became Dictators-for-Life.

Trade fell off to nothing. Food, that which was harvested, ceased to transport from the countryside to the cities. Hunger and disease proliferated.

Panama State, Colombia

Over the course of the past few months, a bevy of medical experts and scientists had been dispatched by America, Great Britain and Colombia to review potential solutions for the malaria and yellow fever problems. The Colombia Canal was intended to be an engineering marvel....but the death toll in workers was nothing short of staggering. Despite attractive wages, the combination of bitterly hard labor and high death toll from disease was already limiting the labor supply. Many West Indians with an interest in working the Canal Zone would look upon the cemeteries and decide that the posted positions in Africa were more inviting.

By 1884, it had been established by multiple sources that mosquitos were the vector for these diseases and treatment, besides quinine, had yet to provide any form of vaccine. Instead, prevention by eliminating mosquitos would be the primary focus.

Entire brigades of men were assigned to draining swamps and stagnant ponds. Various methods to prevent mosquitos from hatching were attempted, with varying levels of success. These included dumping assorted chemicals into puddles, ponds, etc.

Slowly, through 1885, the death rate eased to manageable rates and workers once again were willing to travel to Colombia for employment impossible to find on their home islands. Some islands were so depopulated by adult males "gone to the canal" that they appeared "Isles of Women". Between the exodus to Africa and to Colombia, the West Indies began to empty out.

Dakar, Monrovia, Gladstoneville, Luanda, Lourenco Marques, Zanzibar and a dozen other locales would see an influx of West Indian (and some American) Bureaucrats to handle the increasingly complex administration of coastal Africa.


The losing Presidential Candidate would return to Harvard where he continued his quest to reform education. It could be argued that no man in American history did as much to improve the national education system for his policy of standard entrance exams would be copied by virtually all Universities while his new curriculum would encourage primary schools to upgrade their own courses to include more mathematics, etc, which would prove more relevant to the new college requirements.

As higher education had long been controlled by religious institutions, Charles Eliot, a man of faith himself, would rail against this dogma and press for a more standard curriculum. Armed with huge donors, Harvard would remain at the pinnacle of the nation's elite institutions, encouraging all others to follow in his footsteps.

Oddly, Charles Eliot would not feel losing the Presidential election as being the worst defeat of 1884. That honor went to his failure to absorb the frequently bankrupt twenty-five year old Massachusetts Institute of Technology into Harvard. Every time he almost arranged a merger, some benefactor would donate enough to keep MIT independent.
Nice chapter, nice to see Eliot do good in education and schooling despite losing the election. Keep up the good work.
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Map of World - 1885
Fenian - Map of World - 1885.png
Chapter 206
March, 1885


Over a century prior, the Low German Mennonites had been invited to migrate to Russia by the Czarina. For a century, they prospered. But, by 1870, the Czar was no longer inclined to allow certain privileges like exemption from military service and freedom to maintain their language/religion. Given a deadline to accept the new situation or depart Russia by 1880, the Mennonites begged the Czar to change his mind. When Alexander II died, they could not even get an audience with Nicolas II.

By 1885, the heavy majority of the "Russian" Mennonites had departed and the final wave of about 10,000 more would arrive in America where they settled in Winnipeg, Minnesota, Iowa and other regions. In addition to the "Russians", the Germanic peoples also enticed large numbers of Mennonites which had never left Germany as the wars of the past century had ravaged even that prosperous community.

4000 would sail down the Volga, board ships through the Mediterranean and arrive in America to join their communities.

Only about 5000 Mennonites remained in Russia after 1885 and most would come to regret it.

Oddly, the "Russian" Mennonites would be joined in America by the Russian "Old Believers" who had suffered intermittent repression over the past two centuries. Many were shocked to find some of their old neighbors in the New World.

Following the Mennonites and Old Believers were conventional Russian Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholics, Jews and Polish Catholics. Many settled the Midwest and Great Plains while those of an urban bent.....or just couldn't afford to move anywhere with land and were stuck looking for work as laborers.....would more often than not find themselves in New York or Chicago.

Giza, Egypt

Abraham Lincoln was having a great deal of fun on his trip. He had visited Monrovia with his sons and his old friend Frederick Douglass, inspected the new facilities, schools, etc. Douglass was reunited with his son, who now held a high position in West Africa.

After a short stop to pay his respects to the King of Morocco (the first nation to recognize the Independence of the United States), the Americans stopped in Egypt to take in the same sites viewed by Alexander the Great and Napoleon I of France.

The Pyramids were spectacular.

He was in Africa when news arrived of the Democrats regaining the Presidential Mansion. Lincoln knew it was inevitable but both he and Douglass feared for the future of the Freedman's Bureau. But there was nothing they could do about the matter now. If America was unwilling to follow the path Lincoln set for them in 1861....then......


President-Elect Thomas Hendricks would depart via train in late March for Washington. In only a few more days, he would take the Oath of Office. Many expectations would be upon him in the near future but Hendricks could only do what he thought best.
Well, only three unreconstructed states left . If you can tell me, what are the conditions officially needed for reentering the Union TTL beside political support for such reentrance?
Well, only three unreconstructed states left . If you can tell me, what are the conditions officially needed for reentering the Union TTL beside political support for such reentrance?
They have to not be racist fucks and ratify the amendments abolishing slavery and granting voting rights to blacks.
Chapter 207
April, 1885


President Thomas Hendricks of Indiana would take the Oath of Office in April, 1885. Conspicuous by his absence was the Vice-President, who died weeks before his election. The Constitution held that only other officer next in line to the President was the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, in this case the Republican George F. Edmunds of Vermont.

Hendricks, the former Governor of Indiana, had been a compromise candidate largely because he was unknown among the general public. It would not be the first time that men with modest public record were chosen when a political party was divided by major issues.

In truth, the Democrats were so elated to finally be back in the Presidential Mansion that very little would have dampened their mood.

The new President would immediately begin addressing both current events and long-term political desires of the nation.

Even before he took office, Hendricks began to communicate with the Republican Congressional leadership. The President would get nothing done without them....and they could not get much done without him.

Deeming himself a reasonable man, Hendricks would address one of the major issues of the day....tariffs. Historically, the Democrats tended to prefer lower tariffs while the Republicans generally preferred higher. But the recent industrialization of the country meant that there were many laborers who preferred higher tariffs as well. The day had past when Democrats could rely upon small farmers for election.

Hendricks would agree to a more modest reduction in tariffs (roughly down from 13% to 10%) and a continued expansion of the money supply via the purchase of as much gold as the country could afford so gold-backed greenbacks could be issued. Though the nation was still years away from a purely paper currency, the path was plain and Hendricks was not aligned with the "Free Silver" rabble who wanted to expand the money supply by switching over to silver currency.

The President also met with several key Republicans and would make an astonishing pronouncement. The 25 year charter of the Freedman's Bureau was to be up before the President's term was to be over (1887). Hendricks would publicly support the Bureau's efforts and agree to expand it for another ten years. Though Hendricks was no great supporter of the black race (he'd asked many times what invention the African had ever created that contributed to humanity), he was seasoned enough to realize what even some Republicans did not: that the suffrage of the Negro could not be taken away for that most practical of reasons.


Over the course of 20 years, the Negro had voted in every state and territory (even those which had been temporarily banished from the nation). In 1862, even many pro-abolitionist Americans were hardly inclined to extend the franchise to the black man, much less put them in schools with white children. But two decades of black political participation led to a series of very logical social changes.

The Freedmen tended to vote overwhelmingly Republican. In many states and Congressional seats, the 11% of the American population that was black determined the winner and losers of elections. Even Republicans from districts or states without a large black base could see that the loss of this demographic would be disastrous to the Party's chances. Thus, the black voter could not be ignored. Every Republican Congressman and Senator was, by default, forced to support the Freedman's Bureau even if they personally didn't give a damn. If they wanted reelection or continued relevance of their party, a group that contributed a fifth of their voters could not be disregarded.

A politician like Hendricks knew this intuitively. Though he'd been a "Union Democrat" and generally considered an abolitionist, Hendricks, like many Americans had been disconcerted with the rapid social change. But that change had now occurred and Hendricks saw little reason to make "race" central to political debate. The Indianan had been appalled at the lawlessness and vindictiveness of the "raiders" over the years and was no less brutal in suppressing them than his Republican predecessor.

With all but three states returned to the Union, the President felt that true peace (absent 25 years) may be returned to the nation. But a sudden attempt to disenfranchise the Freedman would only lead to another Civil War. Thus, Hendricks had no intention of doing that. If he were to end Reconstruction tomorrow, he suspected that the South would turn into a charnel pit of slaughter. This time, however, the blacks would not be returning to the fields. They would no doubt give as well as they got.

Thus, the pact with the Republicans to extend the Freeman's Charter was only logical, as much for his own Party as the Republicans (and the Negroes, of course). In conjunction with this announcement, the President would also inform the nation that the States of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina would be encouraged to "request readmission to the Union" with a formal vote in the fall. Hendricks stressed that the Federal requirements for readmission remained in effect. The state must ratify all Amendments enacted since the War between the States and accept the primacy of Federal Law (including voting rights).

Many in the South smirked, assuming that some remnant of the old order was to be restored.
Chapter 208
April, 1885


Though he'd been largely discredited after supporting the rather disastrous attempt to unify Germany under Prussian leadership, Otto von Bismarck had slowly rebuilt his reputation after years of service to the King (he still imagined the leader of House of Hohenzollern as the German Emperor, not merely an unpopular King surrounded by others) in various positions.

In 1885, the Prussian would be elevated to Chancellor and embark upon a new series of "reforms". Among these were the expulsion of most Poles and Jews remaining in Prussia. This would prove unpopular in the German Confederation who considered it both cold and provocative to their neighbors (though Poland's master, Russia, didn't care much either way). This would prove to be another symbol of the growing nationalism of Europe.

May, 1885


In addition to his unexpected plethora of agreements with the Republicans over tariff policy, expansion of greenbacks and the Freedman's Bureau charter extension, the President would also quietly follow the previous administration's policy in Venezuela where that nation appeared to be tearing itself apart.

Thousands of soldiers were dispatched from the shrinking American Army to Guyana's border with Venezuela. General Rosecrans was already exerting control over the inland regions of Venezuela while the warlords operating out of the larger cities of Barcelona, Caracas, Valencia and Barquisimeto fought over control of the rest. By summer of 1885, Rosecrans controlled much of southern Anzoategui and Monagas as well as all of Sucre. This represented only a very small percentage of Venezuela's population as these regions were always lightly populated (over 90% of Venezuela's population resided within a few dozen miles of the coast prior to the war).

America now controlled over 64% of pre-war Venezuela's territory but less than 5% of the population (Zulia controlled another 10% of the territory and population).

Guyana had proven effectively worthless to America in the past decade since acquisition. The sugar plantations had been largely reclaimed by the forests for lack of workers and disappointing profits on the rare occasions when labor WAS available. There was the odd bit of mining here or there but there seemed no real value to the region. Attempts to entice immigrants largely failed to even replace the large quantity of Guyanese (mostly black and mestizo) emigrating to Africa or mainland America or Colombia (as workers on the Canal).


Abraham Lincoln was having the time of his life. Though he'd been informed that the new President actually EXTENDED the Freedman's Bureau's Charter, Lincoln still worried about the future of the country in Democrat hands. But that was no longer the responsibility of an old man.

Lincoln, his sons and his old friend Frederick Douglass had spent months travelling Africa and greatly enjoyed the freedom. He was surprised to find a familiar face. The young son of the New York magnate and political fixer Theodore Roosevelt was stationed by the Co-Protectorate in Zanzibar and assigned to escort his esteemed countrymen around. A rather enlightening safari through the countryside proved the young man's adventuresome spirit.

Roosevelt was obviously a "great white hunter" but would express his dissatisfaction with the rapid elimination of all types of animals in only a few years of Anglo-American domination of the region. He had proposed a "reserve" system for vast swathes of Africa akin to the expanding National Park system in America. Having risen in a short period up the hierarchy in the Co-Protectorate hierarchy, the man's ideas were gaining traction with the Governing Council of East Africa (10 Americans, 10 British and 1 each from Egypt, Morocco, Madagascar and Ethiopia). A dynamo of energy, the youth was radically changing the East African slaving capital of Zanzibar.

Lincoln could see resentment from the old Arab merchant classes but apparently the racial demographic was quickly changing as Freed Slaves, mainland Africans, Indian Merchants (often Muslim and Christian) and North American "Returnees" established new neighborhoods on the island even as the Council debated establishing a new Capital on the mainland.

Though Lincoln and Douglass were not exactly young men, they managed to climb upon the backs of an elephant and rode throughout the African Savannah, so radically different from the forests of western Africa.

June 1885

New York

The Head of the Statue of Liberty, a gift of Napoleon III of France, would arrive in New York in an attempt to reconcile with America after years of discord. A subscription had been raised over the past two years in America to acquire enough money for the base of the monument (it would cost more than the Statue itself) currently being erected on the chosen site, Ellis Island (chosen over Bedloe's Island which would become the primary immigrant processing station of America).
Chapter 209
July, 1885

Wilton, NY

Having been given the death sentence months before, President Grant would finally expire of throat cancer. The nation would go into mourning as the President was laid in state in Washington for a full week. President Hendricks would give a moving speech before the late President would take his final journey by rail to Illinois.


Having grown tired of the chaos of Venezuela, the Admiralty would implore President Hendricks to allow a full-on blockade of the entire Venezuelan coast. This was intended not just to force whoever was in charge of the nation (about half a dozen warlords by now) to formally cede the inland regions already conquered by America....but to do something to halt the slaughter. An estimated 150,000 lives had already been lost (out of a prewar population of 1,800,000. Given that about 500,000 resided in lands taken by America or broken off into Zulia, the losses were horrific. Another 100,000 fled to Guyana, American-controlled Venezuela, Zulia or Colombia.

German Confederation

Beyond the drama unfolding in Prussia, a great many things were happening in Germany.

Gottlied Daimler invented the water-cooled engine and the reitwagen (the first motorcycle) in the same year that Karl Benz built the first real automobile.


Andreas Schimper, a famous German naturalist and botanist, would spend years in Guyana and other parts of South America where he would make great contributions to science. Having visited the United States (North America) before, he was granted leave to explore the fauna and flora of Guyana in hopes that he may increase America's understanding of the vast Guyanan Shield.

Perhaps his greatest contribution was ensuring that vast swathes of the remote and isolated region would be recommended for National Parks akin to the Yellowstone, Yosemite and Everglades National Parks.
Chapter 210
August, 1885

Ceremony in town of Banff, State of Columbia / Saskatchewan Territory - Nakoda National Park

President Hendricks would travel by rail during the summer Congressional recess to formally sign the bill embodying the Nakoda National Park on land purchased from the Stoney Nakoda (a large adjacent land was set up as a Reserve and the Nakoda would be given free access to the Park). This would be the latest in a long line of National Parks apparently proliferating on a regular basis. Banff was a small mountain town named by the President of the Northern Pacific Railroad after his home town in Scotland.

Having only presided for a few months, Hendricks was already exhausted and was happy to get the hell out of Washington during the hideously hot summer (he thought Indianapolis was hot in summer). The Indianan was in poor health, something he had hidden during the election. A year prior, while bathing at hot springs, he would suffer weeks of partial paralysis. Fortunately, the isolated politician was able to keep this quiet.

Both the Galapagos Islands and much of Easter Island were so designated as well and Congress was debating turning huge swathes of the Guyana Shield for National Parks as well.

Hendricks would also struggle with the reports coming from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama that voter intimidation for the September election was so rampant that there was no way whatsoever that they would be "free".

Hendricks had been an abolitionist Union Democrat during the War between the States but had never taken the black man as an equal. But this was now the case throughout the nation. Over a dozen black men sat in Congress....some of whom the President hoped to entice support for votes. Allowing such voter suppression to continue in just three states would open the nation up to political turmoil once again, just as the nation's future seemed so bright. This Hendricks could not allow.

Quoting hundreds of accounts from Federal Employees, testimony by voters, the Army and the Freedman's Bureau, President Hendricks would formally annul the September election intended to renew South Carolinian, Alabaman and Georgian citizenship in the Union.

Predictably, much of his own Party erupted in outrage but the President received a great deal of support from Northern Democrats. He was also well away from Washington and didn't have to put up with the worst of the vitriol.

Sporadic violence would emerge through these states which were largely isolated enough for the garrison to put down easily enough. The President would announce he would "welcome" the return of these states to the Union once they accepted the social changes of the past 25 years.

September, 1885

Coast of Venezuela's assorted divided territories.

Having devolved into tiny states surrounding the larger cities of Venezuela (Barquisimeto, Valencia, Caracas and Barcelona), the United States Naval Squadron blockaded the ports in hopes of ending any influx of war material to the feuding states. While war material WAS being cut off, the vicious border conflicts continued as regional armies devolved into abject savages. Rural villages were raided, plundered and burned....all for no particular gain for any side. Soon starvation would set in again for lack of a harvest and the Americans were forced to amend the blockade to allow food shipments...not that very many people could afford foreign grain.

Misery piled on top of misery for the Venezuelans.

South Carolina

Over the past decade, South Carolina had convulsed in social change as well as political stagnation. Perhaps the most important development (well, since Abolition) had been the rise of defacto "Unions" of agricultural workers.

Many black South Carolinians had migrated out in the past twenty-five years, putting white South Carolinians in a modest majority for the first time in many decades. However, the remaining black citizens, most still owning their own land, would remain in sharecropping or migrant labor positions. But the demand for labor exceeded the supply and the Freedman's Bureau quietly and unofficially arranged for a detailed list of those South Carolinian plantation owners who opposed black suffrage or encouraged violence. These landowners would find themselves effectively boycotted by the rice, indigo and cotton harvesters and many would be bankrupted over the past decade.

Eventually, only those white South Carolinian landowners willing to at least keep their thoughts to themselves would manage to hire workers to harvest their crops. This naturally increased tensions.

Land (and slave) ownership had long been associated with southern gentry. Historically, most office holders in South Carolina (and most southern states) had been landowners of this class mixed with the odd doctor or lawyer sitting in the Legislature. Now, this was changing as non-plantation owners were becoming the new gentry (merchants, tradesmen and other "unsavory" types) who were less tied to the old social order of the past. Increased urbanization was occurring even in the south. This also represented a shift in local power.

While a "Reconstruction Legislature" had long been embodied, it was very much a rubber stamp organization with little power and limited only to those who swore an oath to all aspects of the new order.

A bitter conflict between whites was emerging which was almost as disruptive to the region as Emancipation had been.
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Just read through this all. Got to say overall I love it.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (world knows us as Mormons); my only dissenting opinion on your alternate timeline would be your portrayal of the Mormons in story. The actions taken by Brigham Young in your story are way out of character for who the man actually was. The man advocated cooperation with the United States where possible. It is true that Brigham Young viewed that God's laws superseded the United States, but generally speaking the two institutions laws dovetailed together nicely.

Our church has a series of beliefs called articles of faith. One of them specifically states loyalty and obedience to the laws of the land. While there are exceptions to this rule, generally speaking most LDS members from Joseph Smith's time period to now; have been law abiding citizens.

Sorry about this large dissertation on my church. I just felt compelled to put my two cents in on the subject. Hopefully it doesn't comes across as mean, combative or argumentative. I also hope I didn't violate any site rules. I just wanted to give some constructive feedback.

Overall I love the story. The first half looked like an English screw, them it became a French screw, and now I'm just holding on enjoying the ride like Lincoln is with that Elephant.

Keep it up and looking forward to more.
Chapter 211
October, 1885


President Thomas Hendricks had one major regret since ascending to the Presidency.....having taken the oath at all. Or merely having returned from Banff. He wondered if the day would come if he could have all his mail directed from Washington to some remote location and just work from there.......thousands of miles from Washington....and Congress.

Hendricks' decision to annul the elections in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama led to an open revolt among members of his own party....though he did receive a level of support from the Republicans for his actions.

Hendricks had spent four years as Governor of Indiana and found the task arduous when dealing with a intransigent Republican Legislature. In some way, the opposition was the least of his worries in Washington.

The President had thrown his support behind the Freedman's Bureau and sent the strongest possible message that the former Confederate states would have to abide by Federal terms.

In truth, Hendricks had managed a relatively successful legislative session over the past seven months. His negotiations with the Republicans prior to taking the Oath would allow for a compromise regarding the annual budget, tariffs, incremental issuance of more paper currency, relative peace on Foreign policy (Co-Protectorate, Venezuela).

The Cabinet had been difficult to fill as he refused to offer high-level positions to his rivals Grover Cleveland and Thomas Bayard (both of which fancied the Secretary of State position). Having suffered the snub, the Governor of New York and Senator of Delaware would do much to undermine their the first Democratic President elected in 28 years.

Cleveland's resentment was personal, a result of his defeat for the Democratic nomination.

Bayard's was political. Arguably the last of the pre-war establishment Democrats, Bayard still viewed American politics through the lens of the old order: the Democrats carried the "solid south" which meant they only needed a few more states in the north to gain an electoral victory. However, this was no longer demographically accurate. Rapid population expansion of the northern and western states while the south stagnated would alter the demographics greatly. Even carrying the south would not do much to guarantee future elections. And the south was no longer "solid" given that several states like Texas, Cahaba, Mississippi, Calusa, Florida, Kanawha, Arkansas, Nickajack and North Carolina had all voted Republican more than once in recent years and even Louisiana barely fell to the Democrats in the past election.

No, the "solid south" was solid no more. Democrats only won the election by virtue of several razor thin majorities in key northern states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana). Had it not been for several blindingly stupid speeches by his political neophyte opponent which riled up Republican supporters, it was unlikely Hendricks would have carried much in the north beyond his home state.

Hendricks considered this fair given that Democrats were due a break after horrifically botching several elections in the 1870's. Let the Republicans be their own worst enemy for a while. But the Indianan doubted that the opposition would make such a mistake twice.

As it was, the President could afford to ignore the backbiting of his failed rivals. Cleveland and Bayard had both largely been discredited as public candidates and could only effect influence going forward via backroom deals thus....they only had power if he deemed to give it to them. Having no particular affection for either, Hendricks chose to turn a blind eye to petty slights from the pair of them. Only Bayard had any real influence in Washington.

The Cabinet was somewhat....lackluster. Most of the Secretaries were of the 2nd rank....largely known more for administration than anything else as Hendricks lacked support from high-ranking Democrats. This allowed him to select soldiers and bureaucrats rather than politicians. Winfield Scott Hancock was the most notable. The General was perhaps the highest-ranking soldier of the war to steadily align with Democrats. Several other soldiers were appointed to Ministry positions. General John C. Black was appointed to Secretary of State....despite only serving for a few years on the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee.

George Hoady and Allen Thurman of Ohio would accept positions as Secretary of the Interior and Attorney General.

It wasn't the best cabinet in American history, Hendricks would wryly concede, but it was functional.

In October, the President would witness the launch of the two latest American battleships, the USS Arizona and the newest USS Maine (a sentimental pick). It was a pleasant duty, one at least partially removed from politics. In the carriage ride home from the shipyard, Hendricks would be afflicted with the same partial paralysis he'd suffered the previous year. He would take to his bed and only emerge after a few days, with visible problems walking. As with the previous incidents, Hendricks would keep the illness secret, known only to his closest aides and his wife Eliza (who personally nursed him).
Just read through this all. Got to say overall I love it.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (world knows us as Mormons); my only dissenting opinion on your alternate timeline would be your portrayal of the Mormons in story. The actions taken by Brigham Young in your story are way out of character for who the man actually was. The man advocated cooperation with the United States where possible. It is true that Brigham Young viewed that God's laws superseded the United States, but generally speaking the two institutions laws dovetailed together nicely.

Our church has a series of beliefs called articles of faith. One of them specifically states loyalty and obedience to the laws of the land. While there are exceptions to this rule, generally speaking most LDS members from Joseph Smith's time period to now; have been law abiding citizens.

Sorry about this large dissertation on my church. I just felt compelled to put my two cents in on the subject. Hopefully it doesn't comes across as mean, combative or argumentative. I also hope I didn't violate any site rules. I just wanted to give some constructive feedback.

Overall I love the story. The first half looked like an English screw, them it became a French screw, and now I'm just holding on enjoying the ride like Lincoln is with that Elephant.

Keep it up and looking forward to more.

Thanks for the opinion, feel free to add any further whenever you like.
Nice chapter. I like how both mundane and fast moving the timeline has gotten since the end of the Civil War. The world does not continuously operate on spontaneous and combustible events. President Hendricks seems to be smart, knows that constantly relying on the South to carry you is not possible anymore. Lets hope his presidency stays peaceful and without major trouble. Keep up the good work.