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

Chapter 212
November, 1885


President Thomas Hendricks would state that he was feeling ill on the evening of November, 24th and go to bed early. He would never wake up, passing sometime in his sleep the following night.

Hendricks' death would America in a terrible political crisis as Vice-President-elect Samuel Randall had died prior to taking office. Per Federal law, the Vice-President would have assumed the office of President. Next in succession was.... the President Pro Tempore of the Senate: Republican George F. Edmunds of Vermont.

The law was somewhat unclear on the definition of Edmunds' powers. He was to be "Acting President". That meant, to some, that he would not bear the full powers of the office including the right to alter the cabinet. Others assumed that a new election would be called to fulfill the remainder of the term.

Edmunds would not see any difference between "Acting President" and "President". Indeed, he also flatly asked the Democrats to point out where, in any law passed in American history, which mandated or even suggested calling for a new election. As far as the Vermont man was concerned, HE was President...."Acting" or not.

In truth, Edmunds had actually liked Hendricks and had supported most of the compromises the late President had approved. What was more, Edmunds realized that "stealing the election" as the Democrats were already charging amid more ridiculous claims of assassination would only lead to decades of strife. The 1824 Election of John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson was decided not by voters but by Congressional backroom politicking. This left Jackson's faction paranoid and vengeful for years afterwards and a generation of politics was poisoned (even more than usual) much to the detriment of the nation.

"Acting President" Edmunds would spend his first months quietly referring challenges to his authority to his attorneys. Oddly, his own Attorney General, Allen Thurman, was considered among the best legal minds in the Senate and openly admitted that the "Acting President" was not required to call another election. He may continued as "Acting President" until the next scheduled election in 1888.

Indeed, Edmunds would not even request immediate resignation of his Cabinet. Hoping to stay the political rancor, the "Acting President" only called for the resignation of a few higher officials, including Hoady, the only Cabinet Secretary for whom Edmunds had serious policy differences. Hoady refused and Edmunds ordered all the Secretary of Interior's papers confiscated by the career bureaucrats. This naturally provoked rounds of protest....which Edmunds largely ignored with good humor.


Commodore Dewey would look against at the smoke billowing from La Guaira, the port to the inland city of Caracas, five miles inland. Looking further across the horizon, he saw large black clouds above the city. By nightfall, he would see the eerie glow of the city aflame against the sky.

The Junta of Valencia had stolen a march on their capital equivalent and the raid would burn much of they city. By the end of 1885, the caudillos of Barcelona and Barquisimeto would appeal to the Americans (both Dewey at sea and Rosecrans on land) to recognize them as independent republics. As there two "republics" happened to be the ones which bordered the new American claims in the southeast and Zulia in the west, a recommendation was forwarded to Washington for President Hendricks (they would not know until the end of December than Hendricks was dead) to approve the proposal. If nothing else, dividing Venezuela into smaller states would make the consolidation of the Orinoco and Venezuelan hinterland regions far easier.
Chapter 213
March, 1886


Having been authorized by the State Department to "negotiate", Governor John Lynch of Guyana would sail to Barcelona where the regional Junta had gained control over the eastern Venezuelan coast including Sucre and the northern portions of Anzoategui, Monagas and Guarico. Eastern Venezuela was relatively sparsely populated relative to the west and, if Caracas, Valencia, Maracaibo and Barquisimeto ever got their act together (i.e. ending the civil war), then Barcelona would fall in no time. Given the slaughter of the past several years, the ruling Junta of Barcelona was terrified of what would happen should the Capital forces turn their eyes eastward.

Over the past two years, Governor Lynch and General Rosecrans had concentrated on protecting the inland Indian villages and plantation laborers from the endless bandits taking advantage of the chaos. Lynch was particularly guilt-ridden as the desperate situation in Venezuela was at least partly to blame upon the United States actions.

But Rosecrans and his 5000 American regulars and militia occupied most of southern Anzoategui, Monagas and Guarico. When President Hendricks took office, the black Mississippian had assumed that he would be recalled but that never occurred. Lynch suspected that, should the Venezuela situation devolve further, that Hendricks simply wanted to have someone else to blame. Thus, for nearly seven months of the Hendricks administraiton, the former Republican Senator would remain in Guyana with political authority over Rosecrans and his "Army of Guyana".

Or maybe Hendricks just didn't want Lynch returning to Mississippi to run for office again.

President Edmunds had done little to alter the situation in the past 5 months either, no doubt the man rather busy with the political chaos erupting from an unprecedented shift in power. Thus, Lynch, eager to aid the large agrarian interior, would dispatch Rosecrans to assume control of more and more land north of the Orinoco. By 1886, the Americans had seized huge swathes of the central Venezuela plains. Despite America now controlling roughly 65% of pre-Civil War Venezuela, this amount to only about 7% of the population (120,000 or so souls) and that was disproportionately Indian, Mestizo and Mulatto spread over a vast area.

Lynch and Rosecrans would spend more time fighting brigands than Venezuelan armies.

When the Barcelona Junta asked for peace and assistance in maintaining their hegemony over the northeastern Venezuelan coast, Lynch agreed to negotiation....provided that America maintained a claim to the suffering Venezuelan plains already under her control. Lynch didn't care about the land but had been shocked by the devastation among the black and mulatto sharecroppers and Indian villages.

Thus, a line was drawn which granted the very lightly populated south of Anzoategui, Monagas and Guarico to Guyana while Lynch and Rosecrans agreed to "ensure the border" of the new "Federal Republic of Barcelona" until the treaty (and boundary) would be approved by President Edmunds and Congress.

There had been no official direction to Lynch to do any of this but the political chaos in America would leave Lynch a great deal of autonomy (almost unprecedented) for a regional territorial governor.


President Edmunds had actually enjoyed working with Secretary of State Black and Secretary of War Hancock. Soldiers tended to be efficient administrators and were respectful to superiors. Despite calls from his own party to remove them, the Vermonter was happy to keep them along. It at least avoided the worst of the Democrat outrage at losing the Presidency.

Secretary of the Interior Hoady was the highest level man to be publicly fired. Other officials like Attorney General Thurman, the Postmaster General and a few other lesser posts opted to resign after a few months. Edmunds actually gave a moving speech thanking each man for his service (ensuring it was publicized) and thus making future complaints against him seem crass. Edmunds had delighted in verbally tweaking the noses of Democrats over the years, particularly the southerners, and knew full well how to play the game.

In truth, despite all the vitriol (a suit to the Supreme Court attempting to force a special election to fill out the rest of the term was no doubt going nowhere) from the Democrats, Edmunds was growing more irritated with his own Party than anything else. James Blaine, whom Edmunds liked personally but found to be corrupt and self-serving, was demanding a high position in the government, most recently Secretary of State. However, Blaine was no longer in the Senate and his influence was muted. Let him whinge to his heart's content.

Various other lawsuits were being filed to attempt to limit his powers as "Acting President" but Edmunds wasn't bothered. He would do as he felt right.
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Chapter 214
May, 1886


Having been summoned home to personally account for his actions in Guyana/Venezuela as well as personally testify to the President and Congress regarding his proposed treaty with the "Republic of Barcelona), John Roy Lynch of Mississippi would receive a mixed welcome. Anti-imperialists and those disinclined to support anything a black man did with power would criticize him. Those ambitious for American expansion in ANY direction or interested in the humanitarian situation in the collapsed nation of Venezuela would hail his actions.

Effectively, Lynch negotiated with the Junta in Barcelona to recognize the eastern coastal regions of Venezuela as an independent country and guarantee her borders.....in exchange for them ceding the southeastern areas of Venezuela (the Plains) to America.

After much debate, Congress would approve the "Treaty of Barcelona" with only a handful of dissenters though many would wonder why America was extorting yet more territory in South America which bore no conceivable usefulness to the nation. The Guyana Shield was basically all highland and mountain, much of it impassible and not even useful for timber export. Few navigable rivers were present either beyond the Orinoco, the effective dividing line between the Guyana Shield and the Venezuelan lowlands.

Now America was expanding into the LOWLANDS too?!

What for? It was obvious that the land wasn't worth much beyond modest agriculture. Even that was hampered by the black sludge which seemed to bubble up through the soil in much of the Venezuelan plains. Instead, Lynch had gotten America into god knows who much trouble in the future with such chaotic neighbors.

Many likened the seizure of the Venezuelan plain to purchasing Alaska. What good had THAT territory ever done for America?

To Lynch's surprise, he would be recommended as the first black man to Cabinet position, taking over the Secretary of the Interior post.

Frankfurt, German Confederation

The Triple Alliance was formally signed in 1886 in the German Confederation Capital of Frankfurt. The Confederation, Hungary and Croatia were the initial signatories. Bohemia was similarly invited but that nation found Germany more intimidating that Russia (one of the primary reasons for the Alliance).

The Latin Alliance between France and Italy would get nervous at this and begin casting about for alliances. Russia was the obvious solution based upon the "enemy of my enemy" theory. Napoleon IV would dispatch diplomats but would receive only a modest and vague response.

Indeed, the greatest reaction regarding this entreaty would be the sudden interest from London regarding the French attempts to forge a great alliance....which could only be detrimental to British interests. After nearly two decades of defeat, the French Empire had regained financial and military strength. Resentment of losing an Empire abroad to Britain (which also stymied Franco-Italian attempts to establish a foothold in Africa), a humiliating defeat to the German Confederation and public unrest would bring French public anger to a boiling point.

Napoleon IV needed an outlet for this and happily pointed in the direction of his nation's enemies.

The French Navy was FINALLY producing ships to rival those of Britain (and Italy, America and Russia) and a rapid expansion of the heavy steel-hulled vessels with massive armaments was well along. As Britain had stripped France of her colonies, this indirectly allowed France (and Italy) to gain regional superiority in the Mediterranean once more by consolidating her fleet. For several years, the heavy Italian warships were the most powerful on earth. However, by 1886, Great Britain, America and France were similarly churning out several massive ships per year. Russia would proceed nearly as fast while China, Brazil, Japan, Chile and Peru similarly purchased or produced their own competing vessels.

In 1885, Chile would purchase a French ship which could have single-handedly obliterated the entire American Navy in 1875. The Naval Arms Race, which had taken a momentary breath after the defeat of France and Russian withdrawal from most world politics, was back in force.


Ex-President Abraham Lincoln and ex-slave Frederick Douglass were greatly enjoying India. After spending months in Africa, the pair (and Lincoln's two sons) would visit several destination throughout the subcontinent prior to embarking once more (after a farewell dinner with the Viceroy) and the duo were off to Siam in May of 1886.

King Chulalongkorn would receive both amicably as his teacher, Mrs. Leonowens had spoken highly of President Lincoln decades before and the late King Mongkut had even offered several war elephants to Lincoln for use during the War Between the States.

After weeks of lavish hospitality, the pair would proceed on to Australia.
Chapter 215
August, 1886


The Summer Recess of 1886 would be eventful. It would not be until Congress was reseated in 1886 that the Treaty of Barcelona was finally approved and new Secretary of the Interior Lynch became the first black man to hold a cabinet post (besides the head of the Freedman's Bureau, which didn't really count).

Thus America would formally lay claim to roughly 2/3's of the former Venezuela (though less than 10% of the population).

As part of the agreement, General Rosecrans would situate 1000 American soldiers near the Republic of Barcelona's border with Caracas.

America also formally recognized the "Republic of Venezuela" (i.e. those regions just east of Zulia). That left the two states run by the Juntas of Caracas and Valencia. Both cities had been ravaged in the war and resembled more like burned-out husks of the hungry and desperate.

New York

President Edmunds would formally inaugurate the Statue of Liberty in 1886 (after a few months of delays). The French would send a group of dignitaries in hopes of renewing good ties with America.

Rio de Janeiro

For the past years, the Empress of Brazil would happily cede most of her authority to the government. Isabel had no interest in politics. Her French nobleman husband would go progressively deaf, slowly reducing long term Brazilian distrust of the Duke of Eu acting as defacto Emperor. In truth, the Duke was never interested as much in politics as was publicly feared and his deafness made him less of a threat.

However, Brazil's government itself was being strained by international relations on the Continent. A border conflict between Ecuador and Colombia was causing strain as was a similar problem between Chile and the Argentine over territory in the Puno de Atacama.

Bolivia, the Argentine AND Paraguay were engaged in a war of words over the inland Chaco region.

Chile had never reconciled with their humiliation by the United States Navy years before when they were prevented from pushing into Bolivia's Litoral Province. The negotiated treaty strictly demanded that Chilean citizens and private property (saltpetre industry mainly) would be protected along the coast of Bolivia....but that was promptly ignored and most Chileans evicted within two years from the dispute zone. This would never be forgiven by the Chileans.

Brazil would purchase several large warships from Italy and France and ties to the "Latin Alliance" would tighten as large numbers of French and Italian immigrants (or short term workers) would arrive, greatly altering the demographics of the region in a short amount of time.
Chapter 216
September, 1886

30 miles west of Sydney, Australia

Abraham Lincoln was utterly stunned by the....well.....freakish.....fauna of Australia. He could not make heads or tails of some of the animals. The kangaroos were awe-inspiring and some of the other animals (a platypus was kept in an exhibit) could not easily even be described.

Frederick Douglass would fall ill for a long week in August but would recover. It was obvious that the two men were aging.

But, while the pair were in Thailand, the Chinese Envoy to Bangkok wrote a letter of the foreign dignitaries to the Court in Beijing. The Mandarin would order his diplomats to dispatch a message to Sydney on one of the few Chinese vessels to ply the trade (Australia would, like America, ban Chinese immigration) and invite the two men to Court.

This was a rare and almost unprecedented honor and Lincoln and Douglass felt obligated to accept. Hiring a translator in Australia (a Eurasian bastard son of a female British convict and a Chinese trader), the Lincoln-Douglass party would continue on to Beijing.


Lord Salisbury, Northcote and Chamberlain would look upon international events with a wary eye. The Continent appeared forming into enemy camps. Though the English Channel had long cut off Britain from the mainland quite effectively, the rise of modern steamships greatly narrowed that gap to the point that only a massive, permanent fleet could protect Britain's shores.

France and Italy visibly chaffed at the restrictions upon Empire (not that Great Britain had experienced endless joy with theirs) and Britain was the only outlet to this frustration.

The Conservatives would begin to cast about for their own allies. America alone was not to be trusted to actively support Britain in a war over Africa with multiple European parties. It always seemed more likely that the Americans, who were hardly robust in their support for the Co-Protectorate, would turn tail across the Atlantic.

Salisbury would consider an offer of alliance with Russia though he dismissed this. Russia had no real rivalry with France or Italy on the Continent and had no overwhelming reason for any form of alliance. Just making the offer and being rejected would make Britain seem weak and desperate in the eyes of the Czar and other European nations.

Eventually, the German Federation looked like a more reasonable ally. Germany was an obvious threat to both France and Italy and the Latin Alliance could hardly afford to use overly many resources abroad if facing a strong threat on their border.

Of course, THIS had its own dangers as the Confederation could drag Britain into an unwanted war itself. And there was always the chance that this new "Triple Alliance" (Germany, Hungary and Croatia) may pick a fight with Russia....perhaps the one thing Britain was most ardent to avoid. The Russian Bear had been relatively quiet of late. Fears of aggression in India had proven.....overstated.....much to the chagrin of those British diplomats that led the nation into a pointless war with Russia in Afghanistan which directly lead to the 2nd Mutiny.

Salisbury could see potential advantages in an alliance....but perhaps greater pitfalls. For the moment, Great Britain would do nothing beyond extending good will to all of Europe...knowing that the armed camp which the continent had become was more likely to get worse than better.
Map of South America - 1886
Fenians - Map of South America - 1886.png
Chapter 217
October 30th, 1886


President Edmunds had spent almost a year as "Acting President" and fending off large numbers of legal challenges to his authority with an air of bored indifference. He knew there was no law on the books which mandated a new election or any limitation on his powers. "Acting President" or not, Edmunds didn't bother altering his decisions.

By November, the only holdovers from the Hendricks Administration was the Secretary of State and Secretary of War, both ex-soldiers who could be counted upon to follow orders. Besides, both of those positions tended to be less partisan than others and Edmunds found few disagreements in actual policy with Secretary of State Black or Secretary of War Hancock. Both knew these were probably the last major contributions to the nation they would make in their careers and were pleased to continue in office.

As it was, it would no longer be under President Edmunds. While out for his daily walk in Washington, the President was struck in the chest by a rifle bullet fired from nearly 50 yards away. A man had placed himself in an alley behind a mound of garbage and quietly waited for the President to predictably walk by on his regular route. The bullet would also nick his spine, causing the man to collapse in a heap. The four soldiers assigned to accompany him would immediately cast about the busy thoroughfare for the assailant but, in the chaos, could not pick up from where the shot had been fired. Several passersby were tackled by the soldiers and roughly searched for handguns.

In the meantime, the assassin abandoned his rifle where it lay and quickly walked out the other end of the alley. No one spared him a second glance.


Though the private audience with the Emperor would be brief...but still notable as the Mandarin seldom granted personal meetings. He even spoke a few words directly with the Americans rather than through intermediaries.

It was considered quiet the honor.

In truth, both Americans were embarrassed by the anti-Chinese immigration policies of their country (and Australia's) but that didn't come up in the conversation (if the Emperor actually cared in the slightest).

Instead a few polite words were exchanged....and the audience over, the dismissal obvious.

But the weeks spent in the bustling city of Beijing and other large metropolis' were rather jarring. Lincoln had considered Chicago and New York to be distractingly busy but they had nothing on the massive Chinese cities.

Like other potentates Lincoln and Douglass had visited on their travels (Morocco, Egypt, various Indian princes, Siam and now China), the pair were showered with gifts. The Mandarin (or his diplomats) offered a silk tapestry with Chinese script upon it. Though both had shown interest in the language, neither could decrypt them until later when their translator would explain it was something of a philosophical message.

Lincoln and Douglass would return to Sydney and await the next transport....this time to Hawaii.


Once again, King Alphonso of Spain would reject the entreaties of his friend Louis IV to join his Latin Alliance. Spain had no vendetta against anyone the Alliance would likely fight and possessed no more ambition to partake in colonial campaigns.

The King intended for his country to be neutral if the rest of Europe insisted on forming armed camps.

Mexico City

President Jose Iglesias would announce that he would step down from power in 1885. Having achieved most of what he wanted in his term (annexation of Guatemala, peace with the Apache, expansion of the railroads, growth in the mining and agricultural sector), Iglesias opted to retire while he was ahead.

The young Justo Sierra, only 38 years old, was selected to succeed him.

Sierra's first major act as President was to oversee the state funeral of national hero, Ignacio Zaragoza, who died only months after finally returning home after serving for years as governor of Guatemala State.
Chapter 218
November, 1886


The assassination of "Acting" President Edmunds would spark outrage in the Capital. The first major political assassination in American history would convulse the nation just as the 1886 by-elections were convening. This would provide a modest boost to Republican candidates in states where the polls opened bit later than others.

On the whole, the Republicans would maintain their considerable lead in Congress though many of the Great Plains states would start to migrate over to the Democratic fold.

On November 2nd, 1886, Senate Pro Tempore John Sherman of Ohio was sworn in as Acting President. Sherman was best known for his interest in finance than more controversial issues though he generally supported Republican policy across the board.

The Senate Republicans, who controlled the Pro Tempore vote, had deliberated greatly since Edmunds was elevated to Acting President the prior year as they knew that their next selection was only a heartbeat away from the Presidency. However, unlike a Convention, the only candidates were Senators (though this was not a legal requirement, it was tradition). Thus, the Senate Republicans were solely responsible for choosing who was next in line. Typically, the Senate Pro Tempore was more of an honorary post as never before in American history had both a President and Vice-President failed to survive a 4 year term.

But with the death of President Hendricks, President Pro Tempore Edmunds had become "Acting" President. This left the Senate to select a replacement as Senate Pro Tempore. After much deliberation, several of the more "Moderate" and "Radical" Republicans were dismissed as candidates (which would create some enmity in the chamber) and the somewhat bland but trustworthy John Sherman had been selected as the new Pro Tempore in December of 1885.

With Sherman now the "Acting" President, the Chamber was forced to seek another Pro Tempore.

Republicans were beginning to splinter with the strain of selecting the next in succession. In the meantime, sensing blood, some of the Senate Democrats would propose their own candidate...but internal disputes would rise up there as well.

By January of 1887, the Senate was bogged down in a four man race for President Pro Tempore: Democrat Thomas Bayard of Delaware (representing the "old guard" Democrats), Democrat George Hearst of California (representing a more "centrist" Democrat) , Republican William Allison of Iowa (representing the "centrist" Republicans as well as bi-metal currency and higher tariff interests) and Republican William Frye of Maine (representing the more standard Republican positions).

It would not be until February that it was agreed that William Frye would be the Party's selection (Allison publicly declined the nomination) and enough votes could be counted for a majority.

Rio de Janeiro

Queen Isabel, in frustration, thanks her Ministers for their concern and told them to go do what they wanted. That's all they ever did anyway.

Now her ministers were....once again.....worried that the Americans were attempting to "seize the Amazon". Given that a decade of controlling Guyana had only seen the population DECLINE didn't seem to concern the political hacks. The American seizure of Venezuelan lands north of the Orinoco was evidence enough that the Americans were on the prowl to conquer all of South America.

Isabel considered this idiotic.

Why would anyone move to Guyana? It was even less accessible than the Amazon region.

Fears that America now coveted the rubber plantations springing up near the Bolivian border.....nearly a thousand miles by undeveloped river from the mouth of the Amazon. Indeed, river passage was so difficult that an actual railroad was being built from Brazil's eastern coast to access the area more reliably.

But, of course, the Americans were going to conquer a million square miles of impenetrable wilderness and swamp in order to REACH the rubber baron's little hegemonies.


Her eldest son was now 11. Isabel could not wait until the boy turned 18 and she could hand over the Empire to him. It simply couldn't happen fast enough.
Chapter 219
March, 1887


Despite massive investigation by all facets of government, the assailant of the late President Edmunds would not yet be found. Accusations against the Democrats for "hiding the murderer" would be cast about but no evidence of any form of conspiracy was to be had.

President Sherman had a reputation as a loyal Republican (he had to as his brother William Tecumseh Sherman had served the Confederacy) but one more interested in financial matters like the Central Bank and its relationship with the private banks as well as the purchase of gold for the money supply.

As it would so happen, the money supply issue would largely resolve itself. For the past decade, Republicans had tried to slowly but surely expand the amount of currency in circulation by purchasing gold. This was of primary importance to smaller farmers in the Midwest and West who felt additional money supply allowed for easier payment of debts and its inflationary effect made the debts themselves worth less.

The United States would be the beneficiary of several gold strikes over the next few years (Guyana, Alaska, etc) as well as new technology utilizing cyanide which vastly improved global gold production (though at a terrible environmental cost). The "bi-metalism" and "free silver" movements would slowly wither away as the problem solved itself.

June, 1887


The Queen's 50 year anniversary, her "Golden Jubilee" would be celebrated for weeks. Having finally returned to normal life in the years after the death of her husband, Queen Victoria would once again fulfill her duties and her popularity raised every higher.



The young Theodore Roosevelt would openly break down in tears after learning of his father's death. The two had quarreled over Roosevelt's life choices. He wanted adventure and this he certainly had. Serving the Co-Protectorate in Luanda and Zanzibar, the part-time bureaucrat and part-time soldier had spent years alternating between tedious paperwork and putting down local insurrections.

This was particularly the case in Zanzibar, the ancient capital of the Arab slave trade of African flesh. Organizing a cavalry of local tribesmen, Roosevelt would route a virtual army of 500 men hired by the infamous Omani slaver Tippu Tip. This would finally crush the export slave trade in Africa once and for all though the practice continued within African circles for some time, particularly in the interior of the continent.

Tippu Tip was arrested and exiled to a small island in the Indian Ocean.

With the destruction of Tippu Tip's empire, the tribes of Eastern Africa would rapidly gravitate towards the Co-Protectorate. Though it was not specified anywhere, the Co-Protectorate had long favored Christian religious conversion of the natives. The Arab traders and slavers had long dominated the coast but Islam had not necessarily made huge inroads on the eastern Continent (south of the lands of the Somalis, anyway). Various Christian denominations would preach the faith, mostly Protestants of America and Britain, however, black Catholic priests of Mozambique (converted by the Portuguese) would also convert large numbers of Africans in the coming decades.

Roosevelt did not care overly much about religion and was happy, once the fighting was over, to leave such details to others. Over the years, the American had explored deeply during his long absences from his post and achieved a reputation as an explorer, hunter, conservationist, anti-slaver, administrator and soldier.

With the death of his father, Roosevelt knew his duty was to return to New York and see to the family fortune (as the eldest son). With a heavy heart, Roosevelt would depart Africa and not see it again for many, many years.

August, 1887


The post-bellum had not been kind to South Carolina. Having been so dependent upon slavery (South Carolina was the only antebellum state where most of white families owned slaves and one of the few where slaves outnumber free whites), the abolition had caused groundswells of change.

The rice plantations of the coast largely collapsed for lack of labor as Freedmen departed the state in droves. The inland cotton plantations faced the same. What was more, the Freedmen remaining in South Carolina would (again with Bureau help) politically organize the former slaves into defacto Unions which could boycott their labor on plantations whose owners were less than supportive of their rights.

By this combination of factors - huge numbers of plantations going into receivership, Freedmen Bureau assistance in purchasing land on the broken plantations, the greater powers granted to the Federal Government in occupied states - South Carolina would oddly see the highest levels of land transfer to free blacks in the former Confederacy (not counting those states which had been cut to pieces like Texas and Florida). Nearly 35,000 black South Carolinians had become landowners while the decline of plantations would see blacks moving to the larger cities of South Carolina in droves.

Even as agricultural production in rice, cotton, wheat, meat and other goods dropped by over 50% in the past 20 years in the state, there was an unexpected blooming of manufacturing. In the 1840's, textile mills had become common, largely with slave labor. By the 1850's, capital shifts led to more investment in plantations, effectively killing most industry in the state.

The 1860's would see renewed manufacturing - textiles, timber, phosphates for a short time though this industry was already in decline, etc - out of necessity as both the white and black population searched for work (better than in the fields). Textiles became the natural fit as cotton, though greatly reduced, was still extensively produced.

Mill towns would become common. However, these tended to be very segregated. Some "company" towns were nearly all white while others were nearly all black. After sunset, few dared travel to enemy territory.
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