Let The Eagle Scream Version 2: Star-Spangled-Boogaloo

Chapter 1: The Trial of the Century and A (Somewhat) Radical Reconstruction
Chapter 1: The Trial of the Century and A (Somewhat) Radical Reconstruction


Andrew Johnson, the first POTUS to be impeached

May 16th, 1868

Capitol Hill is caught in a frenzy of activity and excitement. Reporters from every paper in the country jostle for position, and mob incoming Senators for an inkling of what the coming proceedings might mean. Inside the Senate gallery, everyone who's anyone (or can afford to bribe a Senator) is wearing their Sunday's best and trying to ignore the oppressive heat. Outside the Capitol building, large crowds gather waiting to hear the news. Indeed, the whole country is similarly possessed, as anxious newspapermen and government officials across the whole Union are waiting to see what will happen. The United States of America is enthralled by the men in the Senate chamber, for today is the day they try, and potentially remove, the President of the United States. It would be the first time in American history that a President has been removed.

The vote came down to one man: Edmund Ross. A moderate Republican, Ross had been skeptical about the case for impeachment, but also disliked President Johnson's disregard for both Congress and his perceived mishandling of Reconstruction. Further complicating the issue was the fact that if Johnson was impeached, Benjamin Wade would become President. To call Wade a Radical would be an exercise in understatement. Among the positions Wade supported were total equality for African-Americans, trade union rights, and women's suffrage. At best, Wade would preside over a dysfunctional government. At worst, the South would have another mass uprising.

It was with this in mind that Ross met with Wade and Speaker of the House Schulyer Colfax on May 15th. They discussed the trial and its implications for several hours. By suppertime, an agreement had been made. Ross would vote for the removal of Andrew Johnson. In return, Benjamin Wade would decline the Presidency, which would then default to Colfax. While Colfax was still a member of the Radical Republicans, he was among the more moderate wing of that group. The stage was set.

On May 18th, the roll-call vote began. When Ross was called, he voted guilty. A great moment of silence followed, which then became a mighty shout of commotion. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase eventually restored order after great difficulty, which did involve the Sargent-at-Arms ejecting quite a few people from the gallery. The roll-call vote continued, but the result was already known. Upon the conclusion of the vote, President Johnson announced that he would vacate the White House within a week. Arrangements were made to swear in Benjamin Wade, but he declined, remarking "While I am humbled beyond all belief to have been honored this most sacred office, I feel it to be beyond my talents and faculties. I will be of much better use to my country in the Senate." Colfax was sworn in on May 25th, as was his Vice-President, moderate Republican Representative William B. Washburn.


Schulyer Colfax, 18th President of the United States


William B. Washburn, his VP

Many Radical Republicans hoped that the old Wade-Davis Bill would be reintroduced. This was a non-starter for Colfax, who feared it could reignite the Confederacy. However, he was far from soft on the South. The day after he took office, his Administration introduced The Colfax Loyalty Bill. All states who wished to rejoin the Union now needed 25% of their population to swear a loyalty oath, and an amendment to state constitutions that protected voting rights for African-American men. Tennessee, who had already rejoined, was exempt from the loyalty requirement but the constitutional amendment had to be added by year's end to prevent a return to military rule. The bill was rushed through in little over two weeks, to beat the planned readmission of several Southern states under the more lenient plan. This was as popular down in Dixie as one might expect.

The much feared Second Coming of the Confederacy didn't materialize. Frankly, the South was far too exhausted for such an effort. However, this doesn't mean that they took the new laws lying down. The KKK, the Redshirts (not to be confused with Garibaldi's) and other so-called Redeemer groups grew by an order of magnitude. The state government of Tennessee was preparing on calling Colfax's bluff and refusing to insert the required constitutional amendment. The surprise appearance of 8,000 Federal troops in Nashville on November 2nd, 1868, intended as both a warning and a trigger presence in case violence broke out, was enough of an incentive to get the Tennessee government to acquiesce. Helping this intimidation was the fact that a day later, Colfax won re-election. There was no chance of waiting him out in the near-term. The day after the election, over 70 African-Americans were lynched in the South, and Federal troops were beset by mobs. The response to this was a massive troop surge into the South.

November 4th, 1868 is often considered the start of what is widely referred to as The Redemption War. The Redemption War can perhaps be considered the first true modern counter-insurgency. Federal troops faced off against white supremacist militias across the South. Most of the War was fought in forests, swamps, backwoods, and small settlements. There were a few large urban engagements in Charleston, Atlanta, and Richmond that eerily mirrored later conflicts. Confederate veterans with long range rifles sniped Union officers and picked apart supply lines. The Union Army responded by further employing balloons to scout out enemy camps, and enlisting 20,000 freedmen in the "Negro Army," who were deployed near their home turf so their knowledge of the terrain could help Union forces. There was also no small amount of terrorism by both sides. Redeemer groups murdered the families of those freedmen known to have joined the Negro Army, while Federal forces had a habit of razing and stealing the property of Redeemers and their families. This went on apace until things started to wind down in 1873. The first state to essentially give up the Redemption cause and rejoin the Union was North Carolina, on February 12th, 1873. North Carolina had been the last and most reluctant state to secede, and 12 years of nigh non-stop warfare had broken the will to resist. Instead, moderate Whites and educated Blacks created the informal Cackalacky Compromise, which would become the model for the rest of the South. State Democrats and Republicans sat down in Raleigh and established what was, in essence, a racial power sharing agreement. Blacks would be given districts to call their own, that they could run without fear of persecution. They would be a political minority, but a solid and relatively vocal one. Local affairs within these Black majority districts would be run by Blacks. However, the governorship, most federal Representative seats, and both federal Senate seats would all be occupied by White Democrats. In the future, further informal agreements would be tacked onto this, mainly to ensure that Black districts got their cut of whatever federal investment/pork came the state's way. This compromise gave the African-American population a real voice and real power, while ensuring that whites still dominated the state. Seeing as how this model was completely legal under Reconstruction, even if it violated its spirit in several ways, other Southern states adopted it throughout Colfax's second term. By 1876, when Colfax handed over the reigns to General turned Republican darling Ulysses Grant, every state but Texas and Mississippi had been readmitted, using some form of the Cackalacky Compromise to ensure a mixture of African-American power and White supremacy. These two would be readmitted in 1879 and 1877 respectively. Reconstruction was over.

Two other notable aspects of Colfax's Reconstruction were the National Education Bill and the Annexation of Santo Domingo. The National Education Bill, passed in 1870, officially established a nationwide public school system. While power would eventually be devolved mostly to the states and local school boards, in the beginning the federal government ran the show. The purpose of the NEB was to both promote literacy in the African-American population, and to push a very hard Pro-Union view of the Civil War on Southerners and others. Southern children who disparaged the Union were paddled, then forced to write phrases like "The Republic and Constitution Forever" 1,776 times. This policy wouldn't really ease up until the middle of the 1880's. Patriotic education was actually one of the schools' primary functions, and readers promoting a certain vision of America were widely disseminated across the South. Schools would also be built in Santo Domingo for similar purposes, as well as English language education. On June 28th, 1871, Santo Domingo was annexed by the United States, and President Buenaventura Báez was allowed to stay on as Governor-General of the Territory of Santo Domingo. This was a controversial act, but ultimately squeaked through the Senate after Colfax began pushing the idea that Santo Domingo could be a haven for persecuted African-Americans. Given how much coverage Redeemer atrocities had earned in the North, there was a swell in public opinion in favor of creating a safe haven for freedmen. The Freedmen's Bureau would resettle some 43,000 African-Americans in the Territory, providing them with land grants or other incentives. This group, dubbing themselves "Exodites" would become part of the island's middle class and ruling elite as the years went by, and were viewed as a "civilizing agent" by Yankee proponents of empire. Imperialism would in fact gain traction across the country after Reconstruction. The factors behind this are multitude, but the main causes were national unity (rallying round the flag), a legitimate and growing belief in the superiority of American civilization, and some Alabama Claims inspired jingoism. The latter two became especially popular in the African-American community, with the so-called "Negro Caucus" in Congress (there were roughly 10 African-American representatives at any given time after Reconstruction) being the most consistently pro-empire and pro-war. This growing ideology would also be used to more dramatic effect in the 1880's.


Cavalry Charging the Redeemers, a patriotic painting depicting Federal Cavalrymen fighting white militias


Anti-Redeemer propaganda (1871)


Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist turned Santo Domingo Committee Member and advocate for American imperialism (IOTL he was part of a Congressional committee that visited Santo Domingo that wound up advocating annexation)



A government run school for African-American children (1877)
 
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oooooo johnson getting the boot, no lost cause, and the finessing of Santo Domingo. I like this a lot 👍
Thanks dude! Happy to have you aboard!

Great to see it back, @Murica1776! Looking forward to seeing where it goes from here!
Thanks man!

Should be pretty interesting.

I can contribute some train-themed supplements if you like.
I might take you up on that soon!

I look forward to seeing what changes you introduce, and I rather hope you keep the idea of an ideologically multipolar cold war.
That idea is definitely staying. However, it will be different in other ways.

What is the difference between the previous timeline and this one?
For the first couple decades, TTL and the first version will be pretty identical. However, TTL is much more fleshed out (the backstory to the impeachment vote). Also, Santo Domingo wasn't annexed at this point in the first one if I'm not mistaken, and Hayes won't be President in this one. That being said, the first radical divergence will occur around the Spanish-American War.
 
Will there be a British American war with the USA being imperialistic with Canada next door or will the USA go conquering south to central America and the Caribbean?
 

Ficboy

Banned
I liked the first one. Let's see this one do well!
Wait a minute, shouldn't the original version of Let the Eagle Scream! be locked since a new version has just been created. The same thing happened with What Madness Is This? by Napoleon53. The same should happen with this timeline since there is a reboot.
 
Chapter 2: "Negro Americanism" and the Jamaican Filibuster of the 1883
Chapter 2: "Negro Americanism" and the Jamaican Filibuster of the 1883


Members of the Negro American Empire League (1883)

In the aftermath of Reconstruction, literacy among African-Americans rose steadily. As typically happens when a population gains a greater education, they soon articulated a unique worldview. Forged in the crucible of the Civil War, and influenced by the experience of Reconstruction, Protestantism, the Freedman Bureau's patriotic education, and the general upsurge of American nationalism and imperialism in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Before we discuss this ideology's impact, we should go over the basics.

Articulated by leaders like Fredrick Douglass, the basic foundation of this strain of thought was patriotic and focused on political equality, prosperity, and imperial expansion. While America wasn't the first nation to liberate it's enslaved people, America had gone the greatest distance in providing them with actual equality. The active role the American people and government played in making this a reality was compared favorably with the rest of the world. Britain and France talked a great deal about ending the slave trade, but used that as more of an excuse for imperial expansion and in practice still used forced labor across their empires. Furthermore, as knowledge of British and French sympathies to the Confederacy became known among the African-American population, ardent Anglophobia and Francophobia became nigh-universal among the Black community. The rest of the world was little better. While African-Americans weren't totally equal with Whites in terms of political equality and material prosperity the United States was the best Western nation, if not the best nation period, to be Black. The creation of a legitimately strong Black middle class and the prosperity created for African-Americans by settling the West and Santo Domingo both reaffirmed the belief that America was starting to live up to its promises, and created a strong correlation between expansionism and prosperity in the political consciousness (not just for African-Americans). The military was also seen as an excellent way to further one's career, being somewhat less racist than most other institutions (Black troops having proven themselves many times over) and the values of the military seeped into African-American culture, further boosting patriotic and imperialist sentiment. However, more than patriotism or wealth, religion drove this new strain of messianic African-American imperialism. Protestant Christianity was extremely engrained into their culture, and the expansion of the empire was seen as a perfect vehicle to expand the faith. In this, they actually found common cause with Southern Whites. The most famous missionary organization and pro-empire social group at this point was the Exodite Imperial Club in Santo Domingo, of which just about every Exodite was a member. They aggressively proselytized to the territory's large underclass, and actually experienced a great deal of success. By 1900, some 32% of the native population was Protestant, and missionary efforts only continued to intensify as the Catholic elites began to embrace the faith as well. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

In Atlanta, Georgia, the Negro American Empire League was founded in 1878. Composed of veterans and small businessmen, the organization was a hotbed of the new strain of imperialist thought in the African-American community, being dubbed "Negro Americanism." In 1881, when President Grant unsuccessfully attempted to collect payment on the Alabama Claims, Anglophobia surged across the country. It surged most strongly among African-Americans. It was yet another reminder of British hypocrisy and their support for the Confederate war effort. Tensions remained high, and in the latter part of 1882 the NAEL, under the leadership of self-taught, self-made, ex-slave turned soldier and businessman Harold Brown began preparing to collect payment in their own way. In the Caribbean, lay the sunny isle of Jamaica. The British colony was Black majority, but was dominated by the English settler class. In fact, before slavery had been outlawed by the British, Jamaica's slave system was brutal enough that it would have sickened quite a few Southern planters. Even now, racism was endemic and efforts by the Black population to gain their rights were brutally crushed. This outraged most African-Americans for obvious reasons.

Harold Brown and his men, roughly 2,000 all told, wanted to bring Jamaica into the Union. Under Washington's more benevolent rule, the Black population could thrive, or at least not be stuck living on scraps. More importantly, given the overwhelming Black majority on the island, Jamaica could be the first Black run state in the Union. There were also financial considerations in play, as Brown and many of his men dreamed of perhaps taking a portion of one of Jamaica's famously profitable plantations for themselves and their families. It was, in short, a seemingly perfect plan. They could march in, rapidly overthrow British rule, and apply for statehood upon seizing power. They would expand the American Empire, free their brothers in Jamaica, uplift the status of Black men in America, and get rich and famous for their trouble. What could possibly go wrong?

Throughout 1882, the men used their contacts and social networks to acquire supplies. Churches donated months worth of tithes. Military surplus was acquired at bottom dollar rates. Provisions and ammunition were acquired on a scale that, a few years prior, would have sparked fears of a race war among Whites. Several ships owned by sympathetic Black captains were contracted to deliver the men into Kingston without arousing alarm. By March 1st, 1883, the men were ready, and shipped out of Savannah on what were officially cargo ships. When they arrived two weeks later, the British authorities were caught completely off guard. After a day of fighting, the filibusters officially raised the Stars and Stripes over Kingston on the 17th, and sent a message to Washington to announce their intention to apply for statehood. Riders went through the countryside stirring up revolt, and a significant minority joined up and the filibusters essentially controlled the island by April. So far, everything seemed to be going to plan. That would change very soon.

15,000 troops were being shipped to Jamaica from Canada. This fact was communicated quite tersely to President Grant. Grant himself sympathized with the filibusters, but wasn't about to go to war with the world's most powerful empire over Jamaica. He assured the British government that his administration had nothing to do with the filibuster, and disavowed their actions. The Grant Administration informed Brown and his men that a powerful British army was bearing down on them, and urged then to evacuate immediately. They refused. The filibusters felt it would be morally wrong to abandon their brethren they had stirred to revolt. Instead, they defiantly told the world that if the British wanted Jamaica, they would have to come and take it. Stirred by this call, 1,000 Haitian adventurers joined up with the filibusters, landing in Kingston by mid-April. Two weeks later, the British fleet arrived with troops in tow. They took heavy casualties on the initial landing, as the filibusters had gotten ahold of British cannons and opened fire. Nonetheless, the Royal Navy's superior firepower ensured that the cannons were destroyed sooner rather than later. Upon landing, the superior training, gear, and numbers of the Canadian forces won the day. Every single filibuster and adventurer was killed. After reclaiming Kingston, the troops waged a brutal campaign of racist terror against the Black Jamaicans to force them back into line. Reprisal killings, rape, and destruction of property were par for the course.

The international reaction to the filibuster was almost universally negative. The Great Powers of the day were all either engaged in imperialism or were trying to engage in it, and the idea that Americans might turn the supposedly inferior "natives" against Europe for their own gain was profoundly disturbing. In Britain, not only did it spark a wave of anti-Americanism, but British racism towards Africans harshened significantly in the aftermath. Border security in Canada was strengthened as well. This led to an incident on October 4th, 1883, when a squad of North-West Mounted Policemen got turned around and crossed over into New York. This sparked hysterical accusations that the British were planning an invasion. African-American leaders were at the forefront of a short-lived war lobby advocating a pre-emptive invasion of Canada.

At home, the filibusters became martyrs of liberty in the eyes of African-Americans and a sizable minority of Whites. Even Southern Whites were at least horrified by the reprisals taking place in Jamaica, aside from the few remaining, deeply closeted, Redeemers. Portraits of Harold Brown were hanged in schools, social clubs, businesses and homes. There would be no more adventures by African-American filibusters, and the community temporarily turned towards more domestic concerns. Nonetheless, the defiant, freedom-loving, expansionist ethos of Brown and his men became engrained in the African-American community.


A Jamaican plantation, circa 1880


Canadian troops on parade in Kingston (1883)


The squad of NWMP responsible for the 1883 Invasion Scare
 

Ficboy

Banned
Chapter 2: "Negro Americanism" and the Jamaican Filibuster of the 1883


Members of the Negro American Empire League (1883)

In the aftermath of Reconstruction, literacy among African-Americans rose steadily. As typically happens when a population gains a greater education, they soon articulated a unique worldview. Forged in the crucible of the Civil War, and influenced by the experience of Reconstruction, Protestantism, the Freedman Bureau's patriotic education, and the general upsurge of American nationalism and imperialism in the aftermath of Reconstruction. Before we discuss this ideology's impact, we should go over the basics.

Articulated by leaders like Fredrick Douglass, the basic foundation of this strain of thought was patriotic and focused on political equality, prosperity, and imperial expansion. While America wasn't the first nation to liberate it's enslaved people, America had gone the greatest distance in providing them with actual equality. The active role the American people and government played in making this a reality was compared favorably with the rest of the world. Britain and France talked a great deal about ending the slave trade, but used that as more of an excuse for imperial expansion and in practice still used forced labor across their empires. Furthermore, as knowledge of British and French sympathies to the Confederacy became known among the African-American population, ardent Anglophobia and Francophobia became nigh-universal among the Black community. The rest of the world was little better. While African-Americans weren't totally equal with Whites in terms of political equality and material prosperity the United States was the best Western nation, if not the best nation period, to be Black. The creation of a legitimately strong Black middle class and the prosperity created for African-Americans by settling the West and Santo Domingo both reaffirmed the belief that America was starting to live up to its promises, and created a strong correlation between expansionism and prosperity in the political consciousness (not just for African-Americans). The military was also seen as an excellent way to further one's career, being somewhat less racist than most other institutions (Black troops having proven themselves many times over) and the values of the military seeped into African-American culture, further boosting patriotic and imperialist sentiment. However, more than patriotism or wealth, religion drove this new strain of messianic African-American imperialism. Protestant Christianity was extremely engrained into their culture, and the expansion of the empire was seen as a perfect vehicle to expand the faith. In this, they actually found common cause with Southern Whites. The most famous missionary organization and pro-empire social group at this point was the Exodite Imperial Club in Santo Domingo, of which just about every Exodite was a member. They aggressively proselytized to the territory's large underclass, and actually experienced a great deal of success. By 1900, some 32% of the native population was Protestant, and missionary efforts only continued to intensify as the Catholic elites began to embrace the faith as well. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

In Atlanta, Georgia, the Negro American Empire League was founded in 1878. Composed of veterans and small businessmen, the organization was a hotbed of the new strain of imperialist thought in the African-American community, being dubbed "Negro Americanism." In 1881, when President Grant unsuccessfully attempted to collect payment on the Alabama Claims, Anglophobia surged across the country. It surged most strongly among African-Americans. It was yet another reminder of British hypocrisy and their support for the Confederate war effort. Tensions remained high, and in the latter part of 1882 the NAEL, under the leadership of self-taught, self-made, ex-slave turned soldier and businessman Harold Brown began preparing to collect payment in their own way. In the Caribbean, lay the sunny isle of Jamaica. The British colony was Black majority, but was dominated by the English settler class. In fact, before slavery had been outlawed by the British, Jamaica's slave system was brutal enough that it would have sickened quite a few Southern planters. Even now, racism was endemic and efforts by the Black population to gain their rights were brutally crushed. This outraged most African-Americans for obvious reasons.

Harold Brown and his men, roughly 2,000 all told, wanted to bring Jamaica into the Union. Under Washington's more benevolent rule, the Black population could thrive, or at least not be stuck living on scraps. More importantly, given the overwhelming Black majority on the island, Jamaica could be the first Black run state in the Union. There were also financial considerations in play, as Brown and many of his men dreamed of perhaps taking a portion of one of Jamaica's famously profitable plantations for themselves and their families. It was, in short, a seemingly perfect plan. They could march in, rapidly overthrow British rule, and apply for statehood upon seizing power. They would expand the American Empire, free their brothers in Jamaica, uplift the status of Black men in America, and get rich and famous for their trouble. What could possibly go wrong?

Throughout 1882, the men used their contacts and social networks to acquire supplies. Churches donated months worth of tithes. Military surplus was acquired at bottom dollar rates. Provisions and ammunition were acquired on a scale that, a few years prior, would have sparked fears of a race war among Whites. Several ships owned by sympathetic Black captains were contracted to deliver the men into Kingston without arousing alarm. By March 1st, 1883, the men were ready, and shipped out of Savannah on what were officially cargo ships. When they arrived two weeks later, the British authorities were caught completely off guard. After a day of fighting, the filibusters officially raised the Stars and Stripes over Kingston on the 17th, and sent a message to Washington to announce their intention to apply for statehood. Riders went through the countryside stirring up revolt, and a significant minority joined up and the filibusters essentially controlled the island by April. So far, everything seemed to be going to plan. That would change very soon.

15,000 troops were being shipped to Jamaica from Canada. This fact was communicated quite tersely to President Grant. Grant himself sympathized with the filibusters, but wasn't about to go to war with the world's most powerful empire over Jamaica. He assured the British government that his administration had nothing to do with the filibuster, and disavowed their actions. The Grant Administration informed Brown and his men that a powerful British army was bearing down on them, and urged then to evacuate immediately. They refused. The filibusters felt it would be morally wrong to abandon their brethren they had stirred to revolt. Instead, they defiantly told the world that if the British wanted Jamaica, they would have to come and take it. Stirred by this call, 1,000 Haitian adventurers joined up with the filibusters, landing in Kingston by mid-April. Two weeks later, the British fleet arrived with troops in tow. They took heavy casualties on the initial landing, as the filibusters had gotten ahold of British cannons and opened fire. Nonetheless, the Royal Navy's superior firepower ensured that the cannons were destroyed sooner rather than later. Upon landing, the superior training, gear, and numbers of the Canadian forces won the day. Every single filibuster and adventurer was killed. After reclaiming Kingston, the troops waged a brutal campaign of racist terror against the Black Jamaicans to force them back into line. Reprisal killings, rape, and destruction of property were par for the course.

The international reaction to the filibuster was almost universally negative. The Great Powers of the day were all either engaged in imperialism or were trying to engage in it, and the idea that Americans might turn the supposedly inferior "natives" against Europe for their own gain was profoundly disturbing. In Britain, not only did it spark a wave of anti-Americanism, but British racism towards Africans harshened significantly in the aftermath. Border security in Canada was strengthened as well. This led to an incident on October 4th, 1883, when a squad of North-West Mounted Policemen got turned around and crossed over into New York. This sparked hysterical accusations that the British were planning an invasion. African-American leaders were at the forefront of a short-lived war lobby advocating a pre-emptive invasion of Canada.

At home, the filibusters became martyrs of liberty in the eyes of African-Americans and a sizable minority of Whites. Even Southern Whites were at least horrified by the reprisals taking place in Jamaica, aside from the few remaining, deeply closeted, Redeemers. Portraits of Harold Brown were hanged in schools, social clubs, businesses and homes. There would be no more adventures by African-American filibusters, and the community temporarily turned towards more domestic concerns. Nonetheless, the defiant, freedom-loving, expansionist ethos of Brown and his men became engrained in the African-American community.


A Jamaican plantation, circa 1880


Canadian troops on parade in Kingston (1883)


The squad of NWMP responsible for the 1883 Invasion Scare
So it's like What Madness Is This? Redux. Plus I think you should lock the original version much like what Napoleon53 did.
 
So it's like What Madness Is This? Redux. Plus I think you should lock the original version much like what Napoleon53 did.
It's not like that per se, but African-Americans have a lot more reason to be patriotic ITTL. The federal government has been at the forefront of protecting their rights unlike OTL, where the government has a bad habit of dropping the ball at best.

Also, I can't lock it. That's an admin/mod thing.
 

Ficboy

Banned
It's not like that per se, but African-Americans have a lot more reason to be patriotic ITTL. The federal government has been at the forefront of protecting their rights unlike OTL, where the government has a bad habit of dropping the ball at best.

Also, I can't lock it. That's an admin/mod thing.
Just ask the mods to lock the original thread.
 
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