What Madness Is This? Basically, a failed Articles of Confederation TL in which the RU (which encompasses the Northeast and the 1783 Cession from the Treaty of Paris at first), is taken over after Charles Goodyear goes nuts working on the Erie Canal, and decides that Catholics, Native Americans, and Asians are "Inferiors." Charles Marx (OTL Karl Marx) popularizes this idea with what gets called "Spiritual Marxism", and then George A. Custer decides to take over after Abraham Lincoln is killed by a Southern loyalist after the RU crushes the Southern nations in an analogue to the Civil War. Custer then adopts a young orphan named "Joe Steele" (Iosib Dzughshavilli). Steele is currently the leader, with Charles Oswald (OTL John F. Kennedy, whose father hid his Irish Catholic identity) on the rise.
You forgot to mention the American Fundamentalist Christian Church founded by the Prophet Burr, Jehovah rest His soul.
 
"He's A Damn Demagogue:" The One-Term Presidency of Thomas Sowell New
"He's A Damn Demagogue:" The One-Term Presidency of Thomas Sowell

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President Thomas Sowell on Meet the Press (1974)
It might seem surprising that the election of a Catholic would inspire such anger in conservative circles. However, when one understands the identity of the post-Reconstruction South, it becomes more clear. In the aftermath of the Redeemer War, the entire ideological structure of the South had essentially been annihilated. The so-called "government of the White Man," as John Calhoun once called it, was over. Black men formed substantive minorities of state governments and sometimes were a majority of federal Representatives. Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia had all had Black governors at some point in the post-Redeemer era, albeit only one a piece and only for one term. Blacks and Whites socialized freely, excepting sexual relations. Without a white supremacist ideology, the South desperately needed something else with which to define itself. They found it in Christ and Country. An overwhelmingly Protestant region, Southerners coalesced around their Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Lutheran churches if you were White, while Black people organized into their AME, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Church of Christ (Holiness) denominations. In poor towns across the South, homes and government buildings might have fallen into disrepair, but the churches were made of good brick and the pastor and choir always had crisp robes. While Southern Protestants avoided the ecstatic excesses of backwoods Pentecostals and snake handlers (who were often harassed into dissolution by local governments) Southern Protestantism was a fiery and lively faith of hundred-strong choirs, blaring organs and praise bands, as well as energetic preachers and massive tent revivals. Christ, it seemed, had redeemed the soul of the South. This faith was also rather socially conservative. Although the racism of past years had fled the pulpit, week after week pastors exhorted White and Black alike to obey authority, honor elders, and fulfill gender roles. Southerners had taken this faith with them across the world, and had conquered for it and their country with remarkable fervor. To many Southerners, to be an American meant to be a Protestant.

While White Southern Protestants were unhappy with Kennedy, among the Black communities there was real, genuine rage. They had come into America "on the ground floor" against their will, had literally slaved away for centuries, and then worked, invented, fought, and died for their country with almost unmatched fervor. And how were they repaid? Northern liberals in the GOP, who had already undermined Black dominance over their communities (or so it was claimed), elected a Popist before they did a Black man. Most Black people were still Republicans, and most Black House members were Republican after the seeming blip of the Richardson years. However, the Democrats nominated a Black man for VP well before the GOP did. In fact, they never had. The La Raza Riots were the breaking point. Despite their cries for cultural rights, many Mestizos had transferred pre-existing anti-Black racism onto American Black people, helped along by the fact that they were joint colonizers with Whites. Newspaper reporters and TV stations in Havana captured quotes and footage of rioters screaming racial slurs as they vented their rage on Black neighborhoods. To the shock of many, White Southerners were almost as enraged by these words as their Black neighbors. Despite lingering tensions, Whites had legitimately come to despise their slave owning past, and to hear that kind of racism against their neighbors, co-workers, and brothers in arms made an already angry people even angrier. Soon, another young politician would capitalize on this.

Thomas Sowell was born in Gastonia, NC in 1930. Born and raised in the environs, the young Sowell was first a very successful AME preacher, and then at the ripe age of 30 became North Carolina's first Black House Representative since the Richardson years. Even more notably, he won in what was actually a white district, but had been able to take advantage of chaos in the local party to win. He quickly became a favored son of the state Democratic party. In his five terms in the House, Sowell became a hero for his strident stances against expanding Spanish language rights, the Journeyer movement, and the liberalism of Kennedy more generally. With anger boiling over among conservatives and moderates disgusted by the violence of this wave of the La Raza movement, Sowell saw his chance to seize the Presidency. He entered the '72 nomination race against Cuban Governor John Pembroke and Texas Senator Willie Jackson. The only Black candidate, he was also the most stridently conservative. In massive rallies warming up to the start of the primaries, angry Southern Black men and women left the GOP in droves to support Sowell. Recognizing this movement as a game changer for the party, the Southern state parties and much of the national apparatus got behind him. Southern churches silently backed his bid. He romped to the nomination with ease. His rallies attracted crowd sizes once seen with WTR. However, there was a very different atmosphere. As George Herman, veteran political correspondent for the Milwaukee Tribune put it "Richardson rallies had their angry moments, but were overwhelmingly hopeful. With the Sowell movement, you can feel the rage constantly pulsing in the crowd." On the campaign trail Sowell angrily attacked the budding women's liberation movement, the Journeyers, Eurasia, Germany, and especially La Raza. He denounced the movement as a "hateful anti-American supremacist terror organization" that desired nothing short of a Reconquista. The fact that La Raza members protested, and even attacked his rallies only fed the flames. Although he never explicitly mentioned the race of most La Raza members he very effectively used dog whistle rhetoric. The President also attacked Catholicism more broadly by attacking encyclicals from Pope Patrick which condemned the violence brought to bear on La Raza protesters during the Patton Administration, and then not-so subtly insinuating a plot by the Vatican to subvert American democracy. His opponent, New Hampshire Governor Bartholomew Cooper, denounced Sowell as a racist. Sowell began running ads of the liberal governor meeting with (non-radical) leaders, juxtaposed with footage of La Raza radicals screaming slurs as they rioted in Havana.

Sowell won a strong victory, cobbling together a solid coalition of Midwesterners, Mountain Westerners, West Canadians, and Zionities alongside the South and Caribbean. The National Guard in Cuba suppressed two dozen protests with what was by now familiar brutality. In Santo Domingo, the large Black population attacked La Raza rioters in the state. However, elsewhere the reaction was more muted. La Raza riots had been the key factor in giving Sowell the Presidency, and the various factions in the group tried to prevent him from gaining more ammunition. After all, they were on the verge of the big win.

Behind the scenes, La Raza's lawyers had been working patiently to enfranchise their fellow Hispanophone citizens. On May 14th, 1973, a liberal SCOTUS hand delivered them their wish. In a 6-5 ruling on AVRU vs Cuba Board of Elections, SCOTUS ruled that failing to provide citizens of Hispanic heritage Spanish ballots in formerly Spanish-speaking regions was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment because it "punishes the citizen for speaking the tongue of their Homeland which has since been incorporated into the United States by no decision of their own." This also paved the way for ballots in a variety of Filipino languages. Predictably, the conservative President was enraged, calling the Court's liberal majority "terrorist appeasers" and vowing to obstruct enforcement of the decision. As the President sought new ways to attack La Raza, at the ground level, ordinary citizens took the matter into their own hands.

This vigilante movement had two names. To those within the movement, they were Unionists, patriots dedicated to defending the American Way against the "wilfully unassimilated" Mestizos. To the media and most citizens, they were the New Redeemers. Wearing uniforms of Union Blue, these Unionist groups would strike at night against Catholic churches and Spanish speaking communities. Catholic churches in Arizona and Cuba reported effigies of priests and the Pope being burned in front of their buildings before Sunday Mass. The American Voting Rights Union reported no fewer than 78 instances of property destruction as the New Redeemers burned Spanish-language voter outreach materials, including all the Spanish-language voter registration forms in Zion, Arizona. As the 1974 midterms drew closer, the pace and scale of attacks intensified. In Santiago de Cuba, the city's largest Catholic school was burned down after hours, and a typewritten note was left condemning it as a "center for foreign brainwashing." The campaign was remarkably effective. Despite the presence of Spanish-language ballots, fewer than 10% of Spanish-speakers voted in the 1974 midterms. The Philippines also saw outbursts of New Redeemer violence, but the ratio of settlers to natives was much more skewed in favor of Natives, and the Philippines became decisively GOP. While there was relatively little bloodshed the violence offended American sensibilities, and even the majority of Democrats were clamoring for federal action. It never came. A document leak from the FBI in October 1976 revealed that the President had ordered the Bureau to focus on La Raza and other left-wing movements instead of the New Redeemers. Dozens of innocent activists were harassed or arrested on false charges. Leaked audio recordings in the same month revealed that the President mostly dismissed complaints from the AVRU and La Raza, infamously saying "When us Blacks wanted the vote, we went through hell and back. Why should we hand it to these Spaniards on a platter?" Already facing a struggle to get re-elected, President Sowell was resoundingly defeated at the ballot box, even losing swathes of the Solid South. While he conceded defeat, he would partially blame "Unassimilated Elements" for his defeat. All whopping 12% who voted, as New Redeemer terror continued to ravage the country and suppress Mestizo votes.

The Sowell Administration was a defining one for America, short as it was. While Democrats rightly abhorred his violence, and were certainly better behaved moving forward, he built the modern Democratic coalition. Going forward the Democratic Party would be a culturally conservative, nationalistic coalition of White and Black Southerners, Arizonians, and White and Black Caribenos. More than that, he seemed to be a reflection of the darkest parts of the American psyche. As such, understanding his rise, his movement, and his fall became a national obsession. So was understanding the man. Was he a misguided patriot? A Black man raging against the erosion of the joint White-Black coalition that ruled the country? An unstable paranoid? Or, did Supreme Court Chief Justice Jebediah O'Toole have it right when he said of the President, "He's a damn demagogue. That's it."

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A scene outside a Sowell rally in Dallas, which quickly became a protest against Republican Mayor Lindsay Chesterfield (1972)

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Miami police beat Journeyers during Sowell's "Tough on Crime" crackdown (1974)


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Counterculture figures and ordinary citizens demand Sowell resign after revelations of his FBI meddling (October 14th, 1976)
 
Nice chapter. Didn't expect Thomas Sowell to become president. OTL Sowell, while still a conservative in his views seems like the most well spoken, nicest, and generous guy to have ever lived. Keep up the great work. Can't wait for more chapters.
 
How does China view the situation in Hong Kong?

Right now it's not a huge issue as they're much more focused on Manchuria. When tensions with Eurasia die down, it'll become bigger. However, since most citizens enjoy being Americans, you won't see a handover.

Oh GOD! NOTHING BUT DISCO!

*Funk intensifies*

Nice chapter, I wonder who Kennedy's successor will be. Will the 70s suck all around worldwide or mainly focused in the US? How will Germany and Europe respond to the crisis's happening?

The whole world is in for a ride, lmao. Germany just kinda dodged the whole missile crisis.

I get a feeling that the counter culture movement going to become more and more disliked by the majority. People generally don’t like it when you become violent. Pop-culture on the other hand I don’t really see it being a problem.

The counter culture is going to follow a similar trajectory to the Hippie movement, which had its own violent splinters.
 
Nice chapter. Didn't expect Thomas Sowell to become president. OTL Sowell, while still a conservative in his views seems like the most well spoken, nicest, and generous guy to have ever lived. Keep up the great work. Can't wait for more chapters.

Yeah, I don't have anything against Sowell or anything, he just seemed like an interesting character that could be twisted for shock value.
 
I wonder if in the future Liberia will annex it's small empire in Africa into something like a Liberian Union, a major power for native Africans who don't like the colonizing powers of Europe, just a thought I had. Can't wait for more chapters from you.
 
Say what you will about this US, but it's still far better than the Republican Union of @Napoleon53's timeline (talk about a horrifying dystopia--in a good way, IMO, in that you can't look away)...

Good updates, BTW...
 
This isn't directly related to the update, but the mention of the coalition of conservative white and black southerners got me thinking. In pretty much every alt-US TL I've read (and most alt-north america TL's where the continent is divided between different nations stemming from different colonies), the south is always portrayed as the most conservative part of the country. This is perhaps an understandable assumption to make given OTL trends, but is it possible for the reverse to become true, with the south becoming one of the more progressive parts of the country, or at least somewhere in the middle? What changes would need to happen for this to come about?
 
This isn't directly related to the update, but the mention of the coalition of conservative white and black southerners got me thinking. In pretty much every alt-US TL I've read (and most alt-north america TL's where the continent is divided between different nations stemming from different colonies), the south is always portrayed as the most conservative part of the country. This is perhaps an understandable assumption to make given OTL trends, but is it possible for the reverse to become true, with the south becoming one of the more progressive parts of the country, or at least somewhere in the middle? What changes would need to happen for this to come about?

It seems extremely difficult to do so by the time of the civil war for a number of reasons, most specifically being that Calhoun's ideas on race had largely been accepted, but I could maybe see it happening if a successful reconstruction could have led to an alliance of poor white and black laborers. It probably wouldn't be socially that progressive by modern standards, but a successful political alliance that advocates against (some) segregation and for economic populism could be called progressive by late 19th century standards. Alternatively, an early abolishment of slavery could throw enough things in the air to result in a more progressive if still conservative and racist 19th century south. Maybe.

It's hard to make a region more progressive when it produced people such as Jackson, Calhoun, and Davis, and those weren't even the real radicals by the time of the civil war.
 
It seems extremely difficult to do so by the time of the civil war for a number of reasons, most specifically being that Calhoun's ideas on race had largely been accepted, but I could maybe see it happening if a successful reconstruction could have led to an alliance of poor white and black laborers. It probably wouldn't be socially that progressive by modern standards, but a successful political alliance that advocates against (some) segregation and for economic populism could be called progressive by late 19th century standards. Alternatively, an early abolishment of slavery could throw enough things in the air to result in a more progressive if still conservative and racist 19th century south. Maybe.

It's hard to make a region more progressive when it produced people such as Jackson, Calhoun, and Davis, and those weren't even the real radicals by the time of the civil war.
But was this outcome more or less unavoidable or could something have been changed in the regions history to cause a different outcome?
 
I wonder if in the future Liberia will annex it's small empire in Africa into something like a Liberian Union, a major power for native Africans who don't like the colonizing powers of Europe, just a thought I had. Can't wait for more chapters from you.

The Liberians have already annexed a good deal, but another annexation could be in the cards.

But was this outcome more or less unavoidable or could something have been changed in the regions history to cause a different outcome?

I think it's possible in the aftermath of the Civil War or with earlier Reconstruction. However, it's very, very hard. Beyond just slavery, there's another factor people don't talk about as much.

When you look at the founding colonists of the 13 Colonies, there are distinctive features that emerge. New England was founded by Puritans, and their institutions are still apparent in the region today. The tolerant, mercantile Dutch founded New York City and parts of New Jersey, and those regions are still pretty multicultural and trade oriented. Looking to the South, you have two predominant groups of settlers. In the coastal regions, there were the so-called Cavaliers. They weren't numerically dominant, but dominated the culture and economy of the coastal lands. Cavaliers were the spare sons of British gentry, or otherwise connected to the gentry, and they transplanted the conservative ideals of the gentry to Virginia and elsewhere. These ideals rubbed off on the rest of the settler population, creating a new strain of conservatism. The other big settler population in the Backcountry consisted of Scotch and English from Ulster and the border regions between Scotland and England. This group of people had been subjected to almost 7 centuries of continual warfare, and when they weren't at war, they were often robbing each other to survive. Believe it or not, this had an effect on their culture. They became a very militaristic and xenophobic people with a powerful Protestant faith that would become American fundamentalism in time. They settled in the Backcountry, where between Native Americans, criminals, and then the French and Indian War, the Revolution, 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War, they once again spent about a century continually at war.

So, in essence, your best chance at trying to prevent the South from going conservative is changing where the settler population comes from. How you could do that is beyond the scope of my knowledge. However, once these particular populations are planted in the South it becomes much more difficult.
 
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