Is that Maria Cantwell I see there??
Great stuff!!Fin de Siècle
From “The House of Freedom: A Story of America’s Oldest Party”, by Leander Morris
“In his two and a half years in office, President Foraker had overseen a strong economic recovery. The Third Coinage Act had ended the inflation of the dollar and, despite a brief recession brought on by shock deflation, by 1899 the US economy had rebounded. Prices were low and purchasing power high, and most Americans were satisfied. Foraker also had several legislative accomplishments to his name: the Third Coinage Act, the Arbitration Act, which created the National Board of Arbitration to help settle labor disputes, and the Second Morrill Tariff, which raised tariffs on wool, sugar, tin, and luxury goods .
Overall, the second half of 1890s was a time of great prosperity in the United States. Foraker’s native Ohio became a center of America’s burgeoning autocar industry, with Toledo, Cleveland, and Youngstown home to dozens of upstart autocar manufacturers . American cities were increasingly lit by electric lamps rather than oil lamps and electricity generation stations joined factories in clogging the skies with smoke.”
From “Powell and Populism: The Transformation of the Nationalist Party”, by Nicholas Green
“Entering the Governor’s mansion for the second time, Preston Powell had the advantage of a friendly state legislature. His first term, with a hostile conservative state house, was gridlocked and tense, and the political infighting contributed to Powell’s 1894 defeat. Having staged his comeback, Powell sought to immediately capitalize on the Populist majorities. In his inaugural address, he denounced the “greed of the industrialists, greed without care for human life” that had resulted in Vandalia’s mines having almost no safety regulations.
The state legislature’s Powellite majority was a strange coalition, with populist Nationalists and progressive Freedomites joining together to elevate Thomas Watkins , a close friend of Powell’s, to Speaker of the House of Delegates. Watkins, a former coal miner, was a relative newcomer to electoral politics, but had been involved in union activity and populist political organizing for over a decade and was well-trusted by the disparate Powellite factions as a unifying figure.
With a friendly majority, Powell moved swiftly to enact his populist agenda. The legislature repealed most of the 1890 restrictions on the Governor’s powers (which had been imposed in order to impede Powell’s agenda), allowing Powell to appoint Daniel Harris , a major advocate for safety regulations, as Inspector of Mines. This was a major victory for Powell, as having a friendly Inspector of Mines allowed him to pressure mining companies to improve conditions much more effectively. Even better, Powell signed the Labor Reform Act in August 1899, which implemented a 10-hour workday, compensation for work-related injuries, protections for union organizers, and state standards for ventilation. A second law passed that November mandated that miners be paid in cash and not private ‘scrip’ and banned the practice of companies leasing mining equipment to miners.
These ambitious and unprecedented laws were not without challenge – the Monongah Mining Company and three other large Vandalian mining and railroad companies sued Powell’s administration. In particular, they challenged the 10-hour workday and the ban on scrip and leasing mining equipment as violating the right of the miners to freedom of contract. A second lawsuit challenged the workers compensation, protections of organizers, and ventilation mandates but was dismissed by a Federal Court, allowing the provisions to stand. The first lawsuit proceeded to the Supreme Court, however, and there, the conservative and pro-business majority sided with the mining companies. In Monongah Mining Company v. Vandalia, Chief Justice Edward D. White led a 6-3 majority in ruling that the 10-hour workday violated the due process clause, constituting an “unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract.”  The court did, however, rule that the ban on payment of workers via scrip and leasing equipment was constitutional as the court found, unlike the 10-hour workday, it did not constitute an unreasonable interference.
Powell decried the ruling as “a clear sign that the Supreme Court can be auctioned off to the highest bidder,” but took solace in the fact that the bulk of his regulations were left intact. While regulating the number of hours a worker could work was unconstitutional, Inspector Harris ruthlessly enforced the others. In 1899-1900, 39 mines were forced to install new ventilation systems and pay over $1.5 million in total in workers’ compensation. With the failure of the mine companies to overturn the protections of union organizers, union membership in Vandalia swelled. By 1900, over 60% of Vandalian miners and railroad workers were unionized and working wages in the state had risen from $2.15 to $4.30, among the highest in the country.
Powell also successfully taxed railroads based on owned property rather than profits, nearly doubling the taxes paid by railroad companies. However, Powell’s attempt to impose an income tax was narrowly defeated in the legislature, with several members of his majority faction breaking ranks in opposition to the proposal. He was more successful in regulating railroad rates, which was a much more popular proposition than an income tax. The rate caps were narrowly upheld by the state supreme court, an important victory for Governor Powell. The ‘Vandalia Model’, as Powell’s vision for government was termed, made the state one of the most advanced on workers’ rights in the entire country.
While he was Governor of Vandalia, Powell found himself once more drawn into the nationwide struggle over the direction of the populist movement. Powell remained a member of the Nationalist Party despite his break with David Hill, and his friendships with figures like Josef Pulitzer, the owner of the New York Sun, and Carter Harrison Jr., the Governor of Illinois, gave him the beginnings of a political web of alliances should he develop national aspirations. The populist movement that had coalesced behind David Hill in 1892 had split between farmer and labor once more, as the laborists remained with the Nationalists and the agrarianists formed the Populist Party.
Laborist Nationalists were a strange new breed of politician: fiercely protectionist, staunchly pro-labor, and firm believers in an activist government. They often clashed with the conservative, pro-business, and free trade Old Guard wing of the party, but the laborists increasingly held the upper hand. The Populists had their own political party, so they did not need to jockey for power. The Populists favored free trade to allow farmers to sell their crops overseas and were wary of enlarging the government. Both laborists and Populists supported regulating the railroads and protecting unions, but their split during the Hill administration had left much bad blood between the two factions.
Powell made several efforts to mend ties, meeting in 1899 with Kansas Senator Harry Kingsley and Yellowstone Congressman Thomas S. Foster, both influential leaders of the Populist Party. The Rockford Conference failed to reconcile the increasingly divergent populist factions, but Powell developed a strong rapport with Senator Kingsley, and the two became close friends.”
From “The Great Helmsmen: France Through its Leaders”, by Isaac Prentiss
“In 1894, a scandal like no other gripped the French public. Alfred Dreyfus, a Captain in the French Army, and a Jew from the Alsace region, was accused of espionage, selling state secrets to a German agent. Dreyfus had enlisted in the army after France’s humiliation in Tunisia by Italy and was rapidly promoted thanks to the meritocratic army reforms implemented by Prime Minister Jules Ferry. The quick promotion of Dreyfus, a Jew with no connections to the military aristocracy, angered the ‘old-boy network’ in the Army, many of whom already regarded Jews with suspicion.
Dreyfus was shocked when, on October 15th, 1894, he was summoned to army headquarters where he was interrogated, arrested, and put on trial. He was never told what the charges against him were, and in fact all of the evidence was flimsy and circumstantial. He was nevertheless convicted of espionage despite having neither money troubles nor a mistress, the only link between him and the crime was supposedly similar handwriting to a letter admitting espionage. Having been swiftly convicted, Alfred Dreyfus stood at attention as his sword was broken in two and the rank insignia on his uniform ripped off, and he was sentenced to solitary confinement on the remote Devil’s Island prison off the coast of French Guyana. Forbidden to speak to the guards, he had no idea what crime he was guilty of and knew nothing of the uproar engulfing France.
Dreyfus’s brother Mathieu managed to bring the issue to the attention of politicians and journalists. The ‘Dreyfusards’ decried Alfred Dreyfus’s conviction as an overzealous military committing a great injustice in the effort to defend its honor. The Dreyfusards were largely comprised of liberals and republicans, who called for truth and justice. The anti-Dreyfusards were conservatives who held the army to be the embodiment of French nationalism and denounced the defenders of Dreyfus. The ruling Ligue des Patriotes openly sided with the army and anti-Dreyfusards, with Prime Minister Boulanger decrying Dreyfus as “a traitor… he has committed the highest of crimes against France, he has conspired with the mortal enemy [Germany] and must be punished severely.”
The case against Captain Dreyfus seemingly began to unravel in 1896 when Lt. Colonel Georges Picquart discovered evidence that the real spy was Major Ferdinand Esterhazy, who’s handwriting also matched that of the incriminating document. However, Picquart was punished by army brass, Esterhazy protected, and a letter was forged by Lt. Colonel Hubert-Joseph Henry supposedly affirming Dreyfus’s guilt and alleging that a ‘Jewish Syndicate’ would liberate Dreyfus from imprisonment. The forgery was exposed, Henry confessed and committed suicide in his prison cell. He was defended by the anti-Dreyfusards as defending the national honor and declared him a martyr. When Esterhazy’s creditor identified his handwriting as identical to the espionage letter, the case became public, and the army was forced to investigate Esterhazy.
The investigation alleged that Lt. Colonel Picquart was the real culprit until Esterhazy’s mistress produced letters in which Esterhazy expressed his hatred of France, the King, and the French army. Newspapers favorable to the Ligue and the army rushed to Esterhazy’s defense, accusing a ‘Jewish cabal’ of deflecting from Dreyfus’s guilt. Esterhazy was tried and acquitted in a military tribunal where little evidence was examined, and handwriting experts determined that the handwriting on the espionage letter was not Esterhazy’s. After his acquittal, Esterhazy fled to England to avoid the furor that was only inflamed by what was decried by the Dreyfusards as a sham trial.
In 1898, the famous novelist Emile Zola published an open letter entitled J’Accuse, addressed to King Louis Philippe III and Prime Minister Boulanger. The letter openly accused Prime Minister Boulanger, General Georges Pellieux, and several other high-ranking military officials of conspiring against Dreyfus, and of forging documents and obstructing justice to halt further investigations. Zola also accused Boulanger and the rest of antisemitism, noting that while Esterhazy was “lost in debts and crimes” and acquitted, Dreyfus had “a spotless life,” but was found guilty. Zola lamented the government’s handling of the affair as a sign of societal decay. He wrote “They [the War Council] have rendered an unjust sentence, which will forever weigh on our councils of war, which will henceforth taint all their judgments with suspicion,” and denounced the War Council’s conduct as “criminal”.
J’Accuse was read by nearly every person in France, and he was swiftly charged with libel and defamation of public authority. During the trial in February 1898, anti-Dreyfusards organized riots and Ligue militia marched outside the courthouse and through Jewish neighborhoods. The rights of the defense were repeatedly violated by the court, and Zola was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison, with a fine of 3,000 francs. A second trial, this time with the military judges filing suit, was held in May that same year, in a court where the local public was more favorable to the Ligue and the army. After a failed bid to change the trial’s location, Zola was convicted on June 2nd of libel against the military judges and sentenced to a further year in prison and another 3,000 franc fine .
Riots rocked the country, with Dreyfusards and Ligue militia clashing in the streets and antisemitic rioters destroying businesses and attacking Jews. Prime Minister Boulanger denounced the Dreyfusards as enemy agents and radicals and empowered the army to suppress them. He made no mention of the Ligue’s role in the violence. In the elections that August, Boulanger used the unrest to expand the Ligue’s majority in the Assembly, while Sadi Carnot’s Alliance of the Left was further reduced. The army refused to hold a second trial for Dreyfus  and Boulanger remarked that “Dreyfus, the vile foreign agent, can stay on Devil’s Island until he is little more than skin and bones” in a speech before the Assembly. By 1900, the violence had subsided, but the anti-Dreyfusards had won. Alfred Dreyfus remained imprisoned on Devil’s Island until his death from tuberculosis in 1914, and Emile Zola fled to England shortly after his release from prison, never to return.
The Jews of France, meanwhile, felt increasingly unsafe in their own country. While before the Dreyfus Affair most French Jews saw themselves as French first, the state-sanctioned antisemitic violence left them feeling unwelcome and betrayed by their countrymen. By 1905, half of the 100,000 French Jews had left the country, with 15,000 moving to British Palestine and the rest emigrating to England, Germany, and the United States.
Boulanger not only used the Dreyfus Affair to villainize Jews, and he also used it to attack Germany. “The Germans see fit to infiltrate our armed forces and agitate amongst domestic enemies to destroy France from within. We shall not bend to their machinations.” Emperor Wilhelm II was worried by Boulanger’s intensified saber-rattling and, while he did not publicly call for the release of Dreyfus, expressed concern in an interview with The Daily Telegraph over France’s radical turn. In response to Boulanger’s anti-German rhetoric, Wilhelm II successfully obtained funding for an expansion of the German army and the construction of a series of forts along the Rhine river and the border with France. Italy, too, distanced itself from France and drew closer to Germany.
The Dreyfus Affair damaged France’s standing among its erstwhile allies as much as its enemies. While Austria-Hungary, never very friendly to its own Jewish population, did not care, Boulanger’s handling of Dreyfus’s obviously shoddy conviction and the firestorm that followed horrified many others in Europe. France, the heart of the Enlightenment, the country where Napoleon took the unprecedented step of emancipating the Jews, had shown that it was not the tolerant haven from extremism it was romanticized as.”
From “Directorate of US Representatives and Senators”, gsf.congress.fed
BONAPARTE, JOSEPH: A Representative from Maryland, born in Baltimore, MD, June 17, 1850. Before entering Congress, he was a prominent attorney and the owner of the Baltimore Sun newspaper. One of the few Catholic Freedomites, Bonaparte won election to Congress in the Freedomite wave year of 1896 in the solidly Nationalist 4th District. As a newspaper publisher, he was widely respected by Maryland Freedomites, while he also had strong influence among a Catholic community that was often aligned with the Freedom Party on the issues but was wary of the party’s association with the anti-Catholic movement. Bonaparte would hold this seat for eight years, narrowly losing reelection to a fifth term in the Nationalist landslide of 1904.
KINGSLEY, HARRISON: A Senator from Kansas, born in Sioux Falls, DK, May 13, 1859. Before entering the Senate, he represented Kansas’ 5th District from 1891 to 1897 as a Nationalist. He was elected to the Senate in 1897 as a Nationalist but joined the nascent Populist Party just five months into his term. He worked as an attorney in his hometown of Fossil Station, Kansas before entering politics. He ran for Congress in 1890 in response to President Alger’s veto of an agricultural aid bill, narrowly defeating five-term incumbent Freedomite Stephen Croft. After serving for three terms, the newly Nationalist- and Populist-controlled Kansas state legislature elevated him to the Senate in 1896. He caucused with the Nationalist Party but joined the Populists in the aftermath of the Third Coinage Act’s passage. He served until 1905, when he was [REDACTED].
From “China: A Simple History”, by Edwin Wright Jr.
“The Qing Empire continued its decline throughout the second half of the 19th century, and the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor saw the power of the Emperor eroded. The Tongzhi Emperor fell ill with smallpox shortly after reaching the age of majority and the Empresses Dowager Ci’an and Cixi reassumed the regency. The Emperor survived and sired the future Guangxu Emperor  with his consort, but remained in ill health, leaving the reins of power in the hands of Ci’an, Cixi, and the Imperial cabinet.
Finally, on March 16th, 1879, the Tongzhi Emperor succumbed to his latest bout of illness, leaving as his heir his three-year-old son, who was swiftly crowned and given the regnal name Guangxu, or “Glorious Succession”. With the suicide by starvation of Tongzhi’s grieving wife, the Empresses Dowager Ci’an and Cixi became the young Emperor’s regents. Cixi soon became the sole regent after Ci’an died in 1881 after suffering what is believed to have been a severe stroke. Cixi swiftly consolidated her control over the Qing government, and the Emperor’s tutors instilled in him a sense of duty and obedience to Cixi. The Empress Dowager also sidelined the powerful Prince Gong, demoting him in 1885 to the rank of advisor and replacing him as leader of the Grand Council with the more pliant Prince Chun.
The Qing court, firmly under Cixi’s thumb, kept up with a moderate pace of reform and modernization of infrastructure and the armed forces, including building the Beiyang Fleet into, on paper at least, the rival of a European squadron. In practice, whatever reforms or modernization programs were implemented were rendered practically useless by the endemic corruption that had penetrated every level of the Qing bureaucracy.
Meanwhile, the young Guangxu Emperor fell in with the reformist faction of the Imperial court, having been introduced to Kang Youwei, a prominent reformist intellectual. Once he reached his majority, the Emperor would take on Kang as an advisor, and later Kang’s protégé Liang Wei . In 1889, the Guangxu Emperor turned sixteen, old enough to rule on his own. Despite Cixi’s initial reluctance to cede power, by the end of the year the Emperor was in near-total control. Cixi continued to ‘counsel’ the Emperor and retained a significant level of influence over him.
While the Emperor was able to curb Imperial expenses, he was often ignored, as officials instead sent official documents to Cixi until her retirement shortly after the Sino-Japanese War. After China’s humiliating defeat in the 1894 Sino-Japanese War that saw the annihilation of the Chinese navy and the cession of Formosa and the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan, as well as the opening of several ports to foreign trade, the Guangxu Emperor decided that reforms were necessary. In 1897, the Emperor began the Great Reform with the aid of Kang Youwei and Liang Wei, aimed at overhauling China’s legal, political, and social structures.
The reforms to the civil examination system, modernized budgets, railroad construction, and abolition of sinecures angered conservative officials. The sudden, rapid modernizations were a shock to a nation still deeply traditional and were a direct challenge to Cixi’s still significant influence. Cixi refused to intervene against the Great Reform, but she began plotting a military coup to secure her influence. With the help of General Yuan Shikai, the Guangxu Emperor moved to crush the coup. General Ronglu, Cixi’s co-conspirator, was killed by Yuan Shikai’s soldiers. Rather than Ronglu marching on the Forbidden City to imprison the Emperor, Yuan Shikai marched on Beijing with both his army and Ronglu’s Tientsin garrison and placed Empress Dowager Cixi under house arrest.
While the Emperor had secured his position from Cixi, there was still significant opposition to his rule within the Imperial court. The final straw was his appointment in February 1899 of former Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi as an advisor, which outraged the conservatives, who immediately began plotting a second coup. The modernizing reforms resulted in the rise of the traditionalist, anti-Western Yihequan in Shandong province, while Prince Duan secured the allegiance of General Dong Fuxiang, who commanded 10,000 ‘Kansu Braves’ Hui Muslim soldiers. Prince Duan also secured the support of the Yihequan in deposing the modernist Guangxu Emperor, promising to end the Emperor’s imports of western technology and ideas. Most importantly, Duan forged an alliance with Yuan Shikai, who had grown dissatisfied with his lack of a promotion after saving the Emperor from Cixi’s coup.
On October 18th, 1899, Prince Duan, Yuan Shikai, Dong Fuxiang, and a contingent of 10,000 Yihequan secured Beijing, arrested the Guangxu Emperor, and executed six of his chief reformist advisors. Kang Youwei and Liang Wei fled to Japan. Prince Duan installed himself as Regent to the imprisoned Emperor and rewarded Yuan with the Viceroyalty of Zhili. The reforms of the Guangxu Emperor were immediately repealed, but Prince Duan’s anti-western beliefs and alliance with the even more fervently nativist Yihequan spelled trouble for the future.”
 A Mixture of OTL’s McKinley and Dingley tariffs.
 Detroit is still a major car-making center, but not the car-making center it was OTL.
 Fictional people.
 Based off of OTL’s Lochner v. New York.
 OTL, Zola’s trial was delayed until July, and he escaped to England in the meantime.
 OTL, Dreyfus was tried a second time and convicted, intensifying the outrage. He was then pardoned but not exonerated until 1906. TTL, with a more pro-military and antisemitic government, that doesn’t happen.
 Fictional, though he has the same name as the OTL Guangxu Emperor.
 Fictional, based on Liang Qichao.