Commonwealth President Gerald L.K. Smith leading the funeral procession of his predecessor, William Dudley Pelley. Upon Pelley’s death in 1952, a series of power struggles occurred over who would succeed him as President. In the end, Gerald L.K. Smith, a close associate of Huey Long, emerged victorious and gained the Presidency. During his Presidency, Smith doubled down on many of Pelley’s domestic policies, further reducing the rights of African Americans in the Commonwealth, worsening the living conditions of the ghettos throughout the Rust Belt (more commonly called “The Nigger Belt” in the Commonwealth), and allowing further crackdown on peaceful protests against the oppressive Silver Legion. This further destabilized the Commonwealth, and Smith’s Presidency is widely blamed by many for the collapse of the Commonwealth decades later.