He was born after the POD, so I don't think he will be in this TL, but there could still be a politician with a similar ideology who rises to prominence
Populism like what we saw with Bryan and the silverites OTL won't exist because the National Bank takes currency out of Congress's hands. Rather, TTL's populist movement will be more about reforming the Bank to allow local rural banks to lend more to farmers.
So Germany hasn’t United yet?
Nope, but the Zollverein has turned the German Confederation into a more unified version of the EU. Whether that translates into full unification, I'm not sure yet...
 
52. End of the Beginning… New
52. End of the Beginning…

“Two major priorities of President Elkins were the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act and the Anti-Trust Act, both of which had been vetoed by John Carlisle before his assassination. The Interstate Commerce Act (ICA) sought to curb the excessive rates charged by most major railroads for shipment of freight. These rates were frequently protested by the farmers’ movements, and the state governments of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Lakota had all passed laws regulating these rates. In 1889, the Supreme Court had struck down parts of these laws on the grounds that only the federal government had the ability to regulate interstate commerce as per the Commerce Clause of the constitution. This put increased pressure on congress to act but the resultant bill, the ICA, had been vetoed by the conservative Carlisle.

Now, there was a president friendly to what he described as “reasonable regulations” in the Presidential mansion. In his inaugural address, Elkins declared “our system of commerce needs some revision, the odious burdens placed upon the farmers of our Republic by certain railroad concerns are unfair and discriminatory. It is an imperative that the Interstate Commerce Act, which has been debated by the august members of Congress for some years now be made law.” He called a special session of Congress to pass the two laws. The ICA enjoyed bipartisan support and passed the House and Senate easily, despite opposition from within both parties. Elkins signed the act into law on May 5th, the first triumph of his administration. The ICA was a major step forward in American business regulation, but it did not empower the government to fix specific rates that railroads could charge, and this grievance would be one of many rectified under McGovern…

…Congress also approved the Anti-Trust Act, spearheaded by James Garfield. Widely known as the Garfield Anti-Trust Act, this law was the first effort by the US government to restrict monopolistic and generally unfair business practices. It had, along with the ICA, been vetoed by John Carlisle when it was first passed. The Anti-Trust Act prohibited anticompetitive agreements between corporations and monopolistic actions by corporations. Both actual anticompetitive conduct and anticompetitive consequences were prohibited to prevent corporations from violating the spirit of the law while adhering to its letter. The act also authorized the Department of Justice [1] to bring suits to prohibit conduct in violation of the provisions, and victims of the practices outlawed were entitled to damaged triple what the violation had cost them.

In his first year alone, President Elkins had advanced more progressive legislation since Jacob Cox. Though later administrations would shift the Whigs ever further from their roots in eastern business, it was under Elkins that the first tentative steps in a more progressive direction were taken…”

-From SOBER AND INDUSTRIOUS: A HISTORY OF THE WHIGS by Greg Carey, published 1986

“William Claude McGovern was born in Rockingham [2], Iowa, on August 17th, 1852. His parents, John McGovern and Henrietta Johnston, were of English and Scottish descent, his father being the son of a Scottish immigrant. John McGovern owned a small farm outside of Rockingham and worked as the stationmaster for the city’s railroad station. Before the civil war, the McGovern family was involved in local free-soil activities and the city Whig party. While John McGovern lost a leg serving in the civil war, William McGovern attended the University of Iowa and then went to law school at New York Central, graduating in 1874. Upon returning to Iowa, McGovern clerked with a prominent Whig politician, former Congressman William B. Allison, in Dubuque.

After Allison was elected to the Senate in 1877, McGovern returned to Rockingham and established his own modest practice while beginning to involve himself in local politics. As his legal career took off, McGovern also found himself frequently campaigning for local Whig candidates. It was through his stumping that McGovern, an eloquent orator, became well-known within the state Whig party, and he was invited to serve as a delegate to the 1884, 1888, and 1892 conventions. It was at the latter where he proved instrumental in securing the Iowa delegation for Coleman B. Elkins. His political star rising, he was elected in 1886 as the County Judge for his native Scott County, where he made long-lasting alliances with the local German community and a wealthy landowner and former Governor, William Larrabee.

With the Whig party facing headwinds even in a stronghold like Iowa, McGovern declined to run for higher office in 1888. When he did run in 1890, he was elected with minimal Democratic opposition and strong support from the German American community that had helped deliver the Democrats their victories in 1886 and 1888. In congress, McGovern was a strong supporter of the proposed Interstate Commerce Act and Anti-Trust Act and was dismayed when President Carlisle vetoed both bills. Though these votes hurt his standing with the more conservative party leaders both nationally and in Iowa, McGovern was very popular with his constituents for a personality described by friend and foe alike as “boundlessly energetic” and “driven.” Congressman McGovern campaigned heavily for Coleman B. Elkins in 1892 and took his growing alienation from party leadership in stride. “These men cannot hold power forever,” he told a group of constituents in 1893. “Sooner or later a new, more reform-minded and driven generation will have to take the reins.” It was clear to all who knew him that McGovern intended to lead this new generation…”

-From PARADIGM SHIFT: THE AMERICAN PROGRESSIVE ERA by Olivia DiMarco, published 2015

“After the overthrow of the unpopular Queen Isabella II in 1868, a period of democratic rule was inaugurated with the liberal Constitution of 1869. Under Prime Minister Juan Prim [3] and his successor Francesco Serrano, Spain navigated rule by an unstable coalition of moderates, liberals, and republicans. In this, they were aided by the coronation of Amadeo I of Savoy, the younger son of the deposed King of Sardinia, as King of Spain. Slowly, stability returned as Prim and Serrano suppressed a Carlist rebellion and a Cuban insurrection while Amadeo I provided a stabilizing influence on the country, calming conservatives upset about the revolution, while republican riots subsided. Though he often contemplated abdicating in the early years of his reign, Amadeo was each time persuaded to stay as King by Juan Prim, the King’s biggest supporter in the government.

The economy recovered and the navy modernized to better protect Cuba and the Philippines, with five British-built armored cruisers delivered between 1887 and 1892 and two British-built battleships in 1893 and 1894. While Spain prospered, its colonies were restless, instability bubbled beneath the seemingly calm domestic political landscape, and the United States looked unfavorably upon the expanding Spanish Caribbean fleet…”

-From TO THE BRINK: AMERICA AND SPAIN by Llewellyn Carroll, published 2003

“…most controversial was Caprivi’s turn away from the agrarian protectionism supported by the powerful landed aristocracy in favor of securing cheaper food for the urban working class [4]. This shift in thinking resulted in the signing of the Second Vienna Agreement, which established an agricultural free trade zone within the Zollverein and empowered the German Confederation to negotiate tariff agreements with foreign countries. This bound the economies of the various states of the Confederation closer together. While food prices dropped after Caprivi’s trade treaty, the conservative Junkers were enraged and the Conservative Party nearly toppled Caprivi’s government. Only the support of Frederick III and the lay Catholic Zentrum sustained his Minister-Presidency [5].

Caprivi oversaw the passage of a series of progressive reforms in 1889-1891. Among these were an 11-hour workday for adults, a ban on child labor for children under 13, and a maximum of a 10-hour day for those aged 13-18. Working was forbidden on Sundays, and a minimum wage instituted. Perhaps most importantly, Caprivi oversaw the creation of Industrial Tribunals, which mediated labor disputes with representatives of trade unions allowed to sit in on proceedings. In addition, the revenue lost from the free-trade policies that were driving the Prussian industrial boom was offset by the enactment of a progressive taxation system, which reduced the tax burden on the lower classes while raising it on wealthy industrialists and landowners [6].

Along with domestic struggles, Frederick III and Caprivi also had to face growing international tensions. Relations with France were increasingly frayed after the Bangi Crisis and ensuing London Congress, but Caprivi’s efforts to resolve the issue failed. A rapprochement with Britain bore fruit, as Prussia ceded its claims to the Zanzibar coast in exchange for the cession of the British-controlled island of Heligoland. Caprivi’s predecessor as Minister-President, Karl Heinrich von Boetticher, had entered into tentative negotiations for an alliance with Russia before his dismissal in 1890. Upon entering office, Caprivi broke off these negotiations, preferring to strengthen the unity of the German Confederation [7] and seek accommodation with Britain. After this, Czar Nicholas II saw Prussia and Austria-Hungary as Russia’s greatest European threat. Caprivi’s successful efforts to overhaul and expand the previously lackluster Prussian army left the Russians worried that this new army would be used to invade them. Prussia, meanwhile, felt threatened by Russian efforts to expand its Baltic fleet and Prussian shipbuilders soon found themselves with contracts for a brand-new fleet of ten battleships and sixteen armored cruisers.

The Russo-Prussian arms race was just another step on the march towards the Great European War…”

-From THE GRAND CONSENSUS: EUROPE 1815-1898 by Rebecca Gardner, published 2001

[1] The Justice Department as we know it was never created TTL without Reconstruction. TTL, there is the Justice Department that has the lawyers, and the Department of Enforcement has the US Marshals, ATF, DEA, Immigration Enforcement, and the Bureau of Prisons. The DoJ investigates white-collar crimes and represents the US government in legal matters, while the DoE prosecutes criminals. Also, I know I didn’t post a cabinet list, but so many of the people in politics are fictional by now that it would just be a meaningless list of random names. Going forward, I’ll only mention cabinet members when it’s pertinent to the story.
[2] OTL Davenport became the county seat of Scott County in 1840 by two votes and later annexed Rockingham. TTL, it’s the other way around.
[3] OTL, Prim was assassinated, and the instability increased.
[4] Part of why Caprivi was forced out of office OTL.
[5] Just wanted to mention that without a Kulturkampf, the Zentrum establishes itself as a secular party with a broader appeal earlier in order to grow the party beyond Catholics. As a result, the Zentrum is about as powerful here TTL as it was OTL.
[6] All enacted by the German Empire under Caprivi OTL.
[7] Caprivi did the same thing OTL. Hopefully it’ll work out better TTL…
 
@TheHedgehog I recently discovered your TL and enjoyed reading through it, now I'm finally all caught up.

I love seeing Early Republic alts, and this one is really well done! The alt-Civil War without ending slavery was one aspect I hadn't seen done before - terrifying, but also interesting. I'm also loving the surviving Whig Party, and I enjoy your flash-forwards to the present day as a way to talk about various historical events. It's a great touch.
 
This coming war is shaping up to be pretty interesting; I find myself wishing that the constitutional monarchy of Prussia and the French Republic could both avoid losing, but alas.
 
So Spain is ruled by the Savoys? Interesting. Shame Italy hasn't united yet, it would be a nice alliance.
Well Italy is a Republic TTL, so it wouldn't be a dynastic alliance. Besides, Spain has been kinda trying to steer a neutral course
Savoyard Spain has always been an interesting idea to me. It was so short-lived IOTL that it's often forgotten. I'd love to see it last long-term.
Yeah, I was browsing wikipedia and I saw he was king, so I ran with it.
Well, TTL's constitutional Spain will go in a rather different direction than Cinco de Mayo...
@TheHedgehog I recently discovered your TL and enjoyed reading through it, now I'm finally all caught up.

I love seeing Early Republic alts, and this one is really well done! The alt-Civil War without ending slavery was one aspect I hadn't seen done before - terrifying, but also interesting. I'm also loving the surviving Whig Party, and I enjoy your flash-forwards to the present day as a way to talk about various historical events. It's a great touch.
Thanks so much! Glad you like it.
This coming war is shaping up to be pretty interesting; I find myself wishing that the constitutional monarchy of Prussia and the French Republic could both avoid losing, but alas.
Thanks! We shall see, but a stalemate isn't out of the realm of possibility...
 
Well Italy is a Republic TTL, so it wouldn't be a dynastic alliance. Besides, Spain has been kinda trying to steer a neutral course

Yeah, I was browsing wikipedia and I saw he was king, so I ran with it.

Well, TTL's constitutional Spain will go in a rather different direction than Cinco de Mayo...

Thanks so much! Glad you like it.

Thanks! We shall see, but a stalemate isn't out of the realm of possibility...
Oh I figured! A Savoyard Spain alone is a big difference, and I def caught the clues of tensions in the Caribbean… excited to see where this goes!
 
Relations with France were increasingly frayed after the Bangi Crisis and ensuing London Congress, but Caprivi’s efforts to resolve the issue failed.
I can't see France and Germany butting head on a Great War scale over some colonies, as Germany was not really an aggressive colonial power. Also, Alsace-Lorraine/Left bank of the Rhines irredentism was clearly not pronounced so far ITTL. Since France hasn't lost anything ITTL, they wouldn't have needed to attack Germany - I mean, no revanchism here. And right now a massive political change towards jingoism in Germany would have been needed for Germany to invade France.

Well Italy is a Republic TTL, so it wouldn't be a dynastic alliance.
Is Italian Republic still allied with France?

This coming war is shaping up to be pretty interesting; I find myself wishing that the constitutional monarchy of Prussia and the French Republic could both avoid losing, but alas.
I admit that I would prefer both Prussia and Russia losing, if a war must happen - Poland and various nations in Eastern Europe should go independent.
 
I can't see France and Germany butting head on a Great War scale over some colonies, as Germany was not really an aggressive colonial power. Also, Alsace-Lorraine/Left bank of the Rhines irredentism was clearly not pronounced so far ITTL. Since France hasn't lost anything ITTL, they wouldn't have needed to attack Germany - I mean, no revanchism here. And right now a massive political change towards jingoism in Germany would have been needed for Germany to invade France.


Is Italian Republic still allied with France?


I admit that I would prefer both Prussia and Russia losing, if a war must happen - Poland and various nations in Eastern Europe should go independent.
The colonial dispute is a small part of the growing rift between Prussia and France -- the much bigger driver for rising tensions is Prussia's alliance with Austria-Hungary and France's alliance with Italy. France and Prussia would have a much better relationship if their allies didn't hate each other.
There will be an independent Poland of some sort that forms in the aftermath of the war, but I won't spoil what happens to the eastern front...
 
53. Inequality of Opportunity New
53. Inequality of Opportunity

“As the economy continued its recovery throughout 1894, investors regained their confidence and businesses across the country began to grow once more. The industrial sector had the fastest recovery as a combination of high tariffs, falling unemployment, and heavy investment increased demand and enabled greater production. However, while small manufacturers enjoyed a massive boom, farmers and rural businessmen struggled to secure the same investment opportunities. In order to ensure that its funds were readily available to the Treasury, the National Bank frequently called on local banks to settle the amounts of the checks and notes that local banks deposited in the National Bank. Since these checks and notes were settled in specie (gold and silver coins), banks could not lend out too much money or they wouldn’t have enough specie left to pay back the National Bank [1].

The National Bank came under increased criticism from farmers for its restrictions on the capacity of local banks to lend money. Larger eastern banks had more funds to loan out safely, while smaller western and rural banks were more constrained under the National Bank’s regulations. When Alonzo B. Hepburn [2], the President of the Bank, refused a petition signed by 3,000 farmers in Hidatsa and Lakota to ease the restraints on local banks, state politicians appealed to Congress. However, a bill to compel the bank to change its lending regulations introduced by Hidatsa congressman Niels Johnson was defeated in committee due to a longstanding precedent that Congress shouldn’t pass any laws to compel the National Bank to follow one policy or another. Angered by the refusal of the Whigs to act, Johnson became an independent in August 1894. Shortly after, he founded the People’s Party with Senator Alvin Wright, a fellow Hidatsan. They were joined soon after by six other western congressmen and four Senators, expanded to 10 congressmen and 5 Senators after the 1894-1895 elections.

The Populist movement had begun, and whichever party managed to win over these disaffected farmers would have a chokehold on the west for a generation…”

-From PARADIGM SHIFT: THE AMERICAN PROGRESSIVE ERA by Olivia DiMarco, published 2015

“The end of slavery in the south created a large population of unemployed, destitute freedmen. While many found a semblance of “employment” as tenant farmers on the plantation of their former master, many others sought new opportunities. The growing cities of both the south and the north seemed to promise boundless opportunity, shining beacons of freedom from servitude. While northern cities like Cincinnati and Philadelphia were more welcoming of black migration, most cities both north and south disliked the newcomers. Northern cities like Boston and Chicago mostly reacted to black migration by instituting segregated residential zoning, cramming black newcomers into tenement housing, even as white immigrants were moved into safer apartments. Richmond and Saint Louis enacted similar policies [3].

As racist as housing policy in the north was, it was a hundred times worse in the south. Elyton and Atlanta are two prime examples of the new southern system of white supremacy. Elyton, Alabama, was undergoing extraordinary growth at the close of the 19th century due to the city’s booming steel industry. This naturally attracted many rural migrants to seek employment at the mines, mills, and foundries, and many of them were black freedmen. Under the pass system implemented by the Alabama legislature, however, it was difficult for freedmen to move around. To get around this and also obtain cheap labor, Sloss Industries, the main steel company in Elyton, built several corporate dormitories (of dubious safety, and indeed one northern journalist declared it “worse than a tenement house”) where the employees would reside, and they could send their wages home to their families.

While white workers at the steel mills could move their families to Elyton and get housing, black workers lived apart from their families and could only return home on certain occasions, because their passbooks were held by their employers [4]. Worse, black employees were given the most menial jobs available, and paid substantially less than what a white worker earned doing a comparable task (sometimes as low as 15% of a white man’s wages). What limited safety regulations existed were ignored for black workers, and unionization efforts by black workers were met with threats to charge organizers and strikers with vagrancy and sentence them into the convict labor gangs. Along with terrible working conditions, the dormitories these workers lived in were of shoddy quality and often burned down or collapsed. As Elyton grew, white residents complained that their homes were too close to the dormitories and demanded they be moved. The city council established a zoning board headed by the notoriously segregationist attorney Garrett Nash. Nash and the zoning board left the white residential areas where they were, but moved the dormitories downwind of the industrial sector, essentially dividing Elyton in three: the white area, the industrial area, and the black area [5].

The black employees of the steel mills were unceremoniously evicted almost immediately after the new zoning ordinances were drawn and moved to the empty fields downwind of the steel mills. “The air was laden with smoke and ash,” explained The Advocate, “and the land was laden with tents and lean-tos.” Sloss Industries was loath to pay for even the construction of cheap dormitories and instead sought to create a different form of the company towns that were popular with northern corporations. The land was parceled out and rented to the workers, many of whom could not afford the fees. The workers would then build their own housing. Sloss knew this and offered to loan the money to the workers and even provide discounted building materials. The workers were also bound to remain employed at Sloss until they paid off their debt. Of course, most of them were unable to save enough money to escape the contract. What resulted was a confused sea of wooden shanties with no streetlights and unpaved roads. There was only one rudimentary school run by the local church, which had only four bibles and no other books. Law enforcement was negligible, and fires were frequent.

Elyton imposed its own local form of passbooks, where workers were forbidden from entering the white section of the city and could only travel from what passed for their home to the factory and back [6]. Instead, they were consigned to inhabit shacks with no electricity (which was becoming commonplace in cities across the country) and no running water, forcing them to rely on wells of dubious quality. Other steel and mining companies in Elyton followed similar plans, and these slums grew ever denser and more unhygienic as time wore on. Worse, other growing southern cities like Nashville, Atlanta, and Louisville adopted similar zoning codes that effectively consigned every black person in the city to a life little better than that of a slave.”

-From DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN: THE BUILDING OF AMERICA'S BLACK SLUMS by Evan Summers, published 2013

“It seems Texas just can’t escape controversy. First, the city of Dallas tried to run a highway through a Black neighborhood and were thwarted by the Supreme Court. Then Governor Henry Armistead (Dem-Tex) went on a rant and called for Dallas to ignore the ruling.

First, some background. The Supreme Court recently ruled in Dallas v. Morris that the Dallas zoning board had illegally approved a highway to run through the Black-majority neighborhood of West Trinity. The court battle had dragged on for the past five years as a stay on the highway persisted. Last week, in a 7-2 ruling authored by Chief Justice Scott, the Court ordered the zoning board to re-route the highway in a way that didn’t disrupt the neighborhood.

As Justice Scott explained, “the Constitution enshrines the right to life, liberty, and property. The fifth amendment prohibits any individual from being deprived of their property rights by the government, and the seventeenth amendment [7] guarantees all Americans regardless of race to equal treatment under the law… West Trinity is 65% Black and the Dallas Zoning Board elected to circuitously route Interstate 20 through West Trinity rather than a more direct route through the White-majority Oak Hill neighborhood.” According to Scott and the six justices who joined her on the opinion, while it is not illegal for governments to seize property via eminent domain, the construction of the proposed highway would “needlessly disrupt” West Trinity and “serve to isolate West Trinity from other areas of Dallas, chiefly the central business district.” The Court ultimately held that the detrimental effects of the highway’s proposed location were racially motivated and ordered the zoning board to find a less disruptive path for Interstate 20.

Howard Morris, the attorney and West Trinity homeowner who led the suit, celebrated the ruling. “It’s a great victory, it means my neighbors, my family, and I won’t have to live with the noise and pollution of heavy, 24/7 traffic,” he told reporters on the steps of the Supreme Court building. “And it means, above all, that America is a place of opportunity and freedom, and that Black people are just as entitled to that opportunity and freedom as anyone else here.” President Claire Huntington called Morris to congratulate him and said at a later press conference that “I welcome this ruling, it’s a tremendous step forward for equal rights in this country. There were many other ways that the city of Dallas could have routed that highway without disrupting any neighborhood, white or Black. Instead, they tried to destroy a prosperous Black neighborhood. I thank the Justices of the Supreme Court, and I thank Mr. Morris and his hard work for putting a stop to this injustice.”

The Dallas Zoning Board’s chairman, Jacob Orman, criticize the court’s ruling as “discrimination against the White families that’ll have an interstate running through their front yards,” but acknowledged that “the court’s ruling may be erroneous, but its authority is final, and we have to respect it.” Meanwhile, Texas Governor Henry Armistead used a press conference at the unveiling of a renovated Nicaraguan War memorial to furiously denounce the court. “This is judicial activism of the worst kind,” Armistead fumed. “What do seven out-of-touch Whigs know about Dallas zoning? What do they know about our highway system or electrical grid or port authorities? They’re legislating from the bench and I’m sick of it. If you ask me, Jake Orman and Mayor Daniels should just ignore the court. Like Jackson said, ‘the court’s made its ruling, let ‘em enforce it.’ Can a bunch of old Harvard hacks in robes stop a fleet of bulldozers? I don’t think so.”

Armistead’s comments were immediately met with outrage. Texas Attorney General Phil Lambert, a Whig, called the incident “shameful and disturbing.” He went on to say that “the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and they have made a ruling. Unlike a banana republic, in the United States we obey court rulings. If Governor Armistead tries to ignore the ruling in Dallas v. Morris, I will fight him every step of the way. What the Governor is proposing is un-American.” When reached for comment, Howard Morris simply said “yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. Hank Armistead always seems to wish that Texas was still an independent republic.” President Huntington issued a brief statement read by her Press Secretary, Mike Vanderburg that said “I am disappointed in the rhetoric of Governor Armistead. The United States is a nation of laws, not men and his comments fly in the face of what the United States of America was founded upon.”

It's sadly not surprising that Governor Armistead made these comments – he has a history of defending segregationist actions during his three terms in office. During his first campaign in 1998, he called William Weldon, a Texan who served as President from 1901-1905, “a hero for states-rights.” Weldon was a notorious white supremacist who helped design the state’s convict leasing system and Black Codes that kept Blacks trapped in poverty and illiteracy. Then in 2002, Armistead referred to his opponent, Tom Davis, who is Black, as “macaca” during a debate [8]. Macaca is a racial slur derived from the Portuguese for “monkey.” He won anyway. And a series of statements during his 2006 reelection campaign in which he seemed to advocate for Texan secession, called President Huntington a “real bitch” and cited the 1972 election, in which the pro-civil rights Warren Burke was elected, as “when America started to lose its greatness.” He nearly lost his primary that time, defeating Congressman Weldon Samuels in a runoff by less than 5,000 votes.

In all of his controversies, Governor Armistead has refused to apologize, instead insisting he was either misquoted or taken out of context. In none of these controversies have his excuses ever made sense. He is a disgrace to our state, and we all deserve better than a racist, sexist caricature of W. Carlyle Sale.”

-From OPINION: TEXAS DESERVES BETTER by Hannah Wheeler, published in The Chicago Tribune, June 24th, 2009

“The discovery of vast oil reserves in the north and east of the country spurred a scramble to exploit this natural bounty. While many Mexican entrepreneurs were able to set up oil companies in the oil fields of Veracruz, American companies snapped up thousands of acres of land in the western Permian Basin and Alta California. The dominant cientifico [9] faction of the ruling Liberal Party was all too willing to allow American concerns to exploit the oil deposits in the northern provinces. The cientificos were ardent modernizers and saw the tax revenue from oil companies, regardless of whether they were foreign or domestic, as an excellent source of revenue. Mexico, despite its strong economy, suffered from significant income inequality and the technocratic policies of the Liberals had thus far failed to provide the remedy.

By 1895, 75% of Mexico’s northern oil fields were owned by American companies, primarily the Hearst Corporation and Ezra Archbold’s Columbia Oil Company. Meanwhile, British and American companies together owned 50% of the Veracruz oil fields. The American and British companies negotiated steeply discounted taxes for their Mexican operations. The system worked for several years, but by 1895 food prices in Mexico were rising sharply and the people chafed under the authoritarian, oligarchic, and elitist attitudes held by the Liberals. Under President Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, the Liberals had established a tight grip on power, using bribery and patronage to ensure continued control of the government. After Lerdo’s National faction had been eclipsed by the cientificos, Manuel Romero Rubio had used the nationwide patronage network to maintain the Liberal’s reign while “preparing” the country for proper democracy.

Oil tax revenues were used to fund public education programs and new railroads, but by the 1895 inauguration of Rubio’s fellow cientifico Jose M. Y. Limantour, public discontent with the American oil companies was growing. Despite the rising cost of food, the foreign oil companies paid low wages and demanded long hours. Oil workers complained of their poor conditions and demanded that Limantour implement workplace safety laws and force the foreign oil companies to obey them. Meanwhile, domestic oil producers complained that they paid substantially more in taxes than the much larger foreign operations, and nationalists fumed that foreign companies were stealing oil revenue from the Mexican people. However, the government ignored these complaints. The situation became more serious in 1896, however, when a group of Mexican oil workers in the Permian Basin went on strike to protest low wages and Columbia Oil’s refusal to address unsafe conditions that had led to five fatalities over a three-month span. The strike quickly spread to nearby American-owned oil fields, and within two weeks much of the Permian Basin oil industry was shut down by the strikes. Representatives from Hearst and Columbia, as well as the Eagle and Acme oil companies, met hastily in an El Paso hotel room. The “Big Four” oil companies agreed to coordinate their response, and within a week, private security forces from the American Detective Service had arrived to disperse the strikers. While many workers agreed to return to work without concessions, at a number of oil wells, the workers were armed and resisted the security forces.

After several weeks of skirmishing, the security forces pulled back from the resistant wells after one was set on fire during a gunfight. Instead, the Big Four called on President Limantour to send the Mexican army in to restore order. President Coleman B. Elkins of the United States also pressured Mexico to intervene on behalf of the oil companies. Worried about angering the Americans and about allowing the violence to spread, Limantour ordered the strikes suppressed. After a month and 175 dead, the Permian oil fields were pacified, although five further wells and one storage tank had been set on fire in the fighting. Although the American companies were placated, workers and nationalists were enraged. Here was the President of Mexico obeying every command of the foreign businesses!

It was in this atmosphere of worker unrest and nationalist fervor that Victoriano Madero, one of the few Mexican oilmen of the north [10], and wealthy landowner Jose Carranza founded the Popular Reform Party with the intention of returning all the oilfields and their revenues, as well as control of the government, to Mexican hands.”

-From A CONCISE HISTORY OF MEXICO by Herman Wheeler, published 2002

[1] What the 2nd Bank did OTL, which I can imagine would have been unpopular with farmers.
[2] A real guy, of Hepburn Commission fame. He helped kick the railroad regulation movement into gear.
[3] Which is, comparatively, better than what the rest of the south is doing TTL.
[4] Worse (and this is rather important to put in a footnote) the employers knew where these guys’ families lived and if there was any union stuff or the like, the company could have the families harassed.
[5] And God knows what kinds of health problems will pop up from that…
[6] Any violators were charged with vagrancy and sent off to the chain gangs. The shantytowns had their own businesses and shops, though of dubious standards.
[7] Has many of the same provisions as the OTL 14th and 15th amendments.
[8] Based off of what George Allen said during the 2006 Virginia Senate election.
[9] OTL, the cientificos were allies of Porfirio Diaz. TTL, they’re a ruling faction in their own right.
[10] Fictional son of Evarista Madero Elizondo, OTL grandfather of Francisco I. Madero, of Mexican Revolution fame. OTL, Francisco Madero was a northern landowner. TTL, Victoriano Madero (based off of Francisco) is also a northern landowner but gets in early on the oil game.
 
Looks like environmental racism sucks even worse in this timeline, with so many urban neighborhoods being explicitly segregated from the start rather than "just" using redlining to displace people. The fact that companies in the South have even more legal methods to control black workers in the literal ghettos they're forcing them into doesn't bode well for the future of the labor movement either. On a lighter note, apparently Texas still sees MOAR FREEWAYS as the solution to everything!
 
Honestly, at this point I'm surprised that African-Americans even bother at all with integration and that black nationalism isn't just the norm ttl
We shall see how the civil rights movement develops TTL...
Looks like environmental racism sucks even worse in this timeline, with so many urban neighborhoods being explicitly segregated from the start rather than "just" using redlining to displace people. The fact that companies in the South have even more legal methods to control black workers in the literal ghettos they're forcing them into doesn't bode well for the future of the labor movement either. On a lighter note, apparently Texas still sees MOAR FREEWAYS as the solution to everything!
Yeah, the south is going to be notorious for the sheer awfulness of their townships slums ghettos, worse even than the redlining and neighborhood covenants in the north. As for the level of control southern businesses have over their "employees", it doesn't bode well for the black labor movement. White workers have more skilled jobs, don't owe money to the company, and more leeway to organize without having their families beaten or killed in retaliation.
As for Texas and highways, I can't pretend to be an expert :)
 
We shall see how the civil rights movement develops TTL...
With how bad things are, I wonder if the Civil Rights movement is going to be a lot more militant than OTL. I could see groups such as the Black Panthers or even black nationalists gaining widespread traction if conditions continue as the are.
 
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