Interesting to see, how TTL Globalisation would developed. As I can understand, "European Union" TTL would be only known as utopian project.

Instead, we could see Prussian-lead Zollverein, may be inqlude not only German and satellite states, but also their Germany-oriented-neihbors - Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden... and may be even Russia? Why not, Zollverein needs in Ukrainian grain, and, later - in Siberian gaz (OTL Samotlor Field was discovered in 1965, I suppose that TTL not-so-technical-developed-as-OTL-USSR Russia would do it later). So, I can imagine TTL Wonderful-Russia-of-the-Future-after-the-end-of-Tsarism be assosiated nation, or even full member of the German Alliance.
Also, as I understand, TTL British and French Colonial Empires would transform to Commonwealhs of Nations. And Portugal even can full unite Angola, Mosambique and Goa/Macao with the metropoly to the single nation.
 
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I forgot about that. Midwestern hipster techbros just might be the most cursed thing in this timeline, and that's saying a lot. Swilling kombucha and making small talk about the weather, speaking with a passive aggressive superiority that could wither a flower at 100 yards.
Ugh that'll be fun for everyone in TTL America, no doubt. Especially with all of the rich out-of-state kids flocking to the state universities in Kansas and Nebraska.
How did I miss that there were more recent updates?! Great stuff!
Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it!
Interesting to see, how TTL Globalisation would developed. As I can understand, "European Union" TTL would be only known as utopian project.

Instead, we could see Prussian-lead Zollverein, may be inqlude not only German and satellite states, but also their Germany-oriented-neihbors - Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden... and may be even Russia? Why not, Zollverein needs in Ukrainian grain, and, later - in Siberian gaz (OTL Samotlor Field was discovered in 1965, I suppose that TTL not-so-technical-developed-as-OTL-USSR Russia would do it later). So, I can imagine TTL Wonderful-Russia-of-the-Future-after-the-end-of-Tsarism be assosiated nation, or even full member of the German Alliance.
Also, as I understand, TTL British and French Colonial Empires would transform to Commonwealhs of Nations. And Portugal even can full unite Angola, Mosambique and Goa/Macao with the metropoly to the single nation.
The Zollverein is sort of jointly dominated by Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and a smaller bloc of Bavaria and the south German states. I see it as remaining mostly a German project, with perhaps the Netherlands and Denmark becoming "affiliated states" or something.
I'm not quite sure what will happen with Russia yet, but my current thinking is they end up kind of like OTL Poland, mostly democratic but with a deep conservative tradition. As things stand right now, Russia is fairly hostile to the German bloc, but the Tsar wants to open up the economy and I could see a closer economic relationship lead to the spread of more western, democratic values into Russia and eventually lead to the end of the Tsarist dictatorship.
Britain and France will retain a lot of influence over their colonial empires, but I have something a little different planned for Portugal...
 
I'm not quite sure what will happen with Russia yet, but my current thinking is they end up kind of like OTL Poland, mostly democratic but with a deep conservative tradition. As things stand right now, Russia is fairly hostile to the German bloc, but the Tsar wants to open up the economy and I could see a closer economic relationship lead to the spread of more western, democratic values into Russia and eventually lead to the end of the Tsarist dictatorship.
I could see that though I do reckon their own conservative traditions would be a bit different than Poland's. They may also have a bit of influence from the US, given how the two were pretty close prior to the Revolutions
Britain and France will retain a lot of influence over their colonial empires, but I have something a little different planned for Portugal...
Well, this should be intriguing.
 
@TheHedgehog
Is there an update about Mexico at all. I feel i've just glossed over it?
Just wondering because i'm curious about what their nation is like with half of their OTL "Mexican Cessation" territory still being in their control.
 
I could see that though I do reckon their own conservative traditions would be a bit different than Poland's. They may also have a bit of influence from the US, given how the two were pretty close prior to the Revolutions

Well, this should be intriguing.
Yeah Russia will be unique, but I am taking some inspiration from Poland as a starting point.
@TheHedgehog
Is there an update about Mexico at all. I feel i've just glossed over it?
Just wondering because i'm curious about what their nation is like with half of their OTL "Mexican Cessation" territory still being in their control.
I last covered Mexico in the early 20s, when the conservative wealthy, landowners, and clergy staged a coup and imposed a pro-business, right-wing regime that opened the country up to foreign corporations.
 
106. A Disorganized State for a Disorderly Community
106. A Disorganized State for a Disorderly Community

“Despite his victory, President Nelson sat at the helm of a fractured party. Most of one of the Democratic party’s most powerful factions now sat with the opposition, and those that remained were themselves divided between relics of the classical liberal reformists, proponents of a robust new, urban liberalism, and vaguely conservative ethnic big-city machines. To have a chance at enacting his agenda, Nelson had to walk a narrow line and appease the many competing forces in the party. While he intended to weaken the Department of Industry and Planning, it was nevertheless an immensely powerful government office, and Nelson awarded control of it to Charles McCrory, a New Jersey congressman and former mayor of Elizabeth, who both dominated the state Democratic party and supported many liberal policies, especially free trade. In his efforts to assemble an ideologically balanced cabinet, Nelson largely neglected geographic balance, as only one cabinet post, that of Postmaster General, was awarded to someone west of Pennsylvania. That person was Leon Moore of Shasta, a former mayor of San Francisco. Harry Smith of Arkansas had been offered the Agriculture department, but he declined due to ill health, and the post went to Leonard Sullivan of New York. Democrats from the Midwest and west were upset at Nelson even before his inauguration, as his cabinet effectively blocked these state parties from dispensing patronage and government funding.

Nelson’s careful balancing act managed to satisfy some of his fellow Democrats, but his inaugural address and subsequent legislative proposals quickly polarized the general public. He called on Congress to “tear down the archaic walls that surround us, our outdated and restrictive tariffs,” and said, “I do not promise free trade, but let us set out on that road to true prosperity.” Nelson also attacked the Department of Industry and Planning and the Fair Standards Code, which he blamed for a “sluggish recovery” and insisted were a detriment to businessmen. He used much of his address to lay out specific policy proposals, including slashing the tariff from almost 50% to 30%, an income tax cut, the cancellation of price controls and wage floors, and the abrogation of several elements of the FSC that Nelson labeled “burdensome and detrimental to commerce.” While much of this agenda, especially tax reform and trade liberalization, could be easily blocked by the Whig majorities on Capitol Hill, the FSC and the Department of Industry and Planning’s economic controls were almost entirely subject to presidential fiat.

The Whigs, though still divided by Howard Cameron, were still united in opposition to any liberalization proposals. Speaker Oscar Norris vowed that “we will obstruct any and every piece of legislation or executive decree that this administration attempts to enact in their crusade against the workers and toilers of the Republic.” As a result, a bill to reduce the tariff was killed in committee, as House leadership refused to negotiate with Nelson. With legislative action effectively reduced to keeping the government funded [1], Nelson and his cabinet used the considerable powers of the Department of Industry and Planning to tear down the Cameronite system. Within his first hundred days, President Nelson signed a series of executive orders directing McCrory to abolish several “odious” regulations on tailors, butchers, and grocers. Price controls were also lifted, but Nelson’s attempt to end the wage regulations drew the ire of organized labor. Several Whig-aligned trade unions demanded that Nelson reverse course or they would declare a general strike.

While elements of Nelson’s cabinet urged him to call the unions’ bluff, he ultimately conceded, arguing that a drawn-out battle with strikers could only worsen economic conditions. This outraged some of the liberal hardliners in the Democratic party, leading to the resignation of Commerce Secretary George Abbott, who cited the incident in his resignation letter. It also did not endear Nelson to organized labor, who not only saw him as an enemy of the worker, but also as a weak leader who could be easily bullied. Worse for Nelson, he had scarcely been president for a year before Howard Cameron emerged from his exile in Michigan and began a speaking tour in which he railed against the Democrats and Nelson’s attempts to dismantle his programs. Already a weak president faced with a lack of a popular mandate and divided party, now Nelson was faced with emboldened labor unions, Howard Cameron back in the public sphere, and the Danforth papers publishing gleefully biased, scathing editorials attacking his leadership. The 1948 election was over before it ever truly began.”

-From THE LONG TWENTIETH CENTURY: AMERICA 1940-2003 by Greg Carey, published 2009

“Fifteen years on from the end of the Great Arabian War, the Ottoman Empire had largely recovered from the conflict. Most of the Empire’s oil-rich lands were retained, and as European demand for automobiles surged amid the recovery from the Great Depression, the Ottoman economy boomed. Oil quickly became the Empire’s main export, which the National Emergency government, in its twentieth year in power, eagerly encouraged. However, as Persia began exporting more oil as it demobilized, the once-dominant Ottoman oil companies lost influence and the price of oil fell. The National Constitutionalist-Party of Regions coalition that formed the Ittihad emergency government, now led by Mustafa Halil Pasha, had focused heavily on the oil industry, to the neglect of other sectors of the economy. With a contraction in the oil industry, the rest of the Ottoman economy suffered along with it, prompting protests and calls for reform.

Elections had been suspended at the onset of the Great Arabian War, and as the Ittihad government grew more authoritarian, the pre-war constitution was not re-instated. This had been furiously protested but, after a failed coup, then-Grand Vizer Riza banned a number of opposition parties, including the newly formed Progressive Centre party. Since then, the regime had ridden a wave of economic prosperity, even during the worldwide Great Depression. The oil crash, an inflation surge, and ensuing recession occurred just as the Ottoman labor movement began flexing its muscles. While trade unions were heavily restricted under the Ittihad, worker discontent was at a boiling point in the summer of 1945, as wage cuts and high inflation ate into the working class’s finances. The main Ottoman trade union, the United Labor League, was led by Nikos Stavridis, an Anatolian Greek attorney and son of a steel worker. Stavridis had himself worked in the same steel mill as his father as a teenager and had risen to not only lead the steelworkers’ union, but the general organized labor movement.

Though most strikes had been criminalized under the regime and unionization efforts at oil fields and refineries had been hampered by government harassment, Stavridis’s labor movement was still very powerful, and when he and the movement’s executive committee decided to call for strikes, hundreds of thousands of workers across the country heeded the call. Initially, Grand Vizier Halil ordered a harsh repression of the strikes, but this only intensified and politicized the unrest. As the government moved to break the picket lines, Stavridis declared that the general strike would last until new elections were held. This proclamation sparked student protests at the many universities across the Empire, with barricades and sit-ins effectively placing the universities in Constantinople and Salonika under the control of student radicals.

As anti-government unrest built, the regime accused Stavridis of harboring foreign sympathies owing to his Greek heritage, but Stavridis had not only been born in Anatolia and spoke Turkish, but he had also served with distinction in the Ottoman Army during the Great War, including in combat against Greek forces. Further, the Ottoman Empire was not nearly as ethnically divided as it had been before the Great War, ironically in large part due to the efforts of the Ittihad and Regions parties that now comprised the Ittihad [2]. These efforts at stirring ethnic tensions also met with resistance from the armed forces, where members of minority communities had risen through the ranks and into commanding positions [3]. With a mutiny becoming a real threat, Padishah Selim IV requested Halil’s resignation. Halil and his cabinet, their position thoroughly eroded, acquiesced without further resistance and resigned. The Padishah appointed Kerim Pasha, a war hero from the Great Arabian War, as interim Grand Vizier until elections could be held. News of the first general elections in twenty years was met with public celebration, as the various opposition groups that had waited in the shadows were now able to organize in the open.

Halil resigned as the leader of the National Constitutionalists but used his remaining influence within the coalition to officially unite the Ittihad into one singular party to contest the 1944 elections. It did little to save the Ittihad, however, as the coalition had lost much of its standing due to economic strain and increased repression. PANOSI and a new center-right party, Islamic Democracy, emerged as the main contenders to form the next government, with all of the old parties, including the Islamist and monarchist opposition factions, poised to lose support. Stavridis toured the empire during the campaign, promising economic revival, new labor reforms, and new democratic safeguards in the constitution. Islamic Democracy quickly supplanted much of the old religious and secular right wing, staking a moderate course that allowed the party to come in a strong second and narrowly deny PANOSI and Stavridis an outright majority. Nevertheless, Nikos Stavridis was able to pull together the support necessary for him to be appointed the first non-Muslim Grand Vizier in Ottoman history.”

-From A POCKET HISTORY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE by Yvette Leventhal, published 2015

“CONSTANTINOPLE, Oct 9 – Ottoman voters shattered several precedents Sunday, backing the Patriotic Consolidation, a coalition that is now set to form the country’s farthest-right government since the National Emergency, led by its first female grand vizier.

The tally of votes shows a clear victory for the Consolidation, which includes three far-right forces, including the Osmanli Vatan party, an Islamist party that espouses strict social conservatism. The coalition is led by the Istiklal party, which dominated Ottoman politics during the 90s and early 2000s, but which had been left for political dead after dismal results in 2012, 2017, and 2019. Istiklal, led by Imren Orhanzade, has reinvented itself as a member of the “new right” that has gained ground across Europe in recent years, embracing “traditional” social values, closing off the border to undocumented immigrants, and strong Ottoman nationalism.

The outcome aligns with predictions throughout the month, as most polls indicated the Patriotic Consolidation would sail to victory – mainly because its parties are unified as a coalition while the left and center are not.

Orhanzade’s opponents warn that her rise could send shockwaves through European politics, driving the Ottoman Empire away from its ties to Italy and potentially inspiring similar far-right movements in other countries, such as Austria-Hungary and Spain.

On Monday, Orhanzade posted a video message to Nexus, stating that Ottomans had entrusted her with “the security of the nation and our values. We shall not disappoint those who placed their faith in us.”

Ottoman politics have long been chaotic and unstable. Governments rose and fell before they could enact meaningful change, the typical one lasting on average less than two years. If she is confirmed as expected, Orhanzade would face immediate tests at home and in Europe, given fatigue over rising fuel prices and divisions within her own coalition on homosexual rights and judicial reform.

The vote Sunday only determines the composition of parliament, the Grand Vizier will be chosen later by a sitting of the full parliament. But because Istiklal has emerged with the most votes of any party, it gives Orhanzade – the 47-year-old former Mayor of Konya who delights in attacking leftist politicians and social movements – the best shot at receiving a mandate from Padishah Murad VI to form a government. That process is expected to take at least a month…”

-From OTTOMAN ELECTION: FAR-RIGHT COALITION CLAIMS VICTORY, Havas World News, October 10th, 2022

“President Charlie Breathitt addressed the nation on live television this evening as his administration responds to the humanitarian and ecological disaster unfolding in the Mexican state of Las Californias. Over the past month, the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo have been inundated by severe flooding and mudslides, displacing nearly two million people from their homes. Many impacted municipalities are among the poorest in urban Las Californias, and some in the Los Angeles area are slums. While wealthier residents have been able to rent homes or hotel rooms in other cities such as San Diego, hundreds of thousands of impoverished victims have formed large refugee caravans and headed for the Mexican-American border. Speaking from the Executive Mansion, Mr. Breathitt preached understanding, saying “and I would urge you, my fellow Americans, to hold compassion in your hearts as my administration and President Delgado’s in Mexico City work to resolve this crisis humanely.”

“I will not apologize for extending a helping hand to those in need after such a tragedy has befallen them,” Mr. Breathitt continued. “Over the past three days, I have ordered federal disaster relief units to provide food and temporary shelter for those affected by the floods and mudslides. Not only is this the humanitarian course of action, but reducing the scale of destruction and suffering in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and so many communities in Las Californias, we can essentially reduce the number of undocumented immigrants traveling into Shasta and Auraria.”

On the subject of the migrant caravans, the President declared that “as our climate changes and global weather grows more and more severe and extreme, we must both adapt our ways of life and be ready to help those suffering from the ravages of wildfires, floods, and superhurricanes that are tragically becoming too common. Make no mistake, these caravans are not just migrants, but climate refugees. As per the 2018 Immigration Reform Act, the most comprehensive such law since 1900, my administration is prepared to process any and all climate refugees who arrive at our shared border with speed and due diligence. We will admit those who qualify for any visa programs and refugee status, and provide food, water, and shelter to all noncitizens gathered at border crossings. Our nation is a nation of immigrants, and we must always be welcoming and accepting of those who have fled unspeakable hardships their homelands to seek opportunity in the splendor of our Promised Land. Our forefathers came to this land’s shores, untold multitudes without a penny to their name, and they built this Republic with their bare hands. My administration has been committed since day one to ensuring that our tradition of immigration continues to sustain American greatness.”

President Breathitt, who championed 2018’s Sharing America’s Promise Act, has been a leading advocate for immigration reform. The 2018 legislation granted legal residence visas and access to certain welfare programs to all undocumented immigrants living in the United States, with an eventual path to full citizenship, while also extending the federal tax code to all noncitizens who applied for these visas to remain revenue neutral [4]. His decision to provide relief to Mexico is part of his diplomatic efforts to forge the North American Common Market into a true regional international organization. The SAP Act and Mr. Breathitt’s subsequent immigration policy has divided the American public and contributed to his party’s loss of the Senate in 2018. However, the President has remained committed to the issue, and has cited the granting of legal status to nearly 8 million people as one of his greatest accomplishments.

Whig politicians have been swift to attack the President for both his pledge to admit all eligible refugees and migrants, and his decision to send large amounts of disaster aid to the affected areas of Las Californias. Senator Thaddeus Marshall (W-Neb.), currently the frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination, was especially ferocious in his condemnation of Mr. Breathitt.

“The President is welcoming in all kinds of complete unknowns across the border. We don’t know anything about these people, they could be cartel members, California bandits, gang members, or terrorists! It’s a national security risk of a scale we’ve never seen before in American history, and Charlie Breathitt is holding the door. On day one of my presidency, we’ll seal off the border completely and repeal his disgraceful immigration law. It’s time to put Americans first, because Charlie Breathitt has proved again and again that he would rather invite these people with no understanding of our cultural norms, and with possible criminal backgrounds, into the country than stand up for real Americans,” he shouted while campaigning in Iowa ahead of that state’s primaries. He continued, “And this isn’t even mentioning his decision to give the Mexicans our disaster relief supplies. My taxes paid for those, not the people of Los Angeles or Mexico City! If the Mexicans wanted disaster relief teams and aid stockpiles, they should have worked harder.”

House Speaker Anna Weintzel condemned the President in a statement, calling it “an insult to the hundreds of millions of Americans whose taxes funded our unrivalled disaster relief system,” and criticized his decision to admit any eligible migrants as “dangerously reckless, even for a radical liberal like President Breathitt.” In the coming days and weeks, it is expected that Whig congressional leadership will take up legislation restricting the president’s powers to grant visas and limit the definition of ‘refugee’ to exclude climate refugees. President Breathitt has made it clear he will veto such legislation, setting up yet another confrontation between the President and Capitol Hill, after two government shutdowns in seven years and another narrowly averted one.”

-From PRES. BREATHITT ADDRESSES NATION AMID CATASTROPHIC FLOODING IN MEXICO, The Pennsylvania Advocate, January 22nd, 2024

[1] Like in OTL, the concept of a government shutdown hasn’t really emerged yet, OTL the idea only came about because of an opinion by Carter’s AG, but TTL with a more combative Whig party, the concept will probably become a thing earlier.
[2] This was also helped by a fair amount of ethnic cleansing and emigration to the United States in the early 20s, but the reformist Ottoman governments did also put a lot of effort into creating a new, multiethnic and secular form of nationalism.
[3] Many Ottoman minorities joined the army during the Great War to prove their loyalty, especially as sectarian violence became an issue, and after the war the notion of Ottoman Greeks fighting Greece and the like became a powerful propaganda tool for efforts to promote Ottoman nationalism.
[4] Inspired by OTL proposals from 2006 and 2007.
 
It's alive! Loving the cursed modern politics, I'm really unsure of whether I'd be a Whig or a Democrat here.

Cameron planning to come back and take his revenge I see.
 
This continues to be one of the best timelines on this site, and I have to admit I have cribbed a lot of the format for my own work.
Glad to see Charlie Breathitt is as solid as every. Great job!
 
It's alive! Loving the cursed modern politics, I'm really unsure of whether I'd be a Whig or a Democrat here.

Cameron planning to come back and take his revenge I see.
Given how my brain is a bit like goo right now, remind me the complicated situation with the two's politics?
 
I find the state of a Democratic Party stripped of a lot of its traditional Southern base very interesting. I am interested in learning more about the ideological and demographic dimensions of the new "urban liberal" faction in comparison to the classical liberal and ethnic machine wings of the party.
 
It is nice to see the Ottoman Empire survive and not fall into the trope of civil war, ethnic conflict and so on. I think since they have so much oil they would also be a center of fertilizers, chemicals, automobiles and plastics and the pollution it creates.
 
It's alive! Loving the cursed modern politics, I'm really unsure of whether I'd be a Whig or a Democrat here.

Cameron planning to come back and take his revenge I see.
It is indeed alive! And thanks lol the cursedness is one of my favorite parts to write, I would probably be a swing voter TTL.
Seems like as of now the only real question for 1948 is how much Cameron wins by
Indeed indeed...
This continues to be one of the best timelines on this site, and I have to admit I have cribbed a lot of the format for my own work.
Glad to see Charlie Breathitt is as solid as every. Great job!
Thanks so much! I've been eagerly following your TL, great work so far!
Given how my brain is a bit like goo right now, remind me the complicated situation with the two's politics?
The Whigs are a national-conservative-Peronist right-wing party, while the Democrats are a center-right classically-liberal party.
I find the state of a Democratic Party stripped of a lot of its traditional Southern base very interesting. I am interested in learning more about the ideological and demographic dimensions of the new "urban liberal" faction in comparison to the classical liberal and ethnic machine wings of the party.
The urban liberals are fairly similar to Al Smith, a mixture of ethnic machine politics, free trade, small government, and vague reformist sentiments. It's a sort of melting pot of the other two factions that is nevertheless distinct enough to become its own faction.
The southern base will sort of return in a few years, but its absence has allowed the northern wing to do some much-needed evolving, and there will be plenty of conflict after the reunion...
It is nice to see the Ottoman Empire survive and not fall into the trope of civil war, ethnic conflict and so on. I think since they have so much oil they would also be a center of fertilizers, chemicals, automobiles and plastics and the pollution it creates.
Yeah the Ottomans will become a major industrial nation, though with a fair amount of corruption and chaos added in.
 
107. The South's Secular Religion
107. The South's Secular Religion

“And Riley’s under pressure… he throws the ball, it’s a deep left Hail Mary, and it is CAUGHT in the end zone by Jordan Sharp! 72 yards, my God! Touchdown! Richmond! What a throw! What a catch! And that will put the Chetniks ahead 34-31, and… Hooker’s kick is good for that extra point. Richmond takes a four-point lead with four seconds left with that absolutely incredible play.”

-From NFL Super Bowl LIX Live, UBC, aired February 12, 2023

“Without question, Buffalo’s return to the spotlight is the story of the year in football. But the story of the decade – in fact, the story of every decade dating back to the NFL’s fifth season in 1927 – is the dominance of the NFL’s two southern divisions, but especially the mighty NFC-south [1].

With Elyton’s 31-13 devastation of Chicago last Sunday and Cleveland’s narrow victory over Philadelphia, the stage is set for the two powerhouses, 10-6 and 11-5 respectively, to play for the National Football Conference championship tomorrow in Nashville. The winner will then meet either the insurgent Buffalo Rangers or the venerable Florida Panthers on February 12 for the Super Bowl.

Every NFL fan is aware of the NFC south’s dominance. The Tennessee Tigers were, until their shock loss to the Richmond Chetniks at Super Bowl LIX, 8-2 in their then-ten Super Bowl appearances this century, and the Elyton Steelers have won six rings. What most don’t know is that this isn’t a recent phenomenon. Before the merger of the NFL and AFL in 1963 and the subsequent creation of the Super Bowl, southern football teams regularly had the strongest records, with the southern conference winning 23 out of 41 NFL championship games in the years 1922-1963.

The reasons f0r this unparalleled dominance aren’t clear. Football historian and first coach of the New York Giants, Jacob Gillum, wrote in his 1962 book The Greatness of the Game, “Southern football players play with a reckless abandon, a wild fanaticism that’s rarely found in players from other parts of the nation [2].” A generalization, to be sure, but it still seems true. Why?

Southern teams are motivated by two of football’s key intangibles – tradition and rivalry. While this is certainly a shared characteristic with college football, which is also popular in the South, the enthusiasm generated by matchups like Elyton vs. New Orleans or Tennessee vs. Atlanta or Houston vs. Dallas, the lifeblood of the NFL's AFC-south and NFC-south. This year, NFC-south stadiums have been packed to nearly 92 percent capacity, the largest in-person attendance in the country. According to a 2017 review in The Economist, five Southern football franchises – the Elyton Steelers, Tennessee Tigers, Houston Oilers, Atlanta Hawks, and New Orleans Corsairs – were among the top ten generators of football revenue in the nation.

The South’s obsession with football dates to the early days of the NFL. Back then, the league was dominated by wealthy northern clubs such as the New York Giants and Chicago Cardinals. The Deep South was an impoverished region with stark regional divides, especially in contrast with the industrialized, cosmopolitan, and prosperous Upper South, and few unifying elements. There were no National Baseball League teams in the South. However, the South was growing, and entrepreneurs in southern cities were eager to compete with their better-funded northern rivals. Football’s popularity skyrocketed when the Atlanta Hawks upset the Cardinals in 1927, helping cement the sport as an integral piece of southern culture [3].

As historical sociologist Janet Burton says, the ability to compete as equals with northern football teams made Southerners “feel like a part of the American mainstream.” The Civil War, still living in the memory of older Southerners, was part of the region’s self-image and shared psyche. Any chance to claw back a sense of pride and self-esteem was a welcome one, and so as the Hawks, consistently underestimated by journalists and commentators, fought their way through the NFL eastern division, past titans like the New York Giants, to the championship, the entire south was behind them. Even supporters of bitter rivals like the Elyton Steelers packed into Soldier Field to cheer them on against the defending champions, the Cardinals. After struggling offensively in the first half, the Hawks staged an impressive comeback to defeat the Cardinals 28-24, upending perceptions of Southern football across the country. The 1927 Hawks team was greeted as conquering heroes as they returned to Atlanta. According to Burton, “Southerners had proven, both to themselves and to the rest of the United States, that they were as good as anybody else given a level playing field. The psychological impact of that, especially in the 1920s, where many rural Southern communities lacked running water, electricity, or proper schools, cannot be understated.”

Football’s profile grew in the ‘60s and ‘70s when Elyton Steelers coach Albert “Doc” Wallace won four Super Bowls even as the South was embroiled in resisting the Civil Rights movement. Historians say that Mr. Wallace’s achievements became a point of pride even for Southerners from other states and rival teams, such as the Corsairs and Tigers. The drive to win was so strong it even helped break down racial barriers – Lee Evers, the head coach of the Memphis Pharaohs (today the Auraria Cougars), was finally able to freely recruit black players after his team was shut out 56-0 against the Philadelphia Eagles, whose star quarterback and tight end were both black.

“Nothing did more for racial integration in the South than sports and the military,” says Lawrence Ball, a professor emeritus of history at Charleston College. Today, the pressure to win, and win decisively, is so strong that despite all four NFC-south teams making the playoffs, many consider this a disappointing season for the conference because the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Cardinals took the one and two seeds, respectively. The breadth of southern football culture breeds a religious fanaticism that unites all stripes of society. No matter what college people go to, or even if they didn’t attend college at all, they can all support their state or local team. In one famous example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Jeremiah, a man being interviewed by TV reporters claimed, “I don’t care if the road’s flooded, a little water’s not gonna keep me from my Chargers season tickets!”

Football also encourages pride of place; something that other popular sports in the South, like off-road racing, don’t. That’s a big deal in the South, where, according to Ball, “people will describe themselves as being from Alabama or Tennessee even if they’ve lived and worked in Clayton for the last 20 or 30 years.”

The political establishment has also involved itself heavily in the world of football. During the NFL-AFL merger, Texas Senator Beau Wheeler successfully included a clause mandating the establishment of an expansion AFC team in Dallas during the Congressional negotiations. In 1998, then-Governor Montgomery Berryhill denounced an article in the Charleston Mercury with the headline “Chargers Lose Their Spark,” calling it an “affront to the state.” The games themselves have become arenas for politicians to shake hands and meet voters, even advertising. During the 2012 presidential election, Liberal nominee Terrence Kao paid for a dirigible with his campaign slogan to fly over Acme Coliseum in New Orleans in late October.

Though the NFL’s playing field has evened out in the last fifty years with the introduction of a standardized draft process and salary caps, with the rise of competitive teams in Richmond, Buffalo, and Milwaukee, the four teams of the NFC-south, and the Texans and Chargers in the newer AFC-south, remain among the most elite and formidable foes in the League [4]. Former Chargers quarterback “Black Jack” Robbins, who was one of the first black players to integrate the NFC-south, says the conference has earned its reputation for dominance, and that he resents accusations that the NFL is biased in favor of the conference. “The reality is that this conference has taken care of business in a way no other conference has [5].””

-From WHY FOOTBALL IS A SECULAR SOUTHERN RELIGION by Allan Plant, published in The Chicago Tribune, January 28th, 2024


[1] Article formatting and some wording borrowed from the articles Why Has the South Dominated College Football for So Long? from The Atlantic, published in 2012, and What the Rise of Southern Football Says About America from The Wall Street Journal.
[2] Quote from Pudge Heffelfinger’s memoir.
[3] Based on the OTL 1926 Rose Bowl, which helped cement college football as the sport in the South. TTL, with more industrialization and more private cash swirling around, entrepreneurs in southern cities are able to put together NFL teams that, ultimately, take the place of The Crimson Tide in the collective conscience of the region. College ball is still popular in TTL's South, but unlike OTL professional football is definitely the more popular form of the sport.
[4] The Tigers in particular are everything people hated about the Brady-Belichick Patriots, but with all of the extra fanaticism of, say, The Crimson Tide.
[5] A/N: This chapter was originally supposed to be just one small component of a standard chapter, but I got a bit carried away and ended up with a whole article about football ITTL.
 
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The Whigs are a national-conservative-Peronist right-wing party, while the Democrats are a center-right classically-liberal party.
Good lord, I remember now XD.

I figured under this new system, the US would've tried pushing for a different electoral system by now. I imagine there's an untapped potential for the various leftists,
 
Richmond Chetniks
I couldn't resist that))

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Good lord, I remember now XD.

I figured under this new system, the US would've tried pushing for a different electoral system by now. I imagine there's an untapped potential for the various leftists,
I have a feeling that left wing voters more inclined towards social progressivism vote Democrat while those more inclined towards economic progressivism vote Whig. At the end of the day a two party system still necessitates big tent accommodations to some extent.
 
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