The Anglo-Saxon Social Model

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Rattigan, Dec 17, 2018.

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  1. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Sure, I don't really disagree with that (although I do think it's nice to have somebody to complain to about stuff in my local area). But I would say that this is one of those moments when I think "is this plausible?" rather than just going for outright wish fulfillment and I don't think it's plausible for a British government to leap straight from FPTP to PR. That's not to say that, after a few decades of MMP, the feeling won't be "well this has worked alright, let's go the whole hog."
     
  2. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Debs, Debs, Debs! Nice showing they have here. Bit sad the split between the Socialist and SDL still happen but eh, you take what you can get.

    As for the US as a whole... I suppose Lincoln survives and reconstruction results in America 2.0, with a clearly less nonsensical electoral system. Nice.
     
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  3. Falkenburg CMII & Bar Monthly Donor

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    Just wondering what the craic is with Lincoln in the 1884 Presidential Election?

    Typo? Divergence? Am I reading it wrong?
     
  4. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Big divergence. I am semi-preparing a summary of US history since the Civil War which I might post later but the TLDR version is that the Civil War is a lot longer and bloodier, which radicalises Northern opinion and so reconstruction is a lot harsher on the Southern slavocracy. Lincoln lives past 1865 (whether he survives the assassination or just doesn't like theatre ITTL I haven't decided) and basically does a De Gaulle to re-found the United States in 1880.

    As a quick note about my trips into US history, I don't know as much about it (although I live there) as I do British history so I think I'll stick to broad-brush strokes (just to give a bit of an idea about how things are developing there) for now.
     
  5. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    That's a great precedent. Frankly, republics and their constitutions have to be rewritten to keep up with the time. The initial US constitution was a bundle of compromises to get the states to agree to it unanimously. It's not just a De Gaulle thing, France did that regularly. We're up to our 5th.
     
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  6. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree. I think one of the Founding Fathers (might have been either Franklin or Jefferson but I can't remember) once argued that all constitutions should have a clause mandating their own repeal and replacement every 20 years or something like that, which I think is kind of a good idea (although maybe not as often as 20 years). The US constitution is, IMO, an extraordinarily elegant piece of drafting which did what the Founders wanted it to do in the 1780s but the reverence with which it is held in much contemporary American debate baffles me.
     
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  7. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Mandatory constitutional conventions would be funny. The need for getting every state to agree with it again would be terribly painful and likely either pull a nation apart or lead to more half ass compromises though, so that could be an issue. In France, we solve that by referendums instead, but we're a very unitary nation so the concerns aren't the same.
     
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  8. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

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    What are the positions of Asquith, Grey, McKenna and Haldane TTL?
     
  9. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Haldane and Grey are Foreign Secretary and Colonial Secretary, respectively. I was actually going to do a short post either today or tomorrow covering diplomatic affairs where they will come up.

    Asquith is still keeping himself happy in the War Office. He thinks that Lloyd George and Churchill aren't careful enough of the public finances but he's a lone voice in the cabinet on this and isn't noisy in public.

    McKenna is President of the Board of Trade, promoted to that position in Lloyd George's 1911 reshuffle. Previously he had been Education Secretary since 1905 (he was replaced by John Simon). He's there as a sop to the imperialist wing of the party because Lloyd George didn't want to give a Cabinet position to Rosebery and is frequently thought to be dominated by Churchill.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: European and British Diplomacy, 1890-1912

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The End of Splendid Isolation?: British Foreign Policy under Haldane
    Entente Cordiale.jpg
    The Entente Cordiale - a cartoon depicting Marianne embracing Uncle Sam in return for $3,000,000 of direct investment

    Since the beginning of the Edwardian era, Britain had mostly stayed aloof from alliances in the late 19th century, with an independence made possible by its island location, the presence of the Royal Navy, the country’s dominant position in finance and trade as well as its strong industrial base. Under the Liberal governments of Lord Hartington and Chamberlain, Britain’s economic position moved away from one of free trade (as had obtained under the Hanoverians since the end of the Napoleonic Wars) and towards one of tariffs and reliance on the Empire and certain protected markets such as Argentina. After losing power in 1874, William Gladstone had initiated his political return in 1876 by calling for a moralistic foreign policy, as opposed to the realism of the Conservatives. However, on his return to government in 1880, he found himself distracted by fiscal affairs and the question of Home Rule. As a result, his moralistic foreign policy was not taken up by successive Foreign Secretaries of both parties. Foreign policy was, by and large, not an issue that interested the vast majority of the public, with the exception of occasional flare-ups of public feeling over particular issues such as the Bulgarian War of Independence in the 1870s and the Congo Reform Association in 1904, or more consistently in campaigns to end the international slave trade.

    Imperial affairs, as differentiated from foreign affairs, did have the capacity to capture the public imagination. However, the Congress of Berlin had largely neutered the prospect of conflict between European powers in Africa by delineating a process for African colonization and the Great Game in central Asia continued to be of interest to few people outside of India and Whitehall. Instead, what attracted the attention were developments in colonial and Dominion governments, with particular attention being paid to the prospects for emigration. Canadian and (later) Australian and New Zealand electoral results were regularly reported and discussed at length in the UK. The independent countries which most commonly figured in the British imagination were Argentina and the United States, both also distinguished by their position as popular sites for emigration.

    As a result, British engagement with European politics was at a minimum. The country had renewed the Treaty of Windsor with Portugal in 1899 but had not taken action in response to the revolution there in 1910. Similarly, little action had been taken in response to German and Italian unification in the 1860s and 1870s or the fall of Napoleon III in 1871. The UK had acquiesced implicitly in Napoleon’s earlier intervention in Mexico which had restored the Mexican Empire and later stayed out of the Spanish Revolution (1868-74) until the attack on HMS Royal Alfred had initiated a short intervention which had ended with the annexation of Puerto Rico and the Philippines (1873-74). Cordial relations had been maintained with the Ottomans until the independence of Egypt promised a better safeguard of the route to India and relations with Russia improved following the annexation of Tibet. Kaiser Wilhelm’s telegram of support to the Kruger Boer government (1896) and the Fashoda Incident (1898) had briefly suggested the possibility of war with Germany or France, respectively, but relations were smoothed over in both cases.

    However, following the election of 1904-05, the attitude of the British government changed as the alliance system in Europe moved the countries solidly into two mutually hostile camps. Germany had allowed their friendship treaty with Russia to lapse in 1890, which in turn pushed France and Russia into each other’s arms and encouraged Russian expansionary interest in the Balkans at the expense of the declining Ottoman Empire. In 1894, the two powers concluded a secret mutual defence treaty. This in turn pushed Austria-Hungary closer to Germany (the two powers had concluded a friendly treaty in 1882) and a more formal, but also secret, alliance was concluded in 1902. Thus, in 1905 there were four powerful countries in Europe which remained ‘unclaimed’ by either side: the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Spain and the UK. The Ottomans were caught between two opponents in the form of Austria-Hungary and Russia, both of whom were pursuing expansionary policies in the Balkans. Italy wished to join one of the alliances but its diplomatic aims of establishing African colonies (it would eventually do so in Libya in 1911) and being a major power in the Mediterranean was a source of concern for all the four powers. Spain was recovering from its civil war and revolution and its governments of all stripes were forced to adopt a delicate balancing act to avoid alienating anybody, which constrained its room for maneuver abroad.

    The UK was in a similar position: unable to make a clear choice for each side. On the one hand, traditional concerns with maintaining the balance of power in Europe would indicate that an alliance should be concluded with France and Russia to keep down the rising power Germany. But on the other hand, France remained a traditional rival and there was a strong institutional dislike of any alliance with them (despite the Treaty of London in 1903, which had resolved a number of imperial border disputes). Germany, despite its own personal military and economic strength, was not well served for with allies and the majority of British analysts expected her to lose a protracted engagement with both France and Russia at the same time. Furthermore, the overriding British foreign policy concern of defending the empire was not exactly compatible with joining either alliance. The fact that the Anglo-Ottoman War in 1905 had been protested by both Russia and Germany (as well as, of course, the Ottomans), is a telling illustration of this point.

    The Entente Cordiale of 1904 between France and the United States had been the pinnacle of the diplomatic maneuverings of President William McKinley and, although there were some doubts about the extent to which an American government headed by a President William Jennings Bryan (as occurred following the election of 1904) would actually honour the terms of the agreement, it caused considerable concern in London. It meant that not only was the United States to come to the aid of France if needed but also that France was opened up to an influx of American capital. The possibility of American expansion into Europe, either in the form of capital or military, was just as much of a concern to Britain as German expansion was (there had been a simmering geopolitical competition between the two Anglophone powers since the British intervention in the Spanish revolution). Finally, it left Germany in a vulnerable position against three great powers.

    Richard Haldane, appointed Foreign Secretary by Chamberlain in 1905 and confirmed in this position by both Dilke and Lloyd George, was instinctively pro-German but understood that a full Anglo-German alliance would not be desirable. Despite its sympathies towards Berlin’s predicament facing the Triple Entente, the British government remained concerned about the build up of the German navy, even though Kaiser Wilhelm continued to insist that he did not want to expand his empire or challenge the Royal Navy. Furthermore, the beginning of the construction of the German financed Berlin-Baghdad Railway was a sign that there would now be close cooperation between the German and the Ottoman governments. The Liberal government thus agreed a strategy of neutrality which would enable Britain to deploy its diplomatic and military power as it saw fit in any given situation. By 1912, the simmering and undeclared naval arms race in which Britain and Germany had been participating (as had the United States up to 1905) had begun to take its toll on both countries’ finances. Furthermore, the German government was very aware of the weak position of its allies as against the Entente. The resulting Haldane-Jagow Agreement of 1912 meant that Germany accepted British naval superiority in exchange for British neutrality in a war in which Germany was not the aggressor, as well as formalizing the boundaries of the German colonies in Africa which abutted British ones. However, issues to do with the Ottoman Empire prevented Britain from formally joining the Triple Alliance and Britain kept its options open regarding future war in the Middle East.

    The Agreement proved controversial in Britain, with there being hostility from both the press and the backbenches. Jackie Fisher – the architect of the Dreadnought programme – and Colonial Secretary Edward Grey resigned in protest, demanding a more assertive attitude towards the Germans. Further pressure was put on the government when the United States, France and Russia formally entered a mutual defence pact on 31 July 1912. A popular and much-reprinted cartoon appeared in the Daily Mail, depicting Britannia, Italia Turrita and Hispania scolding the ‘Triple Cowards’ in their governments. However, the government managed to ride out the turbulence, with Austen Chamberlain replacing Grey at the Colonial Office and Fisher resignation disappearing from public attention within a month or so.

    With the end of the naval arms race, British naval policy once more shifted away from building ever bigger battleships and dreadnoughts and towards the refitting and updating of the current fleet. In particular, moves were made to change from coal to oil as the primary fuel. Work was also done to build on research undertaken on aeronautics following the recommendations of Plan 1914. The first seaplane tender ship had been created by the conversion of the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Hibernia in September 1911 and this was followed by the first successful take-off from a ship underway in May 1912. HMS Corageous became the first purpose-built seaplane carrier when it was launched in August 1913, equipped with Sopwith Pup airplanes (and was joined by her two sister ships, HMS Furious and HMS Glorious, by the end of 1913).
     
  11. Threadmarks: The Balkans (1905-1913)

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Another quick update on the European situation, this time looking at the Ottoman Empire after the Anglo-Ottoman War (1905). As you'll see, the majority of it is as IOTL (but is good background for people to have anyway) but with a few alterations in timing.

    * * *
    The Overture: Ottoman Decline in the Balkans
    Bosnia.jpg
    Great Power Rivalry: a sulky Sultan Abdul Hamid II can only look on as his territory is claimed by the Romanovs and the Habsburgs

    By the early 20th century, the Ottoman Empire was stuck in a state of both stasis and collapse. Following the Young Turk Revolution of 1906, its political system was seemingly stuck in an interminable opposition between the ideals of its leaders and the conservative inclinations of the Ottoman religious elite. This was further exacerbated by the internal contradictions within the Young Turks, who were divided between the economically laissez faire middle and upper class sections of their support and those from the working classes, who aspired to policies which might more easily be called socialist or socially democratic. A counter-coup by conservative military officers in 1907 had failed and resulted in the deposition of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and his replacement by Mehmed V as a symbolic figurehead with no power. But Young Turk power remained fragile and their potential reforms were piecemeal and often left unenforced by conservative local politicians.

    During the reign of Abdul Hamid, the Ottoman Empire had lost the vast majority of its lands on the Mediterranean coast and west of Istanbul, with Greece (1832), Serbia (1867), Bulgaria and Montenegro (both 1878), Romania (1881) and Egypt (1905) all achieving some kind of de jure or de facto independence (additionally, the UK had declared a protectorate over Cyprus in 1878). These independent nations came about partly because of the rise of nationalism in the region, which Ottoman governance structures proved unable to cope with. But also because of the interests of the great powers in the region which encouraged them to either support or decline the break-up of the Ottomans. The Russian Empire had an historical interest in gaining access to the warm water ports in the Mediterranean, ideally through the annexation of Constantinople, and thus sponsored a pan-Slavic ideology to encourage uprisings of Eastern Orthodox Slavic communities. France too was concerned to expand its power in the Middle East, particularly in the Levant. Italy and Austria-Hungary both welcomed the decline of a rival power in the Adriatic but the Habsburgs were concerned that Russian activities in the Balkans were destabilizing their own restless Slavic populations in Bosnia and Vojvodina. Germany was attempting to prop up the Ottomans as a potential client state to help them gain access to the Indian Ocean via the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

    The British, for their part, had changed their longstanding support for the Ottomans after Cyprus had been de facto annexed and once it became clear that the Mohammed Ali Dynasty could, with some supervision, rule Egypt more securely than the Sultan. British policy thus changed from being one of attempting to prop up the Sublime Porte to one structured by greater ambivalence. Although they remained concerned about the prospects of the Berlin-Baghdad railway, more support was given to the Trucial States in the Persian Gulf to try and shore up British control there.

    In September 1911, Italy commenced an invasion of Libya which began the Italo-Turkish War. Although the invasion was botched in many respects, the Italians nevertheless won the military confrontation and claimed the Ottoman regions of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan and the Dodecanese Islands by the Treaty of Lausanne in October 1912. This peace was brought about because of a coup d’etat in Istanbul in July 1912, which brought the Ottomans to the negotiating table quickly. However, this display of rank military incompetence (by both sides but particularly the Ottomans) caused events to develop quickly in the Balkans.

    With the initial encouragement of Russian agents, Bulgaria and Serbia concluded a series of secret agreements in March 1912. This was followed up by a treaty between the two nations and Greece in May of that year, a vital agreement as Greece was the only Balkan country with a navy powerful enough to prevent the Ottomans bringing in reinforcements through the Aegean. Montenegro signed agreements with the other three later that year, concluding the creation of the Balkan League. Although the League was loose and uncoordinated, Montenegro declared war on 8 October. Three days later, the Ottoman government was once more overthrown by the group known as the ‘Three Pashas’, who assumed command of the Ottoman government and resolved to fight. On 17 October, the rest of the Balkan League joined the war.

    The combined armies of the Balkan states overcame the numerically inferior and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies and achieved rapid success. As a result of the war, the League captured and partitioned almost all remaining Ottoman European territories and created an independent Albanian state in December 1912. The defeat left the Ottoman Empire an almost entirely Islamic one, with Islam and calls to Arab and/or Turkish nationalism one of the main factors drawing the countries together. Bulgaria, for its part, was known to be dissatisfied with the division of the spoils in Macedonia but would find that its complaints would soon be overtaken by events.
     
  12. Kiwigun Well-Known Member

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    Huh interested to see what changes there, say what's the relation with Japan? Any Anglo-Japanese Alliance?
     
  13. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I should have mentioned that above but I forgot because I was too busy thinking about Europe. Simple answer is that the Anglo-Japanese Alliance does exist. It is signed earlier, in 1900 as the Conservatives are seeking a diplomatic win after the fiasco of the Boer War and a way to counteract Russian and American power in Asia. The terms are more or less IOTL and the alliance is seen in the same generally positive light as IOTL too.

    I should also add the the Anglo-Japanese Alliance is another factor - because it mandates support for Japan's interests in Korea and China as against Russia - which prevented Britain from committing itself to the Entente.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
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  14. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    What is this "Liberal" party?
     
  15. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    Haldane was simultaneously a radical (given the fact that he jumped to Labour postwar IOTL) and an imperialist, and also a modernizer. Putting him into the Board of Education or Board of Trade would have allowed the party to make use of his radicalism and marginalize his Imperial (and also his pro-German) tendency.
     
  16. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

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    OTL Grey was a Germanophobe and Francophile and the senior FO official Eyre Crowe also a Germanophobe. Having the more Germanophile Haldane at the FO is going to add balance and also modify Germany's behaviour. OTL German diplomats could see that Britain was hand in glove with France and (correctly) judged that Britain would join any Franco-German war on France's side. Here, Germany will judge that Britain has a good chance of being genuinely neutral and a slim chance of being an ally and will conduct themselves somewhat differently. The US being part of a Franco- Russian alliance will also modify British thinking. They traditionally support the second greatest power against the greatest.
     
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  17. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    It is a party formed by the breakaway, more free market-oriented, wing of the GOP in c. 1870 (the Democrats don't survive the Civil War and Reconstruction as a viable political force ITTL). They were the main political opposition to the imperialist and mercantilist (broadly speaking) GOP during the 1880s and 1890s before becoming increasingly divided and finally splitting in 1912.

    In public the main issue was the question of the gold standard and the two factions were known as the 'Silversmiths' and the 'Bullions.' But once President Bryan dropped America from gold in 1905 the possibility of rejoining ceased to be a realistic prospect after Bryan won re-election in 1908 with prominent former advocate of the gold standard Woodrow Wilson as his VP nomination (although, as we have seen, the choice of 'Greenback' as the name of the new Silversmith party indicated that the issue was not entirely shorn of rhetorical meaning). Wilson himself did not advocate for gold after 1907 or in his presidential campaign of 1912. Instead, the divisions had come to be over the role of the state in supporting the market economy. While both sides rejected the 'indicative planning' policies regularly practiced by the Republicans* they could not agree on the question of the role of the state in promoting equality of opportunity. In general terms, the Bullions were in favour of weaker regulation and fewer legal barriers for all classes and races whereas the Sivlersmiths advocated stronger trust-busting measures allied with more powerful unions and greater investment in education.


    * A method of government planning where state investment was supplied to various industries to solve problems of oversupply or shortages.
     
  18. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I think that's absolutely right. I think it's also important to think about the role of the US in all of this. I hinted at it in previous posts but this might set it out a bit clearer.

    ITTL the Civil War and Reconstruction is much more severe and thoroughgoing, basically putting the US out of action as an actor outside its own borders from c.1860-1880. This allowed Britain to seize Puerto Rico and the Philippines during the Spanish Revolution and made the UK and US, if not enemies exactly, then at least geopolitical rivals, especially in the Pacific. This, combined with the Anglo-Japanese alliance, naturally pushed the US into the arms of France and Russia as the only two powers capable of counteracting the UK and Japan in the region. The clause in the Entente Cordiale which explicitly required the US to intervene on France's side if she was attacked was inserted at the request of McKinley's VP Teddy Roosevelt (ITTL the Second Constitution gives the VP much wider powers than IOTL, being roughly equivalent to the Senate Majority/Minority Leader IOTL). Although Bryan stated more or less explicitly that he would do his best to avoid having to actually fulfill that clause, amidst the splits and rancor of 1912, he did not feel that he could veto the mutual defence pact agreed in 1912 and supported by majorities in the Senate and House (in both cases by an alliance of the GOP and internationalist Liberals) as well as his own cabinet. After all, Bryan reasoned, the terms of that pact were hardly much stronger than the original Entente Cordiale.

    With that in mind, a more pro-German position from the British begins to looksensible. While the Germans/Prussians had defeated the French decisively in 1870, they were now committed to fighting a great power both to their east and west while also propping up their Ottoman and Habsburg allies in the Balkans, Middle East and the Mediterranean. Additionally, the US at this stage is an unknown quantity in a military sense but she has a formidable navy (and from about 1896 to 1904 was an active participant in a naval arms race with Germany and the UK) and vast economic and manpower resources. This means that, from a certain point of view, the smart money in the event of a war was in fact on the Entente and the UK was concerned about possibly giving the Russians and French a free had to redraw European boundaries once more.

    That being said, the UK and Germany are not natural allies and aren't going to team up to smash the French together, fun as that might be. Germany remains a geopolitical rival in the Middle East and its navy (although the arms race ended in 1912) is the only one realistically capable of challenging the Royal Navy, at least in European waters. Similarly, on an economic scale German industry accounted for the third largest share of global industry and looked set to overtake Britain in second spot within a few years. While the reach of German credit capabilities remained far beneath that of Britain (which is what really gave Britain the power to create an empire), they were clearly rivals for economic dominance and were viewed with suspicion for that reason.
     
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  19. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    IOTL, a similar breakaway faction actually consisted of a shitload of GOP party founders: Schurz, Greeley, Sumner, Charles Francis Adams, Chase...
     
  20. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking of. Basically the Democrats are gone as an effective force by 1868 and the GOP splits by 1872 under the weight of its own internal contradictions, which gives the Liberals ITTL more staying power than their OTL counterparts.

    Poor old Salmon P. Chase will stay a Republican, however, and have the rather dubious honour of being the second-shortest serving president by winning the 1872 election and then dying only 61 days after his inauguration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
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