The Extra Girl: For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dr. Waterhouse, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Yeahhhhhh. I was reading about Javanese naming conventions to make sure I got the residents of Nieuw Bali and Peppertown right, and saw that. I was like, "am I really going to let this go to waste? I think not." ;)
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  2. FleetMac Patriotic Scalawag

    Jan 13, 2011
    VA boy living in a TX world
    Nice update! It seems to me that we have a Dutch-established "United States" ITTL, can't wait to see how and where else it develops! Seems if nothing else that it has a fair number of English-descended people there. Hmmm...
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  3. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Okay, my apologies. The United States is actually here the evolved name for the United Provinces. (Actually, it is one of the many, many, many interchangeable terms for the Netherlands in the actual early modern era, I think it just fell out of favor for obvious reasons). But in this timeline we're actually off the whole United Provinces - Batavian Republic - Kingdom of the Netherlands narrative track. There are reforms, occupations, and good lord are there events, but in this timeline it's the same entity from the sixteenth century until now.

    Now, most of New Amsterdam / Nieuw Amsterdam is in Nieuw Netherland, the United States' main colony, and now the main Dutch-speaking settler republic, in North America. (This one is for those of you who are still put off by where I put "Australia" in the old timeline because you thought it confusing--The United States is now a European power which has a colony in North America, got it? Heh heh heh)

    And as to that, wait, what do you mean, "most of", that's where the three nations part comes in. You see, our alt-NYC straddles the boundaries of three separate small countries, creating no end to the complications (and yes, there's a correlation to what we think of as the tri-state area, basically). And as to the English-speakers, those other two countries are where they come in, in addition to the natural interlinguistic seepage across boundaries that happens when you have small countries, with different languages, close together, with very substantial economic connections.

    I was on the fence as to whether to do an update devoted to Nieuw Amsterdam's constitution and government, but now I'm convinced.

    EDIT: And you may also be wondering, does this buck the narrative tendency of this timeline to have monarchies in the 21st century where in OTL they have been abolished, by having a republic where our timeline has a constitutional monarchy? Precisely!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  4. Nyvis Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    The history of the Netherlands is fascinating, and it ending up with a straightforward monarchy was far from a given for most of it, so that's neat to see. Without the French revolution and Napoleon upending the whole thing, they probably reform into a federation structure rather than get the centralization treatment under Louis Napoleon.
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  5. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    I'm going to try to do the Dutch history justice this time out, which is one reason I'm being very parsimonious with some details at present. But one thing that will carry over from the earlier timeline will be that if anything here gets "wanked", to use the term, it's not even really the Germans, it's the Dutch. A very close alliance gets struck between the Provinces and the Neue Reich. Or as one wit in the eighteenth century of this timeline says, the Dutch are the German Navy, and the Germans are the Dutch Army. And Germany can't turn the relationship hegemonic because that relationship is so crucial to the empire's connection to the wider world.
  6. Nyvis Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    And since the army tended to be the Stadtholder's base of support and the navy the provinces, this flows neatly into a more republican Netherlands.

    Do we get a bigger Netherlands? The OTL attempt at union with the southern provinces was doomed because the separation had been so long, but if it's done earlier, maybe? If they have German help when breaking away, they may not lose as much ground.
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  7. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    On a side note, Happy New Year, or however they celebrate it ITTL, @Dr. Waterhouse!!!
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  8. Threadmarks: Supplemental Note, The Construction of the Elbe Underpass, 20th Century

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Fifty Man-Made Marvels of the Twentieth Century

    by Erika Kleindeinst

    7. Wundertunnel

    The Elbunterfuehrung is renowned as perhaps the greatest engineering feat in German history. Developed in response to the explosive growth of the Elbeballungsraum in the twentieth century, it provided a transportation solution to enable quick movement among the Elbe cities. By building new ironroads in tunnels most of which run below the Elbe river bottom, it saved the government the cost of buying land on which to develop new iron- and black-roads, prevented the loss of green space, and spared the disruption of historical structures and city centers. The enormous volume of rock and gravel displaced by the Elbunterfuehrung project was used to protect shorelines from sea level rise. Domestically this was placed on the coast of East Frisia, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein, but some of the bulk was also exported to the Rhine estuary in the United States and Jutland in Denmark.

    In 1966 Albrecht Artur Morgenstern, the Homeland Vertreter leading a Stag-Horse-Hawk coalition, first proposed the building of a gargantuan tunnel along the full German length of the Elbe from Dresden all the way to the Neuhamburg Special Development Zone. The tunnel would contain four completely separate tracks: freight, passenger, the transport of wheeled vehicles on ironcars, and special government services. While the last would enable emergency services to move quickly in the event either of a problem of the Elbunterfuehrung or a wider catastophe, it was no secret the primary function of the special government services ironroad would be for defense. In fact, its tracks were specifically sized to accommodate cars necessary to carry the Boarspear armored cavalry units then in wide use in the German army. Construction only began the next time a Homeland government came to power, in 1972. Beginning in 1990 the special government services tunnel was rented to providers for express passenger and cargo service.

    Work on the Elbunterfuehrung was already deep underway when the engineers were saddled by the Hound-Horse-Hawk government of the late seventies with a new round of demands: the tunnel would have to be hardened enough to withstand a direct sunsplitter strike, and with 22 barriers interspersed throughout the tunnel so that in the event of a breach by either the North Sea or the Elbe River, which flowed directly above, the inundation would be limited to a specific contained segment rather than the whole length of the tunnel. These new requirements may have doubled the total cost of the Elbunterfuehrung, and speculation has raged since the time of the project that these requirements were imposed with the actual objective of making the Elbunterfuehrung prohibitively expensive.

    However, construction on the project went on, and in 1985 it was a rare Stag-Hound coalition that reached necessary agreements with the Republic of Bohemia to extend the planned tunnel all the way to Prague, with a branch under the Vltava. In 1992 additional funds were voted to remove highways, restore parts of the surface of the Elbe River valley to green space, and concentrate most industrial traffic and the movement of goods below-ground. At its completion in 2006, it was 35 times as long as the Dover-Calais Tunnel. By 2007, refitting of the passenger service tunnel implemented the new fastiron systems, reducing the time a passenger boarding in Prague can reach Neuhamburg to 3 hours 40 minutes, with stops, or 2 hours 5 minutes, express.

    Despite its eventual success, the Elbunterfuehrung provoked spirited opposition from its first mention. Most notably, Audacity was once fined by the All-Party Communications Board for suggestive language in a cartoon about Homeland and Brotherhood venturing "up the tunnel" of the German tax-payer, looking for treasure with which to complete the vastly expensive project.

    However, roughly 30 percent of the Elbunterfuehrung's total cost was covered by war reparations.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2019
  9. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Thank you! And Happy New Year to you too! :)
  10. Threadmarks: Supplemental on the History and Goverment of New Amsterdam

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    A New/Nieu City: The Three Nations and the Birth of the Modern Metropolis

    by Lisbeth Terschelling

    Alfred Blossom's plan for a Memorial Bridge across the Hudson, as the Geweldige Westerse Brug, built 1935.

    We cannot consider the peculiar governing structure of today's New Amsterdam without first examining its component cities, and how they first emerged.

    First, obviously, is Nieuw Amsterdam. The provincial capital of the colony of Nieuw Netherland from 1624, within sixty years it was pressed into service as the refuge-in-exile of the Dutch government, and the recipient of a surge in crisis-migration from the homeland. English-language poet Maria van Vervor, writing of Nieuw Amsterdam, famously said, "from the beginning, her strong heart beat the drums of empire." Ideally situated to exploit the navigation of the Hudson River and command the exploration of overland routes inland, it quickly emerged as a commercial center, an entrepot, and a destination for immigrants from across Europe. It was helped in this by the duality of its role in both Dutch and German colonial ventures, as well as by its situation close to the adjacent English and Scottish colonies, which virtually prohibited either kingdom from closing trade with Nieuw Amsterdam.

    In the end, Nieuw Amsterdam nearly subverted the colonial relationship. Representatives from the colony of Nieuw Netherland and its capital made no less than eleven trips to the United States proposing various constitutional settlements granting equality to the Dutch North American mainland possessions, permanently re-situating the capital, or promising the stadtholder in exchange for his migration nothing short of extraordinary lodging and amenities, including a palace at the dead center of the island of Manhattan almost the size of Whitehall, and a country house in the Catskill Mountains on private hunting grounds the size of an English county.

    Though these efforts were politely declined, the United States was also careful not to alienate its enormously prosperous offspring, levying few taxes and permitting wide leeway in the setting of internal policy. In the end, it was less that Nieuw Netherland declared independence from the United States than the United States did from Nieuw Netherland. The Dutch simply became tired of supporting the military aggrandizement of an entity that gave so little back, especially when Dutch interests were more closely aligned with the cultivation of Nieuw Netherland's enemies as trading partners. When they did eventually impose the taxes to shift the cost of defense back to the colony being defended, Nieuw Netherland wasted no time declaring its independence, and there was not even the pretense of a military struggle. In the first year of its life as a national capital Nieuw Amsterdam had a population that was already seven times that of its namesake.

    Virtually the first order of business of the new city was metropolitan consolidation of a kind characteristic of many great cities. Its initial settlements in Manhattan and Breukelyn had now become ten distinct adjoining towns sprawling across the Manhattan, Long Island, and the marshy expanses of the adjacent mainland. These were combined into a grand metropolitan government under a single groteburgemeester in 1875. From the beginning, organizing this diffuse network of settlements into a single entity required the aggressive use of infrastructure. Enormous expense went into a building bridge across the Block River connecting Manhattan and Breukelyn in 1880. The success of such projects whetted the appetite of the city fathers for more.

    Nieuw Amsterdam had been a pivotal center for the ironroads since they were first introduced to the continent, though it was handicapped by the width of the Hudson and the Bay from exploiting lines leading west. And passenger ironroad lines had been used to convey passengers around Manhattan from the 1850's, and had expanded onto Long Island with the construction of the Block River Bridge in 1880. But now Nieuw Amsterdam's planners began to imagine more robust projects that would connect Manhattan to the western shore of the Hudson, and expand the subverbinding system into all the boroughs of the rapidly growing city.

    The explosive growth of Nieuw Amsterdam had long since involved the two adjacent colonies. Queen Mary II of England had once remarked, staring at a map, that Nieuw Amsterdam looked like a "strip of bacon between two chained dogs". For its part, Wilderness had long since been the commercial and financial center of the Commonwealth of Fredericksland, occupying as it did the strategically pivotal corner between Long Island Sound and the Hudson, its robust economy creating a culture in stark contrast to the radical and intrusive Protestantism that governed the colony in its early years. Though jealous of its prerogatives, and initially a competitor to Nieuw Amsterdam, by the nineteenth century it had already faded and was becoming more the leading Fredericksland office for Nieuw Netherland companies operating in the adjacent republic, and something of a bedroom community for employees working in Manhattan.

    By contrast, the small and struggling Scottish colony of Staten Island and New Lothian had its seat at Fort King Henry, on the Hudson Bay in what would eventually become the borough of Drummond. The best fortified location on the bay, absolutely secure, Fort King Henry became a military and administrative center. Though never lucrative, the colonies on the island and the adjacent mainland developed a line of business provisioning ships making use of Grote Haven.

    Eventually, the brutal displacements of the Scottish enclosures pushed many farmers into emigration, and the combination of the relatively short distance and mild climate made New Lothian a preferred destination for many of them, particularly those without the resources to buy slaves. These small farmers who were the first to settle Staten Island and New Lothian were once again displaced during the nineteenth century, this time by the sprawl of urbanization, and many were heading west into the territories of the interior where, more and more, nations of origin seemed insignificant in what was truly a new world.

    Both English Fredericksland, and Scottish Staten Island and New Lothian, looked warily on the early efforts of Nieuw Netherland to involve them in the larger colony's expansion. It was only in 1894, when the civic government of Nieuw Amsterdam gave them the choice of involvement in a program of shared infrastructure or crippling tolls on commuters headed into the larger city, that they consented to a series of negotiations on the future of the region. In 1898, Wilderness, Staten Island and Nieuw Amsterdam agreed on the Common Amenities Plan. This set forth a customs union and a series of projects and funding formulas that would include the long-sought construction of one major bridge across the Hudson, and another connecting Manhattan and Breukelyn to alleviate pressure on the Block River Bridge, which would be balanced by bridges connecting Long Island and Staten Island and Long Island and Wilderness.

    The positive economic effects of these projects and the continued growth of the region led in 1923 to the Greater New Amsterdam Plan. Essentially, a common government would be created with a single mayor. This would be a layer above the existing groteburgemeester, mayor and lord provost. The boroughs of Zion, Nieuw Rotterdam, and Huntly were created to reflect the physical growth of the city. Under this plan a council would be elected with each borough receiving either three, two or one members based on population. The election of the mayor would require a complicated double-majority: a majority of all members on the council must support him, and also a majority of the members of all three nations in which the city lies. This led to constant wrangling and a procession of non-entities and time-wasters in the office.

    At the same time, in the initial Greater New Amsterdam plan, all laws in the three nations were applicable within their territories within the city, which created a complicated situation, given that the common police force were subject to one set of laws and procedural rules in Peppertown, and another in Zion, and another in Drummond, and so on. Moreover, there were dramatic inequalities and other problems within the city, spurring the growth of the City Charter activist movement. Essentially, this stopped just short of arguing for a completely independent city-state.

    Finally, a series of scandals and a growing tendency toward mismanagement led in the 1950's to a series of head-of-state summits on Bedloe's Island among the leaders of Nieuw Netherland, New Lothian (Staten Island having been formally consolidated into the larger republic) and Fredericksland. In return for substantial cash payments, the leaders of New Lothian and Fredericksland agreed to permit one-person one-vote elections to the position of a new office of mayor. The council structure would be maintained, with the addition of the new borough of Nieuw Bali, carved out of Manhattan to better represent the island's ethnic composition.

    But most importantly, Nieuw Amsterdam would now have what many would call home rule: the power to set its own criminal laws, to levy its own income taxes (which Fredericksland and New Lothian had blocked assiduously), and establish its own plenary legislation otherwise that did not explicitly contradict the laws of the republic governing that part of the city. To put it in perspective, this meant that two of these republics had capitals located in urban areas for which the parliaments of the republic could not completely legislate.

    What has followed has been a controversial but steady accumulation of powers to the authorities of Nieuw Amsterdam. Fredericksland has effectively vetoed a common set of immigration laws for the city, but a full tax harmonization plan was approved by referendum in 2000, and by the council of the heads of state meeting at Bledsoe Island (now usually shortened to the Bledsoe Council) the next year.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  11. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Alexander of Saxony, 1566-1567

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Frederik II by Hans Kniepr

    Sigismunda Killinger, Lecture Record, February 3, 1999 Charpentier-Synthtranslate Edition.

    In the concluding days of 1566, Philip Melanchthon, one of the last survivors of the first generation of Reformation theologians, died. For several reasons, and in several ways, this created a crisis for the Elector Alexander. To understand why, it is necessary to backtrack a bit to the grand strategy of his father, Friedrich IV.

    You will recall Friedrich insisted the disputes between himself and the Holy Roman Emperor were to be solved on the battlefield, not by council, and refused to permit any of the Lutheran theologians gathered under his wing to participate in any official discussions, much less any bodies charged with resolving the theological differences in the church. Now this was for several reasons, not least that he did not want to lend any credibility to any tribunal that in the future could wield its power against him. But one effect this policy of his did have is that the 1530 Augsburg Confession of Martin Luther stood on its own. It was not amended, it was not revised, it was not even clarified. His formulations were allowed to stand, as if they were his funerary monument itself.

    Thus, somewhat interestingly, considering his dislike for Luther as a person, Friedrich for completely different reasons ultimately contributed to enshrining Luther's place in the orthodox Lutheran Church. Melanchthon, whom Friedrich certainly preferred to Luther in all matters, and whose views on the Eucharist were certainly closer to Friedrich's, would have delighted in reworking the Augsburg Confession's language about the Eucharist, and Friedrich probably would have favored this on its substance.

    But Friedrich did not permit Melanchthon to do this. Not just because Friedrich had called a halt to the ongoing cycles of negotiation with the Catholic Church at which systematic representations of Lutheran theology were necessary, so that there was no convenient venue in which to "restate" Luther's views without challenging them, but because Friedrich simply did not want to open up greater division in the Lutheran Church, or to risk any breach that might alienate other Lutheran princes, including those within his own family.

    Without a doubt, Friedrich viewed himself, the prince, as having an unlimited prerogative to make just these judgments about church teachings. But in this instance, with respect to this subject matter, he felt prudence demanded nuance and deference. Now when Friedrich essentially ran Melanchthon as a candidate to lead the Lutheran Church in 1556-7, one of the reasons the other princes, and their appointed delegates to the Council, united around Flacius was the idea that Friedrich, at the end of his life, might finally be at the end of that forbearance and be ready to propound a theology for the Lutheran Church that would do away with the necessity of an idea of the physical presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

    Alarmed by Flacius's election, Friedrich then undertook to twist enough arms to see Melanchthon named to a new administrative post of chancellor of the Lutheran Church. Now, this was not the balm for the wounded ego of a trusted servant it is sometimes made out to be. Or rather, it may have been, but it was never just that. You will recall the formal powers of the respondency is actually extremely limited. The respondent is a kind of theologian-in-chief who pens authoritative statements, as if on command, but does little else. However, the chancellery that Friedrich bestowed upon Melanchthon had, at least within the Lutheran Church of Saxony, control over the disciplinary functions--which priests were to be stripped of their congregations, which banned from the priesthood, and which were to be referred to the prince for sterner punishments, whether exile, prison, or the most absolute and irrevocable penalty of all.

    Essentially, Friedrich felt the genial and tolerant Melanchthon was the only one who could be trusted with this power, given who held the power to defining the church's official doctrine. Friedrich knew that with Luther's words still absolute in their authority, and with Flacius's whole project identified with a dogmatic application of Luther's teachings, Melanchthon's presence in the chancellery of the Lutheran Church of Saxony would be necessary to prevent a purge of all those Lutherans who held a different view of the Eucharist. Thus the news of Melanchthon's appointment from the direction of Duke Johann and Anna of Denmark was met with the gnashing of teeth.

    Moreover, though Friedrich's own opinions on the Sacramental controversy had been repressed since before his investiture with the electoral dignity in 1533, it was still common knowledge within the Lutheran Church that he held a dissenting view. And with respect to actual Calvinists seeking entry into Saxony, his position had been to extend to them broad guarantees of religious freedom beginning with the Stranger's Law. It would have therefore been unwise to attempt a coercive enforcement of Luther's teaching with respect to the Eucharist within the Lutheran Church, and force Saxon Lutherans of a differing opinion into a worse situation than the actual Calvinists. Or, for that matter, to persecute in the elector's courts people for holding the elector's opinion.

    Thus when Friedrich died in 1560, with Duke Johann installed in the regency, Flacius and his supporters saw their chance. As it turned out, Duke Johann's partial suspension of the Stranger's Law proved far too troublesome and controversial for him to have moved on to the repression of what were now being called the "Crypto-Calvinists" within the Lutheran Church. And even this more limited enterprise came to an abrupt stop when Alexander reached his majority and displaced his uncle.

    Now, up until then, Alexander had in not divulging his personal views in religious matters given Flacius and his supporters no reason to think he was averse to their cause. And one school of thought held that Alexander's time at the Habsburg court might, whatever else it might have done, have given him a strongly conventional understanding of the Sacraments. But whatever he had thought before the regency, Flacius had now in allying himself with the duke all but declared himself the enemy of the new elector. It was a fatal political mistake.

    It is, you know, something of a parlor game of German historians to pick apart the similarities and differences in the characters of the Electors Friedrich and Alexander, whose careers are so widely divergent. But we do know one similarity. Like an attack dog, once they sank their fangs in, it was rather hard to shake either one loose.

    In their first audience, Alexander upbraided an overproud Flacius for speaking without being given permission, then spoke exclusively for the duration before curtly dismissing him. It was a performance the Electress Dorothea believed worthy of his father. And for all intents and purposes the religious policy of the first years of Alexander's rule was cognate with the last years of Friedrich's, including the reliance on Melanchthon to prevent Flacius from purging the Lutheran Church of everyone not of his party with respect to the Lord's Supper. And Alexander had every intent to run Melanchthon for the respondency at the end of Flacius's ten-tear term in 1567.

    Even the question of Melanchthon's willingness was neatly sidestepped. His complaints about his age and desire for some small period of retirement before his death were dismissed by the Elector, who swore he would run Melanchthon against Flacius with him in his casket if he had to. Unfortunately, he would. Melanchthon died at the age of almost 70, leaving the chancellery open and requiring Alexander to go looking for a new standard-bearer for the 1567 council.

    At the same time, Alexander had begun strategically undermining Flacius with the princes who would be appointing the delegates to the 1567 council. Recognizing Flacius's strength was his close alignment with Luther on the question of the Eucharist, Alexander instead exploited Flacius's more controversial notions, such as his extreme beliefs in the nature of the corruption of humankind after the Fall of Adam.

    Alexander also let it be known that he understood, perhaps in a way his father had not, the Lutheran Church was not his toy. Instead he expressed the understanding that the first objective of the position of respondent must not be to bring the Church, or more particularly, the princes who protected and supported the church, to harm. The clear implication was that this was most definitely not the case with the current respondent and that urgent action was needed.

    It was towards this purpose Alexander also took prompt action on what had been heretofore one of the great diplomatic problems of his tenure. Both as the grandson of the deposed Christian II, and the living barrier between the king's sister Anna and the rank of Electress, Alexander was not well-positioned for good relations with the Kingdom of Denmark. And Denmark had helped frustrate Friedrich IV's efforts to make Melanchthon Respondent in 1557 by lending critical support to Flacius.

    Thus Alexander visited his cousin the King of Denmark in late 1566 in splendid state. Maria Eleonora could not accompany him, given that she was pregnant with her next child and the baby Johann had entered what would be his final illness. Though Alexander had been wise enough never to scruple with titles or to give the Danish king any reason to suspect that he pretended to his throne, Alexander went out of his way to reinforce the legitimacy of the ruling Danish royal family. His mother's hurt over this slight to her was assuaged by him naming her the regent in his absence, Duke Johann and his brood now having shown themselves untrustworthy.

    All the same, Frederik II received Alexander in the context of his own crises. Denmark was in the midst of a war against Sweden that was becoming immensely expensive and damaging to the economy. Alexander, who arrived at the Danish court in a dazzling suit of silver armor, advertised himself as the answer to Danish troubles. He left with some impressive additions to Saxony's portfolio of loans, secured with an annual portion Denmark's Sound Dues. In return for these large loans, Denmark had agreed to make common cause with the Elector in all the affairs of the Lutheran church. And finally, the Danish king imparted some counsels to his sister the Duchess Anna having to do with humility.

    It is of course the impressive success of this trip to Denmark by the young elector--whom I should remind you was still just 22--that brings to mind another round of the game of similarites and differences between Electors Friedrich and Alexander, that of their most profound difference. We do not need to belabor the point that to bargain with Friedrich IV was not exactly the most certain business. But Alexander was one of those figures who cultivate trust like a delicately tended garden. Thus, his alliance with Denmark would only deepen over the years, much to the benefit of himself and his heirs.

    Now, Flacius's self-regard in the office of respondent was so impressive that though the office was supposed to be for a single term, by 1564 he had begun a campaign for re-election, unseemly as that may be to our sensibilities. And more unseemly still, the death of Melanchthon in fact spurred Flacius's hopes, as the Wettins' favorite had been seen as his most likely successor.

    Several figures now vied to challenge Flacius. One was Martin Chemnitz, an orthodox Lutheran protegee of Melanchthon's who had served as a court librarian under Friedrich IV and as a tutor of the now Elector Alexander. Unfortunately, in a way very similar to Melanchthon, these close connections to the electoral court now worked against him. A figure favored by Duke Johann was Johann Marbach of Strassburg, who had engaged in vigorous anti-Calvinist polemics objecting to the Elector Friedrich III's efforts in the Palatine. And another figure, seen by many as a potential compromise, was Jakob Andreae, of Wuertemberg.

    When the Second Decennial Council of Wittenberg met in early 1567, Flacius was quickly eliminated from contention in an early victory for the Elector. However, once again, ties to the Saxon court proved disqualifying for Chemnitz, who like Melanchthon would have to accept the consolation prize of the chancellery of the Saxon Lutheran Churches. Andreae was elected Respondent. While not ideal, this was definitely a result the young elector could live with. Within the year, Flacius had left his university post in Saxony. Chemnitz for his part focused his efforts on making sure Lutheran ministers received a proper education in Christian doctrine, rather than attending to controversial doctrinal disputes.
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  12. Threadmarks: The Life of Elector Alexander of Saxony, 1567-1571

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Henry VII by Pietro Torrigiano

    Greta Saperstein, "The Wars Within"

    In February 1567, Johann, only son and heir of the Elector Alexander and his wife Maria Eleonora, died in Altenburg. Almost immediately a broadsheet circulated among the public declaring the infant's death to be fortuitous, given that it might ultimately save Saxony from the crypto-Catholic Alexander and Maria Eleonora and their offspring and deliver it safely into the hands of the Elector's uncle and his sons. This paper found its way to the Electress Maria Eleonora just before she was to enter her confinement for her second pregnancy, and almost triggered a miscarriage.

    From this point, relations between the two heads of the House of Wettin collapsed entirely. The next month, a barrel of gunpowder was found secreted beneath the bedchamber where the Electress was confined at Schloss Albrechtsburg, near Meissen. Apparently, the attempt to light the fuse had been inexpert, the parties responsible had fled too soon, and the flame had burned out before it reached the powder. The Electress was not informed of the incident until after she had given birth to her first daughter, who was named Elisabeth. That the child was named after a Catholic was taken by many as a dark confirmation of the hidden loyalty of Elector and Electress to the Church of Rome.

    However, outside the seclusion of the childbed, Alexander had ordered a thorough search of the Saxon court, including all persons, of all ranks, in all circumstances. Johann himself was ailing, and believed by many unlikely to survive. In no way was he able to protest the searches of his and his sons' households. The court was scandalized when, in the chambers of Johann Heinrich and his wife Agnes of Hesse, there was found a chart describing how Saxony might be divided into three parts among Duke Johann's sons. Johann Wilhelm would receive the electoral dignity, and with it the heartland of Wittenberg necessary to it and the rest of the old Ernestine lands. Johann Heinrich would receive the old ducal Saxony, centered around Leipzig and Dresden. And finally, Johann Georg would receive Magdeburg and the additions to the Wettin lands procured by Fredrich IV, and held by the Saxon Elector as prince-defender.

    Alexander wasted no time detaining all three of the brothers. Even under dire interrogation, Johann Heinrich would not implicate his brothers, but said he had only produced the map as a fancy. Alexander thus did not have the evidence to procure a conviction, and certainly not evidence sufficient to avoid an uprising by the disaffected Johannines if it came to it. Nonetheless, certain parties, including the Emperor Maximilian, the Duke of Juelich-Cleves-Berg-Mark-Ravensberg and others, offered their help in putting down such a rebellion if it were necessary. There was something of a consensus in the wider empire that the arrogance of the Johannines could no longer be ignored, and that whatever happened now would determine who would truly rule Saxony going forward.

    The standoff continued until finally, in the summer of 1568, a vendor of explosives to mining interests in the Erzgebirge claimed he had sold a barrel of powder to a man from the Duke Johann's household. This servant was never found, and the duke and all three sons vehemently denied the allegations. Alexander announced in August 1568 that he could not deliver an impartial verdict in the case as it touched upon his family both as the targets of the vile act and the accused. Thus, he appointed a special court of legal experts to hear the evidence.

    Two weeks later, the court rendered a verdict of guilty with respect to Johann Heinrich. In addition to his son, Philip, still just five years old, he had two daughters, Magdgalena, who was two, and Sybille, who was only one. Johann Heinrich still protested his innocence, and in a lengthy and garrulous letter begged Alexander for clemency. Many members of the Johannine House of Wettin believed Alexander would grant some form of reprieve, perhaps forcing Georg to cede back to the Elector those lands given him by his father to manage, which were significantly less than the total he would enjoy at Duke Johann's death.

    Finally, the Electress Maria Eleonora visited Duke Johann, relaying from her husband what she called an equitable solution. Johann Heinrich would be spared, if Alexander received back, not only the lands Johann Heinrich had held on his own, which was narrowly speaking the legal penalty due Alexander from a traitor, and not the one-third of all Johann's lands Johann Heinrich would expect to receive on Johann's death. Instead, Johann would have to cede fully one-half of all the lands he held back to the elector, in return for his son's life, and that on top of all the lands Johann Heinrich held directly.

    This would drastically change the balance of power within Saxony. No longer would the Johannines proceed under the assumption of coequals to the primary branch, minus the electoral dignity. No longer would the total revenues accumulated by Johann and his sons every year exceed Alexander's. Alexander would now own Saxony in a way more absolute than any elector since Johann the Steadfast. Johann, outraged by what he called his nephew's low brigandage, rose from his sickbed, and in great discomfort, rode to see Alexander personally, who was staying with his ill mother at her old hermitage of Lochau.

    Dorothea, by now somewhat frail, must have delighted at the sight of Johann, quivering with outrage, shouting about blackmail. Alexander's answer to all this, delivered in the calm, clipped tones so characteristic of this most reptilian of electors, was that he was indeed embarrassed, and that his wife had in fact misrepresented his offer of mercy for the attempted murderer and traitor, Johann Heinrich. In addition to the half of all Johann's lands Maria Eleonora had asked in return for Johann Heinrich's life, Alexander wanted the lands of Johann Heinrich's wife, Agnes of Hesse. And these included the lands inherited by Agnes from her father, Philip of Hesse, the lands held by her by virtue of her first marriage to Duke Moritz, and the lands held as a consequence of her marriage to Johann Heinrich. Also, Alexander said he would contribute nothing towards the marriages of Johann Heinrich's three children.

    When the Duke Johann protested, voluminously, of the manifest injustice of these terms, Alexander reminded him the investigation of the assassination attempt against the Electress at Meissen was still open, and that he had more sons who could be implicated.

    A broken man, on October 26, 1568, Duke Johann signed the papers surrendering half his lands to the Elector Alexander. Two days later, an enraged Agnes of Hesse signed over her share, and on All Saint's Day Johann Heinrich was released. Then in December Maria Eleonora bore Alexander their second daughter, who would be named Margaretha, after the Queen of Scotland, in the hope that she might be a consort to the young Protestant king of that country. Her christening was an occasion of unparalleled magnificence for the Elector Alexander's court. Her gown was cloth of silver, studded with pearls. Anna of Denmark stood as her godmother, as a gesture of forgiveness to the Johannines.

    The Duke Johann did not attend, and made no public appearances from then until his death in January 1571.

    In a curious footnote to these events, Julius of Braunschweig, always a keen observer of the internecine politics of the House of Wettin, noted in a letter home how fortuitous it was for Alexander, that the son of Johann implicated, embarrassed and ruined in this affair, was the one who was married to the noblewoman who was essentially a ward of the House of Wettin as Moritz's widow. Had the one implicated been the eldest son, a brother-in-law of the King of Denmark would have been involved. Had it been the youngest, a son-in-law of the Elector Palatine. Neither would have taken kindly to the disgrace of a woman of his house. Instead, the crucial evidence of the treasonous map just happened to be found in the possession of the son whose marriage was of the least consequence to Saxony's situation in the Empire or wider Christendom.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  13. isabella Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2012
    Clever Alexander... really clever...
  14. Threadmarks: The Life of Julius of Braunschweig, 1550-1571

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008

    Ca' Vendramin Calergi, completed 1509, a vacation home for the Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel (Really.)

    Makers of the New Realm: Short Biographies of Pivotal Germans, 1517-1640

    Martin Xu

    The pivotal years of the Sechzehntes Jahrhundert, during which the seeds of the New Realm were planted, are renowned for the bold personalities which made Germany their stage. Of these though, few are understood as little as a younger son of the Duke of Braunschweig, who would never reign in his own country, but rather earn fame and respect in service to another prince. As chancellor, he is consistently ranked as either the first or second greatest ever to serve a Saxon prince before the post of vertreter supplanted the office permanently. Now, who is superior, der Braunschweiger, or Kettler der Erstaunlich, lie outside our immediate project. Instead our focus must be Julius, his life and work.

    How the young prince entered into the service of Friedrich IV is so famous a story it bears repeating only in its broadest details. The elector, lately released from his imprisonment by the Holy Roman Emperor, met with the Elector of Brandenburg and the dukes of Braunschweig at Havelberg in an effort to reach some accommodation. At that point, Saxony had occupied the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lueneburg, and Friedrich signaled that if Duke Heinrich would retain the Reformation in that land it would be returned to him. When that was rebuffed, his second offer to Heinrich was that he would return the duchy to be ruled by Heinrich's youngest son, who was a Protestant and could be trusted for that reason to safeguard the freedoms of its Lutheran subjects.

    Heinrich refused, Julius fell out with his father and two older brothers, and at the end of the conference Julius left with Friedrich as his aide. For a long time after, father and son were estranged. Immediately, Julius carved out a place for himself as not merely an able secretary but a counselor of vast ability. It was Julius who was the architect of Friedrich's overture to the emperor, and who hammered out the critical principles that would be agreed upon with King Ferdinand at Schandau. Even when his skills as a diplomat were not enough to win a coveted prize, such as his famous 1553 trip to England with the young Duke Alexander, Julius acquitted himself superbly.

    Thus, Friedrich rewarded him handsomely. Julius received his first grant of lands in Saxony in 1551. In 1552, Friedrich went further, concerned that the estrangement between Julius and Duke Heinrich might prevent Julius from finding an appropriate bride. Friedrich announced he would make available the same grant of a wedding gift and dower lands for Julius as if he were a prince of the House of Wettin. Moreover, he began immediately making inquiries as to prospective brides. Friedrich's younger brother, Duke Johann, responded to this with fury, as it showed Julius was apparently a higher priority for Friedrich's somewhat limited match-making skills than were his own sons.

    That same year, something of a reconciliation took place between father and son. One unexpected benefit of Friedrich making common cause with the Emperor Charles against the King of France was that Saxony and Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel were on the same side. The elector was no longer, at least officially, a loathsome rebel against his appointed sovereign, and Heinrich could treat his son with respect without prejudicing his relationship with the Emperor. Not long after this first thaw in the relations of father and son, tragedy struck the family when, in Charles V's unlikely victory at Vilshofen, Heinrich's eldest son and heir, Karl Viktor, was killed. This left Heinrich's middle son, Philip, his heir.

    Philip for his part not long after married the electoral princess Hedwig of Brandenburg. Their marriage began producing issue by 1560, and soon the chances that Julius would inherit either his father's title of duke, or the principality of Calenberg, which was held by his childless cousin, began to diminish. At the same time, not for any gaffes or failures on his part, Julius's career at the court of Friedrich was temporarily dimmed: as the only figure in Saxon politics at the end of his life Friedrich trusted completely, Friedrich gave Julius the control of the young prince Alexander's household and personal responsibility for the prince's well-being. Had Friedrich felt comfortable it would not provoke some major controversy with Johann, he would have named Julius his choice to be regent in the event of his death before Alexander was of age.

    In 1555, Friedrich gave Julius Schloss Weissenfels, which over the next thirty years Julius would transform into a luxurious renaissance palace. One purpose of the gift was to provide the young duke with a retreat away from court. In 1557, Friedrich finally managed to negotiate a marriage for Julius to Sofie, daughter of the Margrave Georg of Brandenburg-Ansbach and his wife Emilie of Saxony, a princess of the Albertine Wettins. Sofie, strong-willed, quarreled with Julius, but they began producing children almost immediately: Sofie the younger was born in 1558, followed by Emilie in 1559, Karl in 1560, Heinrich in 1562, Maria in 1563, Julius the younger in 1564, Dorothea in 1566, and Philip in 1567. Emilie, Karl and Maria died in early childhood.

    The bulk of Julius's practical concerns in these years was planning the succession between Friedrich and Alexander in such a way as to minimize the risk to Alexander and the power transferred to Johann. It was Julius who persuaded Alexander of the wisdom of leaving Saxony however possible. And when Alexander returned in 1562, it was Julius who received the benefit of the chancellery and the role of a virtual co-elector.

    Having finally achieved power after so long a wait, Julius instituted with Alexander's support a series of economic reforms. In order to revive and diversify Saxony's mining industry away from silver, Julius funded prospecting and surveying missions to better develop an understanding of Saxony's mineral resources. Moreover, he eliminated interest on loans made by the state financial scheme to domestic mining interests; imposed new duties on imports of metals from outside Saxony; founded state-run metallurgical workshops; established the requirement that all state purchases of metal and metal products, especially guns and cannons, be produced within Saxony; and began a program of dredging Saxony's rivers to make them better navigable for barges carrying products of the mines. Energetic and tenacious, Julius worked consistently on these projects for almost thirty years.

    As Saxony's fiscal situation improved, Julius also undertook, finally, to resume the Elector Friedrich's project of school-building. Alexander, though, wanted to shift from his father's mode of generalized education towards something more specialized. Thus they founded a school for military science at Dommitzsch with the intent of training a core cadre of officers loyal and unique to Saxony with an understanding of modern military arts. Eventually, the school at Dommitzsch would become the seat of the general staff of first the Saxon, then the German, armies.

    In 1567 Julius's educational undertakings won a strong ally when Jakob Andreae became Respondent for the Lutheran Church. They with Chemnitz in his role as chancellor of the Lutheran Church in Saxony founded Lutheran seminaries at Plauen in 1568, at Pforta in 1571, at Jueterbog in 1572, and at Leitzkau in 1575. The coordinated goal here was the establishment of a common curriculum and a common set of methods for the transmission of doctrine to new priests for the Lutheran church. These efforts were in turn supplemented by the founding of a college of music in Wittenberg in 1576, with the task of improving the quality of both choral and instrumental music in Saxony.

    In 1573, the Elector Alexander at Julius's suggestion appointed a committee to begin work on a new codification of Saxon laws, with amendments as necessary to reflect the Reformation and all the social changes that had occurred along with it. All outright changes from previous law would be submitted to the elector for approval.

    This same reforming spirit led the next year to a reduction in the taxes paid by Saxony's farmers, made possible by the steady increase in tax revenues from mines, industry and finance. Unfortunately though, this would prove unsustainable and contribute to the great fiscal crisis later in Alexander's reign.

    However, for Julius these were prosperous years. The dispossession of a large portion of the vast estates held by Duke Johann, his son Johann Heinrich, and Johann Heinrich's wife Agnes of Hesse following the Black Plot of Meissen in 1568 resulted in a new, and sizable, gift to Julius the next year. His land holdings were now comparable to Johann's sons Johann Wilhelm and Johann Georg. It was also believed his and Sofie's children would warrant matches with the next generation of the Johannines. Thus as the first decade of Alexander's electorship ended, Julius of Braunschweig was more a member of the family than he ever had been. Schloss Weissenfels itself was developing in tandem with Julius's growing prestige, as it expanded into a great Mannerist edifice outstripping several of the major Wettin residences.

    And while he was now nothing close to being a likely successor to his brother Philip in Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel, his annual income was something like three times greater than Philip's, Philip having succeeded to the lands and title of their father in 1568.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  15. Threadmarks: Supplemental Note on the Contemporary German Imperial Monarchy

    Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    _315x420_71a5853327df06b5781412dcf3329f9c75d1bed5edcd29d77d03e4edd9cacb7d.jpg The German Monarchy Today

    British Actor Harry Lloyd, here used as a fascimile for F9

    Today, the German Empire is an elective monarchy. Like Poland, Germany maintains the tradition of having its nobles elect the monarch rather than having a hereditary succession. In the case of Germany, the emperor or empress is elected by a College of Electors. The College of Electors consist of the princes who represent the most important houses of nobility surviving from before the founding of the New Realm. Though the number of electors has increased over time, the only constitutional requirement is that the total number of electors is an odd number, so that there are no ties. In truth Saxony controls a plurality of the electors since the founding of the New Realm, but not the majority. This prevents the work of the college from becoming a mere formality. In truth, Saxony's candidates are usually themselves the eldest son or, in the absence of sons, the eldest daughter, of the sitting emperor, and they have rarely faced any uncertainty over their election, but the college and the princes who comprise it believe their presence serves to prevent the morally unfit or otherwise incapable from assuming the responsibilities of head of state, and moreover, becoming a national symbol whose words and deportment reflect on the entire nation. The college takes its work very seriously. There are a series of closed interviews between the candidates for emperor (who are nominated by members of the college) and the college. Conventionally, two are sufficient. The invitation to a third interview is a polite signal to a candidate to withdraw.

    The style for a reigning German Emperor is His Most Clement Imperial Majesty, and for a reigning Empress, Her Most Clement Imperial Majesty, with the same styles reserved for the consorts of those genders. Because the office of emperor or empress does not descend by hereditary succession, there are no other titles that make use of the descriptive imperial. And because to make use of an additional title or style would imply a division in loyalties between the empire and its constituent princely states, or to imply a special loyalty by the emperor to one princely state over the others, no other additional styles may be used. Therefore, though the king or queen of Saxony is usually the Emperor, during the imperial reign they are not allowed to use that title or style, even when in Saxony or performing the official functions of that monarchy. Thus, there can never be a "His Most Clement Imperial and Royal Majesty, Emperor of the German Empire and King of Saxony", but instead just His Most Clement Imperial Majesty, Emperor of the German Empire.

    With all that said, because emperors and empresses do have children, and those children presumed to be the heirs unless they behave in such a way as to cause grave doubts, the courtesy title for the heir to the imperial throne will usually be that of the official title that person holds as the heir of the Saxon monarchy, which is that of Margrave, or Margravine, of Meissen. The title has existed since around 965. It has remained in the House of Wettin since 1089. Today it carries with it no official duties or prerogatives, the margraviate having been long ago subsumed.

    With respect to empresses regnant, there were none in the Old Realm. In most states of the Holy Roman Empire, female rulers were impossible and succession through the female line was disfavored. Moreover, because the charter that created the New Realm provided that the New Realm's institutions could do nothing to alter or reform the descent of titles among the First Realm Nobility, in most cases there are still very few female princes holding their own right and title in the New Realm. However, in Saxony Erste used the opportunity of the extinction of the old Empire to rewrite the rules of Saxony's succession to permit female rule whenever the male line of a given generation goes extinct. Moreover, the rules he specified for the imperial succession were notoriously without limitations of gender, partly because so many of the male princes of his generation had been killed that female succession was deemed potentially necessary to keep the dynasty alive.

    However, the limitations of this vision were revealed almost sixty years later when a woman did succeed to the throne of Saxony and then get elected emperor. Most officeholders of the empire assumed she would be led by her husband and closely advised. That did not turn out to be the case, and so from the early eighteenth century on, Germany has had its share of female rulers, who have by and large exercised their powers much as their male counterparts.

    By and large the role of the emperor or empress in the present German constitutional system is that of head of state and an informal symbol of the nation. However, they are also always the honorary commander of the German armed forces, president of the Council of Princes, first among equals in the First Realm Nobility, and head officer of a lengthy list of national charities, many preoccupied with the well-being of war veterans and the maintenance of Germany's cultural heritage and natural beauty.

    That is not to say however the emperor or empress is completely without power in the government. Perhaps his most important is that, as the residue of his formerly impressive authority over the command of the armed forces, the emperor has the power to order the "cease or delay" of any military action, pending a majority vote in the Estates to go ahead. This can serve as a brake on military adventurism. He or she has no countervailing power to order military action when the democratically elected officeholders refuse.

    He or she also has, with respect to the armed forces, just as he or she more widely has with all the various organs of the imperial government, a power of interrogatory, meaning that he or she can ask extremely detailed questions that require the formulation of exact and complete answers to any officer working for the state at any level. Replying untruthfully to an imperial interrogatory is a criminal offense. There is no limit on what the emperor may do with the answers: they can be shared with the Estates, disseminated publicly, or forwarded to prosecutors, exclusively at the emperor or empress's discretion.

    The other significant imperial powers in government are those of pardon and stay. Pardon is for these purposes straightforward: a person imprisoned for a criminal offense can be set free by the emperor or empress, but only with a showing that the original verdict was the result of an error otherwise without remedy in the criminal justice system, or otherwise the result of oppression and overreach. Moreover, the recipient of the pardon must not be within two degrees of kinship of the emperor, empress or their spouse, an employee of the imperial court or otherwise a person whose well-being directly affects the emperor or empress.

    The power of stay is trickier in its application. If the emperor or empress believes an act by the estates, by one of the land estates, or by any administrative, regulatory, local or municipal body, would cause irreparable harm to the lawful rights or interests of one of his or her subjects, he or she can intervene and issue a stay forbidding the enforcement of that act and preventing the application of any penalties accruing under it. The case is then referred immediately to the imperial courts for expedited consideration. The imperial courts, even if they would not otherwise have jurisdiction over the matter of the case do by virtue of the imperial stay. Moreover, the imperial stay requires the courts to rule on the matter for which the stay was issued: they cannot resolve the question on a procedural question or other technicality.

    Ultimately, the final decision with respect to the says is in the imperial courts, although the Estates can always pass new laws to incorporate the decisions of the courts with respect to past stays. However, this does not work like a withholding of royal assent in the English system, and the Estates cannot subsequently vote to overcome the imperial stay. Instead, the imperial stay triggers a legal process, and all parties must abide by the decision reached by that legal process. And because unlike the pardons, the stays do not involve an emperor acting dispositively of a legal question so much as referring a matter to the courts for expedited resolution, there is no consideration of any conflicts of interest with respect to the emperor and the matter at issue in the stays. Instead, the court must reach a resolution applying the law as best it can, irrespective of the emperor's motives for intervening.

    The exercise of these powers require the maintenance of an imperial bureaucracy to some degree separate from the court on one side, and the machinery of democratic decision-making on the other. Originating in Erste's long rule, this collective body of offices and counselors is called the imperium. In the hands of a focused, skilled and pragmatic emperor or empress, making robust use of his or her interrogatory powers, and threatening the exercise of the stays, the imperium even now can be a formidable tool, transforming the monarchy into something of a national ombudsman or defender of the public interest.

    And while Germany scrupulously observes the equality of religious expression, the emperor is also still technically Prince-Defender of the Lutheran Church. Fidelity to Christian principles is one qualification which the Electoral College is required to ascertain of its candidates. Whether, for example, an atheist candidate would be permitted to go forward is an as-yet unanswered question. By virtue of the Bavarian Rule however, no Christian of a church other than the Lutheran can be denied the imperial office on account of his or her fidelity to that church, just as no heir to a lower princely title can be denied it on account of his or her faith. Under those constitutional circumstances, the role of Prince-Defender of the Lutheran Church would be dropped from the imperial portfolio of titles and responsibilities, and the involvement of the non-Lutheran monarch in the Lutheran Church would cease, possibly to be resumed at a later date.

    Of course none of this is to say that the German emperor or empress's work is bureaucratic, or that there is no pomp to the office. Germany is most definitely not, as the contemporary term has it, a bicycle monarchy. For example receipt of the imperial pardon or exercise of the imperial stay requires the parties so benefiting to stand before the throne and an emperor or empress in official robes. Likewise, the emperor or empress has to receive and accept the new vertreter in his or her imperial regalia, at the palace, in a simulcast event that is an odd inversion of the English ceremonies for the beginning of a new parliament, including the ritual reading of a proclamation to the monarch ending essentially "and there is nothing you can do about it."

    The emperor or empress's birthday is still a national holiday, his or her face appears on stamps and currency, and there is a never-ending series of ribbon-cuttings, dedications and ceremonies of the type all modern monarchs participate in. Global travel, especially to the various germanophone republics, is still frequent. Until 1980, there was even an imperial ranch maintained for His Most Clement Imperial Majesty in Neupreussia, near Kaizerin.

    Today, the German Emperor maintains three public residences and two private ones, a situation simiilar to that of the King of England. For a long time the emperor or empress's public residences were concentrated in Saxony, to the resentment of the other German states. This occasioned a reshuffling of imperial properties, so that now the primary vacation retreat is Schloss Schwarzenberg on the Alpsee in the Ostallgau region of Bavaria. Privately, the Wettins also still own an island in the Aegean. There is still some hard feelings in the family that they were forced to choose between that and the imperial yacht during a period of cost-cutting in the late-seventies.

    However, the primary state residence of the emperor is still the Schloss Alexanderburg near Wittenberg. The other is still the baroque-era Sofiehut. Maintaining the gigantic Sofiehut as an imperial residence at public expense is seen as a scandal by several German political parties, most notably German Republic. And though the German emperor and his close family are by no means as bold with their political opinions as their English cousins, that the antipathy between German Republic and "the Imperials" goes both ways is without doubt.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  16. Nyvis Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    If I understood correctly, it's elective, but only within the imperial Wettin line, right? So rather than being like medieval elective monarchies, it's more of a selection of the best fit within the line.

    Or did I misread that? Because it wasn't made explicit, but it seems pretty clear.
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  17. Derekc2 Marxistball 9

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    I think it's still technically a fully elective monarchy, where other noble houses can theoretically be elected to emperor, but in practice it's just the heir apparent of the Empire being elected to the throne of Emperor, which means the Wettin next in line. So I think it's more similar to the early Capet era France when the king was still elective than Jagellion era Poland and Lithuania where that was how the monarchy did work (from I understand of Polish and Lithuanian history).
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  18. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Yeah, here it's all about the distinctions between rules and practice. I haven't figured out how many electors the alt-present German Empire has, but I believe they start out the New Realm with 15. Of these, 6 are for principalities in Saxon hands (EDIT: this might be too many, in which case in the reboot it might be as few as three or four). So you see how this works. The Saxon candidate in an imperial election starts out with an advantage, but not an absolute one. And when either the Saxon candidate is a dud, or another is compelling, surprises can happen. And in what's going to be a major controversy for the alt-Germany of the eighteenth century, these smaller princes are going to start banding together to use the imperial office as a counterweight to Saxon power. That leads to mischief and trouble on an enormous scale, actually.

    But basically that's the state of play that still governs in the alt-2019: in the imperial elections at least, Saxony dominates, but Saxony cannot dictate. The candidates are nominated. Maybe a Wettin, maybe a Wittelsbach or a Welf, who knows? But if the case is compelling, the Saxon candidate can lose.

    Now, this is actually interesting in that it tells us a lot about the role of force and duress in this alt-second empire versus the first and second of our timeline. We know what lengths the Habsburgs will go to for the imperial throne. It's one of the marvelously consistent things about them that they seek to eliminate elections entirely or reduce them as far as possible to purely formal exercises within a functionally hereditary system. Well, as you have already seen, when the Wettins stand up to the Habsburgs they make generous use of an anti-tyrannical rhetoric that they then can't really slip out of when it's done without de-legitimating themselves. Part of the Wettin case against the Habsburgs is that the Wettins are willing to peaceably lose an election. So they have to peaceably lose elections.

    The comparison to the Hohenzollerns is even more interesting. End-state Saxony looks a bit like the Prussia of 1870, but the relationship of the two states to imperial institutions are very different. Here too, Saxony is more willing to lose contests for imperial power than to fight for it, whereas Prussia's attitude was, well, pure and absolute hegemony, anything else is weakness that opens the door to foreign exploitation.

    So how do those dynamics work here? Saxony refuses to force itself on the other German states. Not just for reasons of political idealism or the spirit of German constitutionalism that the mythology of the Holy Prince comes to stand for, but because it has bigger worries than which Protestant German prince is emperor. It can't keep its great rival (and do we have any doubt who that would be?) corralled if it's constantly engaged in terrorizing the states of the west. Instead, it adopts the role of kindly protector of these states against that rival. It also leverages the colonies and its involvement in the wider world economy. But Saxony is not going to launch any fights against a German constitutional order in which it's the biggest player and which benefits it, even when a Saxon prince loses the Beauty Pageant.

    And in the end, one similarity between Prussian OTL Second Empire and the Saxon New Realm is that the real action, politically speaking, takes place in the state within the state. So a Saxon king who is not emperor still has more than enough power, and can then make all sorts of interesting threats to make sure he influences the course of policy at the imperial level.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  19. Nyvis Well-Known Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    So it's literally HRE 2.0, functional this time? Fascinating.
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  20. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

    Nov 12, 2008
    Think of it this way. The historical narrative of the first empire shapes the constitution of the second, both in our timeline and in the alternate.

    In our timeline, that narrative is that the division of the empire among the princes, the decentralization of power, and the weak position of the emperor, all preventing Germany from being a "proper" country, opened the Empire to being ravaged by outside powers either looking for direct conquest (France, from Henri II all the way to Napoleon) or to set the German states against each other in the interest of a balance of power (Britain). And that narrative serves a powerful state purpose in the nineteenth century. With that narrative firmly in place, after all, anything Prussia does is excusable in order to keep Germany from being the object of foreign predation and a place for foreign armies to shed blood.

    But. None of that happens in this timeline.

    Instead, through the reign of Maximilian, the Holy Roman Empire has thriving institutions, with one of Maximilian's accomplishments being the creation of a new court structure, actually. Yes, you have people like Ulrich von Hutten who want to do away with the princes in favor of the emperor, but I don't think we could characterize that as a dominant view. So, the narrative instead, and this is no less self-serving for Saxony than the other one is for Prussia, is that the Holy Roman Empire was a happy realm of decentralized power steeped in traditions that safeguarded the rights of its peoples, until it fell under the sway of foreign kings (the name of the Spanish War is no accident) who corrupted its institutions, tried to turn its elective monarchy hereditary, and resorted to tyrannical means to get their way in matters like religion.

    And Saxony has to live within the consequences of its narrative. So, having painted the Habsburgs as the tyrants it is there to save everyone from, there are certain things it can't do without the other princes raising an eyebrow and saying "This reminds us of someone..."

    But in the alt-world's historiography, the Holy Roman Empire is regarded not as a horror story of useless complexity, it's treated the way we do medieval England, as a jewel-box wherein cherished bits of the modern world first originated. Teacher: "And town air was free air, the saying went." Class: "Ooohh."
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019