In the largest major electoral reform act for Britain, the Liberals managed to pass through a piece of legislation that further reformed the electoral system of Britain. While not as far reaching as the reforms implemented in 1829, they were still enough to assure a greater amount of the population did in fact have a say in the franchise. The reforms were as follows:
1: The property limitations on voting were to be diminished. From now on, anyone who owned a piece of property of £5 or rented one worth £20 was eligible to vote in an election.
2: Ireland was to be cut out of the voting process of England, Wales and Scotland completely as its own electoral system was being gradually implemented for use by the populace. Reforms for Ireland were being further implemented and it was expected that Ireland’s own election would coincide with Britain’s in 1852.
3: The commission that had been set up to prevent corruption in the election was granted greater powers and given more resources to tackle the issues of abuse of the system.
The reforms, once passed in the Commons and Lords, were greeted with glee by the populace and practically assured a Liberal victory in the next election as the Conservative well knew. One other aspect that 1850 brought about was the gradual recognition that the old guard were being gradually overshadowed by younger politicians who had been born after the Napoleonic Wars. Young men who had been fashioned in the Four Year War, who were confident of the rising power in the British Empire and wanted more of it for the glory of Britain. Not for much longer would Russell and those of his age dominate Parliament, a change in fortune was coming and it would be known quite soon…
For Russia, the last few years had seen its presence in Central and Eastern Asia grow considerably. Under Tsar Nicholas, the domains of the Russian Empire had expanded and the influence over China became considerable. With the new frontiers however came new challenges, this time, in the form of Japan. The island nation had long been in isolation, refusing any foreigners except in very small amounts. Russian expansion of power into the Northern Pacific had caused minor clashes with Japan and the Russian Government was becoming exceedingly irked with it all.
The final straw came when a Russian boat capsized near the Japanese coast on the isle of Hokkaido. Despite being in full view of a Japanese outpost in the area, nothing was done to save the crew, leaving half of them to drown until the survivors were eventually rescued by another Russian ship which had been in the area. When news eventually leaked back to St. Petersburg regarding the issue, the Tsar went mad with rage and insisted on showing the Japanese a lesson in respecting the Russia nation and its people. A fleet was ordered to be sent to Russia’s Asian coastal holdings along with an ultimatum to the Japanese; give compensation for the death of the sailors, apologise formally and open up to Russian merchants. The ultimatum was designed to be refused as the Tsar was determined to show all Asian nations not to insult his country. Although it would take an entire year for the fleet to be drawn up and arrive in the North Pacific to be prepared for War, it would be a conflict worth it as far as the Russians were concerned…
In Berlin, one of the most influential political leaflets was published and distributed, written by the nationalistic philosopher, Frederick Wagner. Wagner was a man of many talents, having become somewhat noted in the days before the Four Year War as a composer of some talent. That ended however with the culmination of the War and the Treaty of Versailles. For Wagner, a man of great patriotism, it had been a slur to great on Prussian honour and he subsequently delved into politics and philosophy, abandoning music completely.
Four years worth of effort had finally resulted in Wagner’s magnum opus, his pamphlet, The Rise and Fall of the Teutonic People was perhaps the greatest example of revisionist history ever to be known. It was a brief book concerning itself with key areas of what Wagner termed ‘Germanic History’ where the freedom of the German people had been crushed again and again by either the barbaric Slavs or those who Wagner termed ‘Latinos’, the cultures descended from the Latin culture of Rome. France, the various Italian States and Spain being the prime examples of these states that had suppressed and abused the German people since their history began. From the Romans who had tried conquering Germany to the outcome of the Four Year War, every attempt to bring Germany down was because of these other peoples.
For Wagner, the German Confederation was little better, labelling it as a nation of traitors and lapdogs to the Latinos and Slavs. He claimed that the Federation had been born from the greatest oppressor of the German people, Napoleon Bonaparte and as such, was unworthy to even claim the name of being ‘German’. As far as Wagner was concerned, only two nations of true Germanic descent were left, the Kingdom of Brandenburg and the Kingdom of Austro-Hungary. These two nations however were no longer the power houses that they had formerly been and were now weakened before the Triple Alliance. Wagner’s writings contained no prophecies of what was to happen, they were merely the answer to the rabid bitterness within Brandenburg regarding the outcome of the Four Year War.
The pamphlet gained great popularity in Brandenburg where similar political leaflets had been published for quite sometime. It also had a surprisingly large amount of readings in the German Confederation, not just in the old Prussian territories but also in places further West and south as similar feelings of being used by the French for its own gains were predominant. The idea of German fighting German during the Four Year War had not gone down well and it was still quite unpopular to celebrate the victory in terms of being Allied with Poland which had all but destroyed Prussia. Wagner had hit a major nerve for German people, one that would not go away for nearly a century.
In Havana, months of negotiation finally reached an agreement between Spain and the Central American nations and Caribbean colonies. All sides had had to concede a fair amount in their negotiations with the outcome being a much more united and stronger Federacion. The Second Havana Accord resulted in the following:
1: The reforms of the Military which General Carlos de Toledo had suggested were to be fully implemented, no questions asked. Spain was to help fund the thoroughly modern Armies of the Central American Armies while also helping establish Military academies in these nations, centralising the Military in one core command which would be made up of commanders and Generals from various nations.
2: Democracy was to be established in all Federacion states, the reasoning being that the Revolutionaries had such an easy time in overthrowing the previous Governments was because of their authoritarian style Governments. Spain was to aid the election process in local and Federacion officials to take place within four years.
3: The Federacion Council itself was to undergo reform, all major economic and Military as well as foreign policies were to be decided there but now Spain lost its advantage. All nations were to be assigned five seats in the Council with its new headquarters in Havana itself, its new location due to it being centred much more with Spain having lost some of its influence over the proceedings. Each nation was to have a Presidency lasting one year on a rotary basis with Spain starting it off.
4: Cuba and Florida were to gain their own seats on the Federacion Council within five years, showing their increased influence and clout within the Federacion nations as new power was needed after the Four Year War.
The reforms were to lessen Spain’s own influence in the Federacion at the expense of new nations claiming their own authority. Although Spain had conceded much, the promise of a Federacion which had expanded its own commitment to its cause was a refreshing thought. Though the Federacion had been brought low by the Four Year War, the opportunity to rise again as a new and more effective system was there and many were willing to take it.
In his attempt to give the Juntist movement greater power, Josiah Norton made moves towards the Mormons of the Eastern Californian territories in order to form a political Alliance. Although the Mormons, who had come to California to escape persecution, were reluctant to support Juntism itself, the Republic of California had been less than welcoming with this Religious group. Norton promised greater opportunity for the Mormon Church should it give its support to the Juntist movement. After much debate, the Church agreed provided the polygamy they practiced would be allowed. Although Norton was unsure about the implications, he agreed that in the event of the Juntists ever gaining power, that the Mormons would gain their right to polygamy in reward for their support.
The Juntist movement was now one of the most powerful forces in the Californian Republic with Josiah Norton having gained the place of the Economy Minister in the Junta. Now all that was needed was a spark for Revolution, one which would start the fire entirely…