The Iowa Free State is westernmost of the great plains nations. Its territory encompasses some of the richest farmland in the Americas with its economy dependent on its agricultural bounty. Perhaps even more important to the Iowa Free State’s development was its strategic location, controlling the railyards where the wealth of the Rockies meet the factories of the North American East. Despite its name, which was an allusion to the former Iowa territory, the IFSs heartland was in Missouri. Kansas City was the defacto capital of the region, located away from the Mississipi for defensive purposes, it became the epicenter for most of the nations wealth. Missouri’s second city was St. Louis, which soon became one nations primary industrial and commercial centers due to extensive trade with the GLC. However the prosperity of these two cities wasn’t passed on to the rest of the IFR, particularly Iowa proper and Minnesota.
Iowa was viewed solely as a cash cow. Although bumper crops were produced year after year ultimately only the central government had the authority to sell it on the world market. Matters were worsened by the gradual emergence of politically influential land barons who took control of most of the province’s prime farmland through both extortion and the “low interest loans” courtesy of the Missouri Iowa Railroad. Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Sioux City became the states principle cities but commerce was mostly limited to food processing and transportation with the occasional smattering of light industry.
Minnesota on the other hand would develop with their destiny uniquely tied to the GLC. While St. Louis and Minneapolis/St. Paul would become became the IFSs chief trading cities with the Eastern American nations, Minnesota was culturally and economically distant from Kansas City. Its farmers fought the emergence of land barons at every turn, with the terroristic grange movement persisting for decades. Minneapolis/St. Paul would grow to rival St. Louis for the title of the IFSs commercial and industrial capital. Its ideal geographic location made it an important hub for the transit of food and raw materials into the eastern American states and the extensive investment of GLC business and corporate leaders soon transformed it into a city of modern industry and extensive internal and foreign commerce. Minneapolis/St. Paul was further strengthened by the slow emergence of Duluth as the IFSs principle steel producing city. One would suspect their prosperity would have been seen as a shining example for the rest of the IFR, unfortunately the IFSs presidency tended to view Minnesota with hostility, suspecting that they would sell out the rest of the Free State to the GLC at the soonest available opportunity. As a result it is said that Minnesota had the most violent and sadistic branches of the IFSs internal security department.
When the RMC began to crumble into warlordism under the weight of corruption and economic ruin, it appeared as though the same fate would be in store for the Iowa Free State. Power had rested for generations within a handful of families. Jay Gould IV, the current IFR president and grandson of the republics first died under mysterious circumstances during his 10th year of rule. His death came in a wake of an internal struggle between the leading families of Kansas City and St. Louis, with the scions of both cities being prevalent throughout the upper echelons of the IFS’s government and Military. Kansas City was uneasy, and both the Rocky Mountain Confederacy and Kansas were rapidly descending into anarchy as their infamously well armed and independent minded citizens responded to years of government corruption and misrule. Its formally secure position now seemed to be at the front line of another war. The increased support of St. Louis seemed to herald the IFS’s shift from the west to the east. The tensions were worsened by the presence of Richard McAuliffe, commanding general of the IFS strategic command. McAuliffe owed his position more to pedigree than to competence, and he waffled back and forth based upon which faction he supported. The IFS could have probably indefinitely survived this strain if Gould’s successor hadn’t mysteriously died in a plane crash when flying to Kansas City for his approaching inauguration.
With their president to be dead, and critical shortages of coal and oil exacerbating already significant unrest, McAuliffe made his move. Martial law was declared with his allies finding themselves operating extensive “administrative zones” and his rivals dying valorously fighting against enemies of the state. Such a move was supposed to be temporary but it was the primary means in which McAuliffe proclaimed himself dictator and “secured” control of the IFS. Rather than trying to restore order, he used his power to systematically loot the territory under his control and as time wore on both the “Iowans” and his fellow officers began to grow disillusioned. One by one the military administrative zones began to resemble the private demesnes of the Montana and Dakotan warlords rather than components of a national state. By the end of the Great American War McAuliffe found himself controlling little beyond Kansas City and its surrounding counties with at least 6 other generals claiming sole sovereignty over region. This internal chaos was worsened by the ever increasing raids of Dakota guerillas and steady stream of Illinoisan refugees into St. Louis fleeing the advance of the Red Army of Michigan and its Virginian allies .
The fundamental weakness of this state was best exposed when a general uprising in Minneapolis/St. Paul brought on by Wellstone, a college professor and local rabble-rouser formally declared independence and allied itself with the Wisconsin rebellion that was engulfing itself within the western GLC. The timely arrival Wisconsinite forces ended any hope of the “Iowans” retaking the city and cutting off the rebellion at its head. Wellstone has emerged as the regional commander of the Minnesota, maintaining close political ties to Madison while helping to command the Minnesotan “Viking” auxiliary which was largely responsible for the liberation of Duluth. Should Wisconsin receive international recognition, Wellstone, despite his Minnesotan birth and Jewish heritage seems primed to become the nation’s first serving president.