Cinco de Mayo

The Hamidian Era: The Ottoman Empire 1876-1918
"...Istanbul first saw the Mahdist rebellion in the Sudan as a minor nuisance, though concerns about Muslim revivalism as a vehicle for ethnic Arab discontent was never far from Abdul Hamid's mind. Nevertheless, the nominally independent Tewfiq Pasha in Egypt was to deal with it, as Sudan fell within the Khedivate's purview. Of course, as Grand Vizier Mehmed Said Pasha pointed out, the Khedive had put itself in this position with its scurrilous finances, gradual reduction of forces within and outside of Khartoum as a result of its ruinously expensive wars and debts, and insistence on appointing foreigners, particularly the British, to positions of power to manage its mounting liabilities. Abdul Hamid began to ponder, then, as the Mahdi drew ever more followers to his cause, whether it was time to restrict the Khedive's authority and introduce the kinds of constitutional bureaucratic reforms that had taken flight in Istanbul and his other domans in the wake of his victory over the Russians. On this matter, as most, he consulted the French, who agreed that the deteriorating situation in Sudan warranted watching, and that garrisons on the Suez should be boosted, for there was another matter that suddenly attracted their attention beyond Sudan: the emergence of Ahmad Urabi in Egypt over the summer of 1881..."

- The Hamidian Era: The Ottoman Empire 1876-1918
 
It looks to me like Bismarck is going to try to make a reactionary bulwark against the Kaiser. I imagine that a failure might diminish the power of the Prussian nobility and empower the bourgeoisie as a result.
Also, it seems like the condition of blacks throughout the slave states are only going to get worse. Are many CSA slaves escaping to the US, Mexico, or Cuba as a result? And how is the integration of Spanish freedmen going for the Empire? I imagine racism will create serious obstacles.
 
It looks to me like Bismarck is going to try to make a reactionary bulwark against the Kaiser. I imagine that a failure might diminish the power of the Prussian nobility and empower the bourgeoisie as a result.
Also, it seems like the condition of blacks throughout the slave states are only going to get worse. Are many CSA slaves escaping to the US, Mexico, or Cuba as a result? And how is the integration of Spanish freedmen going for the Empire? I imagine racism will create serious obstacles.
You’ve read my mind on Germany! Some big upheavals coming up there.
Yeah, the Underground Railroad is active in several directions. Mexico gets a surprisingly large amount of slavery refugees though nothing like the Union.

Spain is doing an eh job integrating its freedmen. Most stay in the Caribbean, a lot of them wind up in the military, particularly the reinvigorated Navy. Racism is definitely a substantial problem for those who make the trip to Spain proper
 
Had to do a slight retcon on my population numbers for the US census - made Maine’s pop WAY too high so I had to give 100k people to New York instead. New EV calculations reflect that too
 
We Come From Canton: Chinese Diaspora in the 19th Century
"...the continued flow of Chinese laborers into the New World did not come without reaction. Most prominently in Peru, where despite the Chinese having intermarried with locals (particularly indigenous), pogroms occurred throughout the years following the Saltpeter War, driving hundreds if not thousands either south into Chile or onto ships that would take them to friendlier shores. Efforts to restrict the "importation" of Chinese intensified in Canada in 1881, the same year the "golden spike" of the Canadian Pacific Railroad was driven in years ahead of schedule, where now the need for cheap coolie labor would no longer be needed. British Columbia, like California in the previous decade, attempted to expel her Chinese, before such efforts were dismissed by the Supreme Courts of both countries. Domestic politics made efforts to explicitly ban Chinese immigration flounder in both Canada and the United States; in the former, because British Columbian mining and shipping interests desired cheap labor, and in the latter, because in addition to the need for a steady supply of cheap railroad labor and a dwindling supply of Irish and blacks willing to build railroads at the wages offered by the increasingly debt-saddled railroads, there were concerns over retaliation by China for violating the Burlingame Treaty, and efforts to renegotiate it and pass a law banning the migration of women suspected to be prostitutes ran up against the Presidential election of 1880, the convalescence of President Hendricks, and a lack of desire within the new Blaine administration to revisit the Treaty in its initial years.

Sinophobia was not limited to Anglo-Saxon settler colonies. Chinese in Mexico, immediately granted citizenship upon arrival and generally quick to assimilate with Catholic marriages, intermarriage with mestizo and Indian locals and prone to granting their children Spanish given names, were often the target of ire in both the bourgeois Altiplano and in the impoverished peripheral departments, where they clashed with locals as they gradually found mining and building jobs. Zacatecas and Sonora in particular became hotspots, with an infamous lynching occurring in early 1882 in Guaymas. In Cuba, decades of coolie labor finally came to a head as the Spanish government abolished indentured servitude of any kind, even the "loan labor" so common among those departing Canton and Hongkong, and the Chinese there competed with the
incompensados, or uncompensated freedmen, who a decade after emancipation often still struggled at the bottom of Cuban society as sharecroppers or day laborers for pitiful wages. Nonetheless, the flow continued, even as head taxes gaining currency in many countries as a way to arrest the constant flow of new Chinese - and disproportionately male - labor and also raise revenue off those who came..."

- We Come From Canton: Chinese Diaspora in the 19th Century
 
The Dragon Stirs: The Qing Dynasty under the Guangxu Emperor
"...the death of Empress Dowaged Ci'an, beyond devastating the boy Guangxu Emperor, immediately empowered the Empress Dowager Cixi, already the dominant figure at court despite her continuous bouts of liver disease that would plague her for the rest of her life. Cixi wasted no time asserting herself now as sole regent rather than one of a tandem..."

- The Dragon Stirs: The Qing Dynasty under the Guangxu Emperor
 
The Urabi Revolt at 100
"...with such a vast pool of unemployed and embittered former army officers and soldiers in Egypt, the image of a pliable Khedive in hoc to the French and British creditors who in effect controlled not only Egypt's finances but much of its upper civil service at the behest of the Turco-Circassian European Muslim upper class, and the caustic, satirical and borderline inflammatory Abu Naddara Zar'a magazine, written not in the high Arabic or Turkish of the elites but in the ordinary Egyptian vernacular, thus consumable by the street. Into this mix in the summer of 1882 came a potent and familiar figure - the populist man of the people, seizing power in their name, and his own. Ahmad Urabi, a peasant and native Egyptian risen high in the ranks, commanded respect of military and civilians in Egypt alike and channeled the resentment of tax-exempt elites into essentially seizing power in Egypt by demanding a new assembly be seated by Khedive Tewfiq, one containing a number of his allies. By January, he would be Minister of War, and the effective ruler of Egypt in all but name..."

- The Urabi Revolt at 100 (The Economist, 1982)
 
The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige
"...with the end of his "dilettante years" - the pseudo-exile from active politics of a wealthy dilettante experimenting in writing editorials from whatever state he was in for his political patron Reid [1], of managing his father-in-law's portfolio through the Great Depression, of his expensive and infamous social life, and even his occasional sojourns to Illinois to practice law as an amusement with the Lincolns - came a new vigor and joy for Hay, who was as shocked as anyone else that despite his vocal and spirited support for Blaine and his failure to be elected to Congress he had been chosen as Secretary of State, when he would have been merely contented with an ambassadorship to a foreign court such as London or Paris. The Blaine Cabinet, over which Hay presided in his formal duties, was not a Lincolnian team of rivals but instead a gathering of men who all had a deep and mutual respect for one another. Sherman was an idol of Hay's from their time during the war; Evarts, perhaps the most respected attorney in the nation to not serve on the Supreme Court. Even George Henry Williams, the relatively unknown Secretary of the Interior from Oregon, was held in high regard in Washington.

Hay brought to the Blaine program his enthusiasm and total belief in his role, in perfect sync with the President on the matter of a more robust and assertive role for American foreign policy, particularly as her navy expanded (though despite its larger size, the Naval Act of 1869 had run aground upon budget cuts from the Hendricks White House, being technologically outdated compared to nimbler navies, and trouble filling contracts during the Great Depression). Blaine and Hay, over cigars and brandy as was their custom, developed their vision together, of a new and liberal order in the Western Hemisphere with the Union as its north star. Rather than blunt protectionism, the United States would pursue reciprocity treaties and favored nation trading status, using a combination of carrots and sticks in setting tariff rates by country rather than by product. Nations as far-flung as Korea and Madagascar were potential markets for an American industrial base that Blaine predicted would only grow more precipitously. In addition to reciprocity, the second prong of Blainism was arbitration, building upon the previous work of Secretaries of State such as Fish and Cox. To this end, Blaine called upon Hay to organize a Pan-American Conference for that fall, with all members of the Western Hemisphere to attend, to begin discussions towards the future of the Americas. There was no part of Hay that considered such an endeavor naive - to him it was a bold vision.

Moreso than anything else, though, the arrival of Hay in Washington coincided with the emergence of a new society in the capital, for the mansion he and Clara Stone Hay built for themselves on Dupont Circle became the epicenter of all his literary friends, from Twain to James to Adams and all the rest. The circles in which Hay traveled now included not only journalists, writers and Liberal bigwigs coming to pay tribute but Supreme Court judges, congressmen, civil servants and the whole of the capital, trying to make sense of the Secretary of State who was as avid a novelist as he was a diplomat, who could not only speak on politics but read poetry to enthralled listeners..."


- The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige

[1] Whitelaw Reid, that is
 
The Cradle: Social Democracy in Germany
"...despite the persecutions that followed the Anti-Socialist Laws of 1878, at the very minimum the party was not disbanded, and there were a number of loopholes for its leaders, most notably to meet in Switzerland, London or, increasingly, in Belgium, the burgeoning hotbed of socialist activity on the continent due to the laissez-faire attitude of King Leopold II and the lack of a substantial native social democratic tradition in a country riven between the rivalry of its liberal and clerical parties. While Marx and Engels chose to stay in London, with its lack of censorship and permissive government (and the growing radicalism of both its trade unions and its petit-bourgeoisie), it was "Red Brussels" in the 1880s where the intellectuals of the left gathered, where the International Workingmen's Association met twice in a row, and where dissident socialists from Germany and France could meet in between, with many of the successors of the communards of Paris '68 now writing, organizing and strategizing from Belgium's otherwise placid capital. It was in many ways a golden era for Europe's socialists of the time, safe from harassment or imprisonment but near enough to their homelands to visit friends and family as desired..."

- The Cradle: Social Democracy in Germany
 
Titan: The Life and Presidency of James G. Blaine
"...it was the former Tildenite, Wheeler H. Peckham, the man most famous in New York for his aggressive prosecution of the Tweed Ring, whom Blaine entrusted as the "tip of the spear" on civil service reform, the first item on his legislative agenda. Even among the ostensibly good-government Liberals there were many who wanted some form of patronage, and beyond Senator George Pendleton the Democrats initially closed ranks against reform in anticipation of when they might some day take power again, refusing to lend a hand to any measure that would go further than the toothless, practically sinecure Civil Service Commission established late in the John Hoffman administration. Peckham's proposal was in fact so radical that even some Liberals balked - he would have cordoned off nearly every appointable position beyond the Cabinet, including the judiciary, with strict rules for appointments and establishing the Civil Offices Board and Judicial Appointments Board to produce lists which the President would be bound to select from. Blaine himself was skeptical that such a program would hold constitutional muster, and upon consulting his friend, Vermont Senator George F. Edmunds, among the most powerful men in the body and who was close with several Supreme Court Justices, he quietly instructed Hay and Evarts to signal to Congress that he opposed the measure.

The next attempt at reform came from Speaker of the House James Garfield, who along with a handful of allies from the Midwest proposed instead a "tiered" system of appointments, where lower-level bureaucratic posts would be professionalized by competitive examination, mid-level offices would be chosen from a "pool of selectmen" who were qualified by a formula of professional experience and examination, and then leave high-level offices to full Presidential appointment. Perhaps most notably, the Garfield Act would leave judges uncovered by the provisions of the reform, thus eliminating some of the thornier constitutional concerns, and leave the determination of the civil service examinations and the "appointment formula" up to a seven-member Civil Service Commission, whose members would serve staggered six-year terms [1]. The Garfield Act passed the House of Representatives in early October 200-125, with all opposition coming from Democrats. In the Senate, meanwhile, Pendleton would propose his own act that gave the Commission broader rule-setting powers in how it determined which positions to cover and left out the tiered system, and perhaps more critically, outlawed "assessments" payable to political parties by appointees [2]. Garfield had left the assessments ban out of his bill out of concern that it would so poison the Act that it would be unpassable, but several Liberals - including Peckham - made it a redline for pressing ahead in the Senate. The Pendleton Act initially covered considerably fewer federal employees as well; the only substantial similarities to what had passed the House were its outlawing on firing, demoting or punishing professional civil servants for political reasons, the use of some form of examination, and genuinely empowering the Civil Service Commission rather than having it serve as an advisory body to the President as it had, with some success, during the Hoffman and Hendricks years.

As the civil service reform effort was bogged down between the competing bills, Blaine's attention fell on other matters - the replacement of the ailing Noah Swayne on the Supreme Court. Swayne, regarded as a judicial mediocrity and the first appointment of President Lincoln to the Court, had initially refused to step down despite being infirm, only wanting to resign on the condition that his friend, Ohio attorney and close friend of former Ohio Governor Rutherford Hayes. Matthews' ties to the railroad industry, in particular financier Jay Gould of "Black Friday" fame, made his appointment an impossibility to the Liberal Party that had run for a decade on "prudency of the public purse" and bristled at accusations it was in hoc to the hated railroad barons. It fell to two unexpected sources to intervene - Treasury Secretary Sherman, an Ohioan, begged Swayne to retire rather than potentially die under a Democratic administration as he nearly had done, and secondly President Lincoln, who traveled to Washington to visit his son Robert as the Thanksgiving holiday approached and, still an imposing and virile figure even at 72 years of age, finally persuaded Swayne to step aside.

The favored choice of Blaine now fell to his friend Senator Edmunds, who had served on the Judiciary Committee of the Senate as both a Republican and Liberal and was dear friends with Chief Justice Davis and Justice Thurman. Edmunds was skeptical to leave the Senate, where he loved debating, and had mulled a Presidential run of his own once Blaine left office, now that a sitting Senator had been elected to the White House for the first time. Blaine, Evarts and Hay spent Thanksgiving in Vermont with Edmunds, persuading him to take the appointment, with Blaine assuring him that he would make him Chief Justice if and when David Davis, who was frequently in poor health and now in his late 60s, left the bench via retirement or death during his term. Edmunds suspected - and was proven right, as Blaine and Hay's private diaries would one day prove - that his appointment to the Court was meant to remove a potential rival for Blaine's proteges to the Presidency, and he oscillated for days before finally accepting the offer [3]. Swayne announced his retirement shortly thereafter, and now two battles would become one in what Hay would later describe as "the Christmas Dispute."

Edmunds had earned himself a number of enemies among Democrats over the years and his record of holding retainers from railroad companies and practicing law during his Senate years, as many of his colleagues did, became an issue. The skepticism of some Liberal reformers towards him also bogged the debate on his nomination down, a shock to Blaine who had expected him to coast through as a Senatorial courtesy. The nomination of Edmunds to the Supreme Court became intertwined with the civil service reform acts, and finally, days before the Christmas recess, Edmunds voted in favor of the Pendleton-Peckham Act, a signal to the more radical reformers that his previous reputation for slow progress or the status quo was perhaps at last melting. With the Senate act passing 32-20, with Edmunds and Senator Hearst of California abstaining, and primarily Liberals and a handful of Democrats in support, the logjam on Edmunds' nomination was broken after two weeks of debate, a considerable amount for that time. Justice George F. Edmunds' nomination was passed 42-10, with only Democrats - including all six former slave state Senators and George Pendleton - in opposition as the last act before the Senate recessed for nearly two months, and he was sworn in by Chief Justice Davis the next day. As for the competing House and Senate bills, that battle would need to wait for the spring..."

- Titan: The Life and Presidency of James G. Blaine


[1] President Garfield of course never lived to pass his vision of civil service reform, and I've never found any indication of what exactly he aspired to pass; here, I invent an idea that would probably suit the inclinations of the Liberals of TTL, where patronage reform is a much more livewire issue after the scandals of the 1870s and it being a raison d'etre for their entire political party
[2] In effect the exact provisions of his OTL bill. Ironically, IOTL leading on patronage reform so angered his colleagues back in Ohio that it effectively ended Senator Pendleton's career. He was an interesting figure, that's for sure, a fire-breathing reactionary in some respects and a canny pragmatist in others
[3] In OTL he refused a similar office to be appointed to SCOTUS
 
Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany
"...despite her alienation from her deceased son even before his sudden death, Victoria was shattered by the affair and retreated from public life over the next few years, which neither Friedrich, out of concern for her treatment by the press, or Bismarck, who detested the sway she held with her husband, particularly minded. With the new Kronprinz Heinrich settling into a happy and content life as a young naval officer and rarely at home, her attentions fell upon Waldemar, always her favorite, whom she doted upon even more. Unlike his elder brothers, taught rigorously by Hinzpeter and sent off to schools, Victoria demanded Waldemar be kept close to home, to be tutored either in Potsdam where she spent the vast majority of her time or at a gymnasium of her choosing, a policy she implemented with his sisters as well. Prince Heinrich expressed concern to his father after a visit from his naval duties in late 1881, remarking, "She'll smother the poor boy one day if she doesn't relent." But there was no breaking Victoria's will - after the death of Sigismund at two and Wilhelm's drowning, she was determined to defend and protect those children not expected to carry Prussia on their shoulders.

Victoria's receding influence due to her attentiveness to her children released Fritz, in a sense, and for the first time left him a sovereign unshackled, for Bismarck's sun was beginning to set as well. The elections of 1881 had empowered the two parties with whom he privately sympathized - the National Liberals first and foremost, and the Progressives to a lesser extent - and gave the Kaiser a foothold in the Reichstag for the first time. Bismarck retreated from German affairs to a point - his Kartell was still ever-powerful in the Prussian Landtag - as he pondered his next maneuvers, even begrudgingly accepting Friedrich's invitation for Rudolf von Bennigsen, leader of the National Liberals in the parliament, to serve as Vice Chancellor [1], a position previously intended for Interior Minister Karl von Boetticher. Bennigsen immediately emerged as a rival of Bismarck, in no small part due to his insistence on the Reichstag's increased say in the affairs of the state.

Bismarck did not entirely mind Bennigsen's rise, however, insofar as it headed off further confrontation between the growing nuisance of Adolf Stoecker and his virulently anti-Semitic Christian Social Party, which campaigned aggressively against both the Chancellor and the Kaiser from the right, opposing Judaism, liberalism, democracy and even the paternalistic state socialistic laws Bismarck had begun to endorse and would pass before his tenure's end. Friedrich and Victoria attended a synagogue in Wiesbaden later in 1881 to make clear where they stood, and after that, any notion that Jews would have their citizenship stripped - already a fringe position - died with it. The blunt involvement of the Kaiser in the matter, however, did not endear him to a young and increasingly radical cadre of officers who regarded Friedrich as soft, with an infamous name in German history chief among them: Alfred von Waldersee, second in command to von Moltke himself..."

- Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany


[1] This was apparently suggested IOTL but never went through, as Bennigsen's demands to join Cabinet were never met. And after a point, Bismarck stopped needing the National Liberals - here, that's not quite the case
 
Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy
"...though Madagascar had survived for this long by playing Britain and France off one another, French demands to establish a protectorate and to restore the Lambert Charter had grown so loud that the island kingdom now sought the best deal - and was given it by Britain. The Royal Navy had already seized the uninhabited islands of Juan de Nova, Bassas da India and Ile Europa in 1880 in the Mozambique Channel, seeking to prevent France from establishing any further footholds in proximity to the Cape Route. The easterly Cape Route, to the east of Madagascar, was similarly threatened by Reunion and barely guarded by Mauritius, so the British plan - endorsed by Granville - would be to secure the route by establishing a protectorate in Madagascar, by force in necessary. The Commons vote on the Madagascar Resolution was raucous - it was the first time that Lord Hartington had needed to rely on Tory MPs to sustain a measure, for much of his anti-imperialist wing among the Liberals rebelled. A key supporter for Hartington was Chamberlain, who endorsed the measure as "a means to prevent a second Suez to the South."

Indeed, as the British sailed to Diego-Suarez on the north coast of Madagascar [1], it was the culmination of the Indian Ocean Policy established under Granville and the Admiralty Board a year earlier. Alarmed at the rapidity with which France could deploy warships through the Suez from Marseille or Le Havre and reach India, and the possibility that they could similarly close the nominally neutral canal to British warships in a time of war despite the canal being controlled by a public company, Granville had resolved that France would need to be denied any colonial assets or allies that could serve as a "diving board above India." [2] Part and parcel of this had been projects in the Bab el Mandeb, such as the previous establishment of a substantial coaling station at Perim and the beginning of efforts to establish a naval base to rival Gibraltar at Ras Menheli only 3 miles away, both under the purview of the Resident of Aden [3]. Though the Madagascar Expedition would precede it, the formation of French Somaliland across from Perim in 1883 only caused further alarm in London and there was considerable relief that Italy was establishing territories of influence both in Eritrea and on the Horn of Africa to prevent French control of the entire Red Sea.

As for the Malagasy, though they bristled at Britain's occupation of Diego-Suarez in early 1882 and gunboat diplomacy, they were already well-tied into the British Empire through their reforms and of all the protectorates Britain would establish, this had the lightest touch - fighting in 1882 between locals and British Marines was overshadowed by tropical diseases, and beyond the use of Diego-Suarez as a Royal Navy station and coaling base, Britain did not even demand particular control over Malagasy foreign or trade policy and merely guaranteed it against occupation by any other European power, such as France or even Spain or Germany. In this endeavor, it was the first time that a native kingdom had had something the British wanted or needed, and where London had effectively acquiesced, so desperate was it to not be outfoxed by a rival power..."

- Chessboard: The Splendid Isolation and British Foreign Policy


[1] So essentially we have Britain preempting the Franco-Hova War of 1883 by a year or so
[2] The strategic realignment Britain has to undergo sans Suez is one of the more fun things to extrapolate in this timeline. Anyone is more than welcome to chip in with any thoughts on what else they can do to make sure they have routes to India and Australia only they and their proxies (like Chile ITTL) have strategic control over
[3] Britain didn't really need to do much with these two rocks IOTL due to its command of Suez - here, it absolutely needs to, in order to not make the Red Sea a true French lake in the way they've done with the Med.
 
The Grand Consensus: The Longstreet Machine, Reconciliation and the Dawn of the 20th Century in Dixie
"...of utmost concern to Longstreet, and a focal point of his whirlwind campaign to call constitutional conventions in a sufficient number of Democratic controlled states, was the condition of the Confederate Navy. Having had most of its power projection ships sunk in 1872 during the Cuban Expedition, it had only secured one screw-steamer and two ironclads in the intervening decade and most of its river vessels were hopelessly outdated. Longstreet, through friends and spies in the Union, had learned that the delays and cuts in the visionary Naval Act of 1869 had left the Union focused primarily on countering European powers in the North Atlantic and preventing and sustaining future blockades. As he argued on his grand tour of Dixie, the Confederacy's ability to defend its vast coastline and many rivers depended on the government having substantial revenue. He was rewarded in 1881 with the elections of friendly state legislatures in most of the Deep South and even in Texas, a quirky state that tended to empower forces arrayed against whomever was in power in Richmond. To that end, in early 1882 seven states - half of the Confederacy and more than the three necessary - called constitutional conventions to end the prohibition on internal improvements. With an even friendlier Congress and Senate, Longstreet also secured his five cent export tax on all agricultural goods, specifically for funding a new Navy. The focus of his Naval Secretary Seaborn Reese [1] was less to create a blue water navy but rather a riverine one, to establish low-displacement ironclads or "patrol gunboats" that could rapidly deploy along Dixie's numerous rivers and effectively block any efforts of a potentially hostile Union from seizing crossings or river forts. The other prong of the naval strategy would be to build armored coastal defense cruisers that could quickly move along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as needed to prevent future raids like those suffered by Spain or break blockades such as . Anything "out of view" - out of the view of the Confederate coast, in other words - would belong to other navies out of necessity until such a time that a defensive orientation was achieved.

It came to be then that 1882 was the start of a very successful run for Longstreet - his new naval building program was financed, the constitutional conventions to at last end the self-defeating improvements clause were underway, and Justices Stephens and Benjamin, two titans of the War of Independence era, left the Supreme Court, allowing him to appoint more forward-minded Justices sympathetic to his more robustly federalist vision to the bench..."

- The Grand Consensus: The Longstreet Machine, Reconciliation and the Dawn of the 20th Century in Dixie


[1] This is just some random Georgia Representative form the 48th Congress I found but with a name like Seaborn Reese how can you not be Navy Secretary
 

Ficboy

Banned
"...of utmost concern to Longstreet, and a focal point of his whirlwind campaign to call constitutional conventions in a sufficient number of Democratic controlled states, was the condition of the Confederate Navy. Having had most of its power projection ships sunk in 1872 during the Cuban Expedition, it had only secured one screw-steamer and two ironclads in the intervening decade and most of its river vessels were hopelessly outdated. Longstreet, through friends and spies in the Union, had learned that the delays and cuts in the visionary Naval Act of 1869 had left the Union focused primarily on countering European powers in the North Atlantic and preventing and sustaining future blockades. As he argued on his grand tour of Dixie, the Confederacy's ability to defend its vast coastline and many rivers depended on the government having substantial revenue. He was rewarded in 1881 with the elections of friendly state legislatures in most of the Deep South and even in Texas, a quirky state that tended to empower forces arrayed against whomever was in power in Richmond. To that end, in early 1882 seven states - half of the Confederacy and more than the three necessary - called constitutional conventions to end the prohibition on internal improvements. With an even friendlier Congress and Senate, Longstreet also secured his five cent export tax on all agricultural goods, specifically for funding a new Navy. The focus of his Naval Secretary Seaborn Reese [1] was less to create a blue water navy but rather a riverine one, to establish low-displacement ironclads or "patrol gunboats" that could rapidly deploy along Dixie's numerous rivers and effectively block any efforts of a potentially hostile Union from seizing crossings or river forts. The other prong of the naval strategy would be to build armored coastal defense cruisers that could quickly move along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as needed to prevent future raids like those suffered by Spain or break blockades such as . Anything "out of view" - out of the view of the Confederate coast, in other words - would belong to other navies out of necessity until such a time that a defensive orientation was achieved.

It came to be then that 1882 was the start of a very successful run for Longstreet - his new naval building program was financed, the constitutional conventions to at last end the self-defeating improvements clause were underway, and Justices Stephens and Benjamin, two titans of the War of Independence era, left the Supreme Court, allowing him to appoint more forward-minded Justices sympathetic to his more robustly federalist vision to the bench..."

- The Grand Consensus: The Longstreet Machine, Reconciliation and the Dawn of the 20th Century in Dixie


[1] This is just some random Georgia Representative form the 48th Congress I found but with a name like Seaborn Reese how can you not be Navy Secretary
So the Grand Consensus is basically Reconstruction but with the independent Confederate States and the United States reconciling with each other. Longstreet is the Confederacy's savior so far.
 
In all fairness, the actual Longstreet was one of the few former Confederate generals that enforced Reconstruction after the Civil War.
 
The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige
"...the First Pan-American Conference in the spring of 1882 was touted in friendly papers - most prominently the New-York Tribune of Whitelaw Reid - as a resounding success for American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere. In less friendly Democratic quarters, such as the Herald and many Midwestern papers, it was considered a bizarre circus, and questions were asked - as they often would be over the next six or seven years - about James Blaine's investments and ties in foreign countries, most prominently Peru's guano industry. Nevertheless, for Hay it was an exciting opportunity to meet the foreign ministers of a whole host of nations. He broke bread several times with Lucius Lamar, the affable Secretary of State from south of the Ohio and a man widely regarded as Longstreet's likeliest successor, both of whom acknowledged their respective Presidents' support for reconciliation. In the delegates of Mexico and Brazil Hay sized up potential competitors to the United States, countries with nascent industrial bases and their own goals on a geostrategic level. The hostility between Chilean and Peruvian delegates was tangible, and Hay wrote in his diary: "We must watch the Chileans even closer than we watch the Mexicans or Dixiemen - for as few souls as they have in that country, that fleet of theirs is and will be a problem for all free nations."

Nevertheless, disputes over Hay's Presidency of the meeting and Blaine's support for compulsory arbitration soon made more substantive matters run aground. That all countries there were equals in the eye of international law was more or less agreed upon, but notions that military victories should carry no territorial concessions was laughed out of the room, embarrassing Hay. Peru's delegates angrily shouted him down and pointed out that Chile had just "stolen" theirs and Bolivia's land south of the Cabarones; Mexican delegates huffed that the United States had taken nearly half their country's territory in 1848 and that the Confederacy had brazenly attempted to seize Cuba by force in an undeclared war a decade earlier, a declaration that caused Lamar and his fellow Dixiemen to walk out for the next two days and would spend their nights in Alexandria rather than accommodations in Washington for the rest of the conference. Suspicions of a Zollverein-like customs union made the subject a plain nonstarter for many South American nations, particularly Britain's trading partners in the Southern Cone, with only the Confederacy moderately in favor of "reconciling" with the vast American market again and ending tariffs levied against them.

Though compulsory arbitration and the customs union collapsed, progress was made on agreements to settle disputes diplomatically before wars occurred; in this regard, Spain volunteered to use Havana as a permanent seat for disputes as a neutral ground, being a European power rather than an American one. Hay and Blaine bristled at this suggestion, recalling Havana as the site of the treaty that "stole the South at gunpoint," but acquiesced to the suggestion. If nothing else, the First Pan-American Conference allowed many diplomats and men of stature to meet in person and confer for the first time, establishing personal trust, and perhaps more importantly, growing mutual respect among the various powers and an agreement that nobody wanted to see the New World descend into the kinds of feuds and bickering of Europe..."

- The Cornerstone: John Hay and the Foundation of American Global Prestige


(No footnotes; I'll just note that this basically goes how the real First Inter-American Conference in 1890, also James Blaine's brainchild, went, only with the wrinkles of an intact Brazilian and Mexican empire, CSA, and it being so soon after the Saltpeter War that tempers have yet to cool)
 
So the Grand Consensus is basically Reconstruction but with the independent Confederate States and the United States reconciling with each other. Longstreet is the Confederacy's savior so far.
Sort of. Grand Consensus is a domestic reference to the post-1880 dominance of the Democratic Party in essentially every state, as devised by Longstreet, and an end to paramilitary violence as a method of governance for about twenty years, in contract to the Forrest-Harris era with the alt-Klan. Reconciliation is more or less just the diplomatic and economic thawing of relations across the Ohio; I enjoy the irony for TL-191 fans of Longstreet and Blaine being the Presidents who (temporarily) bring the US and CS into alignment after twenty years of tensions. That isn't to say everything is hunky dory - the naval rebuilding plans of Longstreet pretty clearly have an eye on defending against a potential future conflict with the Union.

In all fairness, the actual Longstreet was one of the few former Confederate generals that enforced Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Yup, to his immense credit he was a pragmatist and a realist. He was still very much a creature of the plantocracy before the war, though, so in a CSA victory scenario I'd see him still being very establishmentarian in that respect (which tbf Forrest didn't exactly rock the boat ITTL either beyond his fiery rhetoric. A certain Louisiana politician in the 1930s might handle things a tad differently, though...)
 

Ficboy

Banned
Sort of. Grand Consensus is a domestic reference to the post-1880 dominance of the Democratic Party in essentially every state, as devised by Longstreet, and an end to paramilitary violence as a method of governance for about twenty years, in contract to the Forrest-Harris era with the alt-Klan. Reconciliation is more or less just the diplomatic and economic thawing of relations across the Ohio; I enjoy the irony for TL-191 fans of Longstreet and Blaine being the Presidents who (temporarily) bring the US and CS into alignment after twenty years of tensions. That isn't to say everything is hunky dory - the naval rebuilding plans of Longstreet pretty clearly have an eye on defending against a potential future conflict with the Union.



Yup, to his immense credit he was a pragmatist and a realist. He was still very much a creature of the plantocracy before the war, though, so in a CSA victory scenario I'd see him still being very establishmentarian in that respect (which tbf Forrest didn't exactly rock the boat ITTL either beyond his fiery rhetoric. A certain Louisiana politician in the 1930s might handle things a tad differently, though...)
Huey Long.
 
The UK's playing great power politics in the Western Hemisphere caused problems with the US even in OTL. Will there be greater tension now that the US has been weakened specifically by British interference (CSA independence)?
 
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