The Sword Draws Ink: Circulation Wars, Newsman Rivalries and the Rise of the Modern Media in the 19th Century
"...Pulitzer saw an opportunity in the New York World, bought on the cheap from Jay Gould and giving him a footprint not only in Missouri, where his Liberal paper had drawn ire from the Democratic establishment and his personal rivalries with other newsmen, but now also the biggest city in the country. Within a few months Pulitzer had turned the World into one of the city's best sellers, with lurid headlines and sensational public interest stories, nearly sextupling the readership from the time he had purchased it by the end of 1883 [1]. Working to his advantage was the lack of another populist paper that held a Liberal line; the Times and Herald were independent and staid; the nakedly Liberal partisan Tribune, under Whitelaw Reid, a more high-minded broadsheet. Only the Sun, a Democratic paper, had the same working class appeal. [2]

This would of course not last forever, as the mid-1880s were the time when the most prominent of the turn-of-the-century newsmen, Roosevelt, had his moment of change. With the collapse of the Republican Party, the young Theodore Roosevelt had not followed his father in politics but instead aimlessly tried his hand at the law, at writing history books, and after the death of his wife, squandering some of his inheritance on ranching in the Dakota Territory, where he lived as a cowboy. Only on a Navy cruise where he sent dispatches back for the Sun did he discover his love of journalism and his interest in pursuing that path; after marrying Edith Kermit upon his return and fully divesting of his ranch assets, he set about making a name for himself first at the Sun, where he began to gain an interest in more populist appeals bubbling up in the city's working class base, and soon thereafter he would move to the Herald. Little could young Teddy have known as he entered the Herald's offices in the months before the historic 1886 mayoral election [3] that he would one day own that very same paper..."


- The Sword Draws Ink: Circulation Wars, Newsman Rivalries and the Rise of the Modern Media in the 19th Century

[1] He really pulled this off!
[2] Not necessarily the same political alignments as OTL (Pulitzer, obviously, was in real life a Democrat)
[3] I'm excited for what I have in store here
 
Bismarck Ascendant: The Era of the Iron Chancellor
"...one of the great ironies of the 1883 Crisis was that Waldersee had always been mistrusted by Bismarck, bordering on active dislike, and it was only vacillation by the Chancellor and a desire to defer to Moltke's judgement that left the ambitious and reactionary quartermaster in place. Bismarck's address in early September to the General Staff, though fairly boilerplate and uncontroversial in its content, left Waldersee convinced that the "great crisis" he had foreseen was coming to a head, and that the time when Germany would either descend into chaos or rise even stronger was upon him.

Of course, Bismarck's power base at this point had been whittled down to conservatives in the Reichstag and the Landtag, and the Prussian officer corps - particularly at the staff level - was full of men with similar political views. However, just because the military hierarchy was generally skeptical of the Reichstag's restive liberal and Catholic lay parties that had effectively stymied Bismarck's dominance in the previous two years, did not mean that Waldersee's views enjoyed broad sympathies. Friedrich was not his father, but he was also much closer to Vice Chancellor Bennigsen than to any of the Progressive leadership; he was a liberal by German standards but only nominally a democrat, and his well-known hostility the Catholic Church hierarchy left his coalition in the legislature internally divided. Friedrich had supported his father Wilhelm's ability to dissolve the Landtag if it refused him military budgets, and had never criticized one thaler of spending on the Heer or the miniscule Kaiserliche Marine; he had personally opposed all of Bismarck's wars on principle but fought gallantly in them out of duty, and was rarely seen outside of uniform. In short, the idea of a Kaiser hostile to the military - and of a military openly hostile to him - was fanciful, outside of Waldersee's genuinely radical circle. And even if Friedrich had been alienated politically from the military, which he wasn't, the Prussian officer corps was steeped in deference to absolute monarchy.

Nevertheless, the opposition of Friedrich and his allies to the Anti-Socialist Law renewal persuaded Waldersee that the time had come to put his plans in motion, and he dragged a reluctant Hanhke and Schlieffen along with him. Waldersee wanted to place Prince Heinrich, not known to have any particular political interests of his own, on the throne; Prince Waldemar was only fourteen, and though a regency had appeal, Waldemar was close to his otherwise withdrawn mother Viktoria, whom Waldersee would have preferred to have seen shot. As the political standoff in Berlin intensified, Waldersee identified friendly staff officers and regimental commanders between the Havel and the Oder, drawing up his plans, coordinating with a small circle of conspirators, and waiting for the right spark to light what he saw as his glorious German flame..."

- Bismarck Ascendant: The Era of the Iron Chancellor
 
Everything about this Waldersee coup is so stupid... this mad idea that the good German Volk will just rally behind a blatantly reactionary coup against the Kaiser defies all political logic. Fortunately, the fallout from this incident should be enough to reduce the power of the Prussian army and elite thanks to support from Friedrich and his group of liberals.
 
Titan: The Life and Presidency of James G. Blaine
"...the summer of 1883 thus in many ways would come to be seen as the high-water mark of the Blaine Presidency, even as he had his successful landslide reelection ahead of him in only a year. It was the fourth straight year in which the government operated at a surplus, and Blaine deferred to Garfield's proposal to use the surplus for internal improvements, in a victory for the throwback Whigs dotted throughout the Liberal Party. The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1883 [1] was thus passed with an eye towards improving inland waterways, canals (in particular the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in order to avoid having to route ship traffic to Baltimore or Washington through the Hampton Roads) and harbor dredging, with a large number of Democratic votes as well (conspicuously without the votes of Pendleton or Bayard, however), but the negotiations for the act were based largely around discussions within the Liberals themselves; Blaine insisted on tariff reductions to partner with the act, in order to reduce future surpluses, which he viewed as inappropriate for the Treasury to so consistently run. The tariffs wound up being "adjusted" rather than reduced, with an overall reduction of only 2.1% in the overall rates while some products in fact had their duties raised, most prominently on coal. 1883 saw one of Wall Street's best years on record, unemployment declined sharply coming out of the 1880-82 recession, and America seemed to be on the verge of boom times rivaling those of the late 1860s again. The years 1883-86, indeed, would see as much new railroad track laid as in the entire 1870s during the Long Depression..

The partnership between Blaine and Garfield was at its strongest in other ways; the Speaker of the House defied custom by introducing legislation in Congress to ban polygamy [2] and campaigned publicly for it, becoming the first Speaker to serve not just as a presiding officer but as a public figure. The Garfield Act was aimed squarely at the Latter Day Saints, better known as Mormons, a religious sect most concentrated in Utah Territory who enjoyed markedly little popular support in the East. Despite an act specifically targeting their practice of polygamy not being particularly controversial for the mainline Protestant majority, Garfield nevertheless took it upon himself to speak at Liberal gatherings in Philadelphia and New York to promote the act, gave a well-received address at a temperance rally where he put his talents as an orator to use in firing up the crowd against polygamy in addition to their opposition to drink, and was interviewed in multiple newspapers over the course of the summer. By the time the Act came up for a vote in Congress, the Speaker had independently driven popular support for the previously obscure issue. It passed overwhelmingly in the House; however, it was passed only narrowly in the Senate, on a party-line vote, a surprise to Garfield after a majority of House Democrats had voted for the measure banning polygamy in federal territories as a felony, forbidding polygamists or "unlawful cohabitants" from serving on juries, voting or holding public office, and disincorporating the LDS Church. [3] In tandem with the Blaine Amendments spreading throughout states forbidding state funds for parochial schools, the Garfield Act can be understood as part of a broader assault on minority faiths by the Protestant Liberals. It certainly was by Mormons, who would sue the government and who became a reliable Democratic vote in future years.

In 1883 Blaine also made several moves with an eye towards foreign affairs, as always spearheaded by the spirited John Hay, who many came to describe as "Blaine's brain." After years of tensions, enhanced due to Blaine's well-known Anglophobia, the Hay-Granville Agreement began efforts to arbitrate, with the help of Spain as a neutral country friendly to both states, disputes over Canadian seal hunting in Alaskan waters, the boundary disputes of the Yukon, and American fishing rights in the North Atlantic. The negotiations would continue for half a decade, largely due to the sticking point of Canadian desires for reparations for the damages of Fenian raids in the 1860s. Nonetheless, it was a minor thaw in the long-frosty tensions outside of commercial matters between London and Washington. Blaine similarly took Hay's advice on a domestic matter than had foreign impacts; the Chinese Immigration Act of 1883 was passed with large majorities in Congress, with every Western Senator and Representative in favor from both parties and the Democrats nearly lockstep in support as a party. The Act would have banned all Chinese women (who were often dismissed as disease-ridden prostitutes) from entering the United States unless they could prove, from Hongkong or Canton, that their husbands were already in the United States. It would have also banned "coolie labor," which appealed to many Liberals who viewed the importation of Chinese workers as akin to slavery that the 13th Amendment had abolished, and would have severely restricted the number of non-diplomatic Chinese persons allowed to enter every year. Hay, worried about how such an act would go over in China, lobbied aggressively against the bill's passage; when it succeeded in the House, with half of the Liberal caucus voting in favor, he spent much of the autumn personally imploring Senators not to pass it "lest China slam her doors to us for the next fifty years over this betrayal of our treaty obligations," asking instead to be allowed to renegotiate treaties with China to reduce arrivals. The bill barely passed the Senate and Blaine vetoed it after personal intervention by Hay. He was praised for the move in Eastern newspapers, even Democratic ones; in the West, Blaine was pilloried. When his veto could not be overcome in either house after Garfield's aggressive whipping against a veto override by Liberals, California Representative William Rosecrans - a Catholic who loathed Blaine and a Union Army veteran of some renown - declared from the floor of the House, "With this veto, Blaine assigns himself the same role in the West as Abraham Lincoln assigned himself in the South." The comment outraged and polarized Washington society, but also made the previously obscure Rosecrans a star with Democratic supporters in his home state.

Blaine's penchant for attracting scandal only escalated in tandem with the affair over the veto. The Star Route scandal, in which postal officials were found to be engaging in graft and bribery in awarding western delivery routes, had already affected his administration despite their aggressive pursuit of the investigation and prosecutions. The close relationship of Hay to Robert Ingersoll, the attorney defending many of the accused (most of whom were acquitted, only further fueling public outrage and conspiracies about the Blaine administration), did not help, [4] and Democratic newspapers spun every rumor of discontent within Cabinet, particularly the salacious idea that Attorney General Evarts wanted Hay fired, with New York's Sun newspaper openly speculating that Hay was personally involved in securing acquittals. The "Golden Boy" image of Hay, who was seen as Blaine's clear protege, was the target, and another matter that emerged in late 1883 added to the public case - the construction of lavish mansions on what is now known as Dupont Circle in Washington by members of Blaine's Cabinet as well as Congress, including - perhaps most prominently - the President himself, who lived in the half-finished manor, being built at his own expense, while the Executive Mansion, in need of serious repairs, was remodeled for most of his Presidency. That Hay and his friend Henry Adams had built an even more audacious mansion nearby just a year earlier, and now Treasury Secretary Sherman, Assistant Secretary of State Lincoln and several Senators were constructing similar homes for themselves, led to an obvious question for inquiring Democrats: where was the money for these ostentatious homes coming from? Though it would not metastasize in time for the 1884 elections, the image of high-living Liberals, in hoc to the wealthy and the influential, caring little for the common man, had its origins in the Dupont Circle Controversy of the early 1880s. For a party founded in opposition to the corruption of the Chase Presidency and the "tainted legacy" of John T. Hoffman's time in New York, the image of impropriety was profoundly damaging..."

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


[1] Internal improvements combined with minor tariff adjustments is true to history; it was one of Chester Arthur's acts in office, though Blaine here is a little more in favor of the matters than Arthur was (having read about Arthur and this period of the Gilded Age researching this project I can see why he was so forgettable but he also wasn't that bad of a President. He embraced civil service reform despite being a Conkling crony originally and passed some good measures. It probably doesn't help that Republican Presidents of the period OTL were very CTRL+V and interchangeable overall)
[2] IOTL the Edmunds Act; here Edmunds is on SCOTUS and, perhaps more importantly, anti-polygamist James A. Garfield wasn't killed by his doctors after being shot
[3] All real impacts of the Edmunds Act
[4] Much like IOTL, this Star Route scandal is part of what drives the impetus for the Civil Service Reform Act
 
Everything about this Waldersee coup is so stupid... this mad idea that the good German Volk will just rally behind a blatantly reactionary coup against the Kaiser defies all political logic. Fortunately, the fallout from this incident should be enough to reduce the power of the Prussian army and elite thanks to support from Friedrich and his group of liberals.

The crazy part is he actually wanted to do this in real life! It's just that Friedrich died pretty much immediately upon taking the throne and Waldersee was buddy-buddy with Willy, so it never came together (then Willy fired Waldersee for having the audacity to slap him around and embarrass him during field maneuvers just a few years later).
 
The Eaglet Takes Flight: The Reign of Napoleon IV 1874-1905
"...the birth of Marie Eugenie Pilar Bonaparte, Princess Imperial, on August 19, 1883 brought a new title to Napoleon IV - that of fatherhood. Across the country, the royal birth, coming after a difficult pregnancy for the Empress and the public mourning of her miscarriage two years prior, was celebrated with church bells ringing, factories shuttering for an entire week for celebrations, and Europe's royalty sending the Young Eagle their regards. In his diary, the Emperor remarked, "I have felt no stronger love, loyalty or pride in my life. Nothing compared to the moment they handed me my daughter, my dear Marie Eugenie, so I could hold her in my arms. Everything I have is hers."

Empress Marie de Pilar recovered much quicker than doctors had expected and was able to attend her daughter's baptism at Notre Dame, along with the Dowager Empress Eugenie, the daughter's namesake. Much of European society was there - the soon-to-be-widowed Queen Thyra of the Netherlands, grieving the loss of her own child; Prince Heinrich of Germany, on behalf of his father; Prince Arthur of Britain, on behalf of his mother; Franz Josef of Austria made the trip himself with his daughter Sophie in tow, as did Leopold II of Belgium, bringing his own son along, an important event as it began the longstanding admiration the future Leopold III would have for the French monarchy and the beginning of Belgium's pull into France's undertow. [1] Even Russia's Tsarevich Alexander came, well known for his loathing of every European court. In some sense, France would now have a continuance of its monarchy, as Marie Eugenie would be eligible to be Empress unless she were to one day have a brother. And nearly as soon as she had been born, the Emperor continued to yearn for a son, in large part due to his desire, as he admitted in his diary, to have a different relationship with his own children than his distant father had had with him..."


- The Eaglet Takes Flight: The Reign of Napoleon IV 1874-1905

[1] This is meant to be exactly as ominous as it sounds
 
The Knights of the South: Secret Societies in the Confederacy
"...though the Klan had collapsed as an effective political organization and the Knights of the Golden Circle went into fringe obscurity after the spectacular failure of the Cuban Expedition, the appeal of secret societies in the Confederacy, particularly the artificial stylings of chivalrous ideals and comparisons to the knights of old, remained as strong as ever. After the decline of the Klan, which brought "chivalry to the masses," the white underclass was largely barred from inclusion in various knighthoods, which became ever-more exclusive and generally served more as secretive social and economic clubs for the planter and merchant elites. Kuklos Adelphon, the original Southern social fraternity that had declined in the antebellum era, was reconstituted at the University of Virginia in the late 1870s (when exactly is up for debate) and by the end of the next decade was the secret collegiate society of choice for the most exclusive sons of the oligarchy at the major universities of Dixie. As the Democratic Party that was reformed under James Longstreet and to a lesser extend John Breckinridge rapidly spread its dominance across the land via rigged elections, boss politics not unlike the Latin "cacique" system, and threats of impeachment against officials who did not toe the line, the knighthoods, like so many other social institutions of the South in this era, transitioned into a position where they found their niche in the regime. Party bosses had to lean on and depend upon groups like the Knights of the White Camelia in Louisiana or the Knights of the Red Rose in Tennessee for funding and acquiescence to candidate recruitment and selection, which all happened behind closed doors; the Brotherhood of the Skeleton Cross in Virginia was important for its ties to the Richmond elite; Kuklos Adelphon became an important breeding ground for young men ambitious to enter law, commerce or medicine to make contacts within the party machinery. Elections on college campuses for student organizations even became intertwined with knighthoods, fraternities and the Democratic Party; by the early 1910s, coalitions of fraternities and knighthoods (the Confederacy would have no coeducational public or private institutions until the 1930s) effectively ran not just student unions or academic clubs but the entire social life of campuses with the approval of friendly administrators. [1] The one-party state ushered in by the Democrats touched every aspect of Southern life.

Where the declining Klan did make some impact, however, was in the ranks of the state constabularies that became another tentacle of the Party's machinery. The decentralized sheriffs and local law enforcement of the antebellum era gave way slowly, first in Virginia where it was not the Democrats but the brief reign of the Readjuster Party [2] that established the Commonwealth Constabulary (today known as the Virginia State Police), which absorbed all sheriffs, formal slave patrols and municipal police forces into a single entity due to an 1883 reform to lower costs and create an efficient, standardized methodology of law enforcement. The Crackerville men who had largely fueled the Klan were choice recruits, and remnant Klan chapters soon came to control the base of the Constabulary in the same way that Skeleton Brothers were appointed to head it, despite the Readjuster ethos of populism. The Constabulary was made subservient to Virginia's professional, well-regarded Militia (what would be known as a National Guard in the United States) and thus began the Confederate tradition of law enforcement carrying a paramilitary role, even down to its ranks and traditions. Within a few years, when the state was back under Democratic control, the idea was exported to other states - by the mid-1890s every state had centralized its law enforcement duties under the umbrella of its militia, with local control of policing eliminated entirely. The "Chief Constable of the County" replaced the county sheriff; the head of state constabularies (or, in Texas, the uniquely-named Texas Rangers) was a lucrative patronage position answering only to the state's governor and the supreme uniformed officer of the state militia. Membership in knighthoods and the potential to rise in social ranks as a result became a carrot for strictly following orders for the poor whites who often filled the ranks of the Constabularies; and with the transformation of decentralized policing into yet another cog of the secretive, all-encompassing machine known throughout Dixie merely as "the Party"..."


- The Knights of the South: Secret Societies in the Confederacy

[1] Drawing inspiration from OTL University of Alabama's "Machine"
[2] More on this in a bit
 
The Revolt of the Caudillos
"...that high-water mark would come in the fateful summer of 1883, a fulcrum of Mexican history, as two sieges finally broke. The first, at Guadalajara, was a resounding victory for the government; in fighting on June 27th, Lozada was killed by a stray bullet that struck him beneath the left eye. His men cried out "the Tiger is slain!" and retreated in chaos; Corona quickly rode out with his cavalry and routed their retreat, killing hundreds and permanently breaking the rebellion from Nayarit. Though banditry would persist in the West of Mexico for months more, Tepic was taken shortly thereafter and Morales was forced to abandon Mazatlan and hastily move his ragtag army to join up with the Northern Alliance, a move now available to him with the volcanic Lozada's reaction no longer a concern.

Though Corona's heroism in Guadalajara and the brutal crushing of the Mayan revolt in the Yucatan by Blanquet effectively creating a pincer on Romero in Oaxaca created breathing room for Maximilian's forces, the Northern Alliance - now with the magnetic Lerdo as its head, casting the conflict not as a temper tantrum by caudillos denied special privileges but as a continuation of the Reform War and vengeance for the French intervention - managed a breakthrough. Aguascalientes collapsed at last in early August after a six month siege, with Garcia and Terrazas raising the Republican Flag in the city square. Despite the city's bloody capture, in which nearly a thousand Imperial troops were killed and thousands more wounded, it did not end with a massacre such as those at Mazatlan or Torreon; Garcia insisted on allowing forces there to retreat in an orderly fashion. When Gonzalez, still investing San Luis Potosi, heard of this he was outraged. Under cover of nightfall, Reyes finally decided to do the same, abandoning his position there are retreating to join up with the survivors of Aguascalientes at Guanajuato, the site of a key rail link in the Altiplano. If Guanaojuato fell, the pathways to Queretaro and Guadalajara would be wide open, and from there it was but a simple march to Mexico City. The Northern Alliance surged forward, aggressively making their way forward, with Lerdo promising "we shall celebrate the Nativity Mass at the Zocalo this winter!" in a rousing address. Considering the advances the rebels had made in the north in just the last seven months, it seemed that history was definitively on their side. Despite Cajeme and his Yaqui irregulars pulling back to defend Sonora against Marines being deployed to Guaymas, anti-rebel guerilla battles taking a substantial toll across much of the rebel-held north and the revolt in Tampico being put down violently, it seemed that the tide was definitively on Lerdo's side.

The Battle of Guanajuato is thus regarded as one of the most critical in Mexican history. Despite being outnumbered, Reyes and his men held the line bravely; they knew it would be days until they would be reinforced. Wave after wave, over the course of a week, of attacks came, with Gonzalez - in charge of the operation - choosing not to subject his men to another extended siege, not with the enemy's logistical advantage of fighting so close to their base of support. Thousands of volunteers joined the government forces, and a battalion of Corona's men arrived on the sixth day. To the southeast, Miramon arrived at Queretaro with twenty-five thousand men, the recruits he had been training and supply, the first fresh wave of reserves. He sent five thousand ahead to relieve Reyes and the remainder were fortified, building trenches and earthworks, and positioning cannons. If Guanajuato broke, and the Northern Alliance came forward, Queretaro was where Miramon would have his last stand on behalf of his Emperor..."

- The Revolt of the Caudillos
 
Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany
"...it is still remarkable, then, that the famously cautious, forward-thinking Bismarck would take a gamble as infamous as his "Landtag Gambit." In the end, it could have been that the Iron Chancellor had been so successful maneuvering, playing rivals foreign and domestic off one another, creating alliances of convenience only to shed them, that he finally made what seemed like the right move only to find that it was the wrong one. It could be that his enemies no longer feared him, seeing him as a defanged serpent rather than a venomous one, or perhaps an old man past his prime. Another take, perhaps one less charitable to the subject of this book, is that Bismarck had for so long been shown by Frederick that any move or provocation would be met with hesitancy if not retreat; the Kaiser's proclivity was one for a stern word rather than bold action, in hoping that this time, perhaps, he would be listened to.

Though there was nothing plainly illegal, or even wrong, with Bismarck's decision to maneuver around the Reichstag by passing an even harsher package of Anti-Socialist Laws through the Prussian Landtag after his defeat at the national level, it was so plainly a thumbed nose at the sovereign that the move could not go unanswered. Bismarck introduced the package into the lower house, which was indirectly elected under a three-class system and so packed with his conservative supporters; the package was passed with little debate only two days later. Bismarck timed the passage of the package for Frederick's state visit in September to Umberto in Italy, a move that only underlined the insult. Frederick was informed of the gambit as he returned from Rome by train; outraged, he demanded that the train stop at the nearest town, in this case Innsbruck in Austria, so he could telegraph ahead to demand answers. By the time he arrived in Munich, where he disembarked, the House of Lords in Prussia had begun debate. The Junker class passing their ally Bismarck's plan was a fait accompli; Frederick's stop in Munich to be briefed by alarmed aides who had rode down to meet him as soon as they caught wind of Bismarck's plot was only for a few hours before he was on the move again, returning to Berlin.

It was Victoria, withdrawn from political matters out of grief for her son William and her fear of the German press, who spoke to Frederick first upon his arrival in Potsdam. As he stewed over dinner, fuming, she bluntly asked him, "Does he wear the crown, or do you?" The Kaiser had a new resolve that he had often lacked before; as the House of Lords passed the package that evening, he demanded an audience with Bismarck the next day.

Historians debate whether Bismarck knew he was going to be sacked when he traveled to to the Stadtschloss; based on his contemporary correspondence, it is broadly thought that the Iron Chancellor genuinely believed that yet another gamble and staredown with his enemies would work to his advantage. Frederick had barely pushed back on him in the past; even in the high-profile defeat at the Reichstag earlier that year, von Bennigsen had led the charge and acted as Frederick's catspaw. It would have been reasonable for him to assume that he would get a frustrated talking to but that the indecisive Kaiser would fold like he usually did. For once, however, Bismarck had misread his opposition. Frederick, a man dependent on his wife for his confidence, had been given just that by the person he needed it from the most. The meeting was not long, and neither man ever expounded particularly on what was said; by all accounts it was cordial, with Frederick keeping his temper in check. It lasted no longer than ten minutes. When Bismarck left the palace, he had been dismissed from all his offices; that of Chancellor of Germany, Prime Minister of Prussia and Foreign Minister of both. Frederick's staff telegrammed the news out within minutes, before the Iron Chancellor could confer with his allies; in the shocking announcement of Bismarck's sacking, Frederick declined to disclose the reason, even though anyone with a modicum of understanding of the political conditions of the Hot Summer could understand. Conservative protestors angrily marched in the streets of several German cities but even there, there was little energy for opposition as the stunned nation reconciled itself to a world in which the man who had steered policy in Berlin for two decades had been unceremoniously pensioned.

At the end of the day, Frederick announced that he would appoint Chlodwig, the Prince of Hohenlohe - a prominent antimontane Catholic liberal from Hesse who had served a number of roles in Germany including that of Prime Minister of Bavaria and as Foreign Secretary of Germany during Bismarck's brief illness in 1880, having previously been a diplomat of high regard. Hohenlohe's key role in reconciling Bavaria to a union with Prussia had made him one of the most important German statesmen, even out of office, and he had long been considered the natural choice for Frederick to appoint as his Chancellor. As Prime Minister of Prussia, largely seen as a sop to conservatives in the Landtag and Bismarck's base, he appointed Botho zu Eulenberg, a capable Prussian administrator most famous for implementing the original Anti-Socialist Laws as Prussia's Interior Minister and for the last two years President of the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau. Many were surprised that Frederick chose not to give one man the dual roles once again; however, as the Kaiser next invited the Prince of Hohenlohe to consider whom to include in a new cabinet and instructed Eulenberg to do the same, it became clear what the throne's plan was - the permanent sovereignty of the German state over the Prussian one..."

- Frederick and Victoria: Consorts of Germany
 
Man I love this Blaine and Garfield. So awesome, given that they were rather close in OTL as well.

Thank you! Two really interesting men who really didn't get their due in OTL, and I'm following a pretty strict "no OTL Presidents" and "no OTL PMs" in the US, CS and UK so finding new roles and pathways for them has been a lot of fun. Garfield in particular is going to get to have a really prominent, respectable career not cut short by an assassin's bullet at the age of only 50.
 
Thank you! Two really interesting men who really didn't get their due in OTL, and I'm following a pretty strict "no OTL Presidents" and "no OTL PMs" in the US, CS and UK so finding new roles and pathways for them has been a lot of fun. Garfield in particular is going to get to have a really prominent, respectable career not cut short by an assassin's bullet at the age of only 50.
Have you thought about extending that rule to other realms as well? While the information is more sparse on other countries, it might be interesting to see other alternate Chancellors and PMs. Of course, all of this TL is your choice, and I like the story either way.
 
Have you thought about extending that rule to other realms as well? While the information is more sparse on other countries, it might be interesting to see other alternate Chancellors and PMs. Of course, all of this TL is your choice, and I like the story either way.

Where possible, absolutely! A longevitous Francisco Serrano running Spain for a decade at this point, Bazaine and MacMahon's rise in France (w/ Boulanger waiting in the wings), Bismarck now getting fired early, John Macdonald in Canada retiring in the mid-1870s... this is definitely something I'm playing with, though as an American with much of my knowledge being in US/UK history (much more so the former than the latter) using historical figures and just shifting things around a bit is probably what I'll default to. I'll probably have a bit of a looser version of this apply in Canada.

What I really look for in this are figures who were notable but in that second or third tier of notoriety IOTL and placing them in that first tier. Carnarvon and Hartington in the UK replacing Disraeli and Hartington, for instance, or Hoffman and Hendricks being the US Presidents of the 1870s after the failed administration of Salmon Chase; all three of those are men who are pretty obscure in our world even if they were quite prominent national figures of their day.

(of course "no OTL Presidents" is easy for the CSA seeing as how outside of Wilson the South didn't start consistently elevating candidates to national prominence until LBJ in the 1960s followed on by Carter, the Bushes, Clinton, etc)
 
Thank you! Two really interesting men who really didn't get their due in OTL, and I'm following a pretty strict "no OTL Presidents" and "no OTL PMs" in the US, CS and UK so finding new roles and pathways for them has been a lot of fun. Garfield in particular is going to get to have a really prominent, respectable career not cut short by an assassin's bullet at the age of only 50.
Ah well. Garfield would have been a good president.

Possible president Robert Todd lincoln?
 
Ah well. Garfield would have been a good president.

Possible president Robert Todd lincoln?

Garfield, by virtue of staring down Conkling and effectively ending senatorial courtesy and ushering in civil service reform, greatly enhanced his own office. What else he could have achieved is a tremendous what-if, but I think his Presidency is underrated solely due to its brevity. In my opinion he stands head and shoulders above his Gilded Age compatriots. He could have been a really, really good president.

That's not quite the plan, though Lincoln is going to stick around and keep playing a prominent role (his father is still alive at this point in the TL even if history has moved past him a bit and is one of the country's most lucrative, influential attorneys)
 
yet another cog of the secretive, all-encompassing machine known throughout Dixie merely as "the Party"
Oh, my... So detailed, plausible and terrifying. Like a "Banana Republic" system, On Steroids!

"The Party knows everything. The Party reaches everywhere. Nothing shall exist outside the Party."

I'm getting some Orwell vibes here...
 
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