I've edited my Mississippi post to tone down the republican elements I had (the Commodore of Mississippi now functions as a Shogun-analogue with a largely figurehead Governor), as well as make it a bit easier to read. I've quoted some of the major changes below.
The Commonwealth of Mississippi
System of Government: Feudal Monarchy (de jure), Pseudo-Elective Military Dictatorship (de facto)
Selection of Leaders: The House of Maddox rules from Jackson, along with the District Supervisor, as Governors of Mississippi. In fact, however, the Commodore of Mississippi rules in fact, at the head of a council of the landed warlords of Mississippi.
Totemic Symbol: The Stars and Bars
Religion: Non-Denominational, strong Voodoo presence in the South, tolerance of the Evangelical Heresy
Mississippian Knighthood and Aristocracy
Of these nobles, the most powerful often band together to form the Golden Circle, a semi-official organization that has existed for the past two hundred years. The Golden Circle serves as both the enforcers and supporters of the Commodore of Mississippi, and effectively much of the government of the State.
Because the aristocracy of Mississippi dominates the vast majority of their land and has armies of debt-enslaved peasants to work the land, the individuals have time to dedicate to a variety of other activities. Men who are not the patriarch of their family tend to develop themselves as the ideal “Warrior-gentleman” of the South. These men are expected to be fine horsemen, archers, and jousters, as well as dabble in more “civilized” activities, including wrestling, poetry, debate, liquor sampling, and painting. Women, meanwhile, are expected to be pleasant, witty, charming, and hospitable, and are often also expected to be able to provide medical care. Noble men and women are expected to show extreme deference to their aristocratic patriarchs.
History and Government
This humiliation led to the formation of the Golden Circle, an alliance of two dozen of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Mississippi. They nominated one of their own, a man by the name of Isom Cromwell, to serve as the Commodore of Mississippi, an office in charge of the Commonwealth’s armies and second only to the Governor.
The rise of the Golden Circle saw a proportionate fall in the power of the Governor. As the power of the Governor seemed to be waning, several outlying landowners declared their own independence, forming a band of independent states to the north and east of Mississippi. A conspiracy was ultimately hatched to cleve the Commonwealth in two, forming a rival State of Alabama. The Alabaman conspirators went so far as to kidnap the reigning Governor, Robert IV Maddox, and hold him hostage against the Golden Circle. This was ultimately stopped by the formidable Commodore Leonidas Randolph, who defeated a league of rebellious lords at the Battle of Batesville and secured the borders of Mississippi going forward. Roughly 75 years ago, the power of the Commodore had clearly eclipsed that of the Governor, and the Golden Circle became the de facto ruling council of Mississippi, going so far as to “educate” the Governor’s children in their stronghold of Meridian to ensure his compliance.
Though the Golden Circle has no official roster of families, certain landholdings are simply too large, too wealthy, and too important to ever be ignored on this council. The Mayors of Vicksburg fall on this list, as do many large landowners along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. Seven such families have held a seat on the Golden Circle since its inception, and largely dominate the selection process for the Commodores - only two in the position’s near two hundred year history have not come from one of these seven families: the Randolphs, the Cromwells, the McCalmonts, the Dunlaps, the Davenports, the Burgesses, and the Rhodes. This system has nevertheless created both boons and pitfalls for Mississippi. On the one hand, the generational prospect of gaining the highest office in Mississippi has convinced many who might otherwise seek independence to remain part of the Commonwealth. On the other, the politicking and scheming surrounding the circle has caused a fair share of blood feuds between families, and any selection of a new Commodore without at least a dozen duels of honor is considered a peaceful and successful vote.