A Destiny Made Manifest - Part 27: Peace for Our Time

Published: 2017-02-23

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A Destiny Made Manifest

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Game: Victoria 2

A Destiny Made Manifest - Part 26: The Great American War

Images: 85, author: CargoShortsSensei, published: 2017-02-23

Robert La Follette, following a hard-fought victory in the Election of 1924, set out to rebuild the Free States of America. Unfortunately, he was the fifth president in a row to serve the people as an old man, and the latest in the grand American tradition of electing men with poor health to the office. La Follette was turning seventy in June, and was about to begin a bout with cardiovascular disease. Still, one would not know it if you watched him campaign and speak, where he attempted to be as energetic as he could.
Between the Workingmen's impressive plurality and the smattering of progressives aligned to both the Democrats and Republicans, a coalition of progressives more or less held control of both houses of Congress.

(making these every midterm is a real pain - the progressives held onto Congress this entire chapter. We cool?)
General Nathaniel Phelps, one of the most important generals of the Wars of Unification, dies in his home in Detroit. A great service is held for this extraordinary man.
Medium artillery is developed in the afterglow of the Great American War, giving infantry units greater mobility and flexibility that they previously had in deploying such weaponry.
On March 31st, 1925, a trade agreement is struck between Philadelphia and Mexico City, bringing the two nations closer. Mexican President Adolfo de la Huerta meets with La Follette in Juarez, and the two republics announce that they're willing to cooperate.

(The Mexican Revolution must be incredibly weird in this universe, considering that the government was Orleaniste and aligned with France not too long ago.)
Because of stupid Victoria game mechanics, even though I took the CSA as my puppet, they still remain allied to the Japanese in their war against China and Germany. As such, the Germans (America's only European ally) sends a small expeditionary force to Virginia, where they're soundly defeated by a Confederate army.
The incident outrages many people across the country. La Follette informs Berlin that their alliance is null and void for the time being, to be reviewed in the future.
The issue of California is a hot one in Philadelphia. The Bear Flag Republic was the only sovereign state that still remained after the Union collapsed in the 1880s (pointedly ignores Alaska); just two more states separated the Third Republic from Manifest Destiny once again.

La Follette and his party were committed to a peaceful four years, and in a speech given in New York, the president promised that any annexation of California would be "an gentlemen's agreement, in which the people and the government of the Californian Republic would desire such a thing. It is my desire that two Americans shall never point rifles at one another for as long as I am your president."

The policy of friendliness towards California led jingoists to label "Fightin' Bob" as a pansy who was afraid of conflict. Many Republicans and Democrats set themselves up to run in future elections by promising people "reunification at any cost."
The pathetic German fleet that was sent across the Atlantic is crushed by the Confederates, who are quickly proving their loyalty to our nation.
While President La Follette was committed to peace, he was no idiot; he knew that the Free States needed a modern navy that was capable of hanging with Europe. As such, he approves a plan from the Department of the Navy to allocate most of its budget to researching oil-driven ships.
The American Welfare Act of 1925 is passed in September, extending the benefits given to those out of work. There's a pretty significant backlash against this by conservative forces of the government who see this as the beginning of a "generation of the lazy."
Another reform act in passed in April of 1926, making the policy of transporting criminals to the Hawaiian islands null and void.

(yes, I took no screenshots for a full 6 or 7 months. Not much is happening right now.)
In the spring of 1926, La Follette re-confirms an alliance and trading agreement with the Yucatecan Republic. America had ensured her sovereignty eighty years ago, and she would again.
Another uprising occurs in Mexico, this time by Orleaniste groups in the country. The Huerta regime is more than capable of dealing with it, however.
Bakelite was invented twenty years ago, game. C'mon.
Just so you guys know, it's all naval techs all the time from here on out.
Despite La Follette's commitment to peace, another army is drawn up to replace losses from the Great American War.
This crisis amounts to nothing but a white peace. I just wanted to let you know that it was entirely possible for Britain and France to go to war over Panama.
Under our *clears throat* guidance, the Brothers of the Revolution are finally removed from power in the South, replaced by the more liberal-minded Populists. La Follette meets with the Confederate government in Richmond, and lays out a plan for possible Southern integration, with tentative plans for the situation to be reviewed in February 1934.
In Oklahoma, controlled by a Republican state government, a group of capitalists set out to bust some organized labor groups in the state. It became a bit of a constitutional crisis when La Follette declared that the military would be used if necessary in order to stop these men from harming organizational freedom.
In early 1927, the IOC awards the Ninth Olympic Games to Chicago. Finally, about time! We, of course, accept. We'll show the world the superiority of the American athlete.
I'm basically just gonna slog through these naval techs for the rest of the game, so I'm not gonna bother showing you guys that. Y'all good with that? Okay cool this is the last tech screen that'll be in this thing.
In the spring of '27, Huerta offers Philadelphia a military alliance. La Follette accepts, happy to have a (somewhat) powerful ally on the continent
As part of a series of compromises that La Follette made in order to keep his progressive reforms coming, he agreed to further military expansion. Despite this, the military budget remained relatively low, keeping the Workingmen on his side.
well that's just rude
On July 25th, 1927, America re-enters African politics for the first time since the disastrous attempts of Conkling and Lincoln to establish colonies. The Sultanate of Morocco, which controlled around half of their original territory, agreed to a trading deal with the Third Republic in exchange for military protection. La Follette's policy of expanding America's outreach via diplomacy was incredibly popular among pacifists, while his detractors called the tactic cowardly. A jingoistic newspaper (owned and operated by former president William Randolph Hearst) columnist said of La Follette:

"The man believes that you can rebuild the Union with olive branches rather than rifles."

The phrase is latched onto by ardent followers of La Follette, who began to refer to themselves as "olive-branchers."
Welfare is expanded further. *cries in libertarian*
The first major European country is claimed by fascists. In Sweden, as a result of socialist influence in the government, King Gustaf V shocked the nation by appointing Birger Furugård of the Swedish National Socialist Freedom League as the Prime Minister. Within a year, the fascists poured into parliament, and the nation effective became a dictatorship under Furugård.

La Follette withdraws his ambassadors from Sweden, declaring the new regime to be illegitimate. Sweden, a nation surrounded by Ancien Régimes and liberal republics, was pretty much entirely without allies on the continent.
The Ninth Olympic Games open in Chicago to huge crowds. Names to look for in the games included Paavo Nurmi of Finland, who was going for his ninth gold medal, and Olav Glucksberg of Norway, who had been the Crown Prince of his nation before the monarchy was deposed. Olav was still an incredibly popular man in his home country and would become president in the 1950s, but in the IX Olympiad, he was the front-runner to win the gold in sailing.
As America is enamored by the Olympics, the Election of 1928 approaches. Robert La Follette's doctor had told him late in 1927 that he had perhaps two more years to live before his cardiovascular disease caught up to him, so he announced early in 1928 that he would not seek renomination. To this day, La Follette remains the model for American progressives, who believed that the man's four years in office were an almost absolute success.

At the Workingmen National Convention, La Follette endorsed his VP, Burton K. Wheeler, to succeed him. While a large portion of the party wanted to nominate the popular Franklin D. Roosevelt, the opinion of the president won the party. Wheeler was officially chosen on just the third ballot to be the nominee.

Wheeler (pictured right on the campaign trail with the elder La Follette), rather wisely, intended to remain almost entirely in the shadow of the great La Follette, campaigning on the status quo. Given his humble origins as a young former senator from Montana, he attempted to place himself as La Follette's heir rather than as an innovator. He also championed "peaceful reunification" with California and Alaska.

In order to appease the fans of Roosevelt, he was added onto the ticker as Wheeler's running mate.
The Democrats entered 1928 largely divided. The progressives pushed former New York Governor Al Smith, who was really more of a moderate with slight progressive leaning, while the conservatives pushed for Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson of Arkansas. These two candidates effectively split the convention, as nearly forty ballots were cast without a definitive result. The 74 year old Thomas R. Marshall, a member of the convention, dryly joked, "Why not give old Willy a call?"

William Randolph Hearst, who had served two terms as president from 1904 to 1912, had spent the last sixteen years of his life out of politics, focusing on his newspaper business. However, Marshall was taken seriously by some members, and Hearst was asked formally if he wished to attend the convention. A man of few consistencies and insane ambition, Hearst dropped everything to get to St. Louis in order to throw his hat into the ring. He made a great speech advocating for "the Third Republic to return to its great roots, in the tradition of the late Robert Pattison. I'm the man to get us there again."

Hearst, an established moderate, was an effective darkhorse compromise candidate. He quickly earned the nomination. The 65 year-old was on the campaign trail again. One of his big promises was that America would be fully reunified under his administration, by force if necessary.
The Republicans, still struggling to establish themselves on a national scale, nominated Frank O. Lowden, a former Governor of Illinois. They hoped that controlling the state of Illinois would help them build a base in the Midwest.
More military buildup occurs. The olive-branchers aren't that happy with this, but the Workingmen still remain their best shot at peace.
Hearst, an old-school Protestant, attempted to insinuate that Vice President Wheeler was an athiest in a debate in New York. While Wheeler refuted this, Hearst strikes a chord with the moralist voters in New York.
Under the presidency of La Follette, the Free States Navy was effectively modernized and on par with the navies of both Japan and nations such as France and Germany.
The Venezuelan government, a republican dictatorship led by military officers, presented a relatively crazy offer to the Free State government in the summer of '28. Venezuela still claimed British Guyana to be part of their core territory, and asked for American aid if the decision was made to invade the colony.

My reaction to this proposal: https://media4.giphy.com/media/l0MYIIuwwHEfULhcI/200.gif#10
Oh boy. The Mexican Revolution is in full swing. Fascists appear poised to take control of the government away from Huerta.
Massachusetts, one of the swing states, leans towards Hearst. It appears as though the former president has a serious shot at this thing.
Somehow, this event only happened now? No idea.
Pennsylvania, another influential Democrat-dominated state, appeared to be leaning towards Hearst. While Hearst appealed to the elites in the Northeast, Wheeler's humble nature and his progressive policies made him incredibly popular in the middle states.
I got lots of these pop-ups in this time of peace. Very boring, very repetitive, but it's happening.
Despite Hearst finding some supporters in certain parts of rural Illinois, the state remained a battle between the Workingmen and the Republicans.
The election approached rapidly. It became apparent that, once again, the Southern states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas would decide the outcome. Meanwhile, for the first time since the Sherman Scandal, the Republicans would actually be a factor in the results.
Hearst, as expected, is triumphant in the Northeast, but Wheeler blankets everything west of the Mississippi, except for Texas. Thanks to the popularity of Frank Lowden in his home state, the Workingmen are unable to capture a majority of the votes, however, and the vote goes to the House of Representatives.

Thanks to the high concentrations of progressives in the House, Wheeler has the obvious advantage. In short order, the House of Representatives sides with both the popular and electoral vote: Burton K. Wheeler was to be the 30th President.

(I forgot Hawaii in this map, but that's okay. None of you noticed anyway.)
Burton K. Wheeler, a young progressive from Montana, had been elected president. He was loved by the common man for both his down-to-earth manner of speaking and for his anti-war beliefs. A popular anecdote about the man was the story of how he ended up Montana: he was originally from Massachusetts, received his law degree, and hopped on a train west, hoping to live in Seattle. On the way, however, he lost all his belongings in a poker game in Butte, Montana, and decided to settle there instead.

(That's a real thing. I know it does't exactly line up with my timeline given that Montana and Washington are territories of another nation in the 1900s, but the story is too good to not include here.
Here are the numbers, if you care about that sort of thing.
As America once again becomes interested in politics outside of North America, the idea of the "Free Republics of America" is reborn. Peru is the first member to join the new organization, which was dedicated to trade, democracy, and cooperation.

(Also, you'll note that my verbose names for countries went away - "The Kingdom of France" is France again. This was my first time playing with the new patch, which wiped all my custom names.)
In February of 1929, Huerta's regime in Mexico is toppled by Union Nacional Sinarquista (UNS), a far-right Roman Catholic movement that was largely considered to be fascist. Gustavo Sáenz de Sicilia, the leader of the movement, is declared "Jefe" of Mexico by the revolutionaries.

While Wheeler certainly had no love for fascists, his detest of war led him to side against intervention. Ties are made with the UNS government.
In May of 1929, the State of Mexico is officially recognized by Philadelphia and trading agreements are signed, along with a formal military alliance. Some elements of the Workingmen's Party detested Wheeler for working with the fascists, but the president saw it as the only way to ensure stability in Latin America.
The IX Olympiad concludes in Chicago, with the Free States winning the most gold medals (18) and the most medals overall (44). They're followed closely behind by Germany and Norway.
Latin America, it seems, was in all sorts of turmoil (CRAZY, HUH?). The democratic Yucatecan Republic that had been in power since American intervention in the Van Buren administration had been overthrown by a mad noble who believed himself to be a reincarnated Mayan king.
The "Empire" of Yucatan offers an alliance to Philadelphia in the summer of 1929, to the general amusement of the American people. It is accepted.
A year into the Wheeler administration, and the man had aligned himself with two far-right regimes and no major reform had taken place. Despite his best wishes, another military expansion was planned in the fall of 1929, causing many democratic socialists in America to label him as a secret fascist. Wheeler, of course, was not.
In the waning months of '29, a group calling themselves the "Brothers of Freedom" began to protest in the West. The groups started out as primarily Republicans and Democrats who were becoming fed up with Workingmen politics that held a few small rallies, but the "Brothers Riots" soon became a big problem. In Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Carson City, these riots are openly anti-government. The military is sent in when things get out of hand, but the whole mess only made Wheeler more unpopular amongst middle class voters.
In early 1930, an embarrassing incident in California shakes public faith in the ability of President Wheeler to negotiate annexation with the republic. On January 7th, Free State diplomats in Sacramento are informed that California President Hiram Johnson would be cutting off all relations with their nation. While many chalk it up to Hiram Johnson being an isolationist, but others are quick to point out that Canadian diplomats are not similarly ejected. Wheeler, not wanting a crisis on his hands, got on the horn with President Johnson.
Within a few days, all is well, and FSA diplomats are free to continue in Sacramento. President Johnson reaffirmed all the previously standing trade agreements. While crisis is averted, many began to suspect that California's independent streak would be a thorn in the side of re-unification.

This changed when President Johnson and the California Congress announced that a referendum would be held in 1933 in regards to a possible Free State annexation. Given the fate of the New English for holding a similar thing, it's a small miracle that Johnson was willing to try it out.
I got lots of pop-ups about boat stuff.
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, an Indian-American physicist who had been born in Madras but later emigrated to America in the 1920s, was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Physics "for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him." He had discovered that when light went through a transparent object (water, ice, etc.), some of it changed wavelength. The phenomenon was called "Raman scattering" in his honor.
Despite the socialist, worker-friendly nature of the Wheeler presidency, unemployment rose due to an international economic slowdown caused in part by the weakening of the British Empire. Bread lines are run by local governments in order to feed those out of work, but usual bureaucratic nonsense keeps things slow. Wheeler, unwilling to see his people starve, sent military relief to hand out rations.
Hilariously, the Japanese approach us in autumn in order to discuss bringing the Free States and the Rising Sun closer together. Unfortunately for them, the American people are nothing if not petty; we turn them away.
As the Free States Navy became stronger and stronger, so did the Naval lobby in Congress.
I'm too exhausted to make another thing. Here's my proof that the Senate is still progressive as all get-out.
In the Spring of 1931, Wheeler begins to pursue his most controversial policy - extending the olive branch to Sitka, where President Barnes still runs an anti-immigrant, anti-minority military regime. As a naval invasion of Alaska would likely be incredibly costly, he was unwilling to consider militant annexation of the state. Diplomats from the "United States" visit Seattle and meet with President Wheeler, who hopes for a peaceful union.

This was considered beyond the pale by nearly all sides. While olive-branchers still generally supported Wheeler, many were upset that the president was willingly cooperating with *another* fascist state.
Meanwhile, we still bevvin'. No prohibition in this timeline, which is for the best.
More naval expansion is approved and begun, with massive hulking warships called dreadnoughts dominating our fleet with their sheer firepower.
The Kingdom of Belgium, interested in expanding her influence, announces that she is willing to commission a dreadnought. The Free States, ever industrious, agree to construct the ship in exchange for a hefty sum of cash.
On September 10th, 1931, Philadelphia and Sitka agree on a massive trading deal. With this, the Workingmen's Party fractures. The Traditionalists, disciples of Wheeler, support the treaty with the United States, and generally become the faction for olive-branchers. Meanwhile, the Militants are sick of the pacifism of the party and begin to turn against Wheeler. They detested the notion of cooperating with fascists and advocated for a "final and complete war" to finally bring about reunion.

The Democrats immediately try to court the Militants, promising progressive reforms in exchange for their support.
The Ethical Workplace Conditions Act of 1932 passes, finally chipping away at shift length in dangerous jobs like mining or factory work.
A small crisis breaks out in Europe when an angry Catalan mob kills a prominent conservative Spanish politician in Barcelona. The question of Catalan independence is brought before the Great Powers, with France propping the Kingdom of Spain while the Germans supported a state for the Catalans.
With the flowers in bloom across the Free States of America, it was time for yet another presidential election. The Workingmen's National Convention meets in Madison, and the lines are drawn: Militants versus Traditionalists. While the Militants represent a younger force in socialist politics and the Traditionalists were mostly old guard, the Traditionalists and neutrals eventually settled on the renomination of Burton K. Wheeler. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a popular compromise candidate, was to stay on as his VP candidate. This was an absolute blunder by the party.
The Democrats decided on John Nance Garner, a well-known member of the House of Representatives from Texas. Known as "Cactus Jack" by his fellow reps, he was an old-school Southern conservative who hearkened back to the old days of the party. In order to appease Northern Democrats, former New York Governor Al Smith is chosen as his running mate.

His platform was one specifically designed to drawn in Militants and conservative Republicans; he was an open warhawk, supporting a militant bringing about of reunion. He shocked the nation by saying once in a speech with a bit of a crooked smile that he "aimed to avenge the spirit of our dear departed friend, James Buchanan."

Many took this as a reference to the infamously disastrous Maritime War. A new push for the Maritimes begins.
The Republicans went with Joseph I. France, a liberal from Maryland. He didn't appear on the ballot in most of the Western states.
Thankfully, the situation in Europe is quickly defused. Lucky for France, really. Germany would've steamrolled them.
A fascist trade union in Wheeler's home state is quickly shut down by the Montana government, leading to a small amount of fascist agitation in the West. Thankfully, the best days of the Silver Legion are long behind them.
Garner manages to capture a growing sense of nativism across the nation. While not as extreme as the far-right in his immigration policy, Garner advocated for "sensible restrictions" on immigration from certain nations.
The American Temperance League is reformed in the early 1930s, largely drawing its base from progressives in the Workingmen's Party. The initiative is so radical that it's unlikely for an actual prohibition of alcohol to occur.
A rogue group of American warhawks attempts a false flag operation across the Niagara River in order to provoke a war between the two nations over the Maritimes. This new cause for war, called the Irredentist Movement, had grown rapidly since Representative Garner had mentioned it in a speech; warhawks from across party lines advocated for a war with Canada to settle the debts from 1863.
Daniel Hoan, a Militant Senator from Wisconsin, delivered a passionate speech a few months before the election. In it, he advocated for the presidency of John Nance Garner, referring to President Wheeler as a "milquetoast who is afraid of a little fighting." In the speech, he directly mentioned a possible war to annex the Maritimes to the Third Republic, causing the Canadian government to file formal diplomatic complaints.
The American people line up to vote in one of the messiest elections in their history. While Wheeler had a steady base in the Midwest, it seemed as though Garner had managed to capture the hearts of the nation.
The popular vote is tabulated, this is indeed the case. By forcing Wheeler entirely out of the Northeast and through his appeal to Southerners in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, Garner easily crushed Wheeler. The Democrats were back in control.
Gosh, just two more parts to go! See y'all next time as the Democrats look for redemption.

Next chapter:

Game: Victoria 2

A Destiny Made Manifest - Part 28: Redemption

Images: 30, author: CargoShortsSensei, published: 2017-02-23

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