Confederate States Whig Party (Harry Turtledove)


Confederate States Whig Party (Harry Turtledove)

The Whig Party is the dominant political party of the Confederate States of America in Harry Turtledove's alternate history book series Great War and American Empire. They become a near-empty shell of their former selves by the time World War II rolls around in the Settling Accounts trilogy. It does not appear they were banned but by 1939 it was virtually impossible for their candidates to be heard and they were often beaten up by Freedom party thugs.

1861-1917

Since the formation of the Confederate States, the Whig Party had always been the dominant party in the CSA. It produced such well known presidents as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Woodrow Wilson. The party had always stood for the rich Southern planter aristocracy. Despite few Confederates being from this type of background, it had always won each presidential election against its main rival the Radical Liberals, and had always maintained a large majority in both Houses of Congress.

The only parts of the Confederacy that did not overwhelmingly support the party were the Radical Liberal strongholds of Cuba, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Louisiana. The party remained strong until the Confederacy's defeat by the United States of America in the The Great War.

Following the war, rapid inflation occurred nationwide. President Gabriel Semmes was unable to effectively cope and deal with the escalating crises that rose out of defeat. Several political parties sprang up overnight, mostly blaming the blacks and the Generals for the Confederacy's defeat. Out of these embryonic organizations sprouted the sinister and cynically-named Freedom Party.

Enter the Freedom Party

One of several of the new parties to begin was the Freedom Party.

What set this party apart from the others was its head speaker Jake Featherston. Featherston was able to appeal to the people of the Confederacy in a way no one else could. Support rose for the Freedom Party, and appealed to the angry and resentful veterans and whites of the CSA to garner support and votes, and then formed assault squads called stalwarts to attack Whig and Radical Liberal meetings. When the presidential election year of 1921 rolled around, Jake Featherston announced that he would be running for president, generating mass enthusiasm and mass trouble for the Whigs and their candidate, Wade Hampton V and his running mate, Burton Mitchel III--both descendents of famous Whigs and had thus gained their political power by virtue of their family's fame.

To the Whigs the message was clear: they had a threat to their power.

The Presidential election of 1921

Whig Wade Hampton V narrowly defeated Freedom Party man Jake Featherston and Radical Liberal Ainsworth Layne. The Freedom Party took Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina. The Whigs took Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. The Radical Liberals managed to snatch Cuba, Sonora, and Chihuahua. This was the last real presidential campaign for the Radical Liberals, as they soon faded away.

The Hampton Affair

Following the election of Wade Hampton V, Freedom Party thugs marched on a Whig rally, intent on violently breaking it up as they had so many times before. An extreme Party member, Grady Calkins, hid in near by trees with a rifle and assassinated the president. Following the death of President Hampton, Burton Mitchell III was sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America, and the Freedom Party's support dropped dramatically.

The New Rise and Fall of the Whigs

When vice president Burton Mitchel III succeeded President Hampton, the Freedom Party was on a rapid decline, and the Whig Party was as dominant as ever. The Confederate population didn't trust the Freedom Party or Jake Featherston anymore, so they reverted to their old habit of voting Whig. President Mitchel was elected to a full term in 1927 in a landslide over Featherston. The Radical Liberals offered little resistance. It seemed as though the Whigs were goung to continue their dominance, at least until the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Mitchel was blamed, and Featherston took the opportunity to brand the Whigs as "irresponsible" and sweep to a victory in the 1933 election over Whig Samuel Longstreet (grandson of James Longstreet, the Confederate general and president who helped win the War of Secession and the Second Mexican War). After their defeat in 1933, President Featherston was able to erase the Whigs(and all other parties) from the political scene.

After 1933

Featherston's inaguaration in March 1934 led to the Freedom Party dominating every aspect of Confederate society. Whigs and their former foes in the Radical Liberal Party were forced to go into hiding, or switch their allegiance to the Freedom Party, or else face arrest and incarceration as "politicals" in the Justice Department's new camps.

While the Whig Party and other political organizations were not openly banned by the national government, the Freedom-controlled state governments strictly enforced political compliance with the Freedom Party by banning Whig meetings and forbidding Whig access to Freedom-controlled media outlets. In the Presidential Election of 1939, no mention of the Whig or Radical Liberal candidates was made, with President Featherston getting all the newspaper and newsreel attention. Whig posters were torn down, and Freedom Party officials made sure only Freedom-voting members of the public got their votes--all going to Featherston, of course--in the booths. By the outbreak of World War II in June 1941, the Whigs were largely non-existent in the CSA. The Freedom Party had molded the CSA into a single-party state.

Prominent Whigs

* Woodrow Wilson
* Gabriel Semmes
* Wade Hampton V
* Burton Mitchel III
* Samuel Longstreet
* Hugo Black
* Jeb Stuart Jr
* Anne Colleton (until she switched to Freedom)
* Clarence Potter
* Braxton Donovan


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