Decades of Darkness Footnotes



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[2] Charlie Owens was a slave on a large ranch in the West. As it would happen, although slavery is legal in the West, it is not generally advisable to use slaves on ranches; or, at the very least, one should not use them as cowboys; no matter how loyal they may seem. Charlie Owens road out one day in an errand from his master and never came back. Instead he escaped, living off of the land for several months. Eventually he became convinced it was his duty to free other slaves in the region. After gaining a small following, Owens and his boys committed their first bank robbery.
Although this robbery was meant only to gain funds so they could escape to Canada, Owens decided that he enjoyed it. “Charlie Owens and the Nigger Boys” became a successful outlaw group for many years, operating in the Northwest, as well as a slave holder’s worst nightmare come true.
Eventually the boys were trapped in the moraines of central Wilkinson and, in a stand off with state troops, they were all killed. Owens himself was said to have shot the captain of the guard and five other soldiers, before turns his gun on himself as to avoid capture.
Opinions of Owens and his gang differ greatly, depending upon which part of North America you live in. Their reputation internationally is usually highly favourable, especially in Australia which equates them to the bushrangers of Australian national mythology.
[3] Sylvanian; at first a name for people from either Pennsylvania or Westylvania. It has come to mean anyone from the northern tier of states which did not secede in 1811, or state settled by such people.
[4] Don’t think this sort of thing went on? There is a rather famous case of something similar occurring in Michigan’s UP in OTL. These county wars could get nasty.
[5] There are a few names which keeps getting used, over and over again in the OTL Great Lakes region; Marquette, Menominee, and so forth. Most of these come from either explorers or local Indian tribes. It seems likely that this would continue in the ATL as well. Schoolcraft was killed in the ATL while searching for the source of the Mississippi River. What better name for a city upon the banks of that river?
Schoolcraft is not only the capital of Wilkinson, but also a hub of commercial and business interests. It is often referred to, rather pretentiously, as the “American Dearborn”. Schoolcraft is famous throughout much of North America for its brewing industry as well, due to the large amounts of wheat which flood into it from the West. “Shultz Heffe-Weissen” will become one of the most popular beers in the USA, especially once proper bottle-capping is discovered.
[6] The Massacre in question is a rather complex episode in Wilkinson history. Although Wilkinson admits the legality of slavery as well as the inherent degradation of lesser races, its rural areas have never been particularly open to slaveowners in general or plantations in particular. This is due to both economic concerns as well as to the background of many of the state’s residents.
However, as cheap land in the New South began to run out, many plantation owners were beginning to look north, as well as south. Several planters had begun to move into Wilkinson to experiment with wheat or corn plantations. This greatly upset the locals who feared that they would be unable to compete with the planters in an open market. They began to petition the state government to do something about the situation.
Governor Kasten, as it turns out, was either corrupt or simply unable to get this legislation through (depending upon your view of history). The result was that several locals in the town of Sioux Falls decided to take matters into their own hands. The organized a posse and attacked a plantation in the middle of the night. In the process of this attack, they killed several slaves before storming the master’s house which they burned to the ground. All of the planter’s family was able to escape except for his wife who had recently come down with influenza and was bed ridden (the flu being a relatively new disease to that part of the world).
The next day the ringleaders of the posse were rounded up and charged with murder, destruction of property, as well as attempting to start a slave rising. Despite the support of much of the population of Wilkinson, the three ringleaders were hanged by the end of the year. The case did make the national papers, most of whom tried to depict the case as a result of ‘foreign abolitionists’ instigating reaction in Wilkinson. The posse had a marginal victory in that several of the already-few planters who wanted to move as far north as Wilkinson opted for territories elsewhere. There were in fact relatively few of those; the combination of more profitable uses for slaves elsewhere, the proximity of the Canadian border for runaways, and local hostility ensured that. Later Progressive governors would enforce rules of land tenure which made it extremely difficult to acquire the solid blocs of land necessary for plantations. Most slaves and debt-slaves in Wilkinson would be either urban workers or household servants, except for a few pockets.
[7] The Progress Party, or Progressive Party, is initially a state only party. Although it at first battled with the Patriots on the state level (Wilkinson was practically a one-party state, the Patriots having defeated the Democrats at every presidential election during the state’s existence until 1892), it gave them initial support them at the national level. Eventually, however, the Patriots will split apart, and *populist movements such as the Progressives will gain greater prominence.
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#99a: Between The Shadows
[1] Parts of North California saw some Chinese immigration during the days before the gold rush, when Chinese labourers built the western portions of the transcontinental railroad, and more immigrants during the gold rush. Marginalised in Californian society, and effectively denied citizenship with a couple of very rare exceptions, their numbers peaked around 1869 and started to decline fairly steadily thereafter.
[2] One of the leading American filibusters in Cuba.
[3] Strictly speaking, Nicaragua is part of the mainland, of course.
[4] Julia and Bryson are here mangling, to varying degrees, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.
[5] The author would like to thank Mr W. Shakespere of Stratford-upon-Avon for his assistance with the dialogue.
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#99b: Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone
[1] Like most planters, what Bryson mistrusts is labourers who can leave whenever they feel like it, or who can strike. But he will tolerate it for a short time to build up useable land.
[2] In other words, they had been in debt for other reasons and didn’t really have much choice this side of debtor’s prison.
[3] i.e. in the former French Guiana, now part of the United States since the Caribbean Purchase.
[4] These two versions are those known in OTL as the “Red Spanish” and “Smooth Cayenne”. The latter variety is most preferred commercially for its taste, although it is quite difficult to ship.
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Decades of Darkness #100: Born In The USA
[1] See DoD #56 for a fuller description of the Yucatan system and the writings of Michelle Davies, which Clemens disputes.
[2] Most Nicaraguan resistance was broken by 1864, except for the intermittently enforced U.S. writ on the Mosquito Coast.
[3] Usually, the threat of visiting a magistrate was enough to bring reluctant debt-slaves into line, and the landowners figured out very quickly that positive incentives or the threat of removal of privileges was a more effective motivator than punishment in any case.
[4] Many of the Sonoran ranchers, in particular, were favoured for their support against the Apaches.
[5] Slave prices are not actually declining, because slaves still have some advantages over peons. They can be made to work for longer hours, do not have even limited options as to where they can be bought and sold, and most significantly because peons almost always refuse to work in gang labour conditions.
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#101: Fields of Gold
[1] Cedar Creek, like a few plantations both in OTL and ATL, has a rule that slaves working in the kitchen or serving tables have to whistle as they work. This is intended to show that they aren’t stealing food.
[2] These are reaper-binders, the successor to the *McCormick reaper.
[3] The slaves are planting Hard Red Winter Wheat, a variety of wheat imported from Russia which is indeed planted in autumn, sprouts but then goes dormant over winter, and is harvested in early summer.
[4] Jerome has opened the Bible to Isaiah 42:5-7. The translation is, naturally, the King James Version, which was by far the most common English-language version of the Bible at the time.
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#102a: A Special Case?
[1] Good (pronounced G_o_o_d) is a not so uncommon surname in parts of Switzerland. Habit is a regularly used nickname for a person called Hans-Pieter (the spelling of Pieter is a result of a popular tendency for Dutch-name-forms among German parents ITTL.)
[2] In OTL, this paper just celebrated its 225 anniversary in January 2005, and is one of the most influential papers in Switzerland, but it is likely to get banned more often ITTL.
[3] The German expression “Eidgenossenschaft” is difficult to translate in other languages. It is usually rendered as “Confederacy”, and in practice the word is used in a sense that it means the Swiss state or federal authorities. But the word is NEVER used in any other context, besides referring to Switzerland as a whole, nor for any other federal structure, so the translations lose some of the meaning. A literal translation would be oath-cooperative.
[4] This is an allohistorical character. The date of birth and gender of the children of the Tuscan Dukes has been affected by butterflies, but the sequence of first-names by gender has been preserved, as this was likely to be influenced by tradition.
[5] This was true even in OTL, until the onset of WWII.
[6] Never divided ITTL.
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#102b: Normalcy
[1] IOTL, the first railroad was already opened in 1847, ending in a terminal station. Here, with a later start, the project is altered to a diameter line, planned to go on to the north. So the line from the west is further to the south, and turns in a wide bow to the north, with a station orientated north-south. The site would be that of OTL’s Old Barracks.
[2] In OTL, the regeneration movement of the 1830s had separated the city from its hinterland, to weaken the city’s position in the canton. The surrounding areas were organized in small rural communities. When the rapid growth started mid-nineteenth century, no central urban planning was possible. The first consolidation took place in 1891, after the suburbs were bankrupted.
[3] The site for the Palace and Parliament, overlooking the city and the lake, would be quite logical if the area isn’t already built up. IOTL this is the site of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (now only their city campuses – extension were built further out of the city center later on).
[4] The site of the Cathedral, behind the Palace, is in OTL the site of the University Hospital.
[5] This is an alternative site for the University, close to the city center, but not so close to the palace. IOTL, the area served as a brewery until recently.
[6] The site for the Central Hospital would be near the former St. Jakob asylum, an area reserved for the sick (especially lepers) since medieval times. And close to the ATL site of the University, and the central railroad station.
[7] The area in question became a residential quarter for workers and an industrial area even IOTL. But due to the different layout of the rail lines (reaching out west from the terminal station before turning south or north), the OTL area is much more divided than in ATL.
[8] This tourist railway (the steepest normal gauge railroad in Europe) was built as well IOTL, about the same time. The biggest difference is that because of the changed rail network, it now goes out from main railroad station from the beginning, while IOTL an Underground connection wasn’t built before the 1990s.
[9] As IOTL, parts of the lake basin are filled up to gain additional land for Quays and Parks. Differently to OTL, none of the reclaimed land is sold as building sites, so the parks are larger.
[10] The University of Zurich was among the first universities in Europe to allow female students, both OTL and ATL, although with different reasons in the ATL.
[11] Due to the stronger position of Austria ITTL, the Brenner line is finished two years ahead of OTL.
[12] These lines (Engadin / Spluegen), which don’t exist in OTL, would make much sense in a TL where Graubünden and Lombardy are parts of Austria. So they are preferred for political reasons. A Spluegen line was actually proposed several times, but IOTL, the Gotthard line was preferred (both ends in Switzerland, establishing an all year connection between Ticino and the rest of Switzerland, over all Swiss territory – so the reasons for the preference were political IOTL as well).
[13] All these lines exist in OTL, allowing travel from Vienna to the westernmost parts of Austria on all Austrian territory. But in a TL where Austria is much more integrated with Germany, much faster connections over Bavarian territory make more sense.
[14] An OTL narrow gauge railroad wasn’t opened until 1999 at the Vereina. But ITTL, a much earlier connection would make sense.
[15] The description of working conditions are an analogy to OTL’s Gotthard tunnel, built at about the same time, just a bit to the west. For political reasons, ITTL the similar Spluegen project is realised.
[16] The University of Lucerne didn’t exist IOTL until very recently, and the only University in a Catholic area of Switzerland was for very long time the (bilingual) University of Freiburg.
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#103: The Wild Hunt
[1] This is an ATL brother of Josephine Brawley Hughes, who was an influential advocate of temperance and women’s rights. ITTL, her father John Brawley moved from Pennsylvania to Michigan after the failed Pennsylvania Rebellion of 1834.
[2] Alexandra Samotsova, and her companion and English translator Alyssa Sherman, writing about the history of influential men came as about as much of a shock as, say, OTL’s Germaine Greer would. Their choice of which historical figures have been most influential is unorthodox, to say the least.
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#104a: Diamonds Are Forever
[1] Kingdom War is one name for the Anglo-Boer War, generally used by the more pro-establishment writers in South Africa.
[2] Roughly the south-western third of OTL Zimbabwe initially, later expanding northward and also westward into parts of OTL Botswana.
[3] Frederick Morton is an “enlightened” colonial leader of the same general ilk as Cecil Rhodes.
[4] In OTL, Portugal was also quite determined about its own claims to link Angola and Mozambique by ruling the connecting territory, and only stopped after Britain came close to war. Expecting American and Brazilian backing in case of war here, Portugal is more determined to press its case.
[5] Since the British claim a (theoretical) suzerainty over the Boer Republics, negotiations with them were part of the Colonial Secretary’s role, not the Foreign Secretary.
[6] The borders between the three nations have been set as follows: between Liberia and British South Africa, the Orange River and the 20th meridian east of Greenwich. Between Liberia and Portugal, the existing border has been extended to the River Cubango (north and east of which is Portuguese territory). Between Portugal and British South Africa, the border runs along the Cubango, then the main border is the Zambezi. Portugal also has some territory south of the Zambezi, namely the provinces of Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland. The first two of these are more or less identical to the identically-named provinces of OTL Zimbabwe. Mashonaland is more complicated, it includes most of the OTL Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces of Zimbabwe (and parts of OTL Mozambique which are also included in these provinces). However, the parts of OTL Mashonaland Central and Mozambique which lie south of the Zambezi and West of the Huyani are here included in British territory. The treaty also includes provisions for a joint surveying commission to confirm the borders of the various provinces, where necessary, with appeal to New England to mediate the borders if necessary.
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#104b: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
[1] OTL Durban, South Africa. Named for Sir Thomas Brisbane, who ITTL became Governor of the Cape rather than Governor of New South Wales.
[2] Similar incidents happened in the OTL Second Boer War.
[3] Up to this point, photographs from war fronts had tried to show the dead in reasonably dignified positions, and to conceal any obvious wounds or blood. (This was true in the OTL Boer War as well). Grant is introducing photo-realism.
[4] There were large numbers of “blacks” imprisoned in the concentration camps of the ATL Anglo-Boer War, just as there were in OTL’s Second Boer War. But Grant is not at all interested in them.
[5] In terms of overall level of nutrition, this is in fact true. But one of the tragedies of this war is that knowledge of nutrition is not advanced enough to realise that the inmates’ diet is deficient in key vitamins and other trace elements, which causes some to die directly and weakens others’ resistance to infectious diseases.
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#105: You’re The Voice
[1] By which they mean common _white_ man, of course.
[2] The USA ITTL has had a Gilded Age not entirely akin to OTL, and many of the richer Patriot industrialists don’t want to see trust-busting.
[3] In other words, according to the dictates of the local landowner.
[4] The United States does not have any official language at this point, but the de facto official language is of course English.
[5] Nationally, the problem of competition between indentured and free labour has been solved by the creation of racial hierarchies, but this has not been the case in the Free Trio, which have not had that much indentured labour around until the industrial boom of the 1880s (absent a small recession at the end of the Second Napoleonic Wars) and continuing demand of the industrialists for more labour led to the relaxing of free-soil laws in Ohio and Westylvania.
[6] See DoD #99c.
[7] The Marquesas Islands, a name which the U.S. gave to them pre-POD. The U.S. actually semi-claimed these islands in 1813 in OTL (a naval officer wanted them, but it went unratified by Congress). I’d expect something similar to happen ATL – the claim wouldn’t be ratified because the USA hadn’t gotten used to the idea of insular territories yet – and to be used as a basis for a ‘renewed’ claim later.
[8] Old Mexico, in this sense, generally refers to Mexico with its post-1852 borders. In 1892, this also included much of Mexico which still had Territorial status, and was thus not involved in the presidential election.
[9] Americans by 1900 and afterwards by and large refer to peons rather than debt-slaves, but outside the United States the older term debt-slave is often retained.
[10] Slave labour had of course been migrating internally long before then, but the USA still continued to receive numbers of immigrants who were in absolute terms larger than the internal slave migration (although still overall lower immigration levels than OTL). Post-1881, immigration to the USA reduced significantly further, which gave the internal migration greater prominence, and not coincidentally saw comparative labour shortages in the USA.
[11] This is not strictly true; the USA of the period has no restriction on the number of terms a president can seek. But strong tradition holds against seeking a third term except in the case of an active war (the only three-term president to date has been Andrew Jackson, who won a third term in 1836 when the War of 1833 was still being fought).
[12] Von Ovido ignores some important aspects of U.S. political life here, i.e. the rural planters, who retained considerable influence in government, and were not pursued noticeably by the Democrat administrations of Mahan and Hughes. It is no coincidence that more industrialists tended to support the Patriots, rather than the Democrats, and they were thus pursued more vigorously.
[13] i.e. Von Ovido doesn’t entirely understand the U.S. political system. The USA had been using an income tax for years – it was one of the developing sources of government income – under the assumption that this was an indirect tax, and could thus be levied on individuals without apportionment. ITTL, a steel trust called the People’s Trust, but in practice controlled by a Pulaski [OTL Birmingham, Alabama] steel baron named Alfred Thorpe, decided to break the graduated income tax system. (He didn’t object to the idea of paying tax – in the ATL USA, somewhat higher taxation is more or less accepted due to the need to pay for a larger military – but the progressive nature of the income tax). He decided not to pay the government income tax through the People’s Trust, but to provide Inland Revenue with a list of his shareholders (which included himself but also a large number of small shareholders) and say that they needed to collect the tax from them. On Thorpe’s request, one of the small shareholders, a Mr. Larry Flynt, sued Thorpe’s company on the basis that he was now being expected to pay a direct tax [similarly to the OTL Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. case, which found that income taxes were direct taxes and thus unconstitutional without apportionment, a practical impossibility]. The case, Larry Flynt vs. The People’s Trust, would in time appear before the U.S. Supreme Court.
[14] In fact, the U.S. Navy was slightly larger than the New England Navy by then, but considerably smaller than the combined Royal Navy and NE Navy, which was the reason for Hughes’ attitude.
[15] The name was chosen because the USA had run out of state names for capital ships. They could have restarted the list of ship names (as indeed they would do for future ships) but they decided to have a separate name for such a novel design of ship.
[16] i.e. the first *Dreadnought.
[17] Although several other navies in the world have all big-gun ships building, some of them laid down before Vanguard. The USA just got there first.
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#106: Live To Tell
[1] “Julius” is roughly equivalent to the OTL Majestic-class battleships built in the UK, with slightly higher top speed and range but with marginally inferior gunnery.
[2] The Goliath-class has better armour and gunnery than the New England equivalent, but inferior range.
[3] Although both New England and the USA introduced progressive income taxation in the same year, they did it for very different reasons. New England adopted it for proclaimed reasons of social justice, while the United States justified it in terms of paying for national defence.
[4] With the standardisation of the category of peon, and the finalisation of the military operations amongst the surviving Indians in the more sparsely-populated regions of the United States (many of whom had not been included in the census anyway), the separate classification of Indians in the census was abandoned for the 1900 census. They were thereafter listed as non-citizens, a category which included mostly peons, but also some serfs, convicts and immigrants denied citizenship. This also included the Indians of the Indian Territory, although many of these were increasingly awarded citizenship during the early twentieth century.
[5] With the passage of the Ninth Amendment and the abolition of racial qualifications for voting, the New England census no longer recorded ‘black’ and ‘white’ as separate classifications.
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#108: How Few Abstain
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