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On February 24, 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached by the US House of Representatives. Johnson had violated the Tenure of Office Act, which limited the President's power to remove cabinet officials. His trial was then brought to the Senate. In OTL, on May 26, the Senate voted 35 guilty and 19 not guilty. This fell short of the two-thirds majority required to impeach him. If just one more Senator had voted guilty, Johnson would have been removed.
Point of DivergenceEdit
On May 6, 1868, the Senate convicted and removed President Andrew Johnson from office. Later that month, Benjamin Wade, the President pro tempore of the Senate was sworn in as President (Johnson had no Vice President). In November, Ulysses S. Grant was elected President. During Grant’s administration, The Radical Republicans in Congress pushed their agenda of Reconstruction. This included the 15th Amendment, protecting suffrage, as well as ways to enforce it. The Republicans also pushed a more significant agenda. During Grant’s presidency, Congress passed several measures limiting Presidential power. In 1876, the 16th Amendment was ratified by the States, making the Speaker of the House the Head of Government of the United States.
American Politics 1870-1895Edit
After the 16th Amendment, the country’s political landscape changed. The presidency was largely ceremonial, so the Republican Party nominated war heroes as President. Under a tough reconstruction, black discrimination was harshly punished, and methods of segregation were struck down by Republican-led state legislatures set up in the South after the Civil War. A huge symbolic victory for abolition was the election of Frederick Douglass as President in 1884. With Reconstruction over and the Democratic Party failing, the Republican Party re-aligned itself throughout the 1880s.The party leadership began supporting big business, especially John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. A split occurred in the Republican Party when progressive Republicans passed an anti-trust act in 1890. This resulted in their expulsion from the party. These progressives, led by John Sherman, formed the Progressive Party. This party gained the support of many prominent people, including former presidents Joshua Chamberlain and George Meade,as well as Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Lincoln, who felt that the Progressive party best represented his father’s politics. During this period, the US did not pursue expansionism into Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, concentrating on domestic issues. By 1896, the Union included 45 states.
The World 1870-1895Edit
The last part of the 19th Century was the age of New Imperialism. The main colonial powers were Britain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, with lesser powers being Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and Spain. These nations scrambled for territory in Africa and the Pacific. They also made numerous alliances with each other. Tensions grew very high by the middle of the 1890s.
First Global WarEdit
The First Global War was the most severe conflict of the 19th century. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s, the colonial empires of Europe had been competing for land in Africa and the Pacific. Tensions came to a head when a combined Dutch-German force attacked British New Guinea in October 1895. This led to a series of declarations of war that pitted the “Western Powers” (Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal) against the “Central Powers” (Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands). A savage conflict erupted all over the world. In Europe, Austria-Hungary joined with the Central Powers, prompting Russia and the Ottoman Empire to join the Western Powers. After a Dutch attack on one of their ships, a newly industrialized Japan too joined the Western Powers. With the war raging in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, it was a truly global war. Despite petitions from Britain and France, Speaker of the House William McKinley would not allow the US to enter the war. The war became a stalemate. Trenches lined Europe and Africa. However, the introduction of the experimental armored vehicle on the Western side helped turn the tide, and in 1903, the Central powers sued for peace. The Western Powers’ terms were very harsh, including the partition of the Central Powers’ colonies and broad financial reparations. This led to a deep resentment in Germany and Italy. After the war, Austria-Hungary dissolved into a number of states. The Ottoman Empire, despite being on the winning side of the war, also dissolved as a number of nationalist movements hit Eastern Europe.