Upton Sinclair in Southern VictoryEdit
Upton Sinclair was the twenty-ninth President of the United States, as well as its first Socialist president, serving from 1921 to 1929. In addition to being the US's first Socialist president, Sinclair holds the distinction of having been the first American President born after the War of Secession. At the age of 42, he was also the youngest man elected to the presidency, a record which would be tied by Thomas Dewey twenty-four years later.
In the years immediately following the Great War, the political tides of the United States were shifting. With the country finally triumphant over its rival the Confederate States, the American people began to pull away from the Remembrance spirit and bellicosity of the Democrats, and turn to the Socialists. In 1918, the Socialists became the majority party in the House of Representatives for the first time in U.S. history. In 1920, when incumbent President Theodore Roosevelt sought an unprecedented third term, the Socialist Party realized that its time had come.
At the 1920 Socialist Convention in Toldeo, Ohio, conflict over the presidential nomination arose. Five votes failed to yield a candidate. The issue was resolved amicably, as Indiana turned its vote away from Eugene V. Debs (a two-time losing candidate and son of Indiana) and to the much younger Upton Sinclair, who gladly accepted the nomination. Within minutes, Sinclair offered fellow Socialist Hosea Blackford of Dakota the vice presidency.
Sinclair's acceptance speech at the convention set the tone for the election. He advocated for equality and justice at the social and economic level, at home and abroad. It was a message that appealed to the voters in those post-war years, and although many Democrats, including Roosevelt and his supporters, warned of dangers the U.S. still faced, Sinclair defeated Roosevelt.
Sinclair was true to his campaign promises. He built up social welfare programs while slashing the military budget, including curtailing the Barrel Works in Kansas. He attempted in his first term to pass an old-age insurance policy to guarantee income for retired persons, but the measure was defeated by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. This measure was never passed.
Sinclair took a lighter stance toward the C.S. than Roosevelt had. He eased the reparations the U.S. had imposed on their neighbor, and ceased them altogether when C.S. President Wade Hampton V was assassinated in 1922. Sinclair was also lenient about the weapons checks in the Confederacy.
However, Sinclair was pragmatic. Although he forced General George Armstrong Custer to retire as the military governor of Canada in 1922, he kept the U.S. military presence strong enough to stop the uprising in 1924. He also kept the rebellious state of Utah well in-hand, although he laid what he believed to be the foundation work to bring it back into the union.
During Sinclair's presidency, the United States prospered, although the military leaders grumbled at his naivety. Just prior to Sinclair's re-election in 1924, Theodore Roosevelt died. Sinclair honored Roosevelt's request that the latter be buried at Robert E. Lee's former estate of Arlington.
In 1924, Sinclair easily defeated his opponents. Through his second term, he continued laws friendly to labor unions and other such modest changes, but many of his more extreme proposals, such as pensions, were still stalled. Nonentheless, his second term was successful enough to pave the way for Vice President Hosea Blackford to succeed him in 1929.
Sinclair's legacy is difficult to determine. On the one hand, Sinclair was able to ride a strong economic wave, as the United States saw unprecedented growth during his eight years. His administration also loosened some of the more authoritarian tendencies of the Remembrance philosophy and created an atmosphere where the citizens of the U.S. could enjoy greater freedom and equality.
On the other hand, Sinclair's rather blind adherence to Socialist ideology left the country unprepared for the stock market crash and the resulting depression. It also laid the foundation for the rise of Jake Featherston and the Freedom Party in the C.S.A., and left the United States vulnerable in the conflict that became the Second Great War.
- Warren G. Harding, the historical 29th President of the United States, who, like Sinclair, was elected in 1920. Unlike Sinclair, Harding did not live to the end of his first term, dying in 1923.
- Calvin Coolidge, the historical 30th President of the United States. He first took office after Harding died in 1923. Like Sinclair, Coolidge won the 1924 election.
|Political offices (Southern Victory)|
|President of the United States|
| Succeeded by|
|Party political offices (Southern Victory)|
Eugene V. Debs
|Socialist Party Presidential Candidate|
| Succeeded by|