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Upton Sinclair
UptonSinclair
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1878
Date of Death: 1968
Cause of Death: Natural causes
Occupation: Politician, Activist, Author of Fiction, Author of Non-Fiction, Playwright
Spouse: Meta Fuller (divorced 1911)
Mary Craig Kimbrough (d. 1961)
Mary Elizabeth Willis (d. 1967)
Political Party: Socialist Party of America, Democratic Party
Turtledove Appearances:
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): Blood and Iron
through
The Victorious Opposition
Type of Appearance: Direct
Spouse: Enid Sinclair
Political Party: Socialist Party
Political Office(s): President of the United States
Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968), was a Pulitzer Prize-winning prolific American author who wrote over 90 books in many genres and was widely considered to be one of the best investigators advocating socialist views. He achieved considerable popularity in the first half of the 20th century. He gained particular fame for his 1906 muckraking novel The Jungle. He ran for Governor of California in 1934 as a Democrat; he lost to Frank Merriam, but did capture 37% of the vote.

Upton Sinclair in Southern VictoryEdit

Upton Sinclair was the 29th President of the United States, as well as its first Socialist president, serving from 1921 to 1929. Sinclair also 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,[1] a record which would be tied by Thomas Dewey, 24 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 Toledo, 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. Nonetheless, his second term was successful enough to pave the way for Vice President Hosea Blackford to succeed him in 1929.

In February, 1937, Sinclair served as a pallbearer at Hosea Blackford's funeral. He was joined in this ceremonial duty by fellow former President Herbert Hoover and incumbent Vice President Charles W. La Follette.[2]

See AlsoEdit

  • 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. Coolidge is also a character in Southern Victory.

ReferencesEdit

Party political offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
Alexander Horr
Socialist Candidate for California Governor
1926, 1930 (lost both)
Succeeded by
Milen Dempster
Preceded by
Milton M. Young
Democratic Candidate for California Governor
1934 (lost)
Succeeded by
Culbert L. Olson
Political offices
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Theodore Roosevelt
President of the United States
1921-1929
Succeeded by
Hosea Blackford
Party political offices
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Eugene V. Debs
Socialist Party Presidential Candidate
1920, 1924 (won both)
Succeeded by
Hosea Blackford

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