1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 25

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 25

The real heat — the real fury, calling things by their right name — was centered on the other major issue before the nation.

Who was to be considered a citizen of the USE in the first place?

Again, there were basically four positions:

The citizenship program of Mike Stearns and his Fourth of July Party was simple. They lifted it word-for-word, in fact, from the constitution of the United States in the universe they’d left behind, as modified by what the up-timers called the Fourteenth Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Substitute “Province” for “State” and there you had, in two sentences, the position of the Fourth of July Party. Which, needless to say, was vociferously and belligerently supported by the Committees of Correspondence.

The opposing positions fell into three camps.

The far opposite position, as with the matter of an established church, was subscribed to by few people — in this case, intellectuals rather than reactionaries. These were people so addicted to regularity and precision that they insisted that whatever criteria for citizenship were decided upon needed to be applied to all provinces uniformly.

Most members of the Crown Loyalist Party considered that completely impractical. The variations in local and regional custom when it came to citizenship were simply too great. Trying to come up with any standard criteria applied across the board nationally would tie up the parliament for years.

Instead, as with the established church, most Crown Loyalists felt that each province needed to establish its own criteria for citizenship. Some of them even pointed out that that had been the stance originally taken by the United States the up-timers came from.

(To which Mike Stearns responded bluntly and crudely: “Yup, we sure did, which goes to prove Americans can fuck up like the best of ’em. As a result of which, we saddled ourselves with slavery, property qualifications to vote — you name the stupid limitation on citizenship, we did it — and it took Andy Jackson and a civil war to get rid of all that crap.”)

Within that broad camp, a division existed. The moderate wing of the Crown Loyalists, with Hesse-Kassel again in the lead, advocated that citizenship criteria should be established by the provincial governments.

That was simple enough, they argued. In private, Stearns had told them that if his back was to the wall, he’d accept that compromise also.

But most of the Crown Loyalists thought that policy would be disastrous, and for two reasons.

First, they pointed out — correctly enough — that Hesse-Kassel’s position amounted to locking the barn after the horse got out. There being as yet no established constitution for the USE, the recent election that had produced the existing provincial governments had willy-nilly been held under the terms dictated by the prime minister in power, Mike Stearns. He had simply decreed that all adult permanent residents were citizens and thus could vote.

To be sure, in many of the provinces still dominated by traditional elites there had been plenty of voter intimidation and vote fraud. Still, from the viewpoint of most Crown Loyalists, the result was hopelessly tainted. Allowing the provincial governments elected under Stearns’ dictatorial fiat to turn around and decide citizenship was preposterous. As one prominent Crown Loyalist put it, “You might as well allow a band of robbers to vote on whether their loot is legal.”

Abstractly, their position held quite a bit of merit. But Wilhelm V and Amalie Elizabeth thought that was pure folly. In the real world, sensible people — for sure, sensible rulers — had to accept that certain realities, no matter how unpleasant, were too well-established to try to overturn.

Unfortunately, their practical and moderate position was not shared by most of their party. The majority of Crown Loyalists insisted that the decision on who was and who wasn’t a citizen had to be made in each province by that province’s traditional and established authorities, not the newly-elected, bastard legislatures.

Looked at from one angle, this stance was more than a bit absurd. After all, the Crown Loyalists held state power in the USE because they’d won a majority of the seats in the existing parliament, be that parliament never so distorted and basely-born.

But that was only true nationally. The majority of the Crown Loyalists were adamant that “proper” citizenship criteria had to be established in every province as well. Left to their own devices, Magdeburg province and the State of Thuringia-Franconia would implement the Fourth of July Party’s definition of citizenship. That would give those two very prominent provinces — the SoTF was already the USE’s most populous province — even more sway in national affairs. That would be inevitable, since the voter rolls of most other provinces would drop drastically after the provincial elites re-established traditional citizenship criteria.

Without realizing it, the down-time Crown Loyalists were being sucked into the same quicksand that had trapped the slave-owners in the early up-time United States. The free states — or full-citizenship provinces, in the case of the USE — would inevitably wind up with more voters than the slave states. Or, in this case, more voters than those provinces which sharply limited citizenship.

Amalie Elizabeth and her husband were far more familiar with up-time history than most Crown Loyalists. The Landgrave had once suggested at a national gathering of Crown Loyalist leaders, quite sarcastically, that perhaps the Crown Loyalists should demand that all non-citizens in limited-citizenship provinces should be considered 3/5 of a person for the purpose of determining the size of the electorate.

The reference had passed right over the heads of most people present, of course. But it didn’t matter. The proposal that was actually adopted by that gathering and then accepted by most Crown Loyalists went beyond Hesse-Kassel’s satire: They argued that all non-citizens in a limited-citizenship province should be counted as citizens for the purpose of determining the electoral strength of that province.

That position, needless to say, infuriated the CoCs and the members of the Fourth of July Party. As one wag put it, “Why not simplify things and have just one citizen in every province who exercises all of the votes of the rest of the people who live in the province? What a novel idea! Maybe we could call it ‘tyranny.'”

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23 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 25

  1. Doug Lampert says:

    Discworld in 2000 had long since made the joke about Anke-Morpork being governed under the system of One Man, One Vote. And the Patrician was the man and he had the vote.

    In the USA of course qualifications for citizenship or franchise in a state do NOT effect the census numbers or represention of that state. States get congress critters based on the total number of people, including illegal alliens (noncitizens), legal resident alliens (noncitizens), and fellons who aren’t allowed to vote (depends on the state). That does give the Crown Royalists a leg to stand on in terms of uptime precedent.

    If additionally each province’s military and tax obligations are tied to population then they have a not unreasonable claim except for the part where the actual current government doesn’t get to make the determination.

  2. Jeff Ehlers says:

    So, in effect, if they go with that proposal, they guarantee that anyone who is free to leave their sandboxes (provinces) will do so, and in droves. Only the people who already have the prerogatives of citizenship would be willing to live there, and as a result, Magdeburg and SoTF will ultimately become far stronger than they will. Hopefully, the example of those two states plus Mike Stearns’s knowledge of history will result in the others accepting it sometime down the road after they get their noses rubbed in it hard enough – after all, there’s no “King Cotton” to make that idiotic policy even marginally profitable.

  3. frederic says:

    So the CL want to disenfranchise (sp?) all CoC supporters and fellow travellers and force them to adhere to a Church. Even in provinces where they are the clear majority and wield political and military power?

    That seems….. just a little bit unwise.

    Amusing thought. if, as a compromise, the CoC stronghold provinces HAVE to chose an established Church for the Province, what can they choose as a big ‘FUCK YOU’ sign to the establishment? Church of the All Mighty Dollar? Church of Saint Marx and Lenin? Satanism? Wicca? Scientology?

  4. frederic says:


    What if they take a page from the french revolution? Cult of the Suprem Being? Cult of Reason?

  5. Willem Meijer says:

    If you can read German the wikipedia-page on Scheizer Bürgerrecht is quite interesting. You still are a Swiss citizen only if you are the citizen of a Canton and a town/village. Federal law only sets the minimum standard, Canton and Gemeinde may have additional rules. One town demands 2 years residency, another 21. Being citizen of a village is important because the place you are a citizen of is liable for your upkeep if you become indigent.

    In the 17th century the Dutch Republic knew a similar system. You were citizen of a town first and foremost. A Jew could become Poorter in Amsterdam (after meeting some rules on residency and employment) by swearing an oath and paying a fee, just as anyone else. other towns banned Jews from residency alltogether. If you read 17th century Dutch legal texts they are more concerned with residents/residency (ingheseetenen) and subjects (ondersaten) than with citizenship (poorterschap) because local and Provincial gouvernment was run by local oligarchies, not elected bodies. Being a citizen had other uses: you might join a guild (if you were no Jew), you might be forced to join the local milittia, or your children might end up in a better orphanage than the one for non-citizens.

  6. Virgil says:

    I think I made some comment on the previous snippet that Gustav was going to be very upset to find that in the middle of a war, civil war has broken out inside the nations.

  7. Nico de Lange says:

    Doug, as far as I know, illegal aliens are NOT counted during census time in the US, so how can their numbers be included in the calculations for HoR representation?

    Of course, I’m an outsider, so I might be very mistaken – but I’ve been following the immigration debate (amongst others), since I’m planning to emigrate to the States as soon as I graduate, and the impression I get is that illegals are not counted for any official purposes.

  8. Nico de Lange says:

    But, getting back to the story, it seems to me that the Crown Loyalist party is setting themselves up for something similar to what happened to the Democrats after the Civil War in the States – out of power, out of influence for decades to come. I know we’ve been getting hints of a coming civil war in the USE for a while now, precisely because of the citizenship issue, and I know that there’s been plenty of times in our own timeline when elite’s proved themselves lacking in even the most basic intelligence, but it’s still something I can’t quite understand.

  9. Summercat says:

    @8 –

    A civil war with the ‘Far Left’ snagging the ‘Middle’, and the Emperor probably siding with Stearns after he ‘proves’ himself on the battlefield.

    Crown Loyalists get smacked, broken, and the FoJP takes over again.

    Flashpoint will likely be the Pommeranian representatives.

  10. Ed says:

    I suspect all this internal trouble will rise to a nice boil and will be quickly quashed when either the Poles/and more likely the Ottoman Empire tries to rewrite history. My bet is that the Poles get somewhat involved but see the light when the Ottoman’s kick off their offensive. Nothing like a large external threat to focus your attention on what’s important.

  11. Mark L says:

    This seem to have a lot of parallels to the Roman Social Wars. The Socii (friends and allies of Rome, but technically “independent” cities in the Italian penninsula) were denied representation in the Roman reprentative assemblies. Roman citizens that lived in the Socii cities could vote, but natives of the cities could not, even though they paid Roman taxes and were subject to Roman law. Eventually things went boom. This was the round of wars preceding the Roman Civil War. Believe this was where Sulla and Pompey Magnus’s daddy made their military bones.

  12. Doug Lampert says:

    @7, Most illegals don’t fill out a form. But they’re supposed to and if they do they are most definitely counted.

    Ten years ago there was some controvery when some Democrats suggested ESTIMATING the number of illegals in each jurisdiction and adding them to the census numbers without bothering to actually count them.

  13. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @8: It isn’t so much that elites lack the most basic of intelligence, it’s that they fall into the mental trap of only thinking about a matter based on how it affects them, rather than the multitudes of less-fortunate people who actually comprise the majority of any country. Basically, their innate bias puts shackles and blinders on their intelligence, which ultimately leaves them open to being taken down by individuals who aren’t hobbling themselves in that manner.

    After all, most of the Crown Loyalists are down-time nobility, and they don’t have the habits of thought which lead to thinking of all people as basically, fundamentally equal. Even people with those habits of thoughts can still fall prey to only considering how an issue affects them and not how it affects others, so how much more easily can a group of people not accustomed to thinking that way fall prey to the same thing?

  14. robert says:

    @13 “It isn’t so much that elites lack the most basic of intelligence, it’s that they fall into the mental trap of only thinking about a matter based on how it affects them, rather than the multitudes of less-fortunate people who actually comprise the majority of any country.”

    One could say that about most of the men who led the American Colonies into revolution. There were those who were greatly principled and were influenced by the writings of political philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau, but many of them were only concerned about how British policies affected them or their patrons–both most likely. That is why the slavery issue was allowed to be swept under the rug at the Constitutional Convention.

    I am surprised that the 4th of July Party did not remember to make sure that the wording in the 19th Amendment was made part of their voting rights platform. Where the heck was Becky?

  15. Jeff Ehlers says:

    In Amsterdam, if I recall.

  16. Alan says:

    The population v citizenship standard for legislative districts is actually quite common, as are differential franchises in federations. And can we reasonably assume that GA is an impassioned supporter of universal suffrage?

    Contemporary Sweden had a fairly powerful parliament and GA was instrumental in making it that way, but the franchise for the Fourth Estate still required you to own land. GA tends to get written in this series as an absolute monarch in Sweden, although that was actually not the case, and as unfamiliar with constitutions and legislatures although that is equally untrue. A new king had to issue a charter that described his relations with the rest of the state and promised no new laws or taxes without consent. GA was an active legislator and his Articles of War are one of the sources of modern international humanitarian law.

    I know the founding USE document, whatever it was called and however it was issued, was written in a hurry, but it seems a bit unlikely no-one thought to define the franchise. If, as seems most likely, there was some kind of ‘union treaty’ between the states it would be interesting to know how it is amended. It is also possible it’s just a Swedish-style charter issued by GA.

  17. Terranovan says:

    @3,4 frederic: They could make it Judaism (as the state church).

  18. robert says:

    @17 Since they have access to uptime history they will know all about the splits/schisms/etc in Judaism that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So will Orthodox, Conservative or Reform Judaism be the official religion? And if Orthodox, will it be the Sephardic or Ashkenazy flavor? And if not, will the services be all in Hebrew or will they be in Hebrew and in the vernacular or maybe even in Yiddish or Ladino? Or…

  19. Jason says:

    I doubt you’ll see an out an out civil war. My reasoning is that no matter how stupid the majority of Crown Loyalists this is all happening just months after the Dreeson affair when the CoC’s virtually destroyed the Witch hunters and radical anti semites. Do you really think Wilhelm Wetting will bring on civil war when the Swedish army isnt around to defend them.

  20. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Jason, the problem is that Wilhelm may not be ‘in control’ of the situation. He wouldn’t start the civil war, he just can’t do anything to stop it.

  21. Terranovan says:

    @18 robert: I was just joining in frederic’s joke. But, to answer your questions:
    1: Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform? Those splits/schisms/etc occurred, as you’ve noted, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So, the only representatives anyone but the Orthodox will have are uptimers, putting them in a solid minority – so, Orthodox (or, for an extra-large F-YOU sign to the Crown Loyalists, ALL of them).
    2: If Orthodox, Sephardic or Ashkenazi? Why not both?
    3: Hebrew, vernacular, Yiddish, or Ladino? Again, why not all of them?

  22. Robert Krawitz says:

    The only Jew in the series who’s really opposed to what we’d call Orthodox Judaism is Morris Roth — Judith, as I recall from RoF1, scolded him for that. And he’s in Prague, anyway. That other young guy who went with them was studying to become a Reform rabbi, all right, but he didn’t seem to have any objection at all to Orthodox observance.

    I imagine Becky would stomp really, really hard on any Ashkenazic/Sephardic schisms — and she’d go out of her way not to favor one side. Morris Roth would also have a lot of interest in not allowing that, either, and the fact that the Jews of Prague seem to consider him to be Sephardic (“Don Morris”) doesn’t seem to alienate them from him. I also don’t think that that would be too difficult to accomplish. There aren’t any doctrinal disagreements and only minor differences in ritual observance that are considered differences in tradition that are not backed by law. Both groups are also very well aware of anti-Semitism, and word about the Holocaust will spread quickly. So they’ll have every reason to stand united and relatively little reason to invent disputes.

    Finally, Jews tend not to proselytize, Orthodox least of all (some Reform rabbis will attempt to persuade a non-Jewish spouse to convert; Orthodox rabbis will vigorously discourage intermarriage in the first place). I think I’ve read some place that an Orthodox rabbi will make three separate, sincere attempts to discourage a non-Jew from converting, to ensure that the person is really committed to Judaism. There are six laws of Moses that non-Jews are expected to observe; the only one I can think of that might be controversial is one requiring monotheism.

  23. robert says:

    @21 & 22
    I was also joking. As a state religion that requires circumcision-IN THE 17TH CENTURY-OUCHY-Judaism would not attract too many converts, even if it were made easier in other respects. To paraphrase Bette Davis: Being Jewish is not for sissies.

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