The cartography, writing, and ramblings of one crazy winter lover who likes to blog about the fun and inconsequential.

Spurious Transmissions: Alabama

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Hello everyone, at last I've finished the main map for Alabama in the little series I've been posting on here. I hope you all enjoy it, it was a doozy to do but I had a lot of fun with it! I hope to do more state maps like Dakota and Sequoyah from this world in the future, too. What follows is the history of Alabama in this world I'm making, which should hopefully give some nice backstory to the world and give more information for later installments!

Alabama is a state that owes its history to Reconstruction following the Civil War. With the deaths of President Lincoln and Vice President Johnson, Radical Republicans were able to make acting President Lafayette Foster their puppet and get what they wanted for their plans in the South. With this "Radical Reconstruction", Republicans sought to break the back of slave power's remnant in the South following the Civil War. Former Confederates were punished and disallowed from office, civil rights bills were enacted, Amendments to the Supreme Court passed, and locally in Alabama a large branch of the Freedmen's Bureau was set up in Huntsville.

Alabama was not without resistance to the new policies, but the continued elections of Radical Republicans in Congress and to the Presidency, like President William H. Seward, meant that the government stood firm. Republicans were able to solidly carry the vote in Alabama throughout this era due to a diverse political alliance centered among the newly-freed and empowered black population. By the 1880s, Alabama had elected its first black Governor: Charles Atwood, a former slave who worked his way into being a notable investor in and ally to the powerful Pratt Coal & Iron Company in Birmingham.

The two primary political forces that would continue to dominate Alabama would be industrial production in urban centers such as Birmingham and Mobile and agricultural production throughout the rest of the state, but particularly in the "black belt" region where freedmen farmers made use of Radical Reconstruction to form their own organizations and cooperatives. The Southern Farmer's Alliance would do well here, and help form half of the political alliance that would morph into the modern Farmer-Republican Party. Alabama's urban centers would boom around the turn of the 20th century as Birmingham Steel and Mobile Shipbuilding became mainstays of the United States economy, and the state prospered.

Alabama was relatively unharmed by the "Troubles" of the 1930s in the United States, the period of social unrest and rebellion throughout the South against the American government, particularly by the descendants of anti-Reconstruction "Redeemers". The worst troubles was in Appalachian Alabama, but the already-heavy military presence in Alabama, with a large Army base in Anniston, made sure to keep things under control. Alabama would then see its economy boom during the 1940s following the United States' entry into the Global Revolutionary Wars, as Alabama's factories, shipyards, and mines worked just around the clock to provide the nation with its arsenal.

Following the war, Alabama began its transition to a modern economy, as cities like Montgomery, Auburn, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa began to rise as centers of the educated and professional business while Mobile and Birmingham began to diversify their economies away from their industrial pasts. Suburbanization occurred to an extent, and the cities expanded their borders to allow residents to live outside of the downtown areas while still within city borders. New highways moved through Alabama and the AFRA (American Federal Rail Authority) extended its lines through the state.

Many rural Alabamians packed up and moved to the state's cities or to the ever-growing Steel Belt in the North. This rural movement helped create conflict in many areas, and began movements on the subjects of labor and particularly race throughout the United States. Civil rights leaders in states such as Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio hailed from Alabama and brought their values with them as they sought to make life better in their new homes, while other leaders fought for labor, marriage, and other rights at home in Montgomery, Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile. Young black leaders were elected to local and, later, statewide positions as a result of these movements throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Today, Alabama is a growing state of just over 5 million with a large, multi-faceted economy and comparable living standards to the rest of the South. It is a complicated and diverse state, from the co-op farm fields to the bustling modern high-tech offices in Birmingham and everything in between. Politically it is divided between the three parties, and its future is uncertain over which will emerge victorious over the state. The Farmer-Republican Party, the broad tent party that has formed a union between much of rural and small town Alabama for generations, has slipped from its domination. The Social Democratic Party has come to power in heavily-educated and dense-populated areas of the state as well as reaching out to landless farm workers who derisively refer to the old party as the "Planter-Republican Party". In the suburbs and struggling white rural farms and small towns the right-populist American Worker's Party has grown as well on a message of economic strength for the little man and conservative values, met derisively by both other parties.

As mines close and factories fight with unions about closures, the economic future of Alabama is also up in the air. The state is in many ways a meeting place, where the Deep South states that straddle the Mississippi meet the Atlantic South. Whichever way Alabama goes in the future, so too will the other Reconstructed States of today go as well.


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