~ John C. Breckinridge ~
Cuba became almost a burden of President Breckinridge. New streamed in from the land a crossed the way about Spanish brutality to the people of Cuba and it became more and more important to the people that the Spanish be stopped. Many hawk politicians backed up the people, taking there side and ‘speaking’ for the people in the Senate and Congress to get there way, which would mean war with Spain and annexion of Cuba.
While President Breckinridge was looking for a new market for the Confederacy, he was not ready to go to war with a European power. Europe was one the backroom fall back plans in case of another Union attack, just like the “Stonewall” Line was the physical embodiment of that fear. Increased pressure from the public by the public, fed by those hawk politicians, led to the secret funding of the Cuban insurrectionists.
This was all of course kept under wraps, Congress approved of Breckinridge’s secret funding of the Cubans and only few commerce captains making ‘trade runs’ to Cuba knew about it, that being because they were running the supplies (namely guns and medical supplies) to the Cubans, keeping them hidden in food marked containers and crates. The trade was the most well kept secret of the Confederacy who like to put on a face of honesty for the rest of the world, a secret so kept most of the ships crews didn’t even know what they were delivering.
One of the most frequent runners was a ship known as The Virginius, a former blockade-runner running food and medical supplies to the developing Latin American countries. President Breckinridge placed the most important ‘goods’ on this ship, which frequented Cuba and had established a good relation with the Spanish government.
Besides the dealing in Cuba the president had to worry about funding the “Stonewall” Line and like his predecessor, tried to promote Industry as much as possible. Breckinridge’s major success would come from this, as his leadership and charisma was able to convince many to invest in industry, personally visiting big time capitalists and using his great command presence to persuade them to do what he willed.
On the flip side he done his best to gain more power to the Federal Government. The patchwork of states, what was practically small countries, made it near impossible to open factories and expand the countries industrial power without going through ton's of paperwork and pleasing the state legislator’s. Seeing the problem in this he used his connections with the northern states such as Kentucky and Missouri to support his bid for a more involved Federal Government and convinced many that it was in the best interest for the states and the country as a whole to allow the Federal government more power over such important matters.
At the end of his term Breckinridge had increased ties with the border states into the Confederacy by making them leaders in southern industry (aside from Virginia), expanded the Confederacies overall industrial capacity, laid the groundwork for intervention in Cuba and lead the country into greater political standing on the world stage by sponsoring the many medical and food intervention in places like Argentina which had been griped in civil war since the beginning of the War of the Succession.
~ Judah Philip Benjamin ~
1873 – 1879
1873 – 1879
Breckinridge was succeeded by Herschel Vespasian Johnson when the Whig party failed miserably to gain ground with there canadate Herschel Vespasian Johnson, who was caught up in a voting fraud scandal and lost nearly all support from the people. The Democratic Party would once again come out on top with a first in Confederate history, a Jewish canadate.
Judah Philip Benjamin, a close friend to Jefferson Davis and John Breckinridge, won with a land slide victory over Vespasian, who was caught up in a scandal by the Whigs to rig the election, though Vespasian never tried to cheat himself, the party set him up to take the blame for their failure. Judah pardoned him after taking office and persecuted the Whigs afterward, the party had already been falling apart with their failure to elect a president into office during the War of Succession which took a massive toll on their ranks who were leaving for the Democrat’s, who were gaining a basic monopoly over Confederate politics.
Judah came into office with a mess on his hands, the intervention in Cuba was becoming a dangerous game and the fact that he was Jewish in a largely protestant nation offered a religious hurdle he would have to cross. President Benjamin would turn out to be just the man to overcome that divide as he regularly visited his friends, both ardent Christians and former presidents, and expanded on the idea of religious tolerance.
Just eight months into his term the Confederacy would come dangerously close to a war with Spain…