The Kingdom of Michigan is the successor state to the People’s Republic of Michigan. Once the most democratic nation in Atlantic America, Michigan dropped into oligarchy before the Commonwealth War. A coup ended any nominal democracy and installed its first king in April of 2458.
The People’s Republic of Michigan started as a trade organization between various communities around Lake Michigan, informally called the Sailing Guild. The guild spent decades maintaining lakeside communities across the lake, moving resources and people about as necessary to try and save as many as they could. Despite their best efforts, half the communities did not survive the first quarter of the 22nd Century.
When the first new settlements asked for membership, the guild was happy to include them. But the guild system started to wear under the pressure of governing a small and growing nation. By 2150, this had become a movement for a constitutionally directed government.
The Washington Convention, held on Washington Island off of Green Bay, became the basis for the People’s Republic of Michigan, so called because the convention was written to keep the power in the hands of the people and not in an entrenched governing class. Representatives were elected on a yearly basis, with campaigns and elections limited to one week in the summer. The President was elected from a pool of former Representatives who had served at least three years (with provisions made for the first several elections).
The People’s Republic started by working to control all the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Initial conflict with the growing urban centers around Chicago and Milwaukee eventually waned, though Sault Sainte Marie remained an independent nation despite the Republic’s best efforts. Michigan began reluctantly moving inland, annexing Marquette on Lake Superior in 2193 and Detroit in 2221. Incorporating new communities and settlements was a difficult job, one which caused no small amount of disruptions to the People’s Republic and its way of life. But the need for agricultural production drove Michigan to continue expanding. It was one of the first major nations of the era.
Michigan’s control of Detroit eventually brought it into conflict with the Kingdom of Quebec. Neither nation had any experience dealing with a state of comparable size, leading to the disastrous War of Detroit (2245-2248).
The People’s Republic was a strong nation, but refused to develop a habit of conquering the smaller city-states of the neighboring Ohio Valley or of Wisconsin. Unwilling to commit to such a large influx of new voters, or the requirements of an extensive occupation, Michigan slowed down its expansions in the late 2200’s. Unofficial support for pirates on Lake Superior ended by 2300, as the Iron Republic of Minnesota threatened a war that Michigan did not want to fight.
Michigan progressed as a nation, electing its first woman president in 2304 and building one of the highest standards of living in Atlantic America. Michigan’s Golden Age was concurrent with Minnesota’s, and the two had a number of cultural and economic exchanges that benefits both parties. The Golden Age ended with the War of the Three Fools (2371-2377), which saw Michigan’s government squander lives and resources prolonging a war in an attempt to weaken the kingdom of Quebec. Not only did this fail, but the successive government attempted to save face by beginning a policy of annexation in Wisconsin and Ohio, becoming the imperialist nation that it spent so long refusing to become.
The People’s Republic of Michigan received the same Commonwealth embassies as everyone else, and joined the Lexington Organization early in its existence. When the war began, Michigan fought Quebec across three lakes and two fronts, helping Sault Sainte Marie defend its boarders, and fighting back and forth across the Ontario peninsula. No one doubted Michigan’s commitment.
But Commonwealth agents were never idle, and made contact with former President Thaddeus McGovern, an elderly and conservative statesman who lead annexation and occupation movements for decades. With the backing of the Commonwealth, Thaddeus launched a coup, removing the President and 70% of the Representatives and having himself Elected King. The People’s Republic was now a Kingdom.
As a People’s Republic, Michigan was an extremely progressive nation. Women were included in the government at all levels, up to and including the Office of the President. Universal conscription and strong education programs kept the population in a state of high morale.
The Thaddeus Coup may have saved Michigan from being conquered mile by mile, but the loss of all of the nation’s democratic traditions has taken its toll on the nation. From the disenfranchisement of women to the removal of the People’s Congress, every choice that a People’s Republican had grown up to believe in has been taken. Morale is at a low.
Out of the earshot of royal agents, this is called the Lost Democracy.
Except for the territory along the coast of Lake Michigan, Wisconsin remained at the level of city-states and rural communities up until Michigan started annexing territory following the War of the Three Fools. Michigan’s progressive government kept the occupation from being too oppressive, and their efforts to incorporate the Wisconsin communities into their republic smoothed much of the discontent.
All that changed with the Commonwealth. Michigan was no longer a democratic nation of any sort, reversing much of their gains with the population of Wisconsin. The discontent has grown into a low-level uprising, with broad popular support. Though unable – or unwilling – to meet the Michigan troops in outright battle, Wisconsin has proven to be a drain on manpower, equipment and money for the new Kingdom of Michigan.
The Michigan Marines
One of the elite fighting forces of Atlantic America, the Michigan Marine Corps had a fierce reputation. Though small, they could be found in every campaign Michigan fought.
One rule that was iron clad was that any officer of the corps had to serve three years ‘at the rifle’, a term they used to mean three years as an enlisted member of the corps. Even in times of dire need this rule was not broken, though it was sometimes bent.