A loose confederacy of more than thirty city-states and regional communities, the United Cities of the Ohio Valley (or UCOV) was formed during the War of the Three Fools as a security collective, for mutual protection against Quebecois incursions. The UCOV continued to find purpose in protecting themselves against offensives from the People’s Republic of Michigan and the Mississippi Empire. On the losing side of the Commonweal War, the UCOV was dissolved, the members being absorbed into the Kingdoms of Michigan and Ohio.
Before the War of the Three Fools, the various states of the Ohio Valley lacked any reason for meaningful unification. Some agreements existed about use of waterways, but beyond that the nations maintained an uneasy and often interrupted peace.
The War of the Three Fools changed that. Offensives by both Michigan and Quebec conquered several border communities, resulting in a push by the rest for some sort of common defensive pact. This was supported by the Mississippi Empire, who believed they could make the forming government dependent upon them for military support.
UCOV resisted all three governments during the war, rushing troops and materials around as needed. They were, arguably, the only nation to come out ahead during the war.
After the war the UCOV continued to support all the member states. They had good leaders and bad, and lost several clients to the appropriations of other Empires. But most of the valley remained independent until the Commonwealth.
The UCOV was an early member of the Lexington Organization and sent troops all over Atlantic America. After the war, some border members were annexed by Michigan or Quebec, while most were absorbed into the Kingdom of Ohio.
The government of the consisted of a single body legislature, the Congress of Ministers. A body of one-hundred ministers made up of every member state, the Congress was heavily limited in its authority. It was used mostly to coordinate the common needs of the member states through committees and conferences.
While limited in what sort of taxes they could pass, the Congress did have a carrot to get the member states to help. Every congress lasted four years, and at the end of four years could re-apportion representation among its members. Small but very active communities could be rewarded with above-average representation, while larger cities sometimes found themselves under represented. While not perfect, it did keep the member states active in the government.
Other than promoting cooperation between members and coordinating economic progress, the main role of the UCOV was the establishment and maintenance of a united military.
Every member committed resources to the military. Personnel, combat units, weapons, supplies, and basing facilities could all count towards a member’s commitment. Participation and enthusiasm would grow and shrink from one year to the next.
Members chose their own officers up to the rank of Colonel, but General officers had to graduate from a military college in Lexington. This college kept general officers on the same page, crossing dozens of local traditions and laws to form an army that would protect everyone. Any officer not assigned to on the the Departments (North, South , etc) was assigned to the General Inspectorate, a collection of officers that acted both as a pool of reserve bodies and a board of professional trouble shooters.
There was no Confederate Navy. Boats and defenses on rivers and lakes were part of the army, organized into Sailing Corps.
The UCOV never became an economic power house. Without any centralized planning body of any authority, member states could and did develop economies that competed with each other instead of complimenting each other. The Congress of Ministers did entertain expanded authorities that might begin to change that several times, but these debates were never serious enough to become law.