Lore[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
After Bryan's ascension to the Presidency, he faced a large number of crises, which he found himself unable to handle, including two economic crashes, race riots, strikes, a red scare, a farm crash, and communist expansion throughout Europe.
The Great War's end[edit | edit source]
During his inauguration on March 4th, 1917, William Jennings Bryan announced a withdrawal of American troops from Europe. The Palm Beach talks, held by Bryan, aimed at the peaceful conclusion of the Great War, imploded after the Central Powers refused to accept the U.S.A.'s role as a arbitrator, and the Entente attacked America's abandonment of the Allied cause. Secretary of State Robert Lansing eventually managed to force through an vague agreement promising freedom of navigation for neutral powers on the high seas. In reality, this treaty was basically ignored and U.S. shipping was still threatened by German U-boats.
As in our timeline, Russia capitulated to Germany and signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk; unlike in our timeline, however, it remains in effect after 1918 because the Armistice never nullified it.
In January 1919, the Great War concluded with an armistice. The following Treaty of Maisons-Laffitte merely handed Syria, Iraq and Palestine to France and Britain (as in our timeline) and German overseas possessions, such as German East Africa, were seized. However, a surge in socialist and Marxist movements in Europe soon caused a fundamental shift in geopolitics...
Economics & Labor[edit | edit source]
Shortly following U.S. withdrawal from the Great War and demobilization, the sudden transition from a war economy to a civilian economy led to a sudden economic crash, and with wartime price controls removed, farm prices crashed, bringing hard times for American farmers. This brief economic recession quickly subsided, but the following crash (in 1919) will hit the country much harder.
Bryan managed to force through certain parts of the "Common Prosperity" agenda (sounds familiar?) he espoused in 1916b, for example, inheritance taxes and farm subsidies were passed in 1917, but the archconservative Senate blocked large parts of his agenda, such as the implementation of a national health service. Canonically, Bryan appointed William G. McAdoo and William P. G. Harding as Secretary of the Treasury and Chair of the Federal Reserve respectively, but they were unable to agree on interest rate reductions, leading to increasing deflation and a hard economic crash in 1919. This results in a significant drop in the popularity of the Bryan administration.
In March 1918, the American Federation of Labor initiated a national steelworkers strike in protest of U.S. Steel's unwillingness to recognize their legitimacy. This strike was met with fierce crackdowns from national and local governments. Nevertheless, strikes continued to destabilize large sectors of industry, contributing to the economic recession.
In November 1919, President Bryan vetoed the Revenue Act of 1919, a bill that would have slashed taxes on the wealthy by 20 percent. This continued the negative economic trajectory and deepened the 1919 recession.
The Gore-Lee Bill, Bryan's attempt at passing further legislation to provide direct relief payments to languishing farmers, was significantly watered down in committee and ended up having little effect on the agricultural sector of America.
In early 1920, the President again attempted to pass his "Common Prosperity" agenda, submitting to the floor of Congress a package of legislation establishing a national health service, improving working conditions for industrial laborers, and allocating funding to states for public works programs. This was flatly ignored by the archconservative coalition in Congress, continuing the economic stagnation.
Racial Unrest[edit | edit source]
With black troops returning home from Europe, racial unrest has been inflamed across the country. Race riots and white supremacism eventually led to the most extreme squabble yet — the "Battle of Tulsa", which is prominently featured in the mod.
During summer 1920, Tulsa, Oklahoma erupted in race-fueled chaos. After the arrest of a black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland for the assault of a white woman, a crowd of armed black men clashed with a mob of white men attempting to lynch Rowland. This incident set off a chain reaction of violence across the city, and armed mobs of vigilantes and the Oklahoma National Guard attacked the affluent neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street”.
The President refused to intervene, citing the rights of states to handle race riots. This only caused the riot to escalate, and caused the Oklahoma National Guard to escalate its attacks, magnifying perceptions of Bryan's incompetence. Wood called for federal anti-lynching legislation to prevent future escalations, but ended up downplaying his stance after backlash from the heartland.
Instability in Europe[edit | edit source]
After Russia's October Revolution, a civil war broke out between the communist Red Army and the reactionary White Army. Britain, France, and Japan sent troops to aid the Whites. Canonically, Bryan did not aid the Whites during the war, on the advice of Secretary of War James K. Vardaman. The war does not conclude until after the election, but the Red Army wins it during the Wood Presidency, which is mentioned in 1924b.
On July 27, 1920, 800,000 men of the Red Army invaded the German satellite states of Livonia, Estonia, Ukraine, and Belorussia, aided by left-wing partisans behind the lines. This kicked off the German-Soviet War (no OTL parallel). Bryan ignored this threat, whilst Wood called for the dispatch of the armament surplus from the Great War to aid the Germans, despite the general unpopularity of interventionism.
On August 15, 1920, sudden communist uprisings broke out in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in regions such as Illyria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Galicia. The Habsburg state, long a victim of ethnic and racial tension, quickly imploded, and Emperor Karl I was "executed in broad daylight". Leonard Wood responded by calling for more intervention on the behalf of Germany against the Red Menace, but Bryan again chose to sit on his hands.
Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]
In 1918, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol, was ratified, though not directly a result of Bryan's support. Notably, Leonard Wood refused to address Prohibition during the 1920 campaign, and continued his opaque stance during his Presidency and 1924.
Also in 1918, the Dillingham-Hardwick Act passed, authorizing the government to deport anarchists, labor organizers, and communists, reducing radical violence. This Act was applauded by all sides of the political spectrum.
In 1919, the 19th Amendment, allowing women to vote nationwide, also advocated for by Bryan, was ratified. Ironically, however, most women backed Wood during the election, who crafted an "agenda for the American woman".
The Election[edit | edit source]
The G.O.P. Field & Convention[edit | edit source]
The following describes the events of the community-held 1920 Republican Convention. The "delegates" mentioned below are members of the community. If you want to participate in such events, please join our Reddit!
The Candidates[edit | edit source]
During the 1920 Republican National Convention, seven candidates were placed into nomination. In order of delegate count on the first ballot:
- Edwin P. Morrow — Governor of Kentucky
- Herbert Hoover — former director of the Commission for Relief in Belgium
- Hiram Johnson — Senator from California, former Governor of California
- Leonard Wood — former commander of the American Expeditionary Forces
- Miles Poindexter — Senator from Washington
- Elihu Root — former Secretary of War, former Secretary of State, former Senator from New York
- Frank Lowden — Governor of Illinois
The Convention[edit | edit source]
On the first ballot, Edwin Morrow, cheered on by the delegates for his courageous stance on civil rights, took the lead with 74 delegates, with Hoover and Johnson trailing at 57 and 48 delegates respectively. Efforts to draft other candidates (primarily Robert La Follette) failed, and Lowden withdrew his name from consideration after a poor performance on the first ballot.
On the second ballot, the Johnson campaign benefited from the collapse of the Draft La Follette campaign, and came a close third in delegates. At this point in the convention, it seemed that the nomination fight would be a three way race between Morrow, Hoover, and Johnson. Poindexter and Root withdrew their names from nomination following the second ballot.
On the third ballot, General Wood, gaining the votes of the Root and Lowden delegates, somehow surged ahead past an embittered Johnson, who withdrew his name from nomination. With Morrow's lead tightening, and with Hoover surging, the outcome of the convention was now uncertain.
On the fourth ballot, Wood, riding on his surprisingly strong performance on the third ballot, surged in the polls enough to overtake Morrow and Hoover (the preferred candidate of u/SkipperPengn), despite his third-place performance on the previous ballot. Hoover promptly withdrew his name from nomination.
On the fifth ballot, an unidentified individual was seen near the ballot box, appearing to be stuffing it full of ballots. The Republican National Committee decided to throw out that ballot's results on the grounds of "vote tampering", and held the ballot again. On the redone fifth ballot, Leonard Wood held a commanding lead with 176 delegates, winning the nomination, despite Morrow's objections. The invalidation of the fifth ballot and the subsequent Wood lead became known as the "Great Convenience", which dogged Wood's campaign in the general election.
|Candidates||1st Ballot||2nd Ballot||3rd Ballot||4th Ballot||5th Ballot (thrown out)||5th ballot (redo)|
|Robert La Follette||6||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Henry Cabot Lodge||3||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The Campaign[edit | edit source]
President Bryan was renominated for a second term at the 1920 Democratic National Convention. There were token efforts to drop sitting Vice President Champ Clark in favor of Governor of New York Franklin D. Roosevelt or William G. McAdoo, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. Clark was renominated.
Political boss John J. Raskob and Senator (in our timeline Solicitor General) John W. Davis, Democratic archconservatives, attempted to arrange a meeting with William Jennings Bryan to extract concessions, who ended up promising to moderate on economic issues for his second term.
The October Surprise[edit | edit source]
To be finished
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
To be finished
Reception[edit | edit source]
After its release, 1920b was lauded by most for its immersive and hyper-detailed lore. The Bryan side was widely praised for its replayability and built-in simulation of the Bryan presidency.
The 2023 Dan Bryan awards[edit | edit source]
1920b did not win any award during the 2023 DBA, but the entire series was given a flair after the award ceremony.