Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sobel Wiki: Secret History

This week's featured article at the Sobel Wiki is on Omar Kinkaid, the sixth President of the United States of Mexico, and the second to be assassinated.

Kinkaid is one of the pivotal figures in the history of Sobel's U.S.M. In one sense, he is the Mexican counterpart to Herbert Clemens, the North American governor-general whose period in office largely overlaps his: both came to power due to rampant political corruption. However, the differences between them are instructive. Clemens was able to achieve power by being personally corrupt, spending his own considerable fortune as a dry goods magnate to buy votes. Kinkaid was personally honest, but served as the figurehead for Bernard Kramer . . . a corrupt dry goods magnate who used his considerable fortune to buy votes on Kinkaid's behalf.

Ironically, Clemens' corruption proved to be less politically damaging than Kinkaid's honesty, since it gave the impetus for a reform movement in the C.N.A. that was eventually able to put an end to government corruption. In the U.S.M., a similar reform movement was derailed by the country's toxic racial politics, and by the fact that the source of the corruption, Kramer, was content to manipulate the political system from behind the scenes.

Kinkaid himself bears much of the blame for the corruption of Mexican politics by Kramer. He was well aware of the fact that he was Kramer's puppet, but was content to ignore the fact, until the growing polarizaton of Mexican politics finally convinced him of the need for reform. By that time, though, it was too late. There was an armed uprising in progress, and Kramer was already laying plans to have another figurehead seize power and rule autocratically. Kinkaid's efforts to reduce Kramer's control of Mexican politics ended with his assassination under mysterious circumstances in December 1879.

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