The Crisis of 1657 is a term used for the six-month period during which Sednyana did not have a single recognized government. Directly following the end of the War of Trade and the murder of William Wallace Somers, the "Crisis" began with the overthrowal of the mayor of Sednyanopolis by a rogue mob and the siege of Marblegate by a military junta led by Oliver Soren and James Cadwallas. President Leopold Mackaran was held hostage in his home for the duration of the crisis, and was inable to continue his functions as president. Large parts of Sednyana became essentially autonomous as the military dictatorship and the Congress fought for control over Kia Boya and Sednyanopolis and other cities established their own independent, popular governments.
The Crisis eventually ended when a popular revolt in Kia Boya and across the East Coast deposed the military junta and organized a militia to retake Sednyanopolis. Before leaving Marblegate, Soren and Cadwallas had Mackaran and his vice president, Brendan Annas, shot. Morrison Thatcher, majority leader of the Senate, was briefly instituted as intermediary president before Sylvester King, a general in the War of Trade and one of the leaders of the popular revolt, was elected president in the special election of November 1657. Soren and Cadwallas were executed, and King quickly instituted legislation to reform the political system of Sednyana, ending the immediate Crisis as well as the political unstable period in Sednyana during the first half of the seventeenth century.
Though it only lasted six months, the Crisis has loomed large in Sednyanese memory ever since.The historian Victor Styman Burrows would characterize it a hundred years later as "the defining moment of democracy," in which democracy managed to triumph through political turmoil. As republican systems around the world fell to absolute monarchies and dictatorships at the start of the seventeenth century, many saw the peaceful and democratic resolution to the Crisis as what set Sednyana and its "perfect political system" apart from the rest of the world.
For the first half of the sixteenth century, Sednyana faced a system of political gridlock between the National Republican and Liberalist parties exacerbated by a series of increasingly ineffectual presidents and Congresses who refused to compromise. During this time, the country became decentralized as states pushed for more and more of their own separate laws that the national Congress could not agree on. As a response to the political gridlock, a third groups emerged, the Expansionists, led first by Bradley Spring and later by William Wallace Somers, who believed that Sednyana needed to expand its power by strengthening its central government, abolishing political parties, and fighting wars overseas to extend Sednyana's borders and influence and revitalize its role in the world. Though originally the Expansionists were peaceful and sought change only through purely constitutional means, they gradually grew more and more radical and reactionary as domestic conditions worsened, unemployment rose, and Sednyana seemed more and more like a fading power. Although the nation's population continued to grow, there came to be a sentiment among many reactionaries that Sednyana's time of success was over.
Often considered to be the least effectual of these presidents was Lester Manley, who served one term from 1651 to 1654. Under him, tensions reached a climax as Emperor Vincento of Gloern continued harrassing Sednyanese ships in the Equatorial Strait and the two parties refused to pass any legislation until the matter was resolved. Finally, in 1654, Vincento declared himself single ruler of the Equatorial Strait, and began demanded a tarriff to travel through the strait. This angered enough Sednyanese to push National Republican senator Leopold Mackaran to win the election and immediately declare war on the Gloern-Ziun Union, beginning the War of Trade. The country experienced a brief revitalization of patriotism and happiness with the government, and even Liberalists were not too upset with the government.
However, Expansionists grew furious as soon as Mackaran signed the Treaty of Correfuscidia. While the Sednyanese military had occupied almost the entirety of Ziunia, the treaty allowed Ziunia complete independence, and it also allowed Gloernivard to remain an absolutist monarchy. Many Sednyanese believed that it was the Sednyanese national duty to bring enlightenment to the world, and in doing so Mackaran was failing the purpose of the nation; others felt that Sednyana should have its own empire and control Ziunia and Gloernivard, taking control of the Equatorial Strait itself and revitalizating Alexander's empire. Both of these factions contributed to the Crisis and the end of the Mackaran's presidency.
Beginning of the CrisisEdit
On April 19, 1657, shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Correfuscidia, William Wallace Somers gave a particularly impassioned speech in Sednyanopolis. He spoke of the might of the Sednyanese kingdom and the "dream of its founders;" the "dream of a world where the man controls the state, not the state controlling the man." He referenced the "glory days" of Sednyana, and how, by signing the Treaty of Correfuscidia, Mackaran the Sednyanese government were surrendering the Sednyanese dream and giving power to unenlightened despots who would crush Sednyana and its vision. By surrendering to a feeble republic, Sednyana was allowing kings to dominate the world. By the end of his speech, the crowd broke out into a riot, marching and holding up signs and crying for Mackaran's resignation and the burning of the Treaty of Correfuscidia. Although local police tried to halt the riots, they were outnumbered; nevertheless, in the fray, Somers was arrested. The protestors demanded that Somers be freed, and one unknown protester raised a gun and shot a police officer.
The entire square erupted, and nine police officers were killed, with the rest fleeing the scene for backup. The angry leaderless mob stormed the city hall and, after several hours, managed to knock down the doors. The mayor of Sednyanopolis, George Cranzler, attempted fled the scene, along with the other members of his city administration, but was captured and tied up. The mob occupied the city hall and locked themselves in as the city police returned with reinforcements and attempted to barge their way in. Ezekiah Roberts, claiming to be leader of the mob, announced that Cranzler would be freed if Somers was also. The police refused, and Cranzler was killed. The mob occupying the city hall began pouring boiling water from the upper windows of the city hall and launching various homemade projectiles at the law enforcement; after some ten or fifteen hours, the police were forced to retreat and give the city hall to the mob. The police had Somers killed that night.
News of Somers' death and the overthrowal of the Sednyanopolis city government soon spread throughout Sednyana. Only seven days later, Oliver Soren and James Cadwallas, the two leading Sednyanese generals from the war, were invited to Marblegate to speak with Mackaran.