The Federated Commonwealths of America was a republic born from the English colonies established in North America throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. As the English monarchy grew more absolutist, a steady flow of immigrants settled in the colonies, despite the threat posed by sims. Philadelphia was the national capital.
As English rule grew more tyrannical, the colonies united and broke away from the mother country, becoming independent in 1738. The leaders of this new country, known as the Conscript Fathers, promulgated the Articles of Independence, the document which established the independence of the FCA and outlined the structure of the new government, using the Roman Republic as a template. The legislature was bi-cameral. The lower house was the Popular Assembly, whose members were directly elected. The upper house was the Senate whose members were former censors and commonwealth governors, entering the house for life upon completion of their terms. Revenue bills originated in the Senate.
The executive branch was comprised of two censors, the highest political office in the Federated Commonwealths. Most scholars assumed that the Conscript Fathers had created two censors with the understanding that the executive would be kept further in check, particularly if the censors were opposed politically. Each censor could veto the other. The censors were elected by popular vote for one five-year term.
The currency of the FCA was based on that of the Roman Republic, with decimal-based denominations including copper sesters, five-sesters, ten-sesters and denaires. This system of currency was in place as early as 1782, but may well have been established along with the FCA in 1738, likely as a decimal replacement for the non-decimal Pound Sterling.
From the early colonial period until the early 19th century, the FCA relied on a two-tier chattel system of slavery. Black Humans were imported from Africa to act as both domestic servants and laborers. The native sim population was tamed and used in a similar manner in both America and Britain, until owners realized that the sims were poor domestic servants. Thus, until the early 19th century, blacks were traditionally domestic servants, while the sims were laborers, although the former could be forced to perform the labor of the latter by virtue of their enslaved status and thus be subject to similar severe treatment. Their role as domestic servants, their hierarchical status over sims, and the possibilities of manumission and subsequent sim-ownership served as criteria for the toleration of enslavement by the enslaved.
However, the very existence of sims undermined the institution of slavery, as it became clear in time that the central axiom of slavery, the inferiority of blacks, was a falsehood. Jeremiah, a slave, had fled from the Gillen Plantation in Virginia Commonwealth in 1804 when a serious diphtheria outbreak amongst the sims there led its owner Charles Gillen to force him into the fields, whereupon his status over sims was undermined, he was subjected to hard toil and was persecuted by the overseer Harry Stowe. He spent a year in Portsmouth, the commonwealth capital of Virginia, until he was recognized by Caleb Gillen who was apprenticed as a lawyer. His attorney and employer Alfred Douglas demonstrated that his client was capable of speech and literacy, unlike a sim. Despite the arguments of Zachary Hayes, the Gillens's attorney, Caleb's master and Douglas's rival, including the precedents of slavery in both the Bible and the Classical civilisations of Rome and Greece, and the difficulties of emancipation, the court ruled in favor of Jeremiah, and slavery itself withered away within the next few decades.
The issue of the sims remained ongoing, however. The sims justice movement began not longer after the Jeremiah case. This movement (begun by trapper Henry Quick in the late 1810s) argued that while sims were not human, they were still far more than mere beasts of burden. The fight over the nature of sims and their place in society continued throughout the 19th century. As industrialization gradually replaced sim-labor, society found a new use for sims in scientific research. Sims were used in everything from testing new technology (a sim named Abel was the first creature to orbit the Earth) to disease research. By the end of the 20th century, sims were being used successfully, despite the discomfort of many in the sims justice movement, in the hunt for the cure for AIDS, as the use of shimpanses would have been logistically and technically difficult, or the use of humans morally unfathomable.
By 1988, the FCA was a large, populous nation dominating the North American continent, and boasted a high standard of living and level of technology.
The full geography of the FCA is never given. The only commonwealths named are Virginia and the Plymouth Commonwealth, with another analogous with Illinois being mentioned but unnamed as bordering the New Nile. Also mentioned are preserves -- tracts of land preserved for habitation by sims -- in the Rockies, the plains and the northwest.
The "Censor of the FCA" seems to be based on the office of Roman Consul. Censor is also a Roman office, but one that never had any executive power.
- The United States of Atlantis and its eponymous timeline, a fictional continent and country that similarly melds elements and history of the United States of America and the Roman Republic.
- Governor-General of the North American Union, the head of government of the NAU.
- King and Prime Minister of the Confederated Provinces, the heads of state and government.