A map I made for the Map of the Fortnight contest on AlternateHistory.com
. The premise of this map is a United States divided more along ethnic lines, like the Soviet Union. It evolved into a United States divided into districts, which are culturally similar pseudo-federations that run the day-to-day governance of the country. In law and in practice, these divisions are all subservient to Federal control, having little of the autonomy that the states of the old United States had.
In this timeline, John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators succeeded in assassinating President Lincoln, Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward. A period of major instability followed, as Reconstruction turned into a guerrilla war which only ended in the 1880s. The unstable United States suffered from an aborted communist revolution and another attempt by the South to secede in 1911, and what rose from the ashes was the Union of American Federal Republics: a nation forged by an alliance of conservative and moderate Northern factions and the military. It was decided that the old state model be scrapped for a "federation of federations," whereby the regions of the United States are managed by "districts," on behalf of a supreme Federal government.
Ethnic minorities, such as blacks and Native Americans, were given their own "ethnic autonomous republics," as the new government believes that racial harmony is impossible and the only way to protect blacks and Native Americans is by stuffing them into nominally independent "republics" that are often impoverished. Whites are not allowed into these republics without government passes, and on the flip side blacks and Native Americans are not allowed outside of their republics without passes. Most of these republics are poor, and their natural resources are considered Federal property.
Although nominally a democracy, with a President that is elected by electors from the districts, the true power in the American Federation lies with the Chairman of the National Union Party. Current political issues that face the American Federation are the continued military occupation of the South, which is suffering from conflicts between Southerners and Northern immigrants and the continued actions of the terrorist New Confederate Army and the ongoing "Shadow War" with the Sino-Russian Axis.