It is 1960. The world is divided between blocks of power who contest over the few neutrals in order to dominate the globe with their ideological view. On one side are the Salutists, led by the British Salutariat, a planet spanning union of socialist republics, supporting their revolutionary brethren wherever they find them. Facing them are the Opprimereans, led by a dual alliance of the Empire of Germania, and the Tsardom of All the Russias. They represent the last of Old Europe before radicalisation. Yet they too have taken a path toward radicalism of their own, steeped in nationalism and autocracy. The final and weakest bloc are the Boulangists, led by the radical Second French Republic and the hierarchical United States of America, an alliance founded on ideals of capitalism, human exceptionalism, individualism and rational egoism.
There is small room for democracy in this world. Even the Boulangists are autocratic in their way. They do not allow the possibility that the 'parasites' will come to rule France. They enforce a hierarchical meritocracy on France, separating the 'wheat from the chaff'. Outside of the major blocks, smaller powers play one side off the other I the hope of increasing their influence. The Empire of Japan obtained Russian and French support for their war in China, ostensibly against the Salutists of South China. Now they rule an empire stretching into the Gobi Desert, scraping Siberia, and deep into the Pacific. The Dutch manipulate France and Germania into contesting for their favour, all the while enriching and maintaining a wealthy and extensive colonial empire-cum-imperial federation. Nuevizcaya rises as a new power in the Americas having successfully played American and British motives against each other.
How did this world become so strange and different to our own? How did America become relegated to a third tier power until well into the 20th century? How did Britain overthrow her aristocracy and establish an industrialised Communist state? How did the world become so divided and torn? How did the Information Age begin in the 1930s? It all began in 1787, when George Washington refused to become involved in the Constitutional Convention, preferring to retire to Mount Vernon. Alexander Hamilton found himself incapable of marshalling the support of the nascent Federalists, and talks soon collapsed. Eventually, a second Convention was held, which was dominated by Jefferson and Madison, who drastically amended the Articles of Confederation to create a more perfect Union. But they maintained the United States as a weak confederacy in which the individual states had a great deal of autonomy. From there, both American political evolution and the world's changed for ever.