With the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson in 1865, as well as their immediate successors Schuyler Colfax (Speaker of the House) and Benjamin Wade (Senate President), Secretary of War Edwin Stanton moved quickly to restore security and hunt down those responsible for the acts.
However, the escape of John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators into the Deep South prompted a mass manhunt, which quickly took on the image of another military campaign. Stanton was therefore forced to move the country into remaining on a war footing. However, the hatred for Booth and his fellows was so great that the country willingly gave up certain liberties in order to achieve a “righteous vengeance. “
Union troops scoured the south from the coast to the plains of Texas and beyond, never aware that Booth had long since escaped to Europe aboard a “former” Confederate Naval vessel. Meanwhile the peoples of the South, ravaged by the war and wracked with defeatism, felt their hate for the union surge forth once more as Federal Troops all but pillaged their homes and remaining cities in their desperate search for Booth. The man himself took on an almost mythical character, and men in Northern Cities quickly learned to shave their moustaches or grow beards, lest they be mistaken for the reviled assassin.
In the North, hate for the South, both for the secession, the war and for the men who had assassinated Lincoln, who was now being campaigned to be canonized by some, led to Military executive Order 112: “the Rebellious States formerly known as “the Confederate States of America” are to be treated as Political and Military conquests, and are not to be effectively re-admitted to the Union with full states’ rights until their loyalty can be assured”
In effect, the South was getting exactly what it had wanted: it was to be treated as a separate nation apart from the USA. They would remain states in Image only, and their respective stars would be kept on the American flag, out of respect for “true” Americans whom had come from the Southern States, IE Washington, Jefferson, etc.
Stanton was forced to declare a state of Martial law in the Union until the search came to a conclusive end, and became the first Military Governor of the American Empire on April 2nd, 1867. The great experiment in democracy, The Republic of the United States, had survived less than 100 years.
an AH I thought of. more info to come.
and yes, the Flag has 60 stars. those will be explained in time.
(EDIT) Nations involved in this AH:note this is home territories, not including colonies
American Empire (USA-Mexico-Canada-)
Norman Empire (UK-France-Belgium-Holland-Denmark-Norway)
Brandenburg (former Prussia- Mecklenburg- Saxony)
Ottoman Empire (Turkey-Mesopotamia-Persia-Palestine-Egypt)
Spartan Empire (Greece-Balkan states-Hungary-Ukraine-Kazakhstan)
Austrian Empire(Austria-Northern Italy-Switzerland)
Italy (Southern Italy-Corsica-Sardinia-Libya-Tunisia)
Spanish Empire (Spain-Portugal-Algeria-Morocco-Brazil-Argentina-Central America-Peru)
Japanese Empire (Japan-Korea-Manchuria)
Russian Empire (Russia-Mongolia)
Kingdom of Sweden (Sweden-Finland-Latvia-Lithuania-Estonia)
Chinese Empire (China-Taiwan-Thailand-Burma)
figures based on those by Reichswehr at JG.com.