Nobility in the North American League

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Background

The North American League differs significantly from many Old World nations in its tradition of nobility being founded jointly upon indigenous traditions and by independent settlers without the gradual evolution from mediaeval feudalism that characterised the social fabric of the colonial powers. Given this, the NAL has always possessed a very different social dynamic to the nations largely forming its populous' ancestral homes.

Whilst important families and dynasties have emerged in both the political and business arenas and peers and members of chivalric orders have existed throughout NAL history the NAL's political system has never incorporated a distinctly aristocratic chamber nor have any offices been linked to hereditary titles. The economic ancestry of the NAL, of independent smallholders with fewer tenants or private landowners with vast holdings dramatically altered the nature of social class from that in pre-federated Britain and Europe. An additional important difference between *there* and *here* is that life peerages of *heres* do not exist *there*, this resulted in various convoluted relationships between the peerages of the North American territories, still much more closely bound to their crowns than *here's* US. Peerages and chivalric orders deriving from the crown, each caucus of provinces under a viceroy has its own noble traditions.

England

The English crown following the political independence of the North American league, has styled itself King/Queen of America in addition to King of England. Despite some legal uncertainty in the early years, in 1834 the Westminster parliament passed a bill to retrospectively transfer the few existing peerages, most notably the Baronet, later Earls Winters-Taylor of Carolina and baronetcies into a new, Peerage of North America whilst responsibility for their heraldry was transferred to the now well established provincial colleges of arms. New peerages have since been much rarer than those in England wherein the political system remained much more bound to aristocratic ideals until recent times. Despite this English titles are by far the most common within the league, not only due to the larger number of people and provinces within the league who fall under the remit of the English crown in right of America but due to the policies of the other crowns.

Prior to the Peerage of America act no peerages were granted to the inhabitants of the colonies, the first two General Moderators were citizens of Virginia and due to a combination of the condescension and uncertainty regarding peerages of the new nation and whether it would be appropriate to raise the holder of what was an as yet poorly understood position to the peerage and hence the House of Lords created a precedent reinforced by the fifth GM, Sir Constantine Joanes, and first English subject to hold the General Moderatorship following the establishment of the Viceregal College who, though this was not know until the papers became public many years later, rejected the offer of a peerage upon his retirement. Reportedly he did so after having spent his career fighting for a stronger General Moderatorship and believed that to do so would in the future undermine the independence of the position, many modern historians have rejected this as hypocritical given his acceptance of a knighthood during his term as the moderator of Ontario. Regardless this helped establish a precedent, only further strengthened by Abram Lincoln, an extremely humble individual and the abject failure of the next English GM, Kuster; in the modern age, the English crown as a matter of form offers a peerage to ex-English GMs which is then refused.

Ways of obtaining a peerage in the English portions of the NAL are however many and various, the Moderators of Ontario (the sleeping giant and model for NAL government) are usually knighted or exceptionally made Baronets very few other political figures other than Viceroys have been. Individuals of exceptional achievement, military, scientific or otherwise have received the full range of peerages and honours. Whilst the Peerage of North America Act allows for the granting of Dukedoms, as yet only two have been granted, to Arthur Currie, 1st Duke of Strathroy-Caradoc and to James Dewey 1st Duke of Montpellier; whilst military commanders of recent ages have been honoured it is generally accepted that the age of Dukes has passed. Other prominent peers include the Marquesses Vanderbilt of New Brunswick and the Earls Winters-Grey of Carolina.

Cambria

Cambrian constitutional law, being notoriously labyrinthine and, to the great pleasure of the Cambrian, Byzantine, does not style Ill Terruin separately in the American provinces and peerages granted to North American subjects of the King would have allowed them the automatic right to a seat in the Senad's upper house. With the creation of the Viceregal College by Cambrian subject Johnathan Taylor and the end of the uncertainty in relations between the motherland and the provinces, the three decade freeze on the grants of titles to Cambrians came to an end; despite this he was not ennobled, being not thoroughly Cambrian. The number of people granted peerages which, prior to the early XXth century reforms, entitled them to a seat in the Senad remained almost infinitesimally small with the majority being granted the non-peerage knighthoods or baronetcies or made Lairds terruin, a title evolved from the feudal system which did not entitle its holders to senad representation, though most Cambrian peers were also Lairds terruin several times over.

General moderators from Cambrian provinces are also not as a matter of form granted titles. Given that the first three GMs from Cambrian provinces after the establishment of the Viceregal colleges, Taylor, Buchanan and McClellan, were all native English speakers from Pennsylvaania, it was not deemed appropriate to ennoble them by either the Cambrian or English crowns. Gwrthiern ffeil Gwilim received a baronetcy from King Gereint XII but this became extinct following his death without issue though the notoriously bitter Ruth Rosenberg reputed to have refused any title as a statement against the Cambrian government for not having offered one to her husband before he died in office (despite no other GM ever having received a title whilst in office) whilst Juanita Edith Baker-Stuart and Ronald Regan reputedly refused a knighthoods based upon their desire to remain in politics. The Cambrian government refuses to comment as to Albert Gore Jr.'s prospects of receiving a peerage upon his leaving office.

Cambrian viceroys are the only political figures routinely receiving titles following their term in office, though the late Albert Gore Sr. died before being offered his expected knighthood. Non-political figures under the Cambrian crown to have received Peerages include the military hero, John F. O'Kinneide Jr., 1st Baronet O'Kinneide, Laird Gwilim Astor and businessman the actor Sir Alec Lloneir. Of those having received high peerages, the Counts Rokkenfelder of New Amsterdam are possibly the most famous, the 1st Count, Jon Rokkenfelder being estimated to be the richest person in history.

Scandinavia

Whilst a number of Scandinavian nobles had emigrated to North America prior to the incorporation of the Scandinavian provinces this number was very low and by the era of the incorporation of New Sweden the Scandinavian nobility had been in decline for centuries prior to begin almost entirely 'phased-out' outside of Schleswig-Holstein. Given this, and the small percentage of Scandinavian-Americans born in the SR's North American provinces, Scandinavian titles are the rarest in the League, paralleling their rarity in Scandinavia compared to the FK. As New Sweden and latterly New Iceland remain both part of the SR and the NAL those few titles which have been granted are in the universal Peerage of the Scandinavian Realm.

Despite the decline of nobility in Scandinavia the granting of titles to other NAL nationals has meant that the Scandinavian provinces there have a higher percentage of titles individuals than the rest of the SR (barring Schleswig-Holstien). The majority of these have been Knighthood of Governors and Viceroys (Scandinavian viceroys are customarially the only members of the College to gain titles upon their ascension to the body rather than at the end of their term), military heroes, particularly naval have also been honoured. Of the very few higher titles granted the most famous were Barons (Friherres) Bjørn Honstadt and Andrew Jan Volstead, the only GMs to have been so honoured; currently the most publicly known titled Scandinavian-American is Viceroy Sir Frederik Amundsen Blick who was Knighted upon his ascension to the Viceroyalty.

Scotland

Scotland, like Cambria, has not established legally separate crowns or peerages for its colonies, its larger, more populous and developed colonies being part of larger political organisations such as the NAL or Australasia and the smaller, now self-governing colonies such as the West-Indies or Papua, being thought to gain more from the connexion to the Scottish crown and a neutral third party as a last legal resort than they would gain from a separate crown in personal union. This has meant that, similarly to Cambria, Scottish peerages entitle the holder to representation in the Noble Estate of the Unicameral Scottish Parliament. Unlike Cambria however, the Scottish Parliament had been reformed reducing the number of noble members prior to the formation of the NAL, meaning that the peers eligible to do so elected from amongst themselves a number of peers to act in parliament; the Scottish crown therefore was not a as reticent as Cambria in granting peerages.

Only three General Moderators have hailed from Scottish provinces in the NAL, Sir John Thompson, Sir Alfred Laurier and James Wainwright; the peculiar deaths in office of three of the NAL's most successful leaders has, in addition to leading some to comment on the "Curse of Scottish GMs", meant that Scotland has no clear policy on what honours would be bestowed upon the first Scot to survive the position. The Scottish crown has however customarially honoured a number of political figures, most prominently with Knighthoods for the Lord Governor of Alba Nuadh, given its position as the first Province to sign the SLC and most senior of the Scottish provinces, Scottish NAL Ambassadors who's country is visited by the Scottish Monarch during their posting and following their retirement, Viceroys. As with the Cambrian and English provinces, leading individuals have also been honoured, though peerages ranking higher than Baron feudal (ranking below a Lord of Parliament) remain rare. Prominent titles include, naval hero Sir William Hall, the first Afroe to receive a title in the NAL or the FK, Enos Collins, the 1st Baron Collins and Andrew Caregie, the 1st Earl of Skibow and Viscount of Montgomery in the Province of Jacobia.

(HRG)

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