Kronmiller was an official in the Consolidated Laborers Federation who won a seat in the Grand Council in the 1893 elections. In the Council, Kronmiller became the leader of the radical wing of the People's Coalition. These members believed that Gallivan had betrayed the spirit of the Norfolk Resolves by pursuing moderate policies. They had opposed the Quebec plebiscite, and believed that Gallivan's expansion of the National Financial Administration favored skilled workers over other laborers. They also believed that Gallivan had done too little to curb inflation and reduce unemployment, and they sought the outright abolition of the Confederation Bureau of Investigation, and not merely a reduction of its budget and a change of leadership. Gallivan was referring to Kronmiller and his followers when he said, "I can take care of my opponents from the other side of the aisle. What I need now is some elixir to transform my supposed comrades into supporters."
Kronmiller and his supporters also opposed Gallivan's isolationism, seeking a more active foreign policy for the C.N.A. When Gallivan spoke at a historical convention on 27 December 1894, he emphasized the C.N.A.'s isolation from the nations of Europe, and its overwhelming advantage in strength and resources compared with the United States of Mexico.
In his reply to Gallivan two days later, Kronmiller pointed out, "In 1845, when the war with Mexico began, our population was fifty percent larger than theirs. The Mexican Army never had more than 650,000 men under arms, while we raised almost three times that amount. The difference between the economies was more startling then than it is today. Yet the Mexicans of a half-century ago were able to fight us to a standstill. What might they do today if we do not prepare for all eventualities?"
When he spoke in private, Kronmiller, a follower of the Moral Imperative, made it clear that he wanted the C.N.A. to resume its war against the U.S.M., which he described as a "great moral crusade" to "liberate the enslaved peoples of Guatemala and New Granada, return Hawaii to its former free state, and most importantly, rid the world of its last vestiges of slavery." Kronmiller knew that if the C.N.A. went to war with Mexico, it would gain the support of France, which would attempt to regain investments which had been seized by Mexican Chief of State Benito Hermión ten years earlier. This would be popular among Kronmiller's followers, who considered the French revolutionaries to be brothers-in-arms.
Kronmiller's popularity in the People's Coalition ensured that he would succeed to the party's leadership after Gallivan's retirement, and he spoke ever more openly of "the North American mission" to oppose Mexican imperialism. With this in mind, Gallivan told the Coalition central committee in late 1897 that he intended to run for a third term. Kronmiller responded by openly opposing Gallivan's nomination. "We have a Queen already; now Mr. Gallivan wants to be king." When Gallivan won the Coalition's nomination by acclaim at the party's convention, Kronmiller announced that he would "not be bound by this convention." Although the Coalition won 91 seats in the 1898 Grand Council elections, Kronmiller challenged Gallivan at the meeting of the new P.C. caucus, winning the votes of twenty members, including all four from Southern Vandalia. This left Gallivan five votes short of a majority, and though he was eventually able to gain one, Sobel does not say how.
Within three months of the election, the U.S.M. invaded Russian Alaska in the Great Northern War, conquering the region by August 1898. The ease of the Mexican victory over the Russians caused a wave of panic to sweep the C.N.A. For the first time in its history, the Manitoba legislature passed a resolution calling for increased military spending, and that of Northern Vandalia soon followed. New organizations appeared opposing Gallivan's isolationism, and calling on him to resign. Within the Grand Council, Kronmiller organized the anti-Gallivan opposition, presumably including members of the minority Liberal Party.
Although Gallivan initially hoped the "belligerency craze," as he called it, would recede on its own, by the spring of 1899 it had become clear that it would not. Gallivan gave a public address on 17 May in which he assured the people of the C.N.A. that the nation's defenses were being strengthened, and stated that "no nation or combination of nations can defeat the Confederation of North America." The speech succeeded in calming the public's fears for a time, but news of the Mexican invasion of Siberia on 28 June reignited the panic.
On 10 July, Councilman Fritz Stark of the Southern Confederation gave a speech in which he claimed to have proof that Gallivan was receiving N.A. £1.5 million a year from Kramer Associates President Diego Cortez y Catalán to "protect our common interests." The result was a wave of political violence called the Starkist Terror that resulted in the deaths of 436 people, including the assassination of Councilman Dudley Graves of Indiana.
Gallivan met with Stark and members of the Rules Committee on 19 July, and after examining Stark's documents, insisted that they were forgeries. Gallivan sought an investigation of Stark's charges by the Rules Committee, and by 4 August the Nelson Subcommittee succeeded in clearing Gallivan's name. Stark recanted his charges and resigned his seat in the Grand Council, then committed suicide on 7 August. However, the anti-Gallivan reaction continued, and even grew in intensity. Although Kronmiller continued to seek Gallivan's ouster, he was either unable or unwilling to bring a no-confidence vote against him in the Grand Council. Gallivan remained in office for another two years, before finally announcing his retirement on 24 July 1901.
At a meeting of the P.C. caucus the next day, Kronmiller attempted to gain the party's leadership, but he had made many enemies over the years, and there was a growing backlash against Starkism among the members in the wake of Gallivan's resignation. The caucus finally settled on a compromise candidate, Councilman Clifton Burgen of Northern Vandalia. Afterwards, Kronmiller said, "Burgen had everything in his favor. No one knew who he was, and neither did he." Burgen was sworn in as governor-general on 29 July, with Gallivan at his side.
Years of the Pygmies
Kronmiller continued his efforts to gain the leadership of the People's Coalition, but events now conspired against him. Benito Hermión was deposed by Cortez in October 1901, and the war panic in the C.N.A. receded, giving rise to a backlash against Gallivan's enemies, including Kronmiller. At the Coalition's national convention in January 1903, Gallivan received a tumultuous ovation, and was lauded by Councilman Jonathan Caldwell, who had called for his resignation four years earlier. Gallivan was able to thwart Kronmiller's bid for the nomination, and gain it for his protégé Christopher Hemingway of the Northern Confederation, who went on to lead the Coaltion to another victory in the 1903 Grand Council elections.
Like Gallivan, Hemingway was an isolationist, and when Kronmiller sought to have the C.N.A. annex Cuba and Porto Rico, Hemingway was able to prevent it. Hemingway announced on 6 September 1907 that he would not seek a second term as governor-general. Together with Gallivan, Hemingway was able to gain the party nomination for Councilman Albert Merriman of Indiana, who was able to lead the Coalition to another victory in the 1908 Grand Council elections. When Kronmiller learned of Merriman's victory, he said, "In this way we enter the fifth term of King Ezra Gallivan."
Sobel makes no further mention of Kronmiller after Merriman's election, which suggests that he either retired from the Grand Council, or was defeated, in 1908.
Sobel's sources for the political career of Thomas Kronmiller include Hemingway's The Way of the World (New York, 1911); Ernest Foy's The Anatomy of North American Politics: An Analysis (New York, 1956); Warren Walgren's The Burgen Administration: A History (New York, 1960); Henry Tracy's Gallivan: The Third Stage (Burgoyne, 1961); Henry Kurtz' The Moral Imperative: Its Origins and Development (New York, 1968); and the 17 February 1908 issue of the New York Herald.
This was the Featured Article for the week of 30 March 2014.