January 15th, 2004, 11:03 AM
Thinking back to a thread many many moons ago on this. The Irish probably wouldn't have emigrated in significant numbers to the USA thus slowing down the growth of that particular country. There probably would have been some sort of independence movement but I don't think it would have had as much support as it otherwise did. Barring any other agricultural disaster, the UK and Ireland might remain united under the crown.
Besides, there would have been enough food in Ireland if London hadn't insisted on grain exports.
January 15th, 2004, 04:26 PM
this came up in another thread on the old board. The idea there was how to get more blacks into the western states. SInce the Irish in OTL did a lot of the mining in the western states, the thought was that without them, blacks from the south might be more encouraged to move to the west into the mining camps....
January 15th, 2004, 04:50 PM
I'm not convinced. Consider that there would have been the pressure of the population and the desire to have something more than you have at the moment.
Therefore the Irish might have emmigrated in even larger numbers because there would have been more of them to emmigrate.
June 23rd, 2004, 12:02 AM
This would have profound effects, not only on Irish history, but also on that of Europe generally. The potato blight of the 1840s were one of the major causes of the unrest that eventually erupted into the Revolutions of 1848. Remove the blight, and all of European history is profoundly different.
But first, we need to come up with a probable way to eliminate the blight. This is harder than one might think. The potato monoculture and high populations, not only in Ireland, but across Europe, made a blight and subsequent famine nearly inevitable. Nearly. One way we can perhaps tweak things is by altering the severity of the blight. Fairly minor changes in potato or fungus evolution, probably starting in the 1830s, could lead to a slow decline of potato harvests, rather than a massive blight. The potato crop would be affected, and would be much reduced, but slowly enough that new strains could be introduced. So, we get a drop in potato production, and a rise in the cost of food, from about 1845 to about 1855. This is not enough to produce more than minor unrest. After 1855, the new strains are blight-resistant, and the food prices fall again.
What are the effects?
Ireland on the eve of the famine was seriously overpopulated. This overpopulation combined with the tenant-farming system to produce massive rural poverty. Ireland at the time was one of poorest lands east of Russia, and the lack of a Famine won't change that. At a guess, a lot of the same people who came to the United States to escape the Famine will still come, but more slowly. We'll cover their story when we discuss the United States.
The population of Ireland itself will be about a million higher than OTL, overwhelmingly made up of poor, Irish-speaking or bliligual Catholics. In OTL, the Famine was the final blow to the Irish language and Gaelic culture. Thereafter, the Irish people associated the Irish language with poverty and famine, and began learning English in droves. The percentage of Irish-speakers fell from about 50% before the Famine to around 10-15% by 1890. In this TL, that doesn't happen. The Irish-speaking percentage still falls, but at its more normal rate. By 1890, perhaps 45% of the population are still Irish-speaking, and the Gaeltacht is essentially the entire Western half of the country. After 1890, the revival of the Irish language is well under way, and the Irish-speaking percentage actually rises, finally levelling off in the 70% range sometimes in the mid-20th century.
In OTL, the Famine also greatly embittered Anglo-Irish, and Protestant-Catholic relations. The Fenian movement, for example, did not enter full swing until after the Famine, and was largely its result. Here, that embitterment never happens. In addition, Irish representation in Commons is much greater, owing to a higher population. It's hard to say what the effect would be, but I can see a fairly limited Home Rule bill passing sometime in the 1880s.
Through the late 19th and 20th centuries, Ireland will gain more and more autonomy, ending as a wholly self-governing part of the UK, sometime in the 2nd quarter of the 20th century. At the same time, there will be gradual but real land reform, undermining the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, but leading to a rural Irish renaissance. In addition, Irish cities, larger than in OTL, may well experience some industrialization. The final result will be a prosperous, majority Irish-speaking Ireland by 1950, albeit one that neither has nor desires full independence.
About the same number of Irish immigrants will come as in OTL, but they will be less desperate and will come over a longer period of time. In addition, Irish immigration will fall off rapidly after 1920, giving the Irish-American community a slightly different profile, one more distant from the Old Country and its concerns. Another major change will be in the aims of these immigrants. In OTL, associating rural life with famine and poverty, Irish immigrants overwhelmingly chose urban industrial or other laboring professions, and from there began their rise to influence in the Eastern industrial cities. In the ATL, fewer Irish immigrants will have these associations, and many more will seek to build lives in the country. This will lead to a smaller supply of Irish labor for railroads and other industries, which will help spur some Black migration out of the South. It will also slow the rise of the Irish in the big cities, allowing a certain amount of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice to linger on for a couple more decades than in OTL. OTOH, Irish farmers will have some influence on the composition of rural America.
As for America, there will be about the same number of Irish immigrants to British industrial cities as in OTL, but they will come more slowly, and be more confident. This, together with a higher total Irish population, many more of whom speak Irish, will fuel anti-Catholic prejudice and paranoia in the UK. Paradoxically, this will help the Irish cause in Ireland itself. Anti-Catholic paranoia, and the absurd but potent fear of a majority-Catholic House of Commons, will help push Ireland toward Home Rule, and consequently into having its own, separate parliament.
The lack of the famines of the 1840s will almost certainly prevent the Revolutions of 1848 in France. Instead, Louis-Phillippe will stay on the throne, dying in 1850. He will be succeeded by his 12 year old grandson Albert, Duc de Paris, under the regency of Albert's mother Marie. There will be unrest through the regency period, forcing the monarchy to give up much power, but never breaking into open revolution. In 1856, Albert will succeed to the throne, and will reign as a mellow monarch until 1894. The French population will be less stagnant than in OTL, and the political scene more placid. This will have very important knock-off effects. The military command will not be made up of officers distrusted by the government, as in OTL, leading to a stronger French military, with a higher population base from which to draw conscripts. The French overseas empire will grow about as in OTL, though France will demand, and get, much more of Africa. Expect there to be no Belgian Congo, with the whole area part of French Equatorial Africa, instead. French relations with both Britain and Germany will be better, leading to some kind of entente in the 1890s.
Germany, incl Prussia:
Huge effects, here. No 1848 delays the onset of liberal nationalist feeling in Germany, but also gives it much less resistance when it does come. Figure that pro-nationalist demonstrations will grow in the 1850s, and lead to a conference of German princes, perhaps around 1858, to discuss unification. Nothing will come of this, leading to a liberal, middle class parliament in 1860. Fearing liberalism less, and scenting a chance to increase their power, the Prussians will encourage this meeting, and browbeat a number of princes into attending. By 1865, the parliament will work out a constitution for a unified "kleinduetsch" German state, led by Prussia. This constitution will be more conservative than the British, but less so than the OTL Wilhelmine Constitution. Germany will be officially unified in 1866, right in time to argue over Schlesvig-Holstein with Denmark.
There will be no war with Denmark, owing to the clearly greater power of a united Germany, and so Germany will get most of the duchies without bloodshed. Thereafter, Germany is friendly to Great Britain and France, neutral toward Austria, and somewhat hostile toward Russia, as a result of that Empire's disputes with the British.
The lack of an 1848 revolt will not totally prevent uprisings in Hungary, but they will be smaller and more clearly abortive. There will be little sense of danger among the Establishment. This will be even more so, given that there will be no defeat by Prussia in 1866. Austria will be regarded abroad as stronger, and will be more complacent at home. Still, the Hungarian uprisings will lead to some consideration of reform. The result will be the re-organization of the Austrian Empire as a very centralized federation of the traditional lands sometime in the late 1870s or early 1880s. This, plus franchise reform, will keep the Austrian Empire united for the forseeable future, probably well into the 20th century. A more-or-less neutral nation through much of the 19th century, Balkan rivalries with Russia will lead to Austria allying with Germany, Britain, and France in the early 20th century.
Without the 1848 revolutions, Russia never intervenes in the Hungarian uprising, and Nicholas I does not get an inflated sense of his military power. In consequence, he does not attempt to assert the protection of the Sultan's Christian subjects until the late 1850s, and backs down when all the powers of Europe protest. Without the Crimean War, Russia never gets the shock of defeat, and the abolition of serfdom can be put off nearly indefinitely. It is eventually abolished in the 1890s, but the former serfs still labor under various restrictions and obligations. This significantly alters the pattern of Russian industrial development, which tends to be under forced draft, with serf, later ex-serf labor, on an almost Soviet model. Increasingly alien to the European Great Powers, Russia grows away from them, and is hostile to the Anglo-Franco-German Triple Entente.
This world will have a very one-sided Great War. Anglo-Russian rivarly will segue with growing Austro-Russian rivalry in the Balkans, and Germany's desire for East-European protectorates to trigger a war sometime between 1910 and 1920. Russia will be somewhat stronger than in OTL, but will face all of the other Great Powers except America. Russia will lose badly in a couple of years, and will find herself divested of the Baltic states, Belarus, and Ukraine, which will end up German protectorates. The British will get Afghanistan, and also a slice of Russian Turkestan. France will get no Russian territory, but will be compensated with a full protectorate over the Ottoman Empire, with the exception of a small international garrison at the Straits. Austria will get a protectorate over most of the Balkans. This will lead to the collapse of the Romanovs and the emergence of some kind of Russian radical regime, but one with very limited strength.
June 23rd, 2004, 01:56 PM
I agree, very concise with a lot of room for imagination. Good timeline.
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