The Admiral Hook
October 5th, 2011, 08:44 PM
Assuming the CSA is successful in its secession from the Union, it has been brought up many times that it probably cannot survive economically. Revanchism in the north and lack of sustainability in the south may result in re-unification.
Can we list and discuss some of the earliest all the way to the latest possible dates for integration? I'm trying to get a rough timeframe.
And, of course, I have to ask you AHers what the most likely method of such integration would be (if not war) and the results of a victorious South who starved itself into reunifying with the north and the subsequent hurried industrialization. Political ramifications? Etc.
Please discuss as many options as possible.
October 5th, 2011, 10:15 PM
My view of the Confederacy's future is that it would confront the twin grave problems of it being rooted in the fundamental view that a third of its population is divinely mandated to be held as property by the other two thirds in an institution that even in the shortest likely victory scenario has already been thrown out of whack in key areas, while its only truly national all-classes institution is the Confederate Army whose soldiers won't be getting paid for a long time, if ever.
The Confederacy might survive an additional two generations at most under military dictatorships but those dictatorships would carry in them the seeds of their own destruction and both mitigate some deep flaws in the Confederate system while dramatically worsening others. The Confederate civilians becoming used to military dictatorship on the scale of an independent Confederacy and the militarization of overall Confederate society that would produce would cause the seeds of the Confederate Civil War that would doom the Confederacy.
The Union would be moving troops to its border at first to keep that violence from spilling over but when the Confederacy starts its implosion into a multi-sided civil war (and it will not be simply two sides, we're looking at a Lebanese Civil War/Russian Civil War scenario here) the Union reacts to somebody who goes Pancho Villa on their borders, the opportunity dawns on them and the USA re-absorbs the Confederacy in a process that unfolds due to the complete collapse into anarchy that a civil war would produce, and due to the USA wanting to forestall anyone else getting adventurous.
The conquest part is the easy part, after two generations the Confederacy will have diverged enough in institutions, culture, and society that re-integrating it would be akin to North Korea-South Korea as opposed to East Germany-West Germany. This is assuming that the military dictatorships successfully prolong the collapse as opposed to the CSA pulling a Pakistan in less than one generation.
I wonder how Jeff Davis and his bunch would fare in post-reunification history?
October 5th, 2011, 11:02 PM
1. Conquest and Occupation
Like the OTL Civil War and Reconstruction, but with the war interrupted by a temporary "Confederate Victory" truce that the Union later repudiates.
2. Successful Crittenden Compromise
War is delayed for one reason or another. There's difficulties organizing a viable Confederate nation without the four states that OTL seceded over the decision to compel the seceding states back into the Union (VA, NC, TN, and AK) and without the war effort as a unifying principle. And there's also more time for the Union to negotiate concessions for renouncing secession. It's plausible that the CSA in such a scenario would accept reintegration after a few years in exchange for Union concessions.
3. Sudden peaceful reintegration
Several years down the road, the Confederate government is faced with a crisis it can't effectively respond to, and eventually in desperation turns to the Union for aid. The Union's price is reintegration, probably with concessions similar to a Crittenden Compromise scenario to address Confederate reservations about reintegration and to provide a measure of face-saving. It'd have to be a very extreme crisis, or Confederate national identity would have to have become very weak, for reintegration to be the least-bad solution
3a. Major slave revolt in the Deep South. This would probably require major organized outside support to supply and arm the rebels in order to become an existential threat to the Confederacy.
3b. Populist rebellion by poor, landless whites, akin to the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
3c. CSA somehow gets into a war with a European power.
3d. CSA unable to pay its national debt. Faces some combination of military compulsion by European creditors and the prospect of a complete financial collapse due to cascading bankruptcy by domestic creditors. Turns to the Union for a bailout.
4. Gradual peaceful reintegration
The CSA would have a very large land border with and share a network of navigable rivers with another country that is its logical primary trading partner. This country would also share a common language, a similar culture, and similar political traditions. It's only natural that barring periods of active hostilities, the distinction between the two countries would blur.
It'd be pretty natural to establish free trade. Heck, I'm not sure the governments at the time could maintain peacetime trade barriers with each other even if they wanted to. Likewise, there would almost certainly be very loose controls (if any controls at all) on immigration and tourism between the USA and CSA. Next would come at least an informal military alliance, then joint infrastructure projects along the border, then regulatory harmonization programs, and so on. As long-distance transportation becomes easier, it'd become more and more common for people to move between the USA and CSA for casual reasons, and it'd be pretty common for sons of well-off Confederate families to attend prestigious schools in the North.
It'd certainly be plausible for them to persist as separate countries despite close cultural, diplomatic, and economic ties, as per the USA and Canada OTL, but it's also plausible that eventually reunification would become a more attractive option than continued formal independence, especially since unlike Canada, the CSA's residents would consider themselves "American" (just a different flavor of American than the USA), and the CSA wouldn't have strong political ties to Britain.
5. Piecemeal reintegration
In this scenario, individual states would secede from the CSA and rejoin the USA. If the open borders and customs union policies posited in Scenario 4 don't happen, many of the border states might decide that they'd rather be on the Union side of the trade barriers than the Confederate side.
A big likely contributing factor here would be the likelihood that the trend of slavery concentrating in the Deep South would continue. The Deep South crops of cotton, sugar, and indigo (especially cotton) are much more lucrative uses of slaves than the Border South crops of wheat and corn, or even tobacco, so practically from the invention of the cotton gin, supply and demand was leading the slave population to be "sold down the river" to the Deep South. The Atlantic slave trade will probably stay dead, so expanding cotton growing will continue to drain the slave populations of the Border South.
Add to this the OTL pre-1860 trend of slave escapes being much easier from Border South states, where it was a much shorter distance to free states where covert aid could be obtained and then to Canada where you're legally free once you cross the border. The effect would be magnified in an independent Confederacy, where the USA would almost certainly refuse to recapture and ship back escaped Confederate slaves and would be fairly likely to abolish slavery altogether within its own borders. As a result, 1) escapes northwards produced a further drain on the slave population of border states, and 2) slaveowners in Border South states often felt the need to offer inducements to their slaves to not run away, often in the form of a promise to manumit them after 5-10 years of good service. Both these effects were significant pre-1860 IOTL (especially in Kentucky and Missouri), and would likely accelerate once the Confederacy broke away.
Even by 1860, Kentucky, Missouri, western Virginia, and eastern Tennessee had low enough slave and slaveowner populations that they were only marginally connected to the Slave State bloc. As they continue to see their slave populations decline (sold southwards, escaped northwards, or manumitted as a reward for not running away), they'll have less and less in common (culturally, politically, and institutionally) with the Deep South that would dominate Confederate politics, and more and more in common with the free Northern states.
As each state breaks away, the remaining Confederacy will become weaker, and a new Free State/Union frontier will be exposed, pushing the row of "border states" southwards.
October 5th, 2011, 11:56 PM
After thinking about it a bit more, I suspect the most likely scenario would be a hybrid of 5 with 1 or 3. The border states become more and more free over the course of a generation or two, then one-by-one they split away and rejoin the Union. Meanwhile, the rump Confederacy increasingly becomes a third-world basket case that's eventually either conquered/liberated by the North (which invades to clean up a nasty mess on its border and to liberate the slaves) or collapse under their own weight and get absorbed by the North.
October 5th, 2011, 11:59 PM
Without war, there will be no reintegration, ever. The CSA political class is pretty much immune to economic incentives and disincentives the way the Union and others respond to them; wealth is not their primary status marker, so the middle and upper classes do not feel threatened when an economy performs sluggishly or even contracts. Competition - in sports, dueling and war - and public displays of chivalry and piety are how they keep score, and by Yankee standards, none of them even want to be rich. They will not feel bad simply because the Union - or even Mexico - is more rich. They have to lose a war (presumably to the USA), or lose to a violent populist/Marxist revolution, before it can become remotely possible.
That said, the number of wars and revolutions they could lose is nearly endless. Yankee revanchism as early as 1880? Check. Silliness with Mexico? Check. Spanish-Confederate War over Cuba? Check. Dispute with Britain over slavery? Check. White Marxists at home? Check. A domestic slave uprising is actually the only one I can't see succeeding. Mix and match to taste.
I personally would enjoy seeing them go Marxist, with the Union (and possibly Mexico) intervening at that point. 1910 is a fair year. Or Mexican revolutionaries boil over into Texas, a Mex-CSA war begins, and Mexico wins.
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