Fate of Erie Triangle

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Stuyvesant, May 10, 2011.

  1. Stuyvesant About to Ig-lose it

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    In a situation of the articles of confederation failing, with no constitution, leading to the disintegration of the US, who would control the Erie triangle?
     
  2. DuQuense Commisioned Officer CSN

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    I hate these *** Hate Hate HATE:mad::mad:

    :confused:What is the Erie Triangle???? ?Any thing like the Bermuda Triangle? ?A Island in the middle of Lake Erie.? ?Something in Ireland? - no wait thats Eire.

    If you want a answer give us enuff Information to know what you are talking about. The wiki -- A Map -- 3~4 lines of description -- Something more than 1 nothing line.



    *** Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel about this.:p
     
  3. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    It'd stay belonging to New York. NY has no reason to sell it to Pennsylvania, especially in this TL where they're going to be rival nations rather than friends.

    DuQuense: Pennsylvania has a little triangle of land connecting it to Lake Erie. It used to belong to New York, until the federal government pressured NY to sell it to PA. Without it, PA would be landlocked, with no direct access to either the Atlantic or Great Lakes.
     
  4. Earl_of_Somerset Banned

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    I think Erie Triangle would go to New York, After all Pennsylvannia didn't need it for access to Lake Erie, they just didn't want to build a new port.

    Pennsylvannia would just build a port in the significantly smaller stretch of land on lake erie it had, since there was no federal government to allot the erie triangle to it.

    Better yet, just beat up on Connecticut and takes its western resreve.

    Its Connecticut, what could it even do to stop Pennsylvannia?:rolleyes:
     
  5. Earl_of_Somerset Banned

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    [​IMG]
    Pennsylvannia had about 3 miles to work with though...
     
  6. black angel Gay-Jew

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    I was hoping for something about the US owning Éire :(
     
  7. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    DuQuense already made that joke.
     
  8. black angel Gay-Jew

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    yeah not joking
     
  9. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    Building a harbor isn't simply a matter of having a few miles of seafront property. If Pennsylvania wants a harbor on Lake Erie, it needs the Erie Triangle.
     
  10. Earl_of_Somerset Banned

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    I see your reasoning, but i wonder how well the site could have been turned into a port? (there is one somewhat close in Ohio)

    I will still however support taking Connecticut's western reserve as the best option for everyone
     
  11. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    Taking the Connecticut Reserve is certainly a possibility. Of course, multiple other states have varying claims on the territory. Several of them (New York, Virginia) are going to be stronger than Pennsylvania, too. New York isn't going to want as much Great Lake-front property to get as much a monopoly as it can. Virginia is going to want to move in and open up access to the area. Pennsylvania definitely could take the Connecticut Reserve, but it's by no means guaranteed.

    I don't think Pennsylvania could've built a port there. The entire reason they wanted the Erie Triangle was because the very tiny strip of coast they had was incredibly useless. I was actually unaware Pennsylvania had an Erie coast before you mentioned it, because all the sources I've read (not just wikipedia :p) refer to Pennsylvania pre-Erie Triangle as landlocked. With modern technology, they could probably do it. Back in the 18th and 19th century? Hell no.
     
  12. Vitruvius Well-Known Member

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    The Erie Triangle was never part of NY, at least not by the time such an entity as 'the Erie Triangle' came to exist as a territorial issue. NY state settled the border with PA in 1774 by agreeing to draw a line along the 42 parallel from the Delaware river west to Lake Erie. Conceivably this would give NY 'the Erie Triangle' except that land north of the border was also claimed by MA under its sea to sea charter. NY settled its dispute with Mass over Western NY in 1787 by the Treaty of Hartford by giving the State of MA right of preemptive purchase (from Iroquois for next to nothing) and sale (to settlers for $$$) of lands west of the preemption line (just west of modern day Geneva NY). But the land itself would become part of the state of NY. MA got the cash by selling the land to settlers and NY got to keep it long term. This would have theoretically left the triangle in NY except for the NY's cession of western lands.

    In the interim between those two land and border settlements NY agreed to the Cession Act of 1780 which ceded claims to all Indian land in the North West. It was hoped that if they gave up claims there the Federal government and other states would look favorably upon their claims to the area that became Vermont (which they didn't). The act was approved by Congress in 1782. The post 1782 western border of NY state was a meridian (N-S line) drawn south from the western bend (edge/shore) of Lake Ontario.

    At the time it was assumed that Lake Ontario actually extended much further west than it did so it was assumed the Pennsylvania border along the 42nd parallel would not cross that meridian until well into Lake Erie. Thus NY state assumed it was only giving away land further west in Michigan and the Ohio Valley by agreeing to the Cession Act. When a survey was finally undertaken in '86-'87 (the British were reluctant to let American surveyors into Canada) and a measurement was taken of what longitude Lake Ontario ended at it was found to be east of Presque Isle. So the 'Erie Triangle' came into existence as land that both NY and Mass had given up claim to, the former under false assumptions of local geography, and to which PA had no claim under the border it negotiated with NY.

    By default the Triangle became Federal land same as the other territories of the Northwest ceded by NY (1782), VA (1784), MA (1787) and CT (1786 but excepting the Reserve along Lake Erie). But it was far too small to ever be made its own state like OH, Indiana etc etc and completely surrounded by NY and PA. So NY and PA then submitted competing bids to buy the land from the Federal government. PA had the better lobbyist and won and was able to purchase the rights to the land from the Feds, after which they then purchased the land itself from the Iroquois.

    Back to the original question. I assume by Articles failing - disintegration of the US you mean the states go their separate ways after some period of trying and failing to make it work under the Articles, so sometime between 1781 and 1789. So a lot depends on exactly when and how the Federal government under the articles breaks down. The Triangle is under NYS claim until 1780 (submitted by NY) or 1782 (ratified by Congress) and under MA claim until the 1787 Treaty of Hartford. NY probably still cedes the terr since they did it so early on, the US would have to fall apart just as the Articles go into force to change this. I assume MA still agrees to the Treaty because they got a good deal with Preemption since all they were really after was money. Two sovereign states would likely still negotiate such a deal. So its really a matter of how federal lands are split up when the states go their separate ways since no state is likely to have legal claim to the land by that point.

    Unlike Virginia and CT New York state had no 'reserve' in the Western territories. It gave up all claim to such lands without condition in 1780 and instead settled its veterans in CNY around modern Syracuse and Utica (which is why all towns in the region are named for Roman generals; Pompey, Manlius, Camillus, Marcellus etc etc). So it has no immediate financial imperative to recover western lands and since it already has a generous share of Lake Erie's southern and eastern shore it has no geo-political imperative. NY is still likely to cry foul and say they never meant to cede claim to the triangle but its hard to say how hard they'd be willing to fight it if came to that.

    Another possibility is that the US falls apart over the issue of ceding western land. There was a hold up on Virginia's cession because they included clauses to honor previous land grants which is why it took four years to be approved. So if the US falls apart before NY cedes its western lands it still has claim to the triangle (and much more to the west) and probably will retain it in any settlement to the detriment of PA. PA after all never had any claim to the triangle or to the Ohio valley so pressing claims to western land can't be based on law so much as economic or geo-politcal need which NY, CT, VA et all are not likely to care too much about.


    Sorry this is so long but as I'm originally from WNY this is an issue I not only know a little about but have a personal connection to, so to speak.
     
  13. ColeMercury is male, FYI

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    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Erie+Triangle
     
  14. Grey Wolf Me? Gone Fishin'

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    If the confederation collapses, doesn't that also mean that what became Tennessee and Kentucky end up as Western colonies of other original states? Somewhere along the way there is going to be war when some of these colonies don't want to be colonies anymore and rebel against their state

    Best Regards
    Grey Wolf
     
  15. Lord Grattan consigned to OTL

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    You might in fact see various states recind their land claim cessions if the confederation collapses altogether.

    Statecessions.png
     
  16. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    You're right enough. Up until the late 18th century or so, the west was a horrible mass of competing land claims. The borders and treaties were very contradicting. Depending on which treaties you choose to listen to, New York either never gave up claims, or never had the claims to being with. Without a federal government to negotiate claims, New York will almost certainly maintain the claim. Why follow a treaty giving a big chunk of your territory to an entity that no longer exists?

    Edit: Would the Erie triangle be far enough west to be ceded when all the states gave up their western claims, anyway? I'd think that the only relevant treaty for giving it up would be the one establishing NY's western border.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  17. Vitruvius Well-Known Member

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    Well NY and Pennsylvania had settled their border at the 42nd Parallel so PA has no claim thereafter. So by 1779 when Pennsylvania and Virginia settled their mutual border (which would have eliminated any potential Virginia claim to the triangle) the only states with potential claims were Massachusetts and NY. MA gave away its claim by directly negotiating with NY. Its cession of other more western lands in Michigan was done separately in a deal with the Federal government. Ironically that means Massachusetts gave up claim to the triangle in 1787 in favor of NY (not to the Feds) which had already given it up to the federal government in 1780/82. Only no one realized this until the land was actually surveyed.

    In the end it came down to political muscle and Pennsylvania was able to persuade and cajole enough people in the Federal government to 'outbid' (outwit?, outplay?) NY for the right to buy the land from the Federal government which now possessed it.
     
  18. Solomaxwell6 Banned

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    Exactly. And with the federal government out of the game here, it naturally goes to NY.
     
  19. Stuyvesant About to Ig-lose it

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    I will start this TL soon, with the death of a cerain someone from Connecticut

    *cough* namrehS regoR