The Great American Democratic Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by DMA, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

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    What if, in the last years of the Nineteenth Century, the United States decided to embark upon an Empire, but one of democratic ideals, unlike all the other despotic ones before. It was to be an Empire of Liberation, where the Peoples of the American Empire, regardless of their birth, were to enjoy the rights which were once won by the Founding Fathers. And thus, with such grand thoughts & deliberate planning, the Spanish-American War of 1899 was merely the beginning in order to envisage such remarkable inspiration…


    Discuss.
     
  2. Hnau falante de português

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    How would they do that? Just: the United States decides to? There needs to be a significant change in thought and opinion for Americans to go a-crusading for revolutionary democracy, pulling a Napoleon. They need to be attacked by some imperial power, or maybe Mexico, some kind of crisis like a 19th century Pearl Harbor or September 11th that really starts pissing people off and begins the change.

    That being said, I believe that the complete dominationof Central America down to the edge of Panama is very possible for the US of A. I mean, they practically did it in OTL with Roosevelt and Wilson... its not too much to say that enforcing martial law becomes annexation. A short war with Mexico and then the rest of the nations are gobbled up along with our southern neighbour. We start putting our large meat cleaver into the affairs of South America, intervening in the wars of the time, gaining allies, signing treaties for Special Allegiances and then, what do you know, they are devoured as well. Canada is harder though.
     
  3. Advernt Well-Known Member

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    It will be intresting to see a USA stretching between Antartica and Artic , and between the Pacific and Atlantic . Coast to Coast , North to South , East to West.
     
  4. juanml82 Well-Known Member

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    Democratic Empire? And what will happen when all the conquered lands democraticallly decides to secede from their conquering nation?
     
  5. Elidor Well-Known Member

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    Maybe some early POD causes America to be involved the scramble for Africa?

    Ottomans get involved with the US war in Tripoli? Or America holding on to Liberia as a protectorate? Or some form of American bitterness with Britain that leads America to one-upmanship with them?
     
  6. Tocomocho My other car is a steam tank.

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    How that makes the USA a "great democratic empire", anyway? In my opinion, they should treat better the blacks, indians, grasiers, asians and all that other groups of unwelcomed inmigrants before if they don't want to be known as the "Great Hypocrite Empire", instead. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Tyr air in space

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    FYI the Americans already had a empire which covered the better part of a continent...
    This is a bit of a common AH mistake in my opinion. People ask WI the US had decided to go empire building like the Europeans- they seem to forget that whilst the Europeans were having to go to Asia and Africa for their empire the US was free to make a empire just across its land borders ala Russia.
     
  8. Jasen777 Martyr Without a Cause

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    There was considerable debate over whether "the constitution followed the flag" that is, what rights the people in places like the Philippines would have. Perhaps the moderate imperialists and anti-imperialists could get together and compromise. The U.S. would seek empire but they people under the flag would have full rights. Ok, probably a bit far-fetched.
     
  9. Rocano Banned

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    way to late

    No way man. Start the Empire after the Mexican-American War saying that the All of Mexico Movement wins and all of Mexico annexed to US.
     
  10. Paul Spring should avoid chat, but doesn't

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    Probably about 1/3 of North America. That falls well short of being "the better part of a continent."
     
  11. The Sicilian I'm Not Dead Yet, Bastards

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    You would have to go waaaay back for this to happen, meaning pre-Revolution.

    And I agree with the above sentiments that democracy and empire-building do not go hand in hand, but sword in fist. Read the Melian Debate and Pericles' funeral oration for an example of this contrast.
     
  12. Bishop Content Person

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    They'll be beaten like the South was beaten in the American civil war.
     
  13. DAv Middle Class... sorry

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    Not exactly what I'd call democratic...
     
  14. Tyr air in space

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    They do have most of the best parts :rolleyes:
     
  15. Admiral Brown Well-Known Member

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    When I read this kind of stuff, I feel a bit :mad:

    I know it’s written without any bad intention, but it implies what I consider a serious misconception: there are NO democratic empires. You can have empires AND democracies, …but not both.

    If a democracy conquers an empire her herself, that doesn’t mean she now rules a “democratic” empire. Britain was democratic in 1900, but her empire wasn’t a democratic one, because most of its inhabitants couldn’t vote. If the US conquered parts of South or Central Amercia, he wouldn’t have allowed their new inhabitants to be full citizens. And thus, it wouldn’t be a “democratic” empire.

    Why wouldn’t the US allow their new subjects to be citizens? Why wouldn’t he allow them to form states within the US federation? Because these “subjects” simply DIDN’T WANT to be part of the US. If the Filipinos, who were just a colony before 1898, fought so hard against the Americans when they tried to annexed them, think how much harder would had fought any Latin American nation, all of which had at least 80 years of being Independent states, and had achieved their independence after a long and bloody struggle.

    If, in spite of this, the US decided to let these new subjects form “states” and vote to elect federal representatives, the US democratic system would collapse immediately. Because they wouldn’t have voted for democrats or republicans, but for the “Partido independentista Latinoamericano”, who would immediately obstruct the functioning of the federal government. Democratic institutions just don’t work when ethnical loyalties are more important than ideologies, and national parties can’t gain supporters “nationally”. Think in the Irish voting massively for the Sinn Fein when they were under the British rule, instead of voting for a national UK party; or in what happened in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before its dissolution. Or, to a lesser extent, in what happens now in Belgium.

    That’s why a “democratic” American empire in 1900 is completely ASB. The only way it could be achieved is through the genocide of most Latin-Americans. Latin American was (and still is) a poor region, with a lot of inequalities and injustices. But its peoples simple don’t want (and didn’t wanted back then) to become part of the US. They had fought very hard to become independent, and wanted to keep what they had gained.

    They had intellectuals, writers, poets and thinkers. They had a history of their own, and a strong consciousness of what they weren’t: the US. Even in the poorest regions, when the US intervened, nationalist anti-imperialist movements appeared (like the one of Sandino in Nicaragua). If the US had tried to openly annex Cuba in 1900, a Guerilla war would have started inmediatly. It’s true that the US annexed Northern Mexico easily. But it would have been a different story if it had choiced to conquer the densely populated core of the country.

    And, let’s be fair, how likely was for a Black or a native Americacan, or even a Catholic Irish to become an US president in 1900? Well, Benito Juarez, a mestizo Indian, became president of Mexico in 1863. 1863!!!!!!! Would he even be a “governor” if Mexico was an US state? I don’t think so.

    I firmly believe that, back then, an US intervention wouldn’t have improved the situation of the poor in Latin America. I think it might have been the opposite.

    If you want to make a scenario of the US conquering most of South America, fine. But please don’t call that a “democratic” empire. Because the only way in which this statement could have been true is if the original inhabitants were massively exterminated, and replaced by settlers who are then given the right to vote. A very doubtfull democracy.
     
  16. Elidor Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why America can't do both... but I concede it is unlikely that they will. Unlikely, but within plausibility.
     
  17. Tyr air in space

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    Ability.
    And common sense- empire building generally isn't too economical.
     
  18. Rocano Banned

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    I think the US could find enough Collaborators to annex these states Federally. By the way the US would do this by outlawing these Freedom Party's
     
  19. DAv Middle Class... sorry

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    Does the word 'resistance' mean much to you?
     
  20. Admiral Brown Well-Known Member

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    So they form a new one with another name. If it is banned again, elections are boycoted, local legislatures declare themselves independent and are disolved, armed resistance arrises. Chaos, to sum up, and no democracy worth of it's name.

    This if they don't take a diffferent approach: now we are the mayority and so, our federal representatives vote to move the Capital to Cartagena de Indias, to charge high taxes to the rich industrials in the north in order to fund devellopment programms in the south, and this kind of stuff. Until the people in the North simple fed up of their tax money being spent in the South and form a secesionist movement:eek: