A More Perfect Union: An Alternate History of the Land of the Free

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by HeX, May 22, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: A Peculiar Institution

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
    --Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

    "He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought & sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he has obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed again the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another."
    --The Thirteenth Transgression Committed by King George III against the American Colonies

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
    --Preamble to the United States Constitution

    "And I say, why shall we stand for this tyranny any longer? Why do we stand by and watch as Europe plunges herself into destruction and darkness once more? England has been our enemy since the days of the Revolution, when men and boys picked up their rifles and fought for the fruits of Liberty and Freedom. And the time has come that we must do so again! And so I call upon the denizens of the United States of America, men and women alike from Alaska to Panama, New York to California, Nunavut to Yucatan, I call upon them to fight! To take up arms against the tyrannous empires of Britain, of France, of Spain, of Russia! We fight for Equality, for Freedom, for our Livelihoods! We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat!"
    --The Inauguration Speech of Winston Churchill, Twenty-Sixth President of the United States of America, January 20, 1940

    "It is on this day, July 4, 1839, that the state of Mississippi, and therefore the rest of these United States, has declared the institution of slavery to be abolished, and the owners of those slaves to be reimbursed for five hundred U.S. dollars per negro."
    --Mississippi Governor Arthur P. Bagby

    "The color of a man's skin is as important as the mud on his boots."
    --Alexander Hamilton, Fourth President of the United States of America

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    Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson Writing the Declaration of Independence

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    June 29, 1776

    The sun beat down upon the Pennsylvania State House on a particularly sweltering summer's day, streaming through the windows and roasting the men inside the building to the point of boiling. They loosened their stuffy collars and shifted their uncomfortable wigs, trying anything to escape the heat.

    At the front of the room stood five men. John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert Livingston of New York appeared dignified, with their powdered white wigs and crisp, clean clothing. Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia were quite the opposite, what with their natural hair and simple, almost disheveled jackets and shirts. These men were the Committee of Five, a group of the Colonies' greatest statesmen and political minds who had been assembled a month prior to pen the document that would officially sever the ties of the Thirteen American Colonies from Great Britain. Presently, the Congress was reviewing Thomas Jefferson's first draft of the so-called 'Declaration of Independence'. The document had to be moderate, to appease the radical New Englanders and more hesitant Southerners on many accounts. The problem was, the session had hit a snag.

    "We shall not remove the passage, and that is final!" exclaimed Jefferson, slamming his fist onto the table.

    "Mister Jefferson, do you not find it a bit... hypocritical that you, in this document, decry the institution of slavery, upon which you and many other men present have built your fortune?" asked Benjamin Harrison, who was presiding over the Committee of the Whole.

    "I do not. Slavery is a necessary evil, something many of us here must utilize to keep our financial statuses situated. If I could go about it another way, I would, but I fear Monticello would wither on the vine if I freed my slaves from bondage. But what I have said in that passage is the whole truth. The King has captured men who committed no wrongdoings against us, he has sent them across the perilous seas in veritable deathtraps, and he has forced the institution upon us."

    "With all due respect, sir," began Christoper Gadsden, a delegate from South Carolina, "You are, essentially, asking us to bring a premature end to slavery on the American continent. My state will surely not comply with that notion."

    "Neither will mine," chimed in Button Gwinnett, a delegate from Georgia.

    Benjamin Franklin stepped in. "We are not asking your states to abandon slavery," he explained. "Our constitution is to be the Articles of Confederation, not this declaration. This merely lists the reasons we as a nation have decided to sever our ties with Britain. One can insult an institution without ripping it up from the roots. That is what has happened here. And I believe that almost every slaveholder in this room has, at one point in their life, questioned the morality of striving for freedoms yourself while crushing the soul of another human being under your heel."

    "That is an interesting point..." mumbled Gadsden.

    "You, Gadsden, should know the feeling of downtroddenness yourself, considering the design of your battle flag," accused John Adams.

    "I merely request this one passage not be deleted, and wiped from the annals of history forever. Without it, we will have not taken a stance in the declaration. It will be viewed as indecisive, as weak, as a joke. We must, all together, take one side of the fence or the other. And if this passage is left in the Declaration of Independence, then I can guarantee you King George III will be afraid of what we rebels can accomplish," pleaded Jefferson.

    "You do realize that if we send off this document with that passage inside, we will be seen as radicals to the rest of the world," posited Gwinnett.

    "And what's so bad about that?" asked Jefferson, raising an eyebrow.

    "What's so bad is that you are building the coffin for your future livelihood out of words of abolition," he said, scowling.

    "It's a chance I'm willing to take. We have pledged our lives and fortunes to setting us free from British tyranny! This is a part of that movement! What will your states do, Gadsden and Gwinnett? Will they go back to quiet submission, to being crushed underfoot by the King, simply because they could not let one paragraph go untouched?"

    The hall fell to silence, absolute and deafening. Seconds, then minutes ticked by, as the Committee of Five stared down the delegates from the Deep South.

    Benjamin Harrison cleared his throat. "Well, then, if there are no objections to the passage in opposition to the slave trade..."

    No hands were raised to say otherwise.

    "...then we shall move on. The next segment is under review because it may jeopardize our situation with what few allies we have in Parliament in London..."
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  2. Unknown Member

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    Oh, this is interesting; to quote the meme "Now you have my attention..."
     
  3. AkulaKursk Well-Known Member

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    Words cannot describe how much I love this!
     
  4. Threadmarks: Republican Dawn, Part One: The Revolution and the Founding of a Nation

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    On July 4, 1776, the Thirteen Colonies along the east coast of North America officially declared their total independence from Great Britain, in response to decades of King George III overstepping his boundaries by taxing the colonists and stripping them of their natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Since 1775, colonists had been in armed rebellion against the British with no clear idea of what they were fighting for, but now, they had a cause they were willing to die for.

    Initially, things seemed bleak for the Americans. The British seemed to win every battle they fought, and nearly captured General George Washington's army in New York. But by a stroke of luck, or perhaps divine intervention, Washington and his men escaped the Redcoats and were pursued south, though they were unable to halt the British advance into Philadelphia, which Congress had to abandon.

    Then, on Christmas Day, 1776, Washington and his men launched a raid on Trenton, New Jersey, decimating the Hessian forces there. From that point on, the fledgling United States was never at such a low point. While Washington's men languished over the winter in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, American troops up north won a series of decisive victories at Saratoga, New York, spurring the French, Spanish, and Dutch to both recognize and send support to the US. To raise more troops, Washington convinced Congress to allow black battalions to be raised, citing the controversial passage of the Declaration of Independence as a reason, with slaves able to join in exchange for freedom. About one-fifth of the total slave population signed up to fight for the rebels or the Crown during the war, each side promising freedom from bondage.

    The war slowly but surely turned in favor of the Americans, coalescing in the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. On September 5, the French navy destroyed the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake, stranding General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia. Cornwallis made a series of tactical blunders that gave the Franco-American allies the upper hand, and he surrendered on October 17, 1781.

    While the conflict continued, the bulk of the fighting was over and parliament voted against continuing aggression in North America. At the Peace of Paris in 1783, Britain officially signed a treaty recognizing the United States as a sovereign nation, including the territories of the original Thirteen Colonies and stretching west to the Mississippi River and with fishing rights off the Newfoundland Coast.

    The young republic got off to a rough start, and almost imploded after the Articles of Confederation proved themselves to be far too weak to effectively govern a nation. So the statesmen of America convened in Philadelphia once more, and drafted the Constitution, which expertly balanced federal law, states' rights, and the liberties of the people. It was under this Constitution, and its later ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights, that the great men of George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson ruled. But the verdict for the next election, the Election of 1808, was anyone's guess.

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    Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, After the American Victory at Yorktown


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    Alexander Hamilton, First Secretary of the Treasury

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    June 22, 1791

    Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton poured over his notes one more time. If he was to get his plans through Congress, he had to be thorough, yet succinct. The damned Republicans--chiefly Jefferson and Madison--were unmoving and unsympathetic when it came to his goals.

    Just when he felt ready to go insane, his wife Eliza called out from the hall, "Alexander, it's a beautiful day outside. You've spent far too long cooped up in that office of yours. You should take a walk, and clear your mind."

    Hamilton sat there in his seat, silent.

    "Dear, did you here what I just said?" asked his wife, sticking her head into his study.

    "Yes, I did. You're right, I need some fresh air," he conceded, grabbing his coat and hat. Hamilton kissed his wife on the cheek, and left for the streets of Philadelphia.

    Eliza had been right--it was a beautiful day out. Hamilton couldn't remember when Pennsylvania had last seen such gorgeous weather. He strode down the street, and was soon enveloped in his own thoughts.

    -

    Alexander Hamilton crouched in the shadows of the tall swamp grass, clutching his unloaded rifle close to his chest. After years of pestering Washington for a command, he had finally been granted control over three battalions, and just in time for what was shaping up to be the most important battle of the Revolution yet, here at Yorktown.

    He glanced over his shoulder, mentally counting his troops. His eyes passed over his French allies, then his two groups of white soldiers, and the last one, a bit farther away from the rest of the force, which consisted entirely of black men. Hamilton had spent the entire war trying to raise a battalion of Africans, and now, at the Revolution's climax, he had gotten his wish. Many, if not most, of the men were former slaves, and had been promised their freedom in exchange for fighting bravely, though some were already freed, hailing from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York, and simply wishing to do their parts.

    Hamilton stared up at the looming Redoubt No. 9, one of two targets he and his men had been ordered to capture under the cover of darkness, armed only with bayonets--gunshots would alert more Redcoats than the patriots wanted. If anything, he reasoned, having an all-black battalion was an advantage during a covert operation. They would be able to blend into the shadows more easily than a white man.

    "On my mark," whispered Hamilton. "We go in three... two... one... now!"

    Silently, Hamilton vaulted over the dirt structure and landed at the foot of a British soldier. Before he could raise his gun, or make even the slightest sound, the American plunged his blade into the Englishman's chest, silencing him.

    Hamilton watched as his own men hopped the redoubt, and a little ways away he saw the French scampering over Redoubt No. 10. He smiled, and followed his men into battle. With every strike and swing, Hamilton and his soldiers brought down unsuspecting guards until someone managed to sound the alarm. Redcoats fell like flies, as Hamilton brought his bayonet down on the head of--

    -

    "Oh, I am so sorry, sir! I apologize! I did not see you walking there!"

    Hamilton snapped out of his daydream and realized he'd collided with a young woman, who was now blushing fiercely.

    "Oh, no no that was, well that was my fault," he replied. "What is a woman such as yourself doing in this part of the city?"

    She blushed deeper, her face a burnt scarlet. "I am in desperate need of money. My husband, James Reynolds, has abandoned me and circumstance has forced me to live in a boarding house a few blocks away."

    "Oh," muttered Hamilton.

    "I wonder, sir, if I may trouble you for some money? I fear I may have to resort to... other means if I cannot beg for it."

    It was Hamilton's turn to blush, as he knew exactly what those 'other means' would be. "How much do you need, Miss...?"

    "My name is Maria Reynolds, and I think about... thirty dollars should suffice," she said.

    He stuck his hands in his pockets and ruffled around for a little bit. He immediately realized that this was not his normal everyday jacket, but the one he wore on more special occasions. So, he was only a little surprised when he produced thirty-five dollars and sixteen cents. "How about this?" he offered.

    Maria Reynolds' eyes went wide at the sight of the cash, and although she nodded, her face had transformed from a flirtatious red to an ashen gray.

    "Is everything alright, Mrs. Reynolds?"

    "Yes, yes, everything is just perfect," she stammered, taking the bills. "Um, would you mind walking me back to the boarding house? I feel a bit uncomfortable going myself."

    Hamilton glanced up, and managed to find a clock. His eyebrows shot up when he saw how late it was.

    "I'm very sorry, ma'am, but unfortunately I can't. I hadn't realized how late it is--I guess I just got lost in my thoughts--and I promised my wife I'd be home for supper."

    "But--" protested Maria.

    "I'm truly sorry! My good luck to you on reuniting with your husband!" exclaimed Alexander Hamilton, tipping his cap to Maria Reynolds and dashing off towards home.

    The two would never meet again.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  5. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Hello! I figured it's time for a proper introduction to this timeline, which will be exploring a world where Thomas Jefferson's deleted passage in the Declaration of Independence that denounced slavery was kept in the document. This is my first alternate political history timeline--my actual first timeline is still a work in progress cultural TL--so I'm still learning. I should say that I view these timelines more from a storytelling perspective than just excerpts from a textbook in another universe, so there will be a lot of segments that are written in a narrative format.

    That being said, the goal of this timeline is to create a (mostly) realistic world where America lives up to its name as the 'Land of the Free'. As you've probably seen, slavery is ending very early, 1839 to be precise, and full-on equal rights for all races and creeds will come much, much sooner than in our own timeline. That will lead to a whole mess of butterflies, as you can probably tell. So, I hope you're all excited to take a trip through an alternate history of the United States of America, in an attempt to make its promise of being 'the land of the free, and the home of the brave' true.
     
  6. Unknown Member

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    Good start so far; waiting for more...
     
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  7. NotQuiteConfident Well-Known Member

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    Looks great so far, I will be watching this for more.

    Something to note, as far as I know the passage condemning slavery was specifically targeting the trans-Atlantic slave trade and forcibly abducting people for slavery and not the keeping of slaves already in the Americas. This attitude can partially be seen in the banning of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but not actual slavery, in the constitution (though there were other reasons behind that).
     
  8. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    While that is an excellent point, I should say that the Constitution is identical to OTL's at this point, and Washington, Adams, and Jefferson all had nearly identical presidencies. The real changes will come when Hamilton is elected over Madison in 1808, due to him avoiding the Reynolds Affair.

    However, the trans-Atlantic slave trade was still banned in 1808 as per IOTL.
     
  9. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

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    Subscribed, this looks neat!
     
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  10. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    German-American Alliance confirmed?
     
  11. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Kinda. The US will actually be the head of a major alliance with three other nations. One of those is Germany, but the other two I'm keeping under wraps for now...
     
  12. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Let me take a guess, Italy and whatever the Imperial Japan analogue is ITTL.
     
  13. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Nope and nope. The only other thing I'll say is that those two other main allies are not on the European continent.
     
  14. Threadmarks: Republican Dawn, Part Two: The Election of 1808

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    The Election of 1808 was in line with those of 1796 and 1800 in its brutality on both political sides and its importance. After eight years of Thomas Jefferson in office, it was hard to tell if the United States was better-off or worse-off than before the Virginian's election. The Louisiana Purchase had effectively doubled the territory of the United States, and Jefferson had done good work at home and abroad to keep America relatively at peace with the world. However, Jefferson's second term was full of failings and disenchantment, the most glaring issue being the extremely unpopular Embargo Act of 1807, which had cut off nearly all trade to Europe and infuriated the merchants of New England.

    The battle came down to two of America's best-known Founding Fathers: Democratic-Republican James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Jefferson's hand-picked successor; and Federalist Alexander Hamilton, First Secretary of the Treasury and George Washington's former right-hand man. A similar battle had gone down before in the Election of 1804, except there, Hamilton and the Federalists had been decimated by the Jeffersonians. Now, there was an opening, and if the Federalists could strike in just the right spot, they could clinch the presidency.

    The road to the election was fierce. Madison and Hamilton, former friends who had been torn apart by their differing politics, pulled no punches. Both men read sections from the other's own Federalist papers that supported the opposite's line of thought. The Democratic-Republicans insisted that the 'millionaire's club' that was the Federalist Party would sideline the everyman in favor of the wealthy merchant, and claimed Hamilton would seek an 'imperial presidency'. Meanwhile, the Federalists called out the Democratic-Republicans as being weak and unable to handle the demands of controlling the reins to a nation as large as the United States was--Jefferson's first term, they argued, had been a fluke, and his second term showed his party's true bumbling nature. They also stated that the only way to get the Embargo Act repealed would be to vote the Federalists back into office, for Madison would keep the law intact.

    In the end, though, the true force that propelled the winner to victory came not from modern American politics, but a man who hadn't served for close to a decade: John Adams. He had stayed silent during Jefferson's presidency, believing nothing but bad things could come from blindly opposing an administration simply because they employed a different way of thought. Over the course of eight years, Hamilton had transformed the Federalist Party into his own beast, but there were many sticklers who preferred Adams' ways, namely rising figure John Quincy Adams. When the elderly John Adams announced his support for Alexander Hamilton, though, the party was healed of its infighting and threw its whole weight behind their candidate.

    It came close. For all of Jefferson's pitfalls, he was still immensely popular, and his influence would not go understated. But the people of the United States of America were tired of his policies. They wanted someone new in office, someone who could handle the growing issues of neutrality in the Napoleonic Wars and the problems of the economy. And so, by a slim margin of just nine electoral votes, the people elected Alexander Hamilton as the fourth President of the United States.

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    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  15. SuperZtar64 Lord Protector of the New Commonwealth

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    You had me at "President Hamilton"..
     
  16. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

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    President Hamilton? expect an earlier populist backlash, but likely a very different early 19th.
     
  17. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Funnily enough, this timeline started out as a "What if Hamilton became President?" TL, born from my obsession with Hamilton: An American Musical.
     
  18. BELFAST Irish Confederate

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    Nice work.
    I like the anti slavery in the story.
    I wonder will American Indians get better treatment than OTL ? as they also fought for independence along with the colonists.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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  19. Unknown Member

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    Oh, this is interesting; just keep it as realistic as possible, and waiting for more, @HeX...

    Wonder how the butterflies will affect the rest of the world...
     
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  20. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Thanks! I'm glad you like it.

    American Indians will indeed get better treatment, though they won't come up in a big way for a while.

    I'm not going for hard realism here, this TL will be somewhere between 'Rule of Cool' and 'hard realism', though it'll lean more towards the latter than the former.
     
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