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: Antebellum, Part Nine: Holding Onto Hope

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    "You can't hold a man down without staying down with him."
    -- Booker T. Washington

    --------------------------------​

    Nahiyan Muhammad Turner, born Nat Turner, came into the world a slave on October 2, 1800. For thirty-two years, he worked on a plantation in Southampton County, Virginia. It would have been unbearable if not for two things: his faith in God, and the light at the end of the tunnel, the looming end of slavery in 1832. Turner, upon being freed, was among the two-fifths of the population of former slaves who were forced to leave the state, and he decided to leave for Liberia--then a halfway-independent pseudostate on the west coast of Africa--rather than the North. Turner was a devout Christian, and so he decided it would be better for him to travel to Liberia instead of the deist, Revolutionary Spirit-laden North. And so, Nat Turner took hopped on the first ship from from Virginia to Williamsburg, his passage paid for by the state government.

    Nat Turner lived peacefully in Liberia for three years, but he wasn't satisfied. He decided to make a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land to find himself and ask God for instructions on what he should be doing to make the world a better place. So, in 1835, Nat Turner bought a camel, loaded it with supplies, and set off across the Sahara on a five thousand mile journey from Liberia's capital, Hamiltonia, to Jerusalem. Then, disaster struck. A month into his continent-spanning trek, Turner was caught up in a massive sandstorm. He lost his supplies and his camel, and wandered through the desert in scorching one hundred degree heat with nothing but the clothes on his back. Turner began to question his faith, asking why God would abandon his most faithful servant.

    Just as he'd given up all hope, a miracle happened. As Turner lay shivering in the freezing desert night, a vision came to him. While it was most likely hallucinations as a result of the multiple illnesses he was suffering from, he dreamt that an Arab man approached him, reassured him, and told him this was all part of God's plan for him. Turner was told he would be saved tomorrow, and that this was his chance to find the Truth. A group of Muslim traders stumbled across the husk of a man Nat Turner had become, suffering from heatstroke and lack of water. The traders nursed him back to health, although none of them spoke very good English, andTurner made a full recovery. The only person he could somewhat communicate with was the daughter of the group's leader, named A'isha, a girl who had secretly hoarded books of all kinds and taught herself to read and write, as well as to speak some English (most of the Western books she'd acquired were British). Turner fell in love with A'isha, which was the final nail in the coffin for his Christian faith. While he'd been debating converting to Islam ever since he was met by that mysterious Arab man (who he was certain had been the Prophet Muhammad), his love for A'isha sealed the deal, and in 1837, after two years of wandering in the desert, Nat Turner became a believer in Allah, the Quran, and the Prophet Muhammad. He changed his name as well, to the Muslim title of Nahiyan Muhammad Turner.

    Nahiyan and A'isha married on October 4, 1837, when the traders and their adoptive new member arrived in Cairo, Egypt. They remained in Cairo for almost a year, with Nahiyan becoming highly regarded as a preacher of the faith in the city. He regularly traveled to Mecca on missions of soul searching. But he made up his mind to return to Liberia, in the hopes of spreading Islam there. Instead of hiking across the desert for thousands of miles, though; this time, he and his wife took a ship from Cairo to Hamiltonia. The couple resided in Liberia, now an American territory, for the better part of two decades, until the summer of 1856. Nahiyan had amassed quite the following in Liberia, with a few hundred devout Muslims worshipping alongside him, a group he named the New Prophets of Islam. But the Christians of the territory didn't like the New Prophets or Nahiyan in the slightest, and ran him out of Hamiltonia on August 17, 1856. The New Prophets of Islam were willing to follow him wherever he went, and so, on September 23, the fifty-six-year-old Nahiyan Muhammad Turner and his followers sailed from Hamiltonia, Liberia to Jamestown, Virginia.

    [​IMG]
    Nahiyan Muhammad "Nat" Turner
    (b. 1800 -- d. 1869)

    By the time they arrived, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. Freedom Rides were happening every other week. Demonstrations were taking place from Richmond to Mobile. Frederick Douglass gave rousing speeches from every city that wouldn't throw bricks at him. And the Freedom Party was winning vote after vote. Nahiyan decided he wanted to be a part of it, but was utterly shocked when he discovered the movement's peaceful nature. Nahiyan had always had anger issues and preferred to use force over diplomacy to get his way (in fact, he'd been planning a slave revolt in his early twenties that never happened due to his finding out that abolition was coming in 1832), so when he found that Frederick Douglass was attempting to work with whites to further his goals, he was furious. He firmly believed that the only way to achieve their goal of equality was through violence. The New Afrika Movement finally found its voice as Nahiyan Muhammad Turner and the New Prophets of Islam entered the world of Civil Rights by causing a wave of rioting to break out in the South, black versus white. Suddenly, the Civil Rights Movement had two leaders who advocated for the same goal but whose means of achieving those goals were as different as could be. The movement began to fracture. But Douglass was having none of that. In November of 1858, he announced that in June of the following year, the largest force of Freedom Fighters ever assembled would march on Washington, D.C. to demand their due equal rights. Douglass cordially invited the New Prophets of Islam to join them, as long as they remained peaceable.

    Nahiyan reluctantly agreed. On June 7, 1859, one hundred and fifty thousand men, women, and children from all over the country entered the capital city of the United States of America. They separated into two groups, one led by Frederick Douglass and the icons of the Freedom Party, the other by Nahiyan Muhammad Turner and the New Prophets of Islam. They met at the foot of the Washington Monument, which was almost entirely completed, sans the capstone. A photograph was taken of Douglass and Turner shaking hands upon meeting, symbolizing the unity to be found in the Civil Rights Movement, even between religions that normally despised each other. Then, Frederick Douglass gave one of the most important speeches in all of history, the "I Have Hope" speech. In this speech, Douglass outlined the dreams he had for the Union to see all people as one in the same, and to look past something as superficial as race or gender and to see the human being inside everyone. By the end of it, the entire crowd was in tears.

    [​IMG]
    The Washington Monument, ca. 1859
    The monument's construction was largely funded by the estate of Alexander Hamilton

    The protesters remained in Washington for two more days, filling up local hotels and camping out on the lawn of the White House and the National Mall. More speeches were delivered, from Turner as well as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, George Boyer Vashon, and many more. President Taney was livid, but couldn't feasibly do much of anything--the number of protesters was ten times as large as the Union's entire standing army, much less the city police force. He did, however, complain nonstop to Southern newspapers, as Northern newspapers had a field day covering the March on Washington, the first successful and largest event of its kind.

    The March on Washington displayed the gravity of the situation in America perfectly. It also provoked the South even more. Despite the March's peacefulness, it was known as the 'Nigger Rebellion of 1859' in locations below the Potomac River, where the "know-nothing negroes of the country lied and swindled their way to our fine nation's capital, with their sole goal in mind being nothing less than the murder of our fair President." The March on Washington helped the Civil Rights Movement tremendously, but it also marked the true point of no return for the Union. Civil war was inevitable. Now it was just up to when it would start.
     
  2. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    Well, I reckon the South will get an asskickin
     
  3. Unknown Member

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    This keeps getting better and better, especially compared to the horror of the What Madness is This? TL (for those who are reading this TL, read that TL to see how horribly things could go wrong in the US--and, indeed, the world)…

    Yeah, the South will get its butt kicked, methinks...
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  4. Threadmarks: Antebellum, Part Ten: The Last Straw

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    By the Election of 1860, America was already a broken nation. There was no coming back from it, no repairing the situation and moving on. The Election of 1860 didn't decide if the Union would split in two. It just decided which way it would go when it split.

    The road to the Election of 1860 was a long one, and it began in 1858. Abraham Lincoln, who had lost his seat in the House in the Election of 1854 to one Stephen A. Douglas, was seeking to win back his seat one last time. During the summer of 1858, a series of four debates would be held between Lincoln and Douglas all across the state they were trying to win the seat from, Illinois. The paramount topic to be discussed at these debates was segregation, something tearing apart the nation at its seams. The debates became nationally acclaimed, and Abraham Lincoln's visage became as well-known overnight as George Washington's. Lincoln also delivered his famed 'House Divided' Speech, which summed up the crisis at hand within the Union in one simple phrase: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

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    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, ca. 1858

    Against all odds, the segregationist Douglas won reelection, but it was a very close race. In the long haul, the outcome was better for all parties involved as well--Douglas got his seat, Lincoln got his prestige, and the Freedom Party got their presidential candidate.

    Lincoln was the obvious choice when it came to representing the Freedom Party on a national level. He was charismatic, well-spoken, a veritable genius and a wizard in politics. John C. Frémont had had his time to shine, but had lost the 1856 election hard. It was time to move on to a new leader. While it wouldn't be official until 1859, the Freedomites had already selected Lincoln to be their president. In the meantime, the party focused on expanding their influence in the country, not just endorsing but actively participating in the Civil Rights Movement and key events such as the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington. By the end of the year in 1859, the Freedom Party had become the second-largest political party in America, with Maine to Pennsylvania firmly under their belt, while the Democratic-Republicans utterly dominated the South and the once-indomitable Federalists grasped at straws in the Great Lakes region.

    The Federalists knew their status as the progressive party of the North had been long usurped, but the Party of Hamilton wasn't ready to go into the trashbin of history just yet. On April 8, 1859, the leaders of the Federalists approached the leaders of the Freedomites with a deal: the Freedom Party would fold into the Federalist Party in totality, ceasing to be an entity and giving the Federalists their much-needed boost while also uniting the North once more. In exchange, the Federalists promised Lincoln would still be the nominee for president of the party, and would throw their entire weight behind him. While the Freedomites were indeed prideful, they were also smart enough to know that they'd never win the next presidential election without swaying the Federalists, and so the deal was agreed to. The Party of Hamilton was back in the spotlight.

    The exact opposite was happening below the Potomac. While the Deep South heartily supported President Roger B. Taney and were frothing at the mouth for his second term, the Upper South was not as eager. They instead put their trust in Jefferson Davis, the architect of the proposed national segregation bill, who promised to be "all of the good and none of the bad," in reference to Taney. Out of the blue, a third candidate appeared, further splitting the Democratic-Republican Party: John C. Breckinridge, former Senator from Kentucky. Confusion didn't cut it in describing the chaos that overtook the Dem.-Reps. as their National Convention drew nearer and nearer. The official Democratic-Republican nominee for the presidency, after a month of debate that dragged on and on, was… nobody. The delegates at the Convention could not make up their minds, and decided on a week's recess to clear their heads. In that week, every single delegate left Charleston, where the DRNC was held, and split into three groups based on nominee alignment, heading to Atlanta (Taney), Raleigh (Davis), and New Orleans (Breckinridge). Each of these miniature conventions claimed to be the real thing, that the other two were mere imitators, and that their candidate was the true Democratic-Republican candidate. Effectively, the party had three nominees going into the Election of 1860.

    Presidential Nominees and their Parties in the Election of 1860

    [​IMG]
    Abraham Lincoln
    (Federalist)

    [​IMG]
    Roger B. Taney
    (Southern Democratic-Republicans)

    [​IMG]
    Jefferson Davis
    (Northern Democratic-Republicans)

    [​IMG]
    John C. Breckinridge
    (Reformist Democratic-Republicans)

    The election itself was exciting, to say the least. Abraham Lincoln and the vice-presidential nominee Frederick Douglass campaigned in ways no one had ever done before, hopping on Northern trains and riding them from Maine to Michigan and back again, a tactic inspired by the Freedom Rides of the Civil Rights Movement. They didn't just stop in the big cities, though--they made sure to hit as many bump-in-the-road, hole-in-the-wall towns and villages they could. Lincoln, being something of a country bumpkin humself, understood the importance of appealing to the small towns, not just municipal centers. The Southern nominees all made tours of their regions, too, though Taney, still being the president and all, couldn't do as much as Davis or Breckinridge. When November 6, 1860 finally rolled around, the electoral map was a mess, but one thing was made clear: according to the solid block of Federalist blue covering the North and the patchwork of rainbow colors arrayed across the South, Abraham Lincoln was the next president of the United States, and his running mate, Frederick Douglass, had become the first ever black vice-president.

    And then all hell broke loose.
     
  5. Joriz Castillo Well-Known Member

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    The South is like a cellar full of gunpowder kegs and South Carolina is gonna be it's spark.
     
  6. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    No state deserves the title of "Problem Child" more than South Carolina, the state that tried to secede twice.
     
  7. farmerted555 Active Member

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    Perhaps, after the war is over, two Carolinas become one?
     
  8. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Mmm... probably not, but that is an interesting idea.
     
  9. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    Somebody get Sherman. There’s traitors to be marched on
     
  10. farmerted555 Active Member

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    Thanks! I can imagine Reconstruction being a lot shorter than OTL.
     
  11. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Actually, its equivalent will be a lot longer, since the Federalist radicals will control Congress and the presidency for much longer than OTL and will want to smack as much sense into the South as possible.
     
  12. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Okay, uh, quick random question that has nothing to really do with the timeline: does anyone else think John C. Breckinridge looks a lot like Tobey Maguire? I couldn't put my finger on who the former looked like all yesterday when I was researching Breckinridge, but I think it might be the original cinematic Spider-Man.
     
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  13. farmerted555 Active Member

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    A little bit, a little bit. Especially the chin.
     
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  14. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    I was thinking more of the eyes/nose combo, actually. Breckinridge's got a bit more flab on his chin IMO.
     
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  15. farmerted555 Active Member

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    Still, the resemblance is there. Now i have MORE reason to hate Tobey Maguire!
     
  16. Luminous Headwing Consulting

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    Please don't put us back with them. We separated from South Carolina for a reason, after all. :p
     
  17. Dragolord19D Well-Known Member

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    Well, we need someone to babysit them. It’s not like we could trust Georgia to do it... Or worse, Florida...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  18. Ironshark Well-Known Member

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    Ooh shits getting real


    1. @HeX will the civil war be one or two chapterrs like the other wars or be it’s own kind of mini series ?
     
  19. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    The Civil War will be it's own miniseries, with about nine chapters inside of it. Alt-Reconstruction will last for twelve chapters after that (give or take a few), though not all of those chapters will be focusing solely, if at all, on the US.
     
  20. Ameroboto Deep State Bad Hombre

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    [​IMG]
     
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