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. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    So essentially Galipoli X 11. That would do it.
     
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  2. IncongruousGoat Armchair Rocket Scientist

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    I'm a bit late to the national park party, but happened/will happen with the Adirondack Park? OK, it's not a national park, but it's the biggest park in the lower 48 by a huge margin and a fascinating continuous experiment in conservation.
     
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  3. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Well, since this United States will be much more focused on conservation and keeping the environment happy and healthy, there will be far fewer state parks, as most will be under the control of a much larger, more powerful, and better-run National Parks Service. Adirondack Park will therefore be under the jurisdiction of the NPS. Another impressive nature preserve to be put under US control will be the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, which they'll annex from Vespasian Australia following WWII, solely to protect the region, though also to have bases close to Australia in case Vespasianism starts to rise again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  4. Unknown Member

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    Just waiting for the next update...
     
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  5. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Working on it. School's been crazy, so... yeah.
     
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  6. Unknown Member

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    I understand...
     
  7. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

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    How will the UK end up after WW2?
     
  8. Threadmarks: The People's Era, Part One: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."
    --William Jennings Bryan

    --------------------------------​

    Throughout the presidency of Victoria Woodhull, the Federalist alliance and the Great National Redemption began to fall apart. While the terms of Lincoln, Grant, Douglass, and Woodhull had almost entirely stomped out racism in the South and sent the still-racist white Southerners packing for the Great Plains, where they'd be much less of an issue, it still didn't entirely kill off the North/South divide that had so defined the United States of America since its foundation. A new political ideology had risen in Dixie, one mostly favored by the whites but that increasing numbers of blacks were shifting over to as well: Populism.

    The roots of the People's Party, the organization espousing populist rhetoric, lie in the Farmer's Alliance and the Bimetallism Movement, both of which had been steadily growing in the background during the de-Confederatization of the South. The Farmer's Alliance, somewhat ironically, exists because of the railroads. The Transcontinental Railroad, to be exact. In the 1870s, both the United States government and the major railroad companies of the day wanted to construct as many cross-country lines as quickly as possible, and so the two struck a deal: Congress granted federal lands and funds to subsidize construction. Over 129 million acres of public land were transferred into the open arms of the railroads, but as the money from Congress steadily ran out, a lot of it needed to be sold off, pronto. The railroad corporations went into overdrive advertising the Midwest and Great Plains as excellent places to live and farm. Their ploy worked beautifully, as hundreds of thousands of people migrated west, including those racist ex-Confederates no longer welcome south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

    But by the 1880s, things changed. The unusually rainy years of 1870-1876 were abruptly cut short by a drought that destroyed crops from Iowa to Hamilton. Couple that with a South still in ruin from the Civil War and the loss of cheap labor in the form of sharecropping and the return of many Redeemed states to the voting populace, and the Union had an agricultural crisis on its hands. The Federalist Party cared little about domestic politics when things like the Assassination of Frederick Douglass and the Scramble for Africa were going down, but their disgruntled farmer constituents didn't see it that way. They wanted someone else to vote for. The Democratic-Republican Party still technically existed, but they hadn't put up a serious candidate for anything above the county level since 1860. In the meantime, dozens of grassroots unions of farmers and herders across the country sprouted up like wildflowers, convincing their local governments to adhere to populist ideals. A growing movement for a national currency not backed by just gold, but silver as well, which was pouring in from Sierra--the Bimetallism Movement--also gained traction. Neither of these platforms were adopted by the ever-adaptable Federalists, mostly because they'd started to favor big business and a more laissez-faire stance on the economy (though not too hands-off--their founder was Alexander Hamilton, after all). For the first time ever, the Federalists were not backing the underdog side to a societal issue.

    [​IMG]
    Flag of the Texas branch of the Southern Farmer's Alliance, 1878

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    People's Party propaganda, evoking the patriotic sentiment of the Centennial, ca. 1886

    It was from the emergence of these two problems that the People's Party, better known simply as the Populist Party, was born. The South and Midwestern branches of the Farmer's Alliance and the champions of Bimetallism banded together in 1879 to form the new party, and fielded their first candidate, John P. Buchanan, in the Election of 1880. Buchanan and the People's Party lost miserably to the wildly popular incumbent Frederick Douglass, and lost again in 1884 to Victoria Woodhull. But in 1888, good luck shone upon the Populists when President Woodhull, still technically eligible for re-election due to her first term being the result of Douglass' death, announced she would not be running for the seat of president again, out of respect for George Washington's original eight-year reign. Everyone was shocked, and the Federalists clamoured for a successor to Woodhull to nominate, settling for William A. Wheeler… who then promptly died of a heart attack halfway through election season, forcing the Federalists into another frenzy and eventually going with Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, then a United States Senator. In the meantime, the People's Party selected James B. Weaver, notable for his service in the Civil War and as a staunch supporter of regulation of big business in the House of Representatives. It was a close call, but Weaver's promises to end Redemption (then limited to just the reformed Carolinas and Georgia), to begin the fight against big business and the economy in favor of the little man, and the fact that most people couldn't quite figure out how to spell or say "Frelinghuysen," meant that the Federalist Party lost the presidency for the first time in twenty-eight years.

    [​IMG]
    President James B. Weaver
    (b. 1833 -- d. 1911)

    [​IMG]
    Frederick T. Frelinghuysen
    (b. 1817 -- d. 1891)

    It was more than humiliating for the Grand Old Party, the eldest of all American political oganizations, to lose to an up-and-coming party not yet a decade old. But there wasn't much the Federalists could do about it. They still held a majority in Congress, if by a rather slim margin, and were backed by some of the richest, most powerful men in the country: the Robber-Barons, or the Captains of Industry, depending on who you asked.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
    Political cartoons of the Gilded Age, decrying the dealings of the American Robber-Barons, ca. 1870s-1890s

    There were a slew of them. They were men and women who had made it to the top by stepping on a lot of toes and cheating a lot of people out of their hard-earned money and businesses. Their names would ring true throughout the ages plastered on the sides of buildings, street signs, and multinational megacorporations, as they came to dominate their respective fields for decades. William Henry Vanderbilt wrested control of the railroads. Andrew Carnegie owned the steel industry. J. P. Morgan became the largest banker in American history, and achieved even greater heights with his ascendancy to the top of the railroad world alongside Cornelius Vanderbilt, William Henry Vanderbilt's son. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer marked the rise of yellow journalism with their battles over newspaper sales. Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison both went to war over the seemingly endless market of bold new ideas. Tei Shida Saito, a Japanese immigrant woman, wholly controlled the American fruit industry by 1915. But no one was quite as powerful, quite as rich, or quite as important as John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil, the only oil product producing company in America. Most of these Robber-Barons were firmly entrenched in the American way of life by 1889. It would take a lot more than the election of one Populist to do anything to hurt them, not with (most of) the Federalist Party standing behind the likes of Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie. And in any case, the People's Party was far more preoccupied with making its main constituency, the farmers, herders, and cattle drivers of America, happy over the urban city folk.

    In 1889, stage was set for the future. The Wild West and the Great National Redemption both became things of the past that cold January morning James B. Weaver was inaugurated. There was no longer a clear cut rivalry between North and South. Now, everything boiled down to one question:

    Urban, or rural?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  9. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Well, Scottish, English, and Welsh republics with a united Ireland, anyone?
     
  10. Ironshark Well-Known Member

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    So the populist party takes the mantle And the golden age begins
    Teddy is going to be the one to take down the robber barons I am guessing but curious to see how weaver does

    As always nice chapter
     
  11. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    So, now that we're nearing the halfway point (the actual halfway marker being 1900, roughly 125 years after 1776 and before the end of the TL in 2025), I've just gotta ask: how's everyone enjoying A More Perfect Union? Any twists and turns you didn't see coming? As an aspiring author, I ask you, how's the writing in the narrative segments? (Those little vignettes are certainly not my best work, but I try.) And, most of importantly, where do you think this adventure is going next? I think I've still got some surprises up my sleeve, in any case.
     
  12. farmerted555 Well-Known Member

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    Loving it so far, dude! What will become of a certain show that boldly goes where no one has gone before ITTL?
     
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  13. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Star Trek, Star Wars, and other equally-famous American television shows and films will probably still exist in some form or another, but with some big things changed about them to reflect TTL's differences, though I can't be too specific right now (except in that I already know Stormtroopers will be called Shocktroopers ITTL.) Some British entertainment from the 1930s to the 1980s will be made in America, too, though a lot will also be butterflied...
     
  14. XFE Formerly Xianfeng Emperor

    I've never liked the overdone trope that is the Ameriwank, but A More Perfect Union and WMIT have become some of my favourite TLs this year, in a time where I feel like I'm growing less active on AH.com, so bravo.:)

    That said, I do have two main crticisms that come off the top of my head, which I hope isn't too harshly worded:

    • I think the British feel a bit cartoonishly evil ITTL, especially the parts with Queen Victoria's musings. For all their being the sole hegemon on the planet, they've just been defeated by the Americans too many times for me to really take them seriously as a reader. A humorous way to put it would be that the British feel like Megatron of Transformers fame: an incompetent supervillain.
    • To appropriate a lovely graphic made by @HowAboutThisForAName:
    Sometimes, the TL reads like a minor case of a Rapidly Convergent TL, where despite the POD being at the founding of America, the world seems to be hurtling towards the same series of unfortunate events: Scramble for Africa-->Great War-->[insert country here] Communist Revolution-->[insert country here] revanchist WW2-->Amero-[insert country here] Cold War. Sometimes parallelism is necessary for cultural context, since readers have an established image of how horrific a Great War will be; but other times it just gets tiring, and it's a problem that plagues the forum as a whole.​

    Both criticisms are something I hope your "surprises" come to fix soon. I'm on the edge of my seat for the next update!
     
  15. Ironshark Well-Known Member

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    My only criticisms would be that some of the military promotions are unrealistic

    Especially since ITTL Major General is still the highest rank and then you have people being promoted to general for being bad assess kinda frequently

    Also grant Douglass and woodhulls administration don’t feel..I don’t know different enough?

    It feels like you could switch the order of there presidencies and it would still be the same thing

    Other then this is a great TL and I am hyped to see the golden age and the eventual world wars !
     
  16. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Thanks for the feedback!

    Yeah, the British are a bit cartoonish, and a bit bumbling. But, then again, so were the Nazis, who were so over the top evil that they became utterly incompetent in most everything but... well, the really bad stuff. I do also see that I have had the United States beat the British a lot, but I think since they're not all-out wars, merely border skirmishes or interventions on either one's parts with the United States forking over money for whatever territory they take at the dealing table, and since all-out war between the two is just simply exhausting or (by the Banana Wars) not an option if you don't want the whole world to explode, I think most of them are justified. (I'm most hesitant about the Oregonian War, since the UK pretty much just handed over the PNW without much of a fight, but I was also still figuring things out back then, so... blame it on past me?) Plus, the British will start to show their actually evil side soon, in the Boer Wars, where they win (finally) and win brutally.

    I do see where you're coming from in regards to the Rapidly Convergent TL. However, like you mentioned, I have a slew of surprises in store for the twentieth century. The world will be very different by the end of it.

    Guilty as charged. I'm not really much of a military guy (which seems kind of weird, considering how much I write about war), so I don't know a ton about such proceedings.

    Well, they are very similar in their political beliefs, especially since Woodhull spent four years as Douglass' vice president before hitting the big time with his assassination. And there are a lot of OTL presidents where you could do the same thing, too, such as with the "no-name" presidents of the Antebellum Period, the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties.
     
  17. Samsara123 Well-Known Member

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    Wonder if they will intervene during the Philippine revolution?
     
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  18. TheImperialTheorist To theorize & imagine worlds of possibilities.

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    I like the idea and execution of A More Perfect Union. For your first timeline, it's written rather competently and offers a linear plot that has good pacing and is easy to read. Some of the chapters are a little uneven, with some having less content than others, and I do feel that some historical characters lack development. For example, Victoria Woodhall, supposedly the first female President of the United States, and we don't really see much of her. Sure, she's a feminist who got the Presidency out of the death of Douglass, but other than that we don't really know much. We know what the US is doing, but the President is a complete no-show. It feels more like pandering to make it more "idealistic" without actually doing anything to improve it compared to OTL. I know that historical characters have their context that most Americans know, but considering the fact that many people wouldn't know said context, perhaps a more fleshed-out approach would be better.

    Another issue is the rather optimistic tone of this TL. So optimistic is that it kinda feels like an Ameriwank. Now, I won't claim it is an Ameriwank, but America seems to be postured as some sort of great enlightened state educating the misguided foreign lands of Europe and Asia. Having an old Alexander Hamilton helping found a German state with Austria and America helping encourage a more industrialized China despite the Confucianist ideals well-entrenched in its society and its bureaucracy obviously going to oppose said reforms are examples of what I'm talking about. The domestic situations, while obviously rather progressive compared to OTL, had a feeling of realism to it. The foreign situations all seem to immediately favor the US and paint all those who oppose them *cough* Britain *cough* as some sort of evil devil who'd get the hero next time takes away some of that realism. Now, I know this is meant to be optimistic and paint a more idealized America, and that's fine. That's one of the main reasons I read it. But I don't want America to just cruise on easy mode. Sure, there was this important Civil War that did require a lot of America's attention, but other than that, America seems to dominate foreign affairs. I also don't want a one-sided villain to easily point at as the anthesis of American glory due to some petty grudge against us. Perhaps introduce some nations who are opposed to American democracy on the basis of culture. Make them see it as something that violates what is basic tradition. That would be a breath of fresh air rather than petty complaints about America being some upstart empire.

    The narrative segments, while short, add a little bit of flavor to the regularly scheduled programming. Some of them are rather patronizing, such as Hamilton, an American, acting as the voice of reason among the German congress. But others are rather good, especially the one with Hamilton and Jefferson talking one last time. I recommend you focus on fleshing out the world you're building and try not to paint America in this golden light. I'm not saying you should make them look like pricks, but perhaps a more nuanced approach to things.

    All in all, it's like comfort food. Sure, it might not be the most elegant or perfect, but it elicits some nostalgic feelings that make me want to consume even more of it. There are some grievances I have with it, but as this is your first TL, I do encourage you to continue this with the criticisms in mind. Don't outright accept it and change everything or reject it and move on, but just let it linger in your mind and use it when writing future chapters of this. I sincerely wish this TL and your writing the best.
     
  19. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Only thing I would argue with is saying that Rockefeller is more powerful or important than J.P. Morgan. While Rockefeller with Standard Oil is most certainly the wealthiest man at the time I don't think he could have saved the country from a financial collapse and depression the way Morgan did in both '93 and '07, which became on driving reason the Fed being created.
     
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  20. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Maybe but that would require going against Spain who is allied to Britain. While they might want to they probably wouldn't trigger the first Great War over it. I have a feeling Philippines revolution will be far bloodier and hard fought than OTL's.
     
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