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. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    Funny you should mention wanting to know more about Woodhull--I'll be detailing her history in much the same way I did Hamilton and R. E. Lee pretty soon.

    All good points here. I will say that this timeline, while not wholly embracing it, is pretty utopic. The America produced at the end of this will be the unequivocally greatest nation on Earth, something OTL America can only pretend to be. Think of how What Madness is This? is a dystopia, where everything that could go wrong in America did. This is the opposite of that, where everything that could go right does. Nevertheless, I'll go for a slightly more realistic, under-the-table approach with America's hand in the world turning better in the future. Also, Confucianism has a twofold outlook on technology. There are two separate interpretations of it wherein technology is either embraced (as Confucianism can be a secular philosophy and therefore does not respect otherworldly beings or gods, but rather only things of this visible world) or cast aside. The Chinese of TTL have slowly shifted to the former interpretation, if that makes sense.

    I'll also make sure to include more about nations disliking America because of its culture, something I can understand you wanting to see to break up the "Why We Hate America" Club into different factions, instead of them all being one big blob of "Because We Don't Like Them." I could see the French being this way, their upper crust thinking themselves to be high and mighty over the backwoods American yeoman. Same can be said of the British, considering when many Brits visited America IOTL, including Charles Dickens, they didn't really have anything nice to say about it.
     
  2. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    So now that the ashes of civil war have cooled and been cleared away, the flames of class war are being fired up. Good thing this hasn't happened ten years earlier, or the Americans would have had one HELL of a fifth column during the banana wars. I guess they'll have a fifth column in the anticolonial struggle instead.

    This certainly is a nice antithesis to the common trope of the USA becoming the Bad Guy, and I am enjoying the look at what a Good Guy USA might look like. And the TL's writing is overall good quality. That said I must echo the complaints of others that this TL seems like a bit of an Ameriwank. More precisely, and I guess this sounds worse than I actually mean it: TTL's USA is something of a Mary Sue. It pretty much always does the Right Thing, and in the rare cases it's doing something reprehensible is is acknowledged as being done under the influence of internal enemies due to be destroyed (e.g. racist white southerners). But what's really noticeable is not that the USA almost always tries to do the Right Thing, it's that when it tries it never fails do so. While I'm not a close reader, I don't think there was ever a case when America's well-intentioned ventures ever failed or backfired. Whenever the USA intervenes in a foreign country it always goes swimmingly, and never once do they end up with a resentful populace, no matter what old ideas might have been entrenched in society. I think I really noticed that with Roosevelt's intervention in Columbia, which is mentioned to be a pretty brutal affair yet ends with a perfectly happy american ally.

    I suppose that some degree of improbably sustained good politics is needed for this TL to keep to its premise at all, but is seems excessive sometimes.

    I agree. In OTL Obama being the first black president caused quite a stir even in 2008. You'd think that having a female president in the 19th century would make more noticeable waves in society.

    I won't claim it is not an Ameriwank, and wanks can be good if done with some moderation. Problem is, TTL often gets dangerously close to exceeding what counts as 'moderation'. I'll reiterate that by far the most noticeable part of it is that America's foreign ventures and interventions always go well. Never once do their good intentions get sidetracked by the greed of either the nation or individual Americans, and never once do things go wrong despite their good intentions due to culture clashes. The latter is rather noticeable with their interventions in China, which results in a functioning Chinese constitutional monarchy in the mid 19th century that thus far seems to have been presented no less liberal, stable, and free of repression is the USA itself. Relatedly, I do also find it grating that America's enemies, whatever ideology they nominally follow, never seem to have any redeeming qualities that could make someone voluntarily support then instead of the USA, with the only exceptions to that being ideals that appeal to scumbags (e.g white supremacy), and consequently the various anti-american blocks look like generic axis of evils that "want to stop up because they hate our freedom" as the joke goes.

    Also, while Hawaii willingly cozying up with the USA is believable, them requesting outright annexation (as opposed to just a close alliance) as early as the eighteen-fifties when they have only had relations with the USA for a little while and the other Europeans haven't gotten grabby yet stands out like a sore thumb. Point is, my biggest fear is TTL USA being a black hole of purity that draws in everything with any compatibility to liberal/democratic socialist ideals, while everything with opposition to those ideals either gets it beaten out of them by force or becomes part of a great big freedom-hating empire of evil.

    TL;DR: This is a very optimistic story and that's quite enjoyable, but you tread a fine line between writing a believable TL and making the USA an unbelievable Mary Sue. Watch where you tread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  3. Greg Lobo Member

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    Wonderful timeline generally, but I guess my biggest problem is your conception of "good". Your version of the best America is really very secular and liberal. I find it a little unrealistic that everyone would rally around that singular conception of the good, or really any conception of the good. There will certainly be tons of people who don't view America's culture as good at all, or something to be exported, think like Pat Buchanan OTL. There has to start being pushback against the secular liberal bent of American culture, and probably sooner rather than later, as that seems to be the pattern for most of this timeline. I have a friend who would have a fit if he saw this presented as ideal America, and I just think more viewpoints should factor into ideal America.
     
  4. state02 Member

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    I fine your writing to be very good story telling. The Characters are believable while the story line flows well. Keep on going as this TL is quite enjoyable and, most importantly, not in the realm of ASB.
     
  5. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    I am currently having said push back against the overtly secular/liberal Federalists with the Populists. While they're not going to be totally similar to OTL conservatives, the Populists are going to rub the Federalists the wrong way in many ways, and even the Federalists are going to be corrupted some by all the big business they're backing. But yeah, I'll try and make other viewpoints a bit more prominent going forward.

    (And, really, I'm not trying to make my ideal United States, I'm trying to make the ideal United States. The line from the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal," has been my guiding light. I'm merely trying to level the playing field for everyone as soon as possible, all while things stay at least a little bit within the realm of possibility.)
     
  6. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

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    The funny thing is...that actually happened. Or almost actually happened, to be more exact. Kamehameha III really did consider annexation of Hawai'i to the United States, and even made some efforts towards negotiating a treaty to that effect, but died before all of the details could be hashed out and it could be signed and ratified. Now, granted, the reason IOTL was more "can't filibuster us if we're already Americans" than anything else, but still: you're actually objecting to something that was quite deliberately (on my advice) modeled on real life.
     
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  7. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    Interesting... I'm curious in what ways your ideal USA deviates from what you consider the ideal USA.

    Oops, my bad then. Sorry.
     
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  8. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    I'd say my ideal America is similar in many ways to this one, societally and socially. But the world it's within would be vastly different. The British, French, Germans, and Japanese would all be staunch American allies, and about as liberal as America on things like race, gender, and eventually sexuality. There would be no mass colonization, merely the Western World aiding Africa and Asia through trade and getting everyone up to their standards. The United States, too, would cover the entire North American continent (Aah! An Ameriwank!), but would have achieved that not through war, but through wheeling and dealing. There would still be a Civil War, but one of much smaller scale, as slavery will have ended in the 1820s, and segregation would have only taken hold in the Deep South. By the 1870s, everyone, be they white or black, male or female, straight or gay, Christian or otherwise, would be treated equally. There would be no global conflicts; by the twentieth century, the world will be at peace.

    So... you can kind of see why I'm writing about the ideal America, not my ideal America. The former is a lot more plausible than the blatantly ASB utopia of the latter, and AMPU is much more fun to read and write than a utopia, which, by its very being a utopia, is pretty same-y.
     
  9. Ironshark Well-Known Member

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    Hmm that’s makes me wonder what the twenty centuries antagonist is gonna be..

    Will there be an Iraq/Afghanistan war Parallel ITL?
     
  10. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    Yeah, I'm enjoying this because of the utopian feel - as opposed to some of the TLs on here - and the ideal America, but it does feel a bit like you've ignored the Great Awakenings which have been a big part of the push for good.

    The problem is that the "ideal America" to Northerners and Southerners has often been different; Southerners twisted the Bible to mean things it couldn't based on the text, like this imaginary "curse of Ham" when reading Genesis shows Noah never cursed Ham, and it could easily be argued that Noah wasn't even cursing Canaan but saying he *was* cursed. (Picture a Boston fan circa 1986 saying, "Cursed are my Red Sox" in a dejected tone.)

    I think a more balanced view would see many true Bible-believing Christians jumping on the bandwagon of "all men are created equal." Instead of Billy Graham refusing to preach to segregated crowds, it might have been Charles Finney TTL. Perhaps D.L. Moody becomes a champion of interracial marriage by showing how all are equal before the cross. (Another one where people twisted the Bible, though I'm not sure who to blame more here - racists or those who don't understand that the rules for Israel were all about not marrying unbelievers and had nothing to do with race, and that even if it did, the church is *not* Israel and could never replace Israel.)

    So, in short, there will be a lot of social conserviatves who will have jumped on the equality bandwagon for Biblicaal reasons.

    Granted, I don't think your timeline is bad - I have really pictured a lot of this happening behind the scene. A mild Awakening as a Christian movement would occur in the North, too, even if it was predominantly Southern. And, it could even be argued that because of the changes begun in 1776, the Second Great Awakening was in part as I described above, without the Southerners begin as insane about things as OTL.

    Perhaps this, then, is the way I would reconcile what I just typed with your idea. Those who truly were converted to the truth of the Bible about all men being created equal were, in fact. Whereas those who only professed to be "Christian" in the sense of saying "I am an American, that makes me a Christian" instead focused on the secular, deist aspect. Because there are others who chose then to call themselves something because it suited them and their culture, when in fact they were not true Christ followers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  11. Ismaili777 Well-Known Member

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    I hope this America will have a more modern rail network. Granted it is expensive, but let me say why it is possible here. Dialect between our America and other countries.
    US "It's because our country is too big"
    China "hold my beer"
    US "It's because US is too mountainous"
    Japan "hold my beer"
    US : "It's because the land is privately owned
    Every European state : "hold my beer"
    Lets hope America stays on top of this in this timeline.
     
  12. Cryostorm Monthly Donor

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    Interestingly the US does have one of the largest and most advanced industrial rail networks and more goods move on rail at some point in the US than most other nations. Of course the flip side is the US absolutely sucks at passenger rail, or most other forms of mass transit.
     
  13. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

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    Enjoying this timeline so far. Have to agree with the points brought up about America getting its way nearly every time. I get that part of the point is that this is the decidedly noblebright America OTL envisions itself to be (or try to be), as opposed to WMiT's super grimdark America. However, it's still more compelling to read about a protagonist that earns their happy ending, instead of winning because they're right.

    On that note, given how much emphasis ITTL has on the British Empire being much worse (and that's saying a lot, given how OTL's British Empire was - and they had better PR), I can see how they're heading towards the cartoonishly evil side. However, I feel as if conflicts should be that black and white ITTL - even with the more optimistic outlook, so perhaps making the autocratic bloc in Europe a bit more sympathetic and/or show that America's allies aren't that saintly either. I like how the Gilded Age and the change in American sectors from North/South to urban/rural is showing that even this more utopian USA has its own issues to deal with.
     
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  14. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    1. I can see Vespasianist Brits taking the place of Nazis as being cliche villains in media.
    2. When the Dominions are made fully independent I can see Australia and New Zealand possible unifying after their native Vespasianist/Vespist/Vespie* regimes were taken down.
    *My idea for what equivalent of Nazi is for the Vespasian Party.
     
  15. 46566 Active Member

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    I'm curious on if Doctor who would butterfly. Would the tone of the series be different? Maybe less whimsical and more practical. I don't think it may get more of a American audience in the return in 2005.
     
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  16. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

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    I dunno. Some way of keeping the UK at least somewhat allied with the US does not seem to ASB to me. Though that may be because my ideas (if I ever put them in a TL) would involve the Commonwealth's evolution happening sooner than OTL.
     
  17. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    Well, West Germany and then Germany became US allies after WW2, as did Japan. So, eventually, maybe.

    That brings to mind the thought of how to actually invade Britain during WW 2, but there is the possibility it gets nuked like Japan OTL.
     
  18. Threadmarks: The People's Era, Part Two: The King Must Die

    HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

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    "Never before had I seen so much death. Men, women, and children who appeared nothing more than skin-draped skeletons worked around the clock, day in and day out, as the architects of their own destruction, building chambers in which to be slaughtered by the hundreds. The British government says these camps are lightly populated, meant only for the rowdiest, most uncivilized savages the Dark Continent has to offer. What damage these emaciated, hollow, and broken human beings could do to the mighty British Empire is unknown to me, but one thing is clear: the English are lying. And we are doing nothing about it."
    --Winston Churchill, from his secret 1893 visit to British South Africa during the Boer Wars as a journalist for the New York World

    "The Spaniard massacre of the Filippino revolutionaries was a haunting sight. They didn't just crush the Katipunan and their dissenters. They made them extinct. Thousands are dead, with hundreds more marked for a meeting with the Grim Reaper soon."
    --José Carlos do Patrocínio, Brazilian reporter in Manila from June 16, 1893 to February 10, 1898

    "Nationalism is the easiest bug to squash."
    --General Stanley Maude, Military Secretary to the Governor-General of the British Raj, 1899 to 1911

    "India is the pivot of our Empire. If the Empire loses any other part of its Dominion we can survive, but if we lose India, the sun of our Empire will have set."
    --The Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Governor-General of the British Raj from 1892 to 1909

    "Everything has gone wrong, and we have done nothing to stop it."
    --Mark Twain, in reference to the Great Troubles of the 1890s

    --------------------------------
    For quite a long time, the United States of America seemed invincible. Outside of the Civil War and perhaps the Canadian War, it had never been any true "fight of their lives" conflict, nor had they lost any war in their entire history. All of that would soon change, however, with the dawn of the 1890s. It would be this decade that showed just how fragile the Pax Americana could be, and how little the mighty giant of the New World could do to stop ongoings in the Old. The Americans would fail to halt four despicable actions from taking place in the span of ten years, four events that would come to be known as the Great Troubles.

    While the decade kicked off with the election of James B. Weaver, it didn't show its true colors until 1893. That year marked the beginning of the Philippine Revolt, when the people of the Philippine Islands rose up against the Spanish colonial rule that had gripped them for over three centuries. It started on June 16, when Spanish authorities stumbled across the underground republican revolutionary organization, the Katipunan, which had been secretly troubling the waters in the region for over a year and generally wreaking havoc. With their secret out, the revolt took to the streets of Manila and spread across the archipelago. By July 30, the Spanish Governor-General declared a "state of war" in eight provinces: Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas, and Nueva Ecija. These provinces would later be represented as the eight rays of the sun on the Filippino flag.

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    Spanish soldiers lie in wait for Filippino rebels, ca. 1895

    The natives suffered from a severe lack of firearms, and as a result the rebels usually went up against gun-wielding Spanish soldiers with nothing but bamboo spears and bolo knives--they quite literally brought swords to a gunfight. Most attempts at capturing any targets of the slightest importance were met with a wall of bullets and the instant death of hundreds. The leaders of the movement, Andrés Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Jose Rizál, and Mariano Álvarez, desperately reached out to the United States and Qing for aid. The Americans and Chinese were happy to oblige, but soon found it to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to run the Anglo-Spanish blockade surrounding the Philippines. During the entire five year duration of the Philippine Revolt, the amount of dinky American and Chinese supply ships that successfully got provisions and weapons to the revolutionaries could be counted on one hand. So they were out of luck in the food, clean water, and gun departments. But what the rebels did have was a copious amount of nitroglycerin, better known as dynamite. The Spanish had been experimenting with the stuff for years in their colonies, and when the mobs flooded Manila in 1893 and its armory, a huge quantity was procured. With that, and feeling abandoned by the rest of the world, the Filippinos grew desperate, and began using the so-called tifón tactic. The plan was simple: a lone rebel, weighted down with pounds of dynamite under his clothing, was to get himself captured by the Spaniards. Once he was surrounded by as many Spanish soldiers and officers as he thought likely, the rebel was to detonate his explosive jacket, taking himself and the dirty conquistadores on the fast track to Hell. It brought a whole new meaning to guerrilla warfare, forcing the Spanish to be extremely cautious in any interactions and altercations with the oppressed natives.

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    Aftermath of a tifón attack on a Spanish garrison in Cavite, ca. 1895

    So, for five years, the Filippino people, men, women, and children alike, suicide bombed Spanish outposts and forts all in the name of liberty and nationalism. But it was not a permanent solution. Spain was persistent. It was no longer the broken-down mess of a would-be kingdom it had been since the Peninsular War. It had recaptured some of its former glory, and clung to what remained of its once-global empire with a death grip.

    One by one, as the years went by, more and more leaders of the Philippine Revolt were executed or killed in battle. First it was Jose Rizál, executed in 1894; then, Emilio Jacinto tifóned a Spanish battleship in 1895, also killing the Governor-General of the Philippines, Ramón Blanco, in the process; Mariano Álvarez and Santiago Álvarez were both hanged in 1897; and the arguable leader of the rebellion, Andrés Bonifacio, was beheaded Christmas Eve of that same year. Afterwards, things fell apart pretty fast. The rebellion floundered around like a chicken with its head cut off for a few months, before officially going underground once more, the Katipunan now under the stewardship of Gregoria de Jesús, the widow of Andrés Bonifacio. The years ahead would be long for the Filippinos. One could only hope that Revolutionary Spirit would return to the nation once more... but with a death toll in the tens of thousands and including as many noncombatant Filippinos dead and buried as those who had taken up arms, things looked very bleak indeed.

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    The Execution of Andrés Bonifacio, December 24, 1897

    And the United States had failed the first time.

    A few thousand miles away, another event was taking place. The Japanese Empire had been a rising force on the world stage ever since American Commodore Matthew Perry showed up in Edo Bay, 1853. Trouble was... there wasn't anywhere for them to expand to. China and Korea might have been easy pickings merely fifty years ago, but thanks to those meddling Americans they were much to strong nowadays. In fact, most of Japan's problems could be traced back to the boys in blue. The Pacific Ocean was already mostly colonized, in a large part by the United States, who'd taken a special interest in Polynesia and Hawai'i, which Japan wanted above all other territories between Kyoto and San Francisco. Taipei, the Philippines, the East Indies, Malaysia, New Guinea, the Bismarck Islands... the Europeans and Americans were all already there, and weren't giving up on their lands anytime soon.

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    An artistic representation of the Japanese worldview circa the 1890s

    Well, only one country was willing to give up any sort of territory to Japan, in exchange for a bit of moolah: Russia. Though the two nations had initially gotten off on the wrong foot, Great Britain's buddying up with the both of them in the 1880s (to balance out their mostly Western European-dominated group of alliances) had cooled tensions to an extreme degree. So, in 1891, when Japan proposed to Tsar Alexander III that they would be willing to purchase the island of Sakhalin (known in Japan as Karafuto) from them in return for a handsome stack of cash, as well as promising defense of Russia's eastern flank on the naval front in case of war or trade mishaps, it was no surprise he agreed. Russia had a famously mediocre navy, and there were barely any modern ships out past Siberia--a serious issue, considering Vladivostok was one of the largest of the few entry windows Russia could transport vast quantities of Alyeskan gold almost year-round. Meanwhile, Japan had earned a reputation as the "Little Great Britain," achieving the world's fourth largest and most powerful navy, just behind the Brits, Americans, and French, and far outclassing anything west of Hawai'i. The deal was made, the treaty was signed, and Karafuto was annexed into the Japanese Empire.

    And the United States failed a second time.

    By the 1890s, the Indian subcontinent had been under European colonial rule in some form or another for almost three hundred years. While the Portuguese, French, and Dutch all had numerous outposts up and down the coast, it was the British Raj that controlled almost the entirety of India. The ultimately unsuccessful Indian Rebellion of 1857 had only brought harsher restrictions down on them when the British East India Company was liquidated and the Empire came in to take direct control. In November of 1894, a new revolt broke out that made the one of thirty-seven years prior look like chicken feed.

    Unlike in the Philippines, the native Indians had access to guns. A lot of guns. While the Philippines were small and Spain had more than enough adventuresome young lads willing to ship out and put down the Yellow Menace at moment's notice for king and country, the opposite was true for the Raj. India was big. The British Isles were not. As a result, the Brits relied quite a bit on native troops to keep the peace in their vast colonies. That meant that thousands of Indians had easy access to not only rifles, but horses, clothing, swords, and ammunition, all military grade.

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    Rebel Indian soldiers somewhere in the British Raj, 1895, before the fighting truly began

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    An emaciated Indian rebel recently freed from British capture, 1900, at the close of the Revolt

    Revolt sparked simultaneously in some of the biggest cities in the Raj, the product of an underground network of messaging that wouldn't be discovered until the 1940s. In a rare moment of unity against a common foe, the Hindi and Muslim peoples of India worked together to orchestrate such an outstanding occasion. Massive cities like Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai, and Dhaka exploded into violence. The British governmental buildings in Calcutta were burned to the ground in the spring of 1895, and Saint Paul's Cathedral, the main place of Christian worship in the city and possibly all of India, was blown up and left in ruin during Christmas Day mass a few months later. The English had their fair share of massacres, though, too--for instance, inspired by Stanley Maude, then a commanding officer in Bangalore moved there after the loss of the Chinese Treaty Ports, many officers in the Raj faced with adversity gave liberal use of his famous (or infamous) "fire into the crowd" tactic, which took on a whole new meaning when Gatling guns where factored into the equation and left well over a million Indians, rebel and innocent alike, dead by the end of the war.

    Now, this wasn't all out of the blue. The mass slaughter and rebellions had been building for years. As Great Britain lost more and more of its territory and claims over the years to the upstart United States and its cronies, it had tightened its grip on what remained. Canada and Australia, both almost entirely white, weren't affected much at all. In South Africa, the Boer Wars broke out. And in the Raj, Queen Victoria and various prime ministers worked to subtly strip away what few rights the Indians still had. In 1890, all political parties advocating for Indian independence were declared illegal, sending the Indian National Congress underground. Two years later, with the passage of the Indian Council Act of 1892, the number of Legislative Council members of Bengal, Bombay, Madras, and the North Western province allowed in the Central Legislative Council were reduced from ten to seven, effectively transforming the body into the Governor-General's puppet. When the Indian Revolt of 1894 began, all Indian legislatures were abolished as the United Kingdom took direct control for the war's duration.

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    The Lord Curzon, Governor-General of the British Raj from 1892 to 1909

    Needless to say, the United States of America was pissed. The abolition of colonial legislatures hit a bit too close to home for them, and all sorts of aid was sent on its way to the Raj. Guns, ammo, food, clothing, and even an expeditionary force attempted the long, arduous journey from Honolulu to Dhaka. Unfortunately, said long, arduous journey passed through the minefield that was the Royal Navy. If the Americans didn't want to waste months and months skirting the coasts of Antarctica and going all the way around Australia and New Zealand, they would have to make it past the Spanish Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina, British Malaya, and through the Strait of Malacca, controlled entirely by American enemies. Regular goods could travel through no problem, but anyone or anything suspected of heading to or from the Raj was confiscated or deported on the spot. Just as with the Philippines, the United States and China were fighting a never ending battle of trade, with no end in sight. The Indian Revolt was eventually put down in 1901, but only after a significant siphoning of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand of young white men willing to serve for the mighty British Empire.

    And the United States failed a third time.

    While all of that was going on, something sinister was happening in the southern tip of Africa. In January 1889, gold was discovered in the Witwatersrand area of the Transvaal. Immediately, uitlanders (foreigners) began to flood into the Boer States, these mostly being English-speaking British men in search of a fortune. Eventually, by 1890, uitlanders outnumbered Boers in the region, and the two sides began to clash. Back in London, Parliament, hell-bent on expanding the British colonial sphere, took this as an opportunity to encourage the equally warmongering Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, to invade the Boer States. Rhodes was ecstatic, and as soon as he heard the news on April 10, 1891, he immediately mobilized for war with the Transvaal, the Orange Free State, and the South African Republic.

    The Boers were caught off guard, but managed to react quickly enough to not be overrun immediately. The Transvaal managed to hold off the British onslaught on their capital, Pretoria, and settled in for a year-long battle of wills. The Boers even managed to win a few tactical victories at the British towns of Stormberg, Colenso, and Mafeking. But the winds of fortune quickly changed direction, and by 1893 they were billowing the sails of the United Kingdom at full force. Pretoria fell on February 7, and to combat Boer guerrillas, British commander Lord Kitchener emulated American General William Tecumseh Sherman and declared a scorched earth policy, burning towns and destroying farmland.

    But the military victories weren't what got a lot of the world up in arms about British actions in the Boer Wars. It was their treatment of civilians. Acting on an idea put forth by Cape Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes, a loyal member of the Vespasian Party, tens of thousands of Boer civilian men, women, and children were rounded up and forced into concentration camps. Here, the British Army "cleansed the Earth of bitter fruit, so that a greater crop might be sown," as Rhodes was quoted as saying. In short, the British committed genocide. Initially a scheme to flush out guerrillas by depriving them of anything that might give them sustenance or the will to go on, like food, women, and children, things soon got out of hand. Thirty-one thousand Boers perished due to malnourishment, dehydration, and exhaustion, and that doesn't even include the people executed on suspicions of convening with the enemy. People became living skeletons in the camps, one false move away from death at all times. The British managed to keep things rather hush-hush for a little while, until American reporter for the New York World Winston Churchill got it in his head that they were being a little too quiet. He managed to sneak his way onto a steamer bound for Capetown, and after a few months of hiding in a cargo hold and traversing the perilous South African backcountry, he made it to Pretoria on August 22, 1893, the site of the largest concentration camp. He managed to pass himself off to the guards as a minor nobleman of the House of Spencer-Churchill, and, miraculously, the people in charge of the camp were completely clueless in regards to the family's flight to Europe in 1872, and believed him. Churchill spent six days there, learning as much as he could and snapping photographs in secret. When he returned to New York City, his stories were published on the front page of the World for weeks, and the American public was enraged. President Weaver declared that if the British didn't stop such gruesome actions immediately, the United States would be invading South Africa on the behalf of the Boers within the year. London called his bluff almost immediately, and Weaver's failures to do much of anything on the national stage for an entire four years would be what eventually cost him the election, even if he had had a landmark impact on the American domestic front...

    [​IMG]
    Spion Kop Concentration Camp, 1893

    [​IMG]
    A skin-and-bones Boer child at the Pretoria Concentration Camp, 1893
    (photographed by Winston Churchill)

    In the end, the British didn't stop, fully absorbing the Boer States by 1896. Three-quarters of the population was either killed during the war or deported to the German Kongo, leaving South Africa Anglicized for decades to come. The breakdown of Weaver and the Union's will in the circumstances of them having to actually do something about the human rights violations in South Africa had an adverse effect that would change the course of history forever. Because, in 1893, when Weaver and the Populists proved themselves to be all talk and no action, Winston Churchill--with a fairly bright future already laid out for him if he remained at the World--decided he would have to do it himself. The American Bulldog was entering the field of politics.

    And the United States failed a fourth and final time of the 1890s. There were far more failures and victories ahead, but still, in a matter of ten years, America and its Revolutionary Spirit had been proven not invincible, and the British, French, Spanish, Russians, Portuguese, and Japanese couldn't be more pleased with the news.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  19. SavoyTruffle I am the modren man

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Tamriel
    Damn, you took our words to heart.

    My homeland got wrecked by Spain ITTL - and we invented suicide bombing ITTL. I dunno what to feel!

    Britain begins its genocidal ways here. And the worst part is that the Vespasianists aren't in power yet!

    And Winston Churchill, genocide whistleblower? Whoda thunk it? :D
     
  20. farmerted555 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Don't feel sad, everybody. Remember, as President Churchill would later say, "They have sown the wind, let them reap the whirlwind"!
     
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