AHC - An independent California republic with a lifespan of at least 9 years

raharris1973

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The challenge is to have an independent California republic, established by either a primarily Spanish-speaking or English-speaking leadership group, ruling an independent California that at least governs the entire coast from Pismo beach/Morro Bay northward for at least nine years. Bonus points the further south it extends toward San Diego or beyond, and the further east it extends into the interior of the Alta California province.
 
I've always been fond of the Brits taking on California as a protectorate or dominion somewhere around the Mexican-American War. I believe I read somewhere that there were talks of selling it then in fact. In the short term its less of a republic, but with the history of republicanism from both Mexican and American settlers in the long term I can see a British California taking a route like South Africa and Ireland did in becoming republics. A bit of a roundabout way to achieve the challenge, but still achieving it eventually.
 

raharris1973

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I've always been fond of the Brits taking on California as a protectorate or dominion somewhere around the Mexican-American War. I believe I read somewhere that there were talks of selling it then in fact. In the short term its less of a republic, but with the history of republicanism from both Mexican and American settlers in the long term I can see a British California taking a route like South Africa and Ireland did in becoming republics. A bit of a roundabout way to achieve the challenge, but still achieving it eventually.
Would Bobby Peel and his Conservatives or Johnny Russell and his Whigs have gotten behind the purchasing idea? How far south and how far inland would they purchase?

I doubt that one, since the legacy of Mexican control and the Americans who settled it being Yankees would see slavery finding few advocates there.
Interesting. -

Would the Mexico City government recognize California's declared independence or deny it. Would there be a border dispute.

A Hispanic led or truly binational, bilingual republic would be interesting. But, if it were a Yankee-led and demographically dominated republic, and Mexico disputing Califorinia independence, could we have the arguments that we saw in OTL about Texas annexation and a War with Mexico reversed, with northerners supporting admission of California to the Union even at risk of war, while southerners oppose annexation of California because it would be a free state?
 
Would Bobby Peel and his Conservatives or Johnny Russell and his Whigs have gotten behind the purchasing idea? How far south and how far inland would they purchase?
There seems to have been some appeal to the Palmerston administration, but not for Peel's, which really means it needs to occur closer to 1840 if its to happen. The Tyler administration may well have supported if it also resolved the Oregon Boundary Dispute. As for how much, I don't know how much it would be. Certainly most of modern California, but I don't know precisely how far inland it might go, but given how tenuously the interior was controlled by Mexico, it could be clear to the Rockies. The biggest issue is getting British government support for it. The British Ambassador to Mexico (and later the US), Richard Pakenham, lobbied really hard for Britain to do, but just never found enough support from the Peel admin.
 
See Gary Kornblith on a Clay victory in 1844:

"The destiny of California under a Clay presidency is harder to project with confidence. Even without the advent of war with the United States, Mexico would have sustained its claims to sovereignty only with difficulty. In early 1844 the beleaguered governor of California, Manuel Micheltorena, recommended to his superiors in Mexico City that they consider handing the province over to British creditors rather than let it fall into the hands of American immigrants and californios (Californians of Hispanic descent). 'In August 1844,' wrote David J. Weber, 'a group of californios met secretly with British vice consul James Forbes in Monterey and told him they were ready to drive Micheltorena out of California, declare independence, and ask for British protection.' Without instructions from London, Forbes was stymied, but the rebels nonetheless succeeded in ousting Micheltorena in early 1845. They stopped short of declaring independence, however, and soon divided among themselves. Meanwhile, Americans in California prepared to take matters into their own hands, and in June 1846 they staged the Bear Flag Revolt. 'Even if [the Mexican-American War] had not occurred,' Weber asserted, 'Americans in California had become numerous enough to think they could play the 'Texas game' and win.'

"Whether the discovery of gold in 1848 would have prompted President Clay to show more enthusiasm for annexing California than he did for annexing Texas is hard to know. Fellow Whig (but political rival) Daniel Webster had long hoped to acquire San Francisco and the surrounding area for the United States. Yet Clay was more sensitive than Webster to sectional tensions and to the explosive consequences of adding new territory to the federal domain. As with Texas, Clay might well have preferred strong commercial ties with California to the national and international controversies sparked by annexation. For this reason, he would probably have encouraged California to remain independent so long as it avoided an open alliance with Great Britain or another foreign power. Certainly, the possibility that California could have flourished as a separate nation deserves serious consideration. The historical geographer D.W. Meinig has written, 'Was there ever a region better designed by Nature for separate geopolitical existence than Alta California--a land so distinctive and attractive, set apart by the great unbroken wall of the Sierra Nevada backed by desert wastelands, fronting on the world's greatest ocean, focused on one of the world's most magnificent harbors?'

"Alternatively, under pressure from Democratic expansionists in Congress, a President Clay might have proposed pairing the annexation of Texas and California--a reprise of the Missouri Compromise with its coupling of Missouri and Maine. But that scenario seems less probable than the establishment of an independent California because it presupposes Mexico's peaceful acquiescence, a most unlikely development. In keeping with past policy, Britain would have supported Mexican objections to American annexation (as distinct from Texan or Californian independence) and Clay would have backed away from a war for territorial expansion. His commitment to diplomacy, rather than force of arms, would almost surely have curtailed the country's westward growth for the duration of his presidency..."

https://web.archive.org/web/20170829161557/http://www.oah.org/site/assets/documents/02_JAH_2003_kornblith.pdf
 
A better POD is no Louisiana purchase. More likely, a limited one where the USA purchases New Orleans and the surrounding area, but everything north of Shreveport remains Spanish, and later becomes Mexican territory. In this world, California could well successfully revolt from Mexico, but there is no reason for it to join a federal republic thousands of miles away.
 

raharris1973

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A better POD is no Louisiana purchase. More likely, a limited one where the USA purchases New Orleans and the surrounding area, but everything north of Shreveport remains Spanish, and later becomes Mexican territory. In this world, California could well successfully revolt from Mexico, but there is no reason for it to join a federal republic thousands of miles away.
Well, that is a solid PoD for a non-American California, especially an independent Californio-led state.
 
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