Answering the Call of Lafayette: America Intervenes in the Franco-Prussian War

This timeline (admittedly more of a sketch than a fully fledged timeline at this point) was inspired by the recent thread on American intervention in the Franco Prussian War. Basically the POD is that Napoleon III supports the Union during the Civil War, and avoids getting entangled in Mexico.

ANSWERING THE CALL OF LAFAYETTE:
American Intervenes in the Franco-Prussian War
An Alternate History Timeline
by Robert Perkins

1861-1863--The American Civil War. In contrast to OTL, Emperor Napoleon III of France, following public opinion within France, throws his full support behind the Union. The government of Queen Victoria in Britain, influenced in part by Napoleon's diplomats, does likewise. Confederate arms purchasers are given the cold shoulder in both countries, and the war ends in April 1863 with the complete defeat of the Confederacy. Because the war goes much better for the Union right from the beginning, President Lincoln never issues the Emancipation Proclamation.

October 1861--Treaty of London. Britain, France and Spain decide to unite their efforts to collect unpaid debts from the Mexican government.

December 1861--Spanish fleet and army arrives at Vera Cruz.

1862--In Prussia, the largest of the German states, a member of the landed aristocracy, Otto von Bismarck, becomes Chancellor. Representing the king, he declares that his government is to rule without parliament.

January 1862--British and French fleets arrive at Vera Cruz.

March 1862--French army lands in Mexico.

April 1862--A convention of the London Treaty powers decides to withdraw from Mexico. Napoleon III, however, does not immediately go along with the other powers, and French troops remain.

May 5, 1862. The Battle of Puebla. French troops suffer a humiliating defeat at the hand of Mexican forces, although they do not suffer huge casualties.

June 1862--Upon learning of the defeat at Puebla, Napoleon III decides that Mexico might not be worth the effort it would take to seize it, and orders the withdrawal of French troops.

June 1862 onward--Recriminations in France over the defeat at Puebla lead to an earlier reform of the French military. Minister of War Jacques Louis Randon, with the approval of Emperor Napoleon III, closes loopholes in the national conscription regulations, and increases bonuses for reenlistment of veteran troops, both of which greatly increase the strength and quality of the French military.

April 1863 onward--At the end of the Civil War, relations between the United States and France are quite possibly better than they have ever been. In a speech before Congress in September 1863, President Lincoln publicly thanks Napoleon III for his support of the Union during the war, and for his respect for the Monroe Doctrine at a time when the United States was unable to directly enforce it. Over the upcoming years, relations between the two countries will continue to improve.

April 1863 onward--The process of Reconstruction proceeds in the United States. President Lincoln attempts to follow a relatively benign Reconstruction policy, and in an effort to regain the loyalty of the recently conquered Southerners, he sponsors a revival of the proposed 1861 Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees that slavery cannot ever be abolished by action of the national government. However, the amendment is modified to also state that slavery cannot be introduced into any of the Territories of the United States, nor can it be adopted by any State in which it does not currently exist. In addition, the amendment specifically states that the right of secession from the Union does not exist. These benign policies, and especially the revival of the Corwin Amendment (now known as the Corwin/Lincoln Amendment), are vehemently opposed by Radical Republicans in Congress, and President Lincoln finds himself in a power struggle with Congress which effectively stymies the whole Reconstruction process.

January 1864--Based on the observations of French military attaches of the Union Army’s use of railroads during the Civil War, French Minister of War Jacques Louis Randon decides that railroads will play a crucial role in any future military crisis as the key to rapid mobilization. He hires the former head of the U.S. Military Railroad Bureau, Herman Haupt, who has recently left the U.S. Army and returned to civilian life, to assist in the design of a plan for the rapid mobilization of the French military. With the blessing of President Lincoln, Haupt goes to France, where his advice proves of great help to French planners.

February-October 1864--The Second Schleswig War proceeds as per OTL. Prussia and Austria emerge as the victors over Denmark. This gives further impetus to French military reform efforts, since French Minister of War Jacques Louis Randon can see that Prussia is an emerging military threat.

November 1864--President Lincoln narrowly defeats Democrat George B. McClellan (who is wildly popular as the General who captured Richmond in the summer of 1862) and is re-elected for a second term. At the same time, many of the most Radical Republican members of Congress are voted out by a weary public which wants a resolution for the Reconstruction issue.

March 1864 onward--The new, less radical Congress begins to cooperate with President Lincoln's Reconstruction proposals. By the end of 1864, all of the defeated Southern States have been re-admitted to the Union.

July 1864--Congress passes the Corwin/Lincoln Amendment. It is submitted to the States for ratification.

April 1865--Buoyed by the votes of the returned Southern States, the Corwin/Lincoln Amendment is ratified and becomes the law of the land as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

1866--The Seven Weeks War between Prussia and a coalition of Austria and several German states. Prussia inflicts a humiliating defeat on Austria and it’s allies, and effectively emerges as the new leader of Germany. France is still in the process of reorganizing and reforming it’s military, and, as in OTL, does not intervene in the war.

1869 onward--The states of the Upper South begin emancipating their slaves, starting with Delaware in 1869. By the end of the century, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri will have followed. Virginia, too, will consider emancipation legislation, but it’s legislature will vote it down by a narrow margin in 1898. Slavery remains strong in the Deep South, however, right up to the end of the century, with no sign of emancipation in sight.

1867--Jacques Louis Randon is replaced by Adolphe Niel as French Minister of War. Niel continues the reforms begun by Randon.

September 1868--Revolution in Spain overthrows Queen Isabella II.

November 1868--Presidential Elections in the United States. A Republican ticket consisting of war heroes Ulysses S. Grant and John C. Fremont handily defeats the Democratic challengers, George B. McClellan (still popular enough to be renominated by his party) and Samuel Tilden.

June 1870--The Spanish government offers the throne of Spain to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. This is vehemently opposed by France.

July 2, 1870--Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen withdraws his candidacy for the Spanish throne in response to French protests.

July 13, 1870--The Ems Dispatch. King Wilhelm I of Prussia is approached by the French ambassador while visiting the resort of Bad Ems. The French ambassador demands that the Prussian King guarantee that no Hohenzollern would ever again become a candidate for the Spanish throne. Wilhelm refuses. Later that day, he authorizes Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to release news of these events to the press. Bismarck, without changing the essential facts of the meeting, edits the press release in such a way that it appears to the French that the Prussian King insulted the French Ambassador, while at the same time appearing to the peoples of the various German states that the French Ambassador insulted the Prussian King.

July 19, 1870--France declares war on Prussia. The Franco-Prussian War begins.

July 1870-May 1872--The Franco-Prussian War (or, as it will be known in the United States, “The German War”). As in OTL, Prussia manages to persuade the south German states to join the war against France, and quickly mobilizes an army of over 1 million men for the invasion of France. The various reforms instituted in the French army since 1862 prove to be of great value, and France manages to mobilize nearly 800,000 well-trained men within a month after the declaration of war, with the goal of an ultimate mobilization of over one million men proceeding and well along toward completion. And, unlike in OTL, the mobilization is much better organized, thanks to the plan devised with the input of Herman Haupt. The French infantry is much better armed than the Prussians, although their artillery is, as in OTL, outclassed by the Prussian Krupp guns. However, the French are able to do much better in the early battles of the war, and although they do not win any outright victories, they manage to avoid any major defeats in the early months of the war, which bogs down into a bloody stalemate. Trench lines begin to scar the beautiful French countryside as both sides dig in.

The United States government, in response to French appeals, begins shipping surplus military equipment and other supplies to France almost immediately upon the declaration of war. The “yellow press” in the United States is meanwhile whipping up public opinion in favor of France, “our friend during the Great Rebellion, the land of Lafayette, now under the boot of the Teutonic bully.“ In response, the Prussians send out several commerce raiders which begin preying on U.S. shipping in the Atlantic and elsewhere. Public outrage over these depredations leads President Grant, on October 10, 1870, to ask Congress for a declaration of war on Prussia. Congress almost unanimously approves this declaration the next day.

The United States is able to mobilize more quickly than would otherwise be the case by calling upon it’s Civil War veterans…both Union and Confederate…who provide a large reserve of men with military experience and training who will form the core of the expanded army. Thus, within six months, the United States is able to form, equip, and transport to France, an American Expeditionary Force of 500,000 men (commanded by General William T. Sherman), with as many more in the process of training and equipage.

The structure of the American Expeditionary Force is as follows...

THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
General William T. Sherman, Army Group Commander

FIRST ARMY--General William Rosecrans
--1st Corps...Lt. General James Longstreet
--2nd Corps...Lt. General John Schofield
--3rd Corps...Lt. General George Meade
--4th Corps...Lt. General Winfield S. Hancock

Second Army--General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
--1st Corps...Lt. General Philip Kearny
--2nd Corps...Lt. General Ambrose Powell Hill
--3rd Corps...Lt. General James Ewell Brown Stuart

Cavalry Corps--Lt. General George Armstrong Custer
--1st Division...Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest
--2nd Division...Major General Judson Kilpatrick

Note that the First Army is composed primarily of brigades formed from Northern regiments. The Second Army (which is significantly smaller than the First Army) is composed primarily of brigades formed from Southern regiments.

The U.S. forces are armed with the various versions of the trapdoor Springfield Rifle (primarily Allin conversions of existing Civil War surplus muskets, which can be produced quickly and cheaply) at the outset, but President Grant soon contacts Oliver Winchester, who has acquired rights to the Spencer Repeating Rifle after purchasing the Spencer company in 1869, to have the Spencer mass-produced (Grant favors the Spencer design over Winchester’s own product, the Henry Rifle, because it fires a much more hard-hitting and longer-ranged cartridge). In cooperation with government arsenals, Winchester’s New Haven Arms Company, in cooperation with the various government arsenals and other private contractors, begins churning out Spencer Rifles by the hundreds of thousands by the end of 1871. By mid-1872, the American Expeditionary Force in France will be equipped almost entirely with the new Spencers.

The American Army is also equipped with batteries of another weapon...the Gatling Gun. Superior to the French Mitraleuse, the Gatlings are also accompanied by a better doctrine for their use than the one used for the French weapon, and overall, the Gatlings will be much more effective than the Mitraleuse during the war.

Units of American troops begin participating in the war well before the main American Army is deployed, with the first of these…an American cavalry division commanded by Major General George Armstrong Custer, with Nathan Bedford Forrest as one of his Brigadiers…taking part in battles in northern France as early as January 1871 (Custer will later rise to command the Cavalry Corps of the A.E.F., and Forrest to command one of the Divisions). However, they don’t begin to really make themselves felt until May 1871, at the Battle of Verdun, when a major offensive by American troops almost broke the German lines. However, they were inadequately supported by the French, and in the end, the amount of ground gained was not commensurate with the number of men lost.

Nevertheless, the weight of American manpower begins to tell, and from May 1871 until the end of the war two years later, the Germans are gradually forced back. The increased firepower which the Americans experience as a result of their gradual re-equipping with Spencer rifles, and their effective use of Gatling Guns also plays a significant role in this. By the Spring of 1873, the Germans have been pushed completely out of France and Franco-American forces are advancing into Germany itself.

Seeing the inevitability of defeat, in May 1873 King Wilhelm I of Prussia asks for the resignation of Chancellor Bismarck, which he receives. He then asks for an armistice. This is granted on May 16, 1873. Treaty negotiations then begin, mediated by the King of Belgium, at Brussels. They will drag on until August 1873.

November 1872--Presidential Elections in the United States. President Grant wins re-election over a Democratic Ticket consisting of Samuel Tilden and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. Tilden and Johnson had run on a peace platform, citing the high casualties of the war in France. They lost by a landslide, and President Grant takes this as a mandate to continue the war to it’s conclusion.

August 1873--The Treaty of Brussels is signed between Prussia (representing itself and it’s allies), France, and the United States. By terms of this treaty, France is allowed to absorb Luxembourg, and receives a large indemnity from Prussia. Prussia also is forced to give up it’s control of the North German Confederation, with the complete sovereignty of the various German states within it to be recognized. German unification is effectively derailed.
 
Interesting start.

Couple of questions / comments:

1) How does the inability of the Confederates to buy materiel in Britain and France increase the numbers of Southern unionists? To me, this is what's necessary to forestall Lincoln's consideration of emancipation as a tool to create divisions within the South. I can see that it might make the war shorter, depending on the number of weapons involved.

A shorter, more successful war might mean that Union troops begin occupying portions of the South earlier, meaning that Lincoln has a bigger population of White southerners whose loyalty he needs to win and of course few things persuade quite so well as an army. Particularly an army that's not as rapacious as you thought it might be. Hence, perhaps the answer to my question is that Lincoln never needs to use emancipation to gain a moral high ground or to create a "fifth column" in the South. Instead, he needs to win the loyalty of the citizens who haven't been traumatized by Sherman's march to the sea.

2) In such a scenario, I'd could see Lincoln supporting something like your 13th Amendment, but not proposing it. I think he'd go along with it, but he'd want a bit more. I think you'd also need something like the 14th, though with some important changes.

The way that Section 1 is phrased OTL undoes the Dred Scott decision. Since slavery will persist, you can't have the same wording, but the basic intent to ensure some kind of equality at the state level (and thereby open the door to broader civil rights) might be available. Perhaps a version of Madison's amendment which would bar the states from infringing certain rights: [FONT=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases. [/FONT]You can add some more here if you'd like; this is important since it doesn't mean that all of the Bill of Rights are incorporated against the States, establishing limits which don't exist today. It's a symbolic victory for the Republicans, but it touches slavery not at all. A nice compromise, I think.

You'd also have Section 2 pretty much per OTL: not letting the South have extra votes for slaves seems like a good penalty for rebellion. Section 3 is probably radically different and probably extends to almost a blanket pardon (helping to explain all the Southern generals in the later war).

Section 4 probably is per OTL, but Lincoln may be generous and/or there may be interesting things: perhaps the southern states are collective held responsible for this debt. This could be a way to engineer a later manumission act.

This amendment or another may also provide for some kind of mechanism for situations like 1860. This may be an alteration to the electoral college, like a supra-majority requirement, or more probably a standardization of the process: the essential thing, I think, is to ensure that every candidate who receives an electoral vote appears on the ballot in every state. I'm not sure how you'd do that. In this TL, the Rebellion of 1861 - 1863 will seem to largely be the effect of the misunderstandings of the election of 1860. Some kind of constitutional mechanism may therefore be in order.

This amendment(s) paired with your Lincoln / Corwin amendment seems like a good compromise which would satisfy a bit more moderate Republicans, while also accomplishing important acts of reconciliation.

3) I know you need to have France do something to expose its military weaknesses and hence reform before 1870, but I don't quite understand how invading Mexico -- indeed, staying longer in the country than any other power -- counts as respecting the Monroe Doctrine. They've withdrawn after a huge defeat, not exactly a magnanimous action. Either something's off or Lincoln's rhetoric is just empty posturing.

4) I thought Napoleon III's basic policy at the time was: do whatever Britain lets you. Here you have him convincing the British not to act, even though for a good year or more, the British government was dead set on engineering Confederate recognition. Now, I think you can keep the basic gist of things if the process is somewhat gradual: Napoleon sends a letter that says "Of course we shouldn't support the Confederates..." This ends up changing the British minds and hence no reception in Europe. I suppose you need something a bit more public, though. Perhaps a court snub to a Confederate envoy. I think Napoleon will need to offer a bit more overt help to really win enough popular support to merit US action. Maybe the French navy participates in the blockade? A nice thing to do after he discovers how silly invading Mexico is.

5) How do the Prussian commerce raiders get past the French navy?

6) What happens to West Virginia? Do the western counties secede per OTL?
____________________________________________________________

Thoughts on where to go next:

1) It seems to me that Austria's fortunes might pick up if Prussia falls. Perhaps another war? Given how easily absorbed the North German states were OTL, it seems like some kind unification is going to happen. If Austria does pick up, I wonder if there's then a role for Britain in supporting Prussia in the later years of the century.

2) If you wanted to, you could have Napoleon's movements in 1861 - 1863 lead to only a begrudging neutrality from Britain. American support of France in 1870 might then lead the British to regret not "seizing the chance" in 1861 to avenge 1776. Prognosticating about eventual Anglo-American rivalries is a bit much, given the myriad of nuances involved.

3) I wonder if you could actually allow the Hohenzollern to take the Spanish throne, then there'd be a Spanish front to the war: this gives the French more to worry about from a naval perspective, leaving the door open for the Prussian commerce raiders. It also might allow the US either to demand the acquisition of Cuba and Puerto Rico or at least independence for both (under the protection of Uncle Sam, of course). There'd need to be a decision in Grant's cabinet not to invade Cuba at the outset, but given the strategic imperatives of the war, a "Europe first" case seems pretty easy to win, particular if Sherman is around to make it.

4) The effects in the US will be pretty big: assuming an acquisition of Alaska in 1867 per OTL (who else would the Russians sell to?) and Spanish involvement in the Franco-Prussian War, the US has taken some major steps onto the international stage 35 years before it did so OTL. This may preclude the development of modern isolationism: Lincoln's presidency hinged on correct foreign relations. Grant's has seen the first US campaign overseas. There's a good precedent that US security depends on the state of the world: I could see Lincoln making some interesting speeches as a former president. There's also some very interesting alliances: not only has the US cemented a firm bond with France, but the US has a predilection for amicable relations with Russia. Austria and Prussia may need to look to Britain for protection!

5) I'd imagine that you'll see some kind of manumission set begin in the South. I could see the two wars doing a lot to undermine the Planter class and stir up poor Southern whites. What ideas have they brought home, serving alongside Yankees in Imperial France? Manumission will present something of a problem: the US won't have OTL 14th Amendments insistence that all persons born in the US are US citizens; hence, blacks might be denied all sorts of rights. However, TTL's 14th has still preserved the incentive for emancipation: more representation. The South will just have to figure a way to stomach it.

I know you have other TLs that will take priority, but this one has potential.
 
Well it seems Rob, that youve been bitten by that ol' TL Bug once again lol...Intresting Situation you got going on here, I wont be able to comment on much yet, since the GIilded Age just really isnt my strong point lol.

I am wondering however, Nick brought up a good question about Citizenship for these Free/Manumissed Slaves... and I do agree that Lincoln would atleast want some form of the 14th Amendment to pass seeing it would greatly enhance his constituency base. But Im wondering, Does the "German War" ever get desperate enough where Congress might bring up the old issue of buying out Slaves to fight over in France? Even with Free Black Regiments, how might seeing life in France change their outlook on Southern Society? Is their an earleir OTL Great Migration?
 
A sideshow but never the less - Denmark just might in this situation with the US fighting in France, when the "allies" go on the offensive pushing the Germans back join in the rank and file to get Slesvig back.
TTL it would be to get all of Slesvig to the Ejder.
The real bonus of getting Denmark in would be to have German ports blockaded by the Danish Navy still in a fighting spirit after the victory of Heligoland. The Prussians might get their raiders out, they'd surely not get them back and the Danish Navy wouldn't mind looking out for them on the seas.

So maybe you could have allies to be forming a line to get into the fray - Austria of course! But then the Brits would have something to do about the balance of power. :D
 
Getting back into the European system?
You're kidding! :D

Suspect you're right, not likely to happen.

Though, what was the British political reaction to the Prussian annexation of Hanover? Could there be a feeling, if Prussia does do badly in this German War, to see it re-established?
 

67th Tigers

Banned
This

The structure of the American Expeditionary Force is as follows...

THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
General William T. Sherman, Army Group Commander

FIRST ARMY--General William Rosecrans
--1st Corps...Lt. General James Longstreet
--2nd Corps...Lt. General John Schofield
--3rd Corps...Lt. General George Meade
--4th Corps...Lt. General Winfield S. Hancock

Second Army--General Thomas Jonathan Jackson
--1st Corps...Lt. General Philip Kearny
--2nd Corps...Lt. General Ambrose Powell Hill
--3rd Corps...Lt. General James Ewell Brown Stuart

Cavalry Corps--Lt. General George Armstrong Custer
--1st Division...Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest
--2nd Division...Major General Judson Kilpatrick

Note that the First Army is composed primarily of brigades formed from Northern regiments. The Second Army (which is significantly smaller than the First Army) is composed primarily of brigades formed from Southern regiments.

The U.S. forces are armed with the various versions of the trapdoor Springfield Rifle (primarily Allin conversions of existing Civil War surplus muskets, which can be produced quickly and cheaply) at the outset, but President Grant soon contacts Oliver Winchester, who has acquired rights to the Spencer Repeating Rifle after purchasing the Spencer company in 1869, to have the Spencer mass-produced (Grant favors the Spencer design over Winchester’s own product, the Henry Rifle, because it fires a much more hard-hitting and longer-ranged cartridge). In cooperation with government arsenals, Winchester’s New Haven Arms Company, in cooperation with the various government arsenals and other private contractors, begins churning out Spencer Rifles by the hundreds of thousands by the end of 1871. By mid-1872, the American Expeditionary Force in France will be equipped almost entirely with the new Spencers.

The American Army is also equipped with batteries of another weapon...the Gatling Gun. Superior to the French Mitraleuse, the Gatlings are also accompanied by a better doctrine for their use than the one used for the French weapon, and overall, the Gatlings will be much more effective than the Mitraleuse during the war.
That expeditionary force is utterly huge. The US had a 40,000 man army at around this time, and will struggle to have 50,000 in France, let alone 500,000 (i.e. the combined field armies of the Federals and Confederates!).

I can imagine initially a scratch built division could be sent with forces recently occupying the south. Then new formations need building. I'm sure with volunteers and the militia maybe a force of 200,000 could be built and eventually 50,000 sent to France (as an Army of 2 Corps).

As for weapons, there weren't that many Spencers/ Winchesters kicking around, and they're pretty poor compared to some European weapons. The Trapdoor Springfield which would equip them is more than sufficient.

Oh, and I don't think the US had many Gatlings OTL....
 
That expeditionary force is utterly huge. The US had a 40,000 man army at around this time, and will struggle to have 50,000 in France, let alone 500,000 (i.e. the combined field armies of the Federals and Confederates!).

I can imagine initially a scratch built division could be sent with forces recently occupying the south. Then new formations need building. I'm sure with volunteers and the militia maybe a force of 200,000 could be built and eventually 50,000 sent to France (as an Army of 2 Corps).
In World War One, the United States deployed over a million troops to France within one year, most of which arrived between January and May 1918. This was done basically from a cold start, using untrained volunteers. The United States in 1870, by virtue of having a large pool of trained Union and Confederate veterans there and ready to be used, would be in a much better position to deploy a large force quickly. Certainly they should be able to deploy, within a relatively short time, a force only half as large as America deployed in the first 12 months of World War One.

As for weapons, there weren't that many Spencers/ Winchesters kicking around, and they're pretty poor compared to some European weapons. The Trapdoor Springfield which would equip them is more than sufficient.
Indeed? What European weapon of that time period could equal a Spencer? The Spencer was a very good repeating firearm firing metalic cartridges. European armies were using single shot breechloaders at the time. Indeed, the Prussian Dreyse wasn't even firing metalic cartridges (not sure about the Chassepot). Even Britain was using the Snider conversion of the 1853 Enfield (basically the same type of thing as the Allin Conversion Trapdoor Springfield).

Its true that within a few years, new European arms would come about that would outclass the Spencer (the Lebel, the Mauser, the Lee Metford and Lee Enfield, etc.). But those things didn't exist in 1870. The Spencer did.

As for numbers, it is true that there would not have been many Spencers in existence in 1870. But American factories and arsenals will soon remedy that problem.

Oh, and I don't think the US had many Gatlings OTL....
True. Again, American factories and arsenals will make up the deficiency in a relatively short time. I don't postulate that large numbers of them are available right at the beginning of the war.
 
Interesting start.

Couple of questions / comments:

1) How does the inability of the Confederates to buy materiel in Britain and France increase the numbers of Southern unionists? To me, this is what's necessary to forestall Lincoln's consideration of emancipation as a tool to create divisions within the South. I can see that it might make the war shorter, depending on the number of weapons involved.

A shorter, more successful war might mean that Union troops begin occupying portions of the South earlier, meaning that Lincoln has a bigger population of White southerners whose loyalty he needs to win and of course few things persuade quite so well as an army. Particularly an army that's not as rapacious as you thought it might be. Hence, perhaps the answer to my question is that Lincoln never needs to use emancipation to gain a moral high ground or to create a "fifth column" in the South. Instead, he needs to win the loyalty of the citizens who haven't been traumatized by Sherman's march to the sea.
You've answered your own question. What you said is, more or less, is what I was thinking.

2) In such a scenario, I'd could see Lincoln supporting something like your 13th Amendment, but not proposing it.
I didn't say Lincoln proposed it. But, as in 1861, he was quick to get on the bandwagon and sponsor it once the issue was revived in Congress.


I think he'd go along with it, but he'd want a bit more. I think you'd also need something like the 14th, though with some important changes.

The way that Section 1 is phrased OTL undoes the Dred Scott decision. Since slavery will persist, you can't have the same wording, but the basic intent to ensure some kind of equality at the state level (and thereby open the door to broader civil rights) might be available. Perhaps a version of Madison's amendment which would bar the states from infringing certain rights: [FONT=trebuchet ms,arial,helvetica]No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases. [/FONT]You can add some more here if you'd like; this is important since it doesn't mean that all of the Bill of Rights are incorporated against the States, establishing limits which don't exist today. It's a symbolic victory for the Republicans, but it touches slavery not at all. A nice compromise, I think.
Why would he do this? White people already have equal rights in every State in the Union, and the ATL Lincoln wouldn't be overly concerned about equal rights for free blacks (he didn't begin to evolve in such a direction in OTL until after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued and large numbers of blacks gave their lives fighting for the Union, which didn't happen in the ATL). Remember, this is the man who supported the Illinois exclusion laws barring free blacks from living within Illinois at all, who stated specifically that he felt there was a physical difference between the white and black races which would forever forbid them from living together as equals, and if one race had to be superior to the other, he would prefer it be the white race. Why would such a man, in the absence of the factors which modified his thinking in OTL, suddenly support anything resembling the 14th amendment?

The revised Corwin amendment stated in the timeline contains all the issues Lincoln was concerned about...it excludes slavery from the Territories (so, as Lincoln wanted, they could be the exclusive preserve of "free white labor"), and it bans secession.

You'd also have Section 2 pretty much per OTL: not letting the South have extra votes for slaves seems like a good penalty for rebellion. Section 3 is probably radically different and probably extends to almost a blanket pardon (helping to explain all the Southern generals in the later war).

Section 4 probably is per OTL, but Lincoln may be generous and/or there may be interesting things: perhaps the southern states are collective held responsible for this debt. This could be a way to engineer a later manumission act.
I could see those provisions being added to the proposed Corwin/Lincoln Amendment.

This amendment or another may also provide for some kind of mechanism for situations like 1860. This may be an alteration to the electoral college, like a supra-majority requirement, or more probably a standardization of the process: the essential thing, I think, is to ensure that every candidate who receives an electoral vote appears on the ballot in every state. I'm not sure how you'd do that. In this TL, the Rebellion of 1861 - 1863 will seem to largely be the effect of the misunderstandings of the election of 1860. Some kind of constitutional mechanism may therefore be in order.
I doubt that he'd get much support for tinkering with the electoral college. The election of 1860 was never really seen as a crisis caused by the electoral college, unlike some other elections in history.

3) I know you need to have France do something to expose its military weaknesses and hence reform before 1870, but I don't quite understand how invading Mexico -- indeed, staying longer in the country than any other power -- counts as respecting the Monroe Doctrine. They've withdrawn after a huge defeat, not exactly a magnanimous action. Either something's off or Lincoln's rhetoric is just empty posturing.
Going in, collecting your debts, and leaving quickly...which is what occurs in the ATL...while not completely respectful of the Monroe Doctrine, is certainly more respectful than staying for years and trying to impose a puppet government there. I think Lincoln is engaging in a little "alternate history speculation" and thinking about what might have occurred, if Napoleon III had chosen to do it when the U.S. was powerless to prevent it. He is also very appreciative of Nappy's stance vis-a-vis the Confederacy and the support given to the Union during the war, and is inclined to say nice things about Nappy which may not be completely true.

4) I thought Napoleon III's basic policy at the time was: do whatever Britain lets you. Here you have him convincing the British not to act, even though for a good year or more, the British government was dead set on engineering Confederate recognition. Now, I think you can keep the basic gist of things if the process is somewhat gradual: Napoleon sends a letter that says "Of course we shouldn't support the Confederates..." This ends up changing the British minds and hence no reception in Europe. I suppose you need something a bit more public, though. Perhaps a court snub to a Confederate envoy. I think Napoleon will need to offer a bit more overt help to really win enough popular support to merit US action. Maybe the French navy participates in the blockade? A nice thing to do after he discovers how silly invading Mexico is.
Britain and France were enjoying pretty good relations at that time, having just fought together in the Crimean War and being jointly engaged in the Second Opium War in China at that very time. Therefore, I think Napoleon's diplomats probably would have the ear of the British government of the time and have a good bit of influence if Nappy came out strongly against supporting the Confederates right from the beginning. As for directly participating in the blockade, I don't think that would be very likely. I think simply making favorable financing available and fully opening the factories of France to Union purchasers would, along with public expressions of support by Nappy to Lincoln, be enough to create the goodwill which exists in the timeline.

5) How do the Prussian commerce raiders get past the French navy?
Upon researching the role of the French navy in the Franco-Prussian War, I found that their blockade of Germany was a failure, and the French Navy's performance in general was not great. The French military reforms in the ATL have been focused on the army, and the quality and strength of the Navy, therefore, is as per OTL. So I don't see that the Prussians would have had that much difficulty slipping a few disguised and armed merchant ships out for commerce raiding, had they chosen to do so.

6) What happens to West Virginia? Do the western counties secede per OTL?
Yes, I think so.


Thoughts on where to go next:

1) It seems to me that Austria's fortunes might pick up if Prussia falls. Perhaps another war? Given how easily absorbed the North German states were OTL, it seems like some kind unification is going to happen. If Austria does pick up, I wonder if there's then a role for Britain in supporting Prussia in the later years of the century.
I think Austria will definitely try to take advantage of Prussia's defeat in the war and loss of control of the North German Confederation. I am not sure how successful they will be...Austria has big problems of it's own. Prussia may indeed grow closer to Britain, however, for a number of reasons, even if Austria doesn't manage to effectively make use of the opportunity.

2) If you wanted to, you could have Napoleon's movements in 1861 - 1863 lead to only a begrudging neutrality from Britain. American support of France in 1870 might then lead the British to regret not "seizing the chance" in 1861 to avenge 1776. Prognosticating about eventual Anglo-American rivalries is a bit much, given the myriad of nuances involved.
Definitely something to mull over.

3) I wonder if you could actually allow the Hohenzollern to take the Spanish throne, then there'd be a Spanish front to the war: this gives the French more to worry about from a naval perspective, leaving the door open for the Prussian commerce raiders. It also might allow the US either to demand the acquisition of Cuba and Puerto Rico or at least independence for both (under the protection of Uncle Sam, of course). There'd need to be a decision in Grant's cabinet not to invade Cuba at the outset, but given the strategic imperatives of the war, a "Europe first" case seems pretty easy to win, particular if Sherman is around to make it.
No, I don't think anything in the ATL would alter Leopold's decision not to accept the Spanish offer.

4) The effects in the US will be pretty big: assuming an acquisition of Alaska in 1867 per OTL (who else would the Russians sell to?) and Spanish involvement in the Franco-Prussian War, the US has taken some major steps onto the international stage 35 years before it did so OTL. This may preclude the development of modern isolationism: Lincoln's presidency hinged on correct foreign relations. Grant's has seen the first US campaign overseas. There's a good precedent that US security depends on the state of the world: I could see Lincoln making some interesting speeches as a former president. There's also some very interesting alliances: not only has the US cemented a firm bond with France, but the US has a predilection for amicable relations with Russia. Austria and Prussia may need to look to Britain for protection!
All very true.

5) I'd imagine that you'll see some kind of manumission set begin in the South. I could see the two wars doing a lot to undermine the Planter class and stir up poor Southern whites. What ideas have they brought home, serving alongside Yankees in Imperial France? Manumission will present something of a problem: the US won't have OTL 14th Amendments insistence that all persons born in the US are US citizens; hence, blacks might be denied all sorts of rights. However, TTL's 14th has still preserved the incentive for emancipation: more representation. The South will just have to figure a way to stomach it.
I agree that manumission will begin, as indeed, it does in the timeline. However, the economic power of cotton was such that, until the cotton market experiences the double whammy of collapsing prices in the late 1890s, and the boll weevil in the early 20th century, I think the Deep South will be resistant to the idea even if it means more representation. [/quote]

I know you have other TLs that will take priority, but this one has potential.
Thank you. :)
 
I am wondering however, Nick brought up a good question about Citizenship for these Free/Manumissed Slaves... and I do agree that Lincoln would atleast want some form of the 14th Amendment to pass seeing it would greatly enhance his constituency base.
See my reply to his post. I just don't see why Lincoln would support such a thing.

But Im wondering, Does the "German War" ever get desperate enough where Congress might bring up the old issue of buying out Slaves to fight over in France?
I doubt it. The Federal Government needs the support of the South during the war and is unlikely to do anything which will cause problems in that regard. Tampering with slavery in any way, after having promised not to do so via the Corwin/Lincoln amendment, would likely do that.

Even with Free Black Regiments, how might seeing life in France change their outlook on Southern Society? Is their an earleir OTL Great Migration?
Assuming that such things are allowed to exist...they didn't during the ATL Civil War on the Northern side (although there may have been a few on the Confederate side, ironically...as indeed there were in OTL)...I am sure that experiencing life in France would make a great impact. Some analog of the Great Migration might well occur, given that experience...and also the fact that, with the Northern victory in the war, the Southern States are by now likely imposing some version of the OTL Jim Crow laws on it's free black population (which didn't exist in the South prior to the war but did in the North), in emulation of the laws existing in the North. However, given the fact that most Northern States had negro exclusion laws and other legislation on the books severely limiting the rights and opportunities of blacks living there, the Southern blacks might not be welcomed there.
 
A sideshow but never the less - Denmark just might in this situation with the US fighting in France, when the "allies" go on the offensive pushing the Germans back join in the rank and file to get Slesvig back.
TTL it would be to get all of Slesvig to the Ejder.
The real bonus of getting Denmark in would be to have German ports blockaded by the Danish Navy still in a fighting spirit after the victory of Heligoland. The Prussians might get their raiders out, they'd surely not get them back and the Danish Navy wouldn't mind looking out for them on the seas.
That might happen, although I think it would more likely to be something along the lines of Mussolini's stance vis-a-vis France in World War Two...wait until the enemy is already defeated, then jump in at the last moment and claim some spoils...in this case, Schleswig-Holstein.

So maybe you could have allies to be forming a line to get into the fray - Austria of course! But then the Brits would have something to do about the balance of power. :D
Austria might, too, jump in at the last moment. I don't see them getting involved too early. They got pretty well battered in 1866, and weren't really ready for a second round in 1870.
 
Perhaps Britain decides to 'free' Hanover?
Getting back into the European system?
You're kidding! :D
Suspect you're right, not likely to happen.

Though, what was the British political reaction to the Prussian annexation of Hanover? Could there be a feeling, if Prussia does do badly in this German War, to see it re-established?
Haven't got a clue - would like to know though! :)
I thought about that issue. However, Hanover is kind of important to Prussia because it links Prussian lands in the west with those in the East. Reconstitute it, and Prussia is once again separated into several isolated blocks of territory. I don't think the Prussians would agree to that, and would be willing to fight on in order to keep it from happening. By 1873, the casualties of the war are so high on both sides that France and the United States aren't going to break the armistice in order to benefit Britain.
 
Assuming that such things are allowed to exist...they didn't during the ATL Civil War on the Northern side (although there may have been a few on the Confederate side, ironically...as indeed there were in OTL)...I am sure that experiencing life in France would make a great impact. Some analog of the Great Migration might well occur, given that experience...and also the fact that, with the Northern victory in the war, the Southern States are by now likely imposing some version of the OTL Jim Crow laws on it's free black population (which didn't exist in the South prior to the war but did in the North), in emulation of the laws existing in the North. However, given the fact that most Northern States had negro exclusion laws and other legislation on the books severely limiting the rights and opportunities of blacks living there, the Southern blacks might not be welcomed there.

So with the North, really not wanting the Veteran Southern Blacks on their turff...Might They Strike out west into some of the more underdelevoped territories or Might they venture south into Mexico...Or even a more racially supportive Hatti or Domincan Republic(This may be more feasible)

Seeing as though in OTL Ulyssess S. Grant was for the Annexation of the Dominican Republic as it would be a place for Freedman to live in peace away from Southern Whites. Might Congress be more inclined to annex the nation with a greater amount of Free American Blacks who could possibly stablize the nation politicaly and format it into a functional territory?
 
You've answered your own question. What you said is, more or less, is what I was thinking.
Upon re-reading, quite so.

robertp6165 said:
I didn't say Lincoln proposed it. But, as in 1861, he was quick to get on the bandwagon and sponsor it once the issue was revived in Congress.
My apologies.

robertp6165 said:
Why would he do this? White people already have equal rights in every State in the Union, and the ATL Lincoln wouldn't be overly concerned about equal rights for free blacks (he didn't begin to evolve in such a direction in OTL until after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued and large numbers of blacks gave their lives fighting for the Union, which didn't happen in the ATL). Remember, this is the man who supported the Illinois exclusion laws barring free blacks from living within Illinois at all, who stated specifically that he felt there was a physical difference between the white and black races which would forever forbid them from living together as equals, and if one race had to be superior to the other, he would prefer it be the white race. Why would such a man, in the absence of the factors which modified his thinking in OTL, suddenly support anything resembling the 14th amendment?
I think you're right that it's debatable. Indeed, it may be superfluous. But I think it's there in Lincoln's pre-war writings.* For example:

Abraham Lincoln said:
If A. can prove, however conclusively, that he may, of right, enslave B. -- why may not B. snatch the same argument, and prove equally, that he may enslave A?--

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly?--You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest, you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you.

--Abraham Lincoln, 1855
Abraham Lincoln said:
This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

--Abraham Lincoln, 1859
The same Lincoln who supported the exclusion laws disliked slavery because he thought that if the same law which support the rights of one supported the slavery of another, than those rights were all the more fragile. Nonetheless, in the same documents he emphatically does not argue for emancipation (and almost argues against it). The fear of what the persistence of slavery might introduce into US law might be enough. I was thinking more a pre-amble to the Bill that would acknowledge Lincoln's belief in the principles of the Declaration (a belief he often quotes even as he dougts whether freeing the slaves would be to their benefit.)

robertp6165 said:
The revised Corwin amendment stated in the timeline contains all the issues Lincoln was concerned about...it excludes slavery from the Territories (so, as Lincoln wanted, they could be the exclusive preserve of "free white labor"), and it bans secession.
I think Lincoln's opposition goes one step further: he dislikes the fire-eater's attitude about the un-humanity of the slaves.

Abraham Lincoln said:
And when this new principle [that African Americans were not covered by the phrase "all men are created equal"] -- this new proposition that no human being ever thought of three years ago, -- is brought forward, I combat it as having an evil tendency, if not an evil design; I combat it as having a tendency to dehumanize the negro -- to take away from him the right of ever striving to be a man. I combat it as being one of the thousand things constantly done in these days to prepare the public mind to make property, and nothing but property of the negro in all the States of the Union.

.....I have never sought to apply these principles to the old States for the purpose of abolishing slavery in those States. It is nothing but a miserable perversion of what I have said, to assume that I have declared Missouri, or any other slave State shall emancipate her slaves. I have proposed no such thing.

-Abraham Lincoln, 1858
robetp6165 said:
I could see those provisions being added to the proposed Corwin/Lincoln Amendment.
I suppose abolishing the 3/5s clause might be enough to satisfy Lincoln's principles -- espcially considering how very nuanced they were. It really depends how much he needs to compromise with the radicals and how much he agrees with the need to ensure that Dred Scott is nullified.

I think he will want to clarify the issue of Dred Scott (i.e. is a slave free if he leaves a slave state?), but I'm not sure how he'd do it. This is what I was going for in the suggestion of an alternative for Section I: given your replies, I could see how such a section might be discarded in favor of support for the abolition of the 3/5s clause.

robertp6165 said:
I doubt that he'd get much support for tinkering with the electoral college. The election of 1860 was never really seen as a crisis caused by the electoral college, unlike some other elections in history.
You're right that 1860 isn't as much of an electoral college crisis as 1824 or 1800, but it still is an election crisis, precipitated by the collapse of the then current party system. The result: the election of a President who didn't appear on the ballot in most of the South.

Since it seems reasonable that the 3/5s clause is abolished, I'd think the South might want some further guarantee that such a scenario couldn't happen again. I've been giving the matter some thought and it's hard to come up with a solution that doesn't 1) require a federal election bureacracy or 2) completely re-work the electoral college. Since the South will already lose the 3/5s boost, presumably they've accepted the need to win a majority of votes, even if it does require compromise. After that, it's also mostly a matter of incentives: if the South doesn't want to be disenfranchised, then they shouldn't let their politicians bolt from parties.

Hence, I think I agree with you simply because I can't think of a fix, but the combined reforms may impact political thinking in the South. This makes me think that manumission might occur on a timeline a bit faster than you outline below, but that's obviously open to a lot of debte.

robertp6165 said:
I agree that manumission will begin, as indeed, it does in the timeline. However, the economic power of cotton was such that, until the cotton market experiences the double whammy of collapsing prices in the late 1890s, and the boll weevil in the early 20th century, I think the Deep South will be resistant to the idea even if it means more representation.

robert6165 said:
Going in, collecting your debts, and leaving quickly...which is what occurs in the ATL...while not completely respectful of the Monroe Doctrine, is certainly more respectful than staying for years and trying to impose a puppet government there. I think Lincoln is engaging in a little "alternate history speculation" and thinking about what might have occurred, if Napoleon III had chosen to do it when the U.S. was powerless to prevent it. He is also very appreciative of Nappy's stance vis-a-vis the Confederacy and the support given to the Union during the war, and is inclined to say nice things about Nappy which may not be completely true.
Considering that Lincoln was pretty good at envisioning the potential consequences of the destruction of the Union (wars between the resulting rump states and potential for weakness against foreign powers; see "A House Divided"), I think that's probably a very sound explanation. Right on.



As to the rest, the more I think about it, the more I generally agree with you.

I would very much like to see how TTL USA and Eastern Europe develop, but frankly, I think it'd be cooler to see Arhurian Britain advance into the 1500s. :D Best of luck!

________________________

* As a disclaimer -- and to dissuade or preempt a flame war -- the quotes and analysis of Lincoln is both my opinion and very arguable. Lincoln's opinions changed over time, so it's really impossible to state "this is what he though." It's also of course impossible because he was a very canny politician, often speaking with a very fine point to his words, and for the very simple reason that I'm not a time-traveling mind reader. Unfortunately.
 
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So with the North, really not wanting the Veteran Southern Blacks on their turff...Might They Strike out west into some of the more underdelevoped territories or Might they venture south into Mexico...Or even a more racially supportive Hatti or Domincan Republic(This may be more feasible)

Seeing as though in OTL Ulyssess S. Grant was for the Annexation of the Dominican Republic as it would be a place for Freedman to live in peace away from Southern Whites. Might Congress be more inclined to annex the nation with a greater amount of Free American Blacks who could possibly stablize the nation politicaly and format it into a functional territory?
I think that if Grant annexes the Dominican Republic, that might be an option for the free blacks. Lincoln no doubt has continued to promote his colonization schemes, and may have been more successful at it in the ATL. So Liberia and/or Haiti may be a possibility too. As for the western territories, the Republican Party just fought a war, in part, to keep the western territories reserved for white labor, so I doubt they are going to be big on having free blacks migrate there.

Some Northern States...those in New England, for example...were more liberal than others regarding free blacks, and you might see black migration there as well. As stated before, however, most of the North, is going to be quite hostile to an influx of free blacks.
 
I think you're right that it's debatable. Indeed, it may be superfluous. But I think it's there in Lincoln's pre-war writings....The same Lincoln who supported the exclusion laws disliked slavery because he thought that if the same law which support the rights of one supported the slavery of another, than those rights were all the more fragile. Nonetheless, in the same documents he emphatically does not argue for emancipation (and almost argues against it). The fear of what the persistence of slavery might introduce into US law might be enough. I was thinking more a pre-amble to the Bill that would acknowledge Lincoln's beleif in the principles of the Declaration (a belief he often quotes even as he dougts whether freeing the slaves would be to their benefit.)...I think Lincoln's opposition goes one step further: he dislikes the fire-eater's attitude about the un-humanity of the slaves.
I am aware that Lincoln made such statements. However, these seem to be intellectual exercises on his part that he didn't translate into action. When it came to actions...supporting the negro exclusion laws, supporting colonization of African Americans overseas, for example...it seems fairly clear that his white supremacist speeches and writings were closer to the mark than his sometimes seemingly egalitarian rhetoric. But, as you say, elsewhere, we cannot know conclusively what his real views were, because he contradicted himself at different times.

I suppose abolishing the 3/5s clause might be enough to satisfy Lincoln's principles -- espcially considering how very nuanced they were. It really depends how much he needs to compromise with the radical and how much he agrees with the need to ensure that Dred Scott is nullified. I think he will want to clarify the issue of Dred Scott (i.e. is a slave free if he leaves a slave state), but I'm not sure how he'd do it. This is what I was going for in the suggestion of an alternative for Section I: given your replies, I could see how such a section might be discarded in favor of support for the abolition of the 3/5s clause.
I generally agree with this...although if he gains his primary goals of excluding slavery from the territories, and getting rid of the 3/5 clause, he will likely be satisfied.

One issue which I haven't considered, and which will certainly play a part in the Reconstruction process, is the fugitive slave issue. I think the North is going to pretty much insist, in the wake of victory, that the Fugitive slave clause in the Constitution (and the Fugitive Slave Acts) be repealed. So it is likely that something along these lines will have to be incorporated into the Corwin/Lincoln amendment. This will, of course, cause problems with Southern support, but if the alternative is seen as possible complete and immediate emancipation and generally radical Reconstruction of the South, the South will probably get on board, after some grumbling.

You're right that 1860 isn't as much of an electoral college crisis as 1824 or 1800, but it still is an election crisis, precipitated by the collapse of the current party system. The result: the election of a President who didn't appear on the ballot in most of the South.

Since it seems reasonable that the 3/5s clause is abolished, I'd think the South might want some further guarantee that such a scenario couldn't happen again.
I'm sure they would, but given the fact that the North is now essentially in complete control, and the South no longer has a means to resist, why would the North agree? I think any such measure would meet with severe opposition by the Republican Party especially, and with Northerners in general.

I've been giving the matter some thought and it's hard to come up with a solution that 1) doesn't require a federal election bureacracy or 2) completely re-work the electoral college. It's also mostly a matter of incentives: if the South doesn't want to be disenfranchised, then they shouldn't let their politicians bolt from parties. Since the South will already lose the 3/5s boost, presumably they've accepted the need to win a majority of votes, even if it does require compromise.
I agree with that.

Hence, I think I agree with you simply because I can't think of a fix, but the combined reforms may impact political thinking in the South. This makes me think that manumission might occur on a timeline a bit faster than you outline below.
That may be. It will certainly "prime the pump," so to speak, when the Double Whammy hits the cotton market in the late 1890s and early 1900s, and speed the process of manumission in the Deep South.

* As a disclaimer -- and to dissuade or preempt a flame war -- the quotes and analysis of Lincoln is both my opinion and very arguable. Lincoln's opinions changed over time, so it's really impossible to state "this is what he though." It's also of course impossible because he was a very canny politician, often speaking with a very fine point to his words, and for the very simple reason that I'm not a time-traveling mind reader. Unfortunately.
Completely agree.
 

67th Tigers

Banned
In World War One, the United States deployed over a million troops to France within one year, most of which arrived between January and May 1918. This was done basically from a cold start, using untrained volunteers. The United States in 1870, by virtue of having a large pool of trained Union and Confederate veterans there and ready to be used, would be in a much better position to deploy a large force quickly. Certainly they should be able to deploy, within a relatively short time, a force only half as large as America deployed in the first 12 months of World War One.
The US of 1917 has a fairly substancial regular army and has an organised national militia. In 1870 there is only the 40,000 regulars and 32,000 NY militiamen organised. The organisation of 200,000 volunteers isn't without question, but it will take time.

Indeed? What European weapon of that time period could equal a Spencer? The Spencer was a very good repeating firearm firing metalic cartridges. European armies were using single shot breechloaders at the time. Indeed, the Prussian Dreyse wasn't even firing metalic cartridges (not sure about the Chassepot). Even Britain was using the Snider conversion of the 1853 Enfield (basically the same type of thing as the Allin Conversion Trapdoor Springfield).
As an actual combat weapon? Every single one. The Spencer/ Winchester fires a very underpowered round (in fact a pistol round) with an effective range of less than 200m. Notably, the US also considered the Spencer an ineffective combat weapon, as did France which scoured the world market for small arms in 1870, and bought up all the surplus Spencers. It didn't perform well in real combat.

The Trapdoor Springfield remained (after conversion to copper cartridges, which repeated the Spencer jamming problem, then brass) the standard US service rifle until 1892, and militia units were still carrying them in the Spanish-American War.

Its true that within a few years, new European arms would come about that would outclass the Spencer (the Lebel, the Mauser, the Lee Metford and Lee Enfield, etc.). But those things didn't exist in 1870. The Spencer did.
As combat weapons, the trapdoor breachloader was a better weapon, as was the Chassepot and even the awful Dreyse.

As for numbers, it is true that there would not have been many Spencers in existence in 1870. But American factories and arsenals will soon remedy that problem.
Capacity was around 200 completed rifles or carbines per month. That is *full capacity*, the Winchester RAC weren't churning nearly that many out.
 
I think that if Grant annexes the Dominican Republic, that might be an option for the free blacks. Lincoln no doubt has continued to promote his colonization schemes, and may have been more successful at it in the ATL. So Liberia and/or Haiti may be a possibility too. As for the western territories, the Republican Party just fought a war, in part, to keep the western territories reserved for white labor, so I doubt they are going to be big on having free blacks migrate there.

Some Northern States...those in New England, for example...were more liberal than others regarding free blacks, and you might see black migration there as well. As stated before, however, most of the North, is going to be quite hostile to an influx of free blacks.
True, Im wondering however who all might join the Earlier Great Migration to an US Dominicana Territory...It is possible that OTL Prominent Black Reconstruction Figures such as Douglass, Rainey, Bruce and Revels move to the territory? How might they take a role in the government of the Island?

However, I do feel, especially representaion wise the question of Citizenship is a powder keg waiting to explode. Might the Freedman with a much stronger African-American population base begin to demand for more rights...Especially those who lived as Citizens under the Dominican Republic?
 
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