Create a Victorian era Dystopia

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Emperor Norton I, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    I am very interested in Dystopian historical scenarios, and (though I'm stupid of it) am interested in the Civil War period and the late 19th century and that whole Victorian era and Steampunkery. That has inspired this.

    I want to start a discussion on creating a dystopia or more dystopic situations in the Victorian era, the possibilities of what could have happened and the ramifications of if those things did happen, and if possible make a concise sort of timeline scenario out of the collective of all of those. So if you'd like to contribute any dystopian possibilities, feel free.
     
  2. Baconheimer Berserker of Chaos

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Former Confederate Republic of Virginia (FCROV)
    I plan on making a real idea later, but my idea is: Wellington Overthrows the Empire in a coup, working with Napoleon, the CSA splits of earlier and is much lareger and worse, while the Gilded Age never comes.
     
  3. Sam R. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Victorian Britain was sufficiently dystopic for a sufficiently large number of people. Marx's journalism on China or India should be sufficient along side Engel's condition of the working class.

    yours,
    Sam R.
     
  4. Baconheimer Berserker of Chaos

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Former Confederate Republic of Virginia (FCROV)
    And then add in a world with no Gilded Age and no trade unions, and you have a recipe for dystopia.
     
  5. Sam R. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    With the Gilded Age as a hysteric triumph of geronto-liberalism I think that's quite enough already. The liberal bourgeoisie don't have a desire to put themselves through a blender to maintain their class power. Private bankruptcies behind private doors. Brecht's _Three Penny Novel_ is perhaps a little bit too Edwardian, but in every other respect.

    As far as keeping the trade unions illegal for longer, I think it is quite within reach of the Courts and Master & Servant.

    yours,
    Sam R.
     
  6. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    Here's some Civil War dystopian situations:

    I do know of a few ideas the Confederate government had for screwing the the Union via espionage and sabotage. One of those was germ warfare via creating disease outbreaks in Union cities, which was turned down and I believe was said not to have been something that would have worked anyway since they really didn't understand disease and their method was to just infect a bunch of blankets or something.

    There was also the prospect of the Confederates officially surrendering but dissolving into guerrilla warfare after the war was over, which I think is well enough known on AH.com at this point.

    There's also the prospect of European powers getting involved in the Civil War. France or Britain could potentially overtly support the Confederacy, which presents a danger to the United States. The United States itself has certain positive relations with Russia during the period, if I recall correctly, and Russia has positive relations with Prussia as well. If the United States called upon these powers, or otherwise got them involved, it could turn out into a major European war. Again, though, I'm era stupid, so I may just be talking out of my ass.
     
  7. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    West of Constantinople
    Russia for the vast majority of the population.

    Just use OTL.

    If you meant elsewhere, just have the limited reforms that occurred stopped with blood.
     
  8. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
  9. Kaptin Kurk Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Napoleon wins the war, and institutes a new European empire, which functions pretty much like the Byzantine Empire after his death in the 1820s.
     
  10. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    You're a generation plus too early.
     
  11. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    Here's something I just remembered, which isn't necessarily dystopian but its a complicating factor:

    During the Civil War, there was a proposal to achieve peace between the States by stopping the war and having both sides turn their attention to liberating Mexico from Emperor Maximilian and the French puppet state there, and thus world peace by putting aside differences, yaddah.
     
  12. Kaptin Kurk Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Eh, long 19th Century.
     
  13. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    The Victorian era, though, is really something you can only consider starting in the 1830s and continuing on to some murky, unsure end point before WWI.
     
  14. Kaptin Kurk Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Perhaps, if being very particular. I tend to the period between 1789 and and 1918 as being basically part of the same 'era' globally, although I make deliniations in national concerns. Granted, Victoria is / was a person. But generally, her personhood is of limited importance to me. At least no more significant than if people, as a short hand, refered to the 1450-1522 the 'Columbian' era
     
  15. Emperor Norton I Calbear's Love Child

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Location:
    New Netherland
    Some possibilities for a more brutal and/or complex Civil War:


    • Widespread use of the Gatling gun.
    • Successful creation and adoption of a reliable revolving, bolt action, lever action, etc rifle to replace slow loading rifles.
    • Use of chemical warfare (which would have been devastating as it was in WWI, and more so when combined with a lack of gasmasks and the primitive state of battlefield medicine and medicine period).
    • Use of biological warfare.
    • More or worse protests and riots and acts of sedition during the Civil War.
    • Further secessions or more success (if not full success) for other seditious movements and organizations such as the Knights of the Golden Circle, the effort to secede California from the Union, the Northwest conspiracy, the possibility of losing the border states to secession, etc. This could also affect the Confederacy as well, since there were states and areas of states that may not have joined the Confederacy or have wished to remain part of it.
    • Assassinations.
    • In relation to the earlier points, further crackdown and assertion of government authority and authoritarianism (if not the military managing to take control under marshal law). This could be done on both the Union and Confederate side, and in many ways was on both sides (from some things I have read, it blows away the idea that the CSA didn't violate freedoms and rights and the Union was uniquely sinful. Both sides did it, though I don't know enough to say which side was worse).
    • A Confederate assault on Washington.
    • A Confederate plot in 1865 to sneak into the White House and plant a bomb to collapse the second floor where Lincoln's offices were held, killing Lincoln and his cabinet, successfully goes forward. The Confederate agents tasked with the goal were caught by a Union patrol when looking for a place to cross the river, and were arrested. One day thereafter, Lee surrendered at Appomattox.
    • A Union plot to raid Richmond and kill Jefferson Davis and leaders of the Confederacy successfully goes forward. In reality, the plan to raid Richmond was discovered and Confederate soldiers lay waiting for the Union forces, and they successfully killed the Union forces. The orders were uncovered on the body of whoever it was that was leading the forces, which spread throughout the Confederate media with shock that outright assassination was allowed, and it gave the CSA impetus for being ok with plans for the assassination of Lincoln. If it had succeeded, one suspects the reaction to its success would have been one of revulsion in the Victorian age.

    The Victorian period does have an independent vibe to it, though.
     
    Crying likes this.
  16. Baconheimer Berserker of Chaos

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Former Confederate Republic of Virginia (FCROV)
    So assuming the time frame is 1836-1914, then maybe some Rasputin-esque religious movement starts up in Russia.
     
  17. Richter von Manthofen Gnome Fighter Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Location:
    Österreich
    I am not sure if that one is valid:

    1.) THE US does actually lose the US-Mexican war of 1846-1848

    2.) Mexico retains control of lands up to Nueces River (I do not dare to give back Texas to Mexico

    3.) Obviously Taylor does NOT become President after POLK

    4.) Assume an "abolitionist" President wins the 1848 election

    5.) rising tensions between Southern (slave) and Northern States lead to war in 185x

    6.) The Northern side loses - due to English and French supporting the south (IIRC OTL cotton was also imported from Egypt, but it might not have been available in larger quantities in the 1850s) - Oregon/Washington/Maine have to be ceded to Canada. All Slave States are incorporated into the CSA.

    7.) Having to pay war debts to Mexico and the victorious South makes the North dirt poor (also immigration is much less)

    8.) Mexico and the Southern states industrialize (more than OTL)

    8a.) In 1860 the North can't pay its debts, so UK and France intervene and install an HAbsburg as Emperor of the Empire of North America

    (OK now I got carried away ;))
     
    Crying and Bornstellar like this.
  18. Mumby This Box of Tunes For Real Change Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Location:
    wandering
    In my TL, in the 19th century, Iberia is united by revolutionaries who at first create a republic, then under pressure by France bring in the recently deposed King of Bavaria. While the start out as a very liberal monarchy, over time Iberia becomes ever more racially divided. The weakness of both the elected government and the monarchy increases the power of the bureaucracy. As time goes on, the Racial Categorisation Board becomes the most powerful of the various bureaucratic institutions, its vague remit lending it enormous power. Apartheid systems are created, routine sterilisations of blacks and browner Asians are instituted, electoral fraud is carried out. The Black Camps of Central Africa are created to uncover the underlying differences between the races, and see whether they can breed better Iberians and create a menial race to serve them. Indoctrination of children in scientific racism and obedience to Iberian ideals of racial hygiene is strictly observed. Ultimately, Iberia loses both Great Wars and its name is still tainted by what was discovered in the Black Camps and the realisation of what horrors and atrocities were committed at the height of the Iberian Empire.
     
    Crying likes this.
  19. Shawn Endresen Member. Of everything.

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    Location:
    Fu-Sang
    referring to it as the 'Victorian' era to me implies you're primarily interested in the British Empire - so just let Evil Ernie become King. Sir Francis Burdett as PM, trying and failing to reverse Catholic Emancipation, but definitely blocking Jewish Emancipation, reading people's mail remains Scotland Yard's primary duty, assume an even more pitiful response to the Potato Famine, and the Orange Lodges go nuts. Despite the law, voting while Catholic becomes extremely hazardous to your health; it gets worse when Ernie dies and George V takes over, because the now the Lodges are on their own program and not really receiving direction from the center. Perhaps Evil Ernie feels like using British troops to put down 1848 rebellions on the Continent...

    One 'problem', for a novel use of that word, is that the core institutions of British society persevere. The elected Parliament, the Church of England, the ideas of liberal capitalism - it produces a dystopic 1840s and 1850s, but Britain will probably right itself and rejoin civilization soon enough.

    Lyon Playfair successfully uses chemical weapons on the Russians during Crimea. He had WWI-style shells manufactured and even deployed to the battle area OTL, but British artillery officers refused to use them. Having been used by Britain in the 1850s, it's a safe bet France will have them when 1870 rolls around...I wonder if the Americans will have any in 1861?

    As others have said, the Victorian era WAS a dystopia by most people's standards. Can you be more specific about what sort of social conditions you're aiming for?
     
    Crying likes this.
  20. Baconheimer Berserker of Chaos

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Former Confederate Republic of Virginia (FCROV)
    Or alternativly, the CSA fails to pay its debts and becomes a Kingdom in Personal Union with Brazil.:cool: