Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Glen, Feb 22, 2010.
I personally think Seatlle may be more where the USA focuses on the PAcific.
The United States of America did not miss the implications of the plans of the British in their Dominion to the South. American migration to the Pacific Coast had long exceeded that of the Texans and the other Southerners of British Southern America. However, many Americans feared that if the British Dominion was the first to successfully build a transcontinental railroad then this balance would change, perhaps even leading to increased friction on the Pacific Coast between the two.
An American Transcontinental Railroad was one of the few issues of true bipartisanship in the USA. The Federalists supported the issue as part of their general commitment to internal improvements for the nation. The Democrats supported it to continue the opening of the west for their primarily agrarian supporters. The two parties did differ over how much financial support the Republic should provide versus private funding.
The majority of the route was obvious, coursing across the center of the nation from the transport hub of Chicago due West through Illinois and Mississippi through the territories along the wagon trail toward the American Pacific. But whether the trail then would veer North towards Oregon or South towards American California was a point of contention. Once word of the official route of the British Transcontinental Railroad was announced, the Americans decided to do both, though with the branch to California to be constructed first. The two branches were planned to meet at the Northwest Company's Fort Decision, the traditional last departure point for both destinations.
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It would for intensive agriculture like we know now - initially I believe some farms could be established with modest irrigation within a frontiersman's reach.
The British and Southerners are concerned about holding the region - call it pride if nothing else...
They very well might - it's more a matter of perception at this point in time rather than reality. Remember we have the advantage of hindsight...
That's the plan...
Not anytime soon...
That's certainly planned...
Interesting point...it's still important enough as a transport hub, I think, though you may be right about it not being as much as OTL. It's most important role might be in the trans-border trade with the DSA.
Maybe - why do you say so?
I disagree with Seattle being the main focus right now, sure it'll become important later but at the current time:
* San Francisco is an established port
* American California has an established population that will be pestering Congress for a link, and a population that will build the rail going the other way.
* Whilst longer, the OTL central route has less difficult passes and better winters
* American too will be looking to shore up their population and military presence on the Dominion border.
One thing which I think this TL might be overlooking with its idea of a railroad race is the possibility *Americans will be fucking lazy on a federal political level. They have had no wars since their founding, and their only neighbour has been accomidating, friendly and trade focused - the only slightest element of struggle is the grind with the indians. Manifest destiny is just something that will fall into their plates. The political wing that wants to keep federal expediture to a minimum will be strong and there will be huge competition with the Great Lakes infrastructure projects that need to be done, plus this US is likely to be very tariff happy and have less cash to play with at a federal level.
The OTL railroad took the war and the Californian goldrush to kick off, I doubt the Americans will even start on theirs until after the sputnik moment of the Dominion one finishing occurs (the Dominion one is shorter to boot).
Railroad projects are very public issues for the USA and DSA alike, however, and the strategic, economic, and settlement consequences of a TCRR are going to be lost on very few US citizens, so the approval of a Dominion one is very likely going to be a sputnik moment for the USA, they are not going to dither until the DSA finishes its own.
Good, let's go through these...
Pestering, yes - might be exagerating the population size a bit.
That which other route, precisely?
Not true. They had the war with France over northern Louisiana. They have fought the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean, and they have fought 'Wild Indians' on their Western frontier.
Well, accomodating and intimidating. The only reason they are not an armed camp is that fairly friendly relation - but always in the background is the threat of the British Empire, if not a great one. It's a mixed bag.
I think you underestimate this a bit.
I disagree a bit with this. Because they haven't had to expend as much treasure and blood in warfare, they have more (total, if not percentage) to spend on infrastructure. Also, while this USA has higher tariffs than the same USA OTL, the Democrats resist it as their farmer base sells a lot of produce across the border to the DSA, who are more monoculturalists (the Trinity of Sugar, King Cotton, and Tobacco).
That's still a possibility, though I doubt it will take actual completion to spur them.
Indeed. As soon as the DSA railroad project is approved, USA newspapers and the uproar in the Congress are totally going to be like "OMG, we are going to lose the West Coast to the British" if the USA TCRR is any perceived or feared to lag behind.
Well perhaps, but my point was that its still a lot bigger than those in Oregon campaigning for the other route.
Were any these existential, difficult, or impinging on the common man to even a fraction of the extent of the war of 1812?
Well you can't quite have it both ways - either Americans are flooding the west and the DSA is worried and the US isn't, or the Americans aren't and the worry goes the other way round.
Yes, but the Federal government taxes imports, so higher tariffs result in less imports and in them having less cash, and wealth distributed to farmers is just going to spur midwestern demand and local railroads (the chicago radial network mostly), where you need to put the wealth is with urban capitalists and industrialists who can make the investment and want to export to the pacific.
Also if they are worried about the DSA won't they be spending more on armaments?
Plus there is still the issue of the lakes improvements - won't the Canadians be clamouring for a seaway and so on?
That's basically what I think.
One of the best ports on the Pacific Coast, and in the new USA, it is centrally located on thier Pacific coast. Not to mention OTL Vancaouver would likely merge with the city's metropolitan area as they are now both part of the same country. I would easily see it as America's main pacific port, much in the way Los Angelos did OTL. Granted, San Francisco and Portland will also be important centers.
As far as St. Louis is concerned, perhaps Cape Girardeau takes it's place? It is close to the USA-DSA border, so at the very least it will be a hub for trade between the two.
And Glen, it shouldn't be so suprising this TL is as popular as it is. You've created a damned fine TL and world here, and as long as that keeps up, we'll keep visiting and commenting!
Agreed, and in fact they will win out - sort of....
Gotcha - other than the question of final destination (Seattle/Columbia/San Francisco) that's really the only route under serious consideration by the USA.
The Indian war in the Old Northwest was pretty difficult. But no, nothing so serious as the War of 1812. On the other hand, the Americans are pretty cocky since they haven't had a serious military disaster since the ARW, either.
Actually I think I can - the Americans are currently more numerous than the British on the West Coast, mostly due to earlier identification of overland routes and earlier claims to the territory. Both the British and the Americans have access to the Mexican Isthmus for transport as well, so that's a wash.
So the British are worried that the Americans will overgrow their territory on the Pacific Coast if this goes on, thus the Railroad. The Americans once they hear that there will be a British Transcontinental Railroad become concerned that this will reverse the historical trend and in fact it will then be the British who threaten to overgrow their territory and encroach on the Americans - backed by the Royal Navy!
Yes and no. If the Tariffs are too high, it shall be as you say. But if they are just modestly higher, than they won't too badly retard trade and lead to increased governmental revenue.
Fair point. And they want this, but private ventures are meeting this demand mostly without recourse to government support (except for right-of-way, of course).
And they have access to that.
They are more worried at this point about being out-competed than outright war, though if it becomes clear that one side or the other has won the economic/settlement competition, the loser might just compensate by increased armament.
There already is one - remember that Canal building was also about a decade ahead of OTL. Now the 'Canadians' want to link their waterways with the west, so they too are in favor of a railway going to the Pacific.
That's a fair point - not to mention that TTL's Gold Rush actually started in the North.
Indeed, but that is far in the future....
Might be more important than OTL, but it won't replace St. Louis.
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