Go In Peace, Wayward Sisters (no civil war)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by wkwillis, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. wkwillis Member

    Jan 7, 2004
    There was quite a bit of support for letting the CSA just leave, and then throwing Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia after them. Horace Greely was the editor that wrote the headline above.
    What if the CSA wasn't a scam? What if somebody wrote a book explaining why both sides would be better off apart and then enough people agreed?
    In the election the secessionists control the balance of power and introduce a bill to let the states leave the Union on request. How can the people trying to start the CSA with them in charge stop that? Maybe they use the old Articles of Confederation, maybe they agree to do something else.
    So the CSA agrees to pay their prewar debts to the Northern bankers and stops trying to annex territory against the wishes of the inhabitants. Then what is there to fight about?
    Slavery? Sure, the abolitionists want to fight, but who else? The Northern bankers are happy, the Northern unions are happy, the westerners are happy, and the southerners are happy. The slave owners aren't happy because the slave population is growing fast and there isn't much territory to expand into any more. The price of slaves will fall for the next forty years about as much as it had risen over the last forty years. This looks an awfull lot like defeat to them, as bad as if the Republicans had won the election.
    The USA agrees to send back any slaves, or to pay for them, if the CSA agrees not to smuggle goods across the border to the USA. Neither side honors this agreement, or both sides honor this agreement. Makes no difference as long as they don't fight.
    The CSA becomes a peacefull, boring, agricultural society where nothing ever happens again for at least for the next hundred years.
    Now, what happens to the USA? What happened in OTL when the CSA representatives and senators weren't there to stop them?
    1. Transcontinental railroad immediately. California can ship agricultural products to the USA cheaply a few years earlier. Ditto the northern route to Washington and Oregon. The southern route might get built with British money if it weren't for the USA tariffs on imports and exports to the Confederacy.
    2. Higher tariffs on some imports like tobacco, rice, sugar, and cotton. Which are now grown in California. This happens slowly. California hasn't built the system of dams and aquaducts they did in OTL. The CSA retaliates by levying tariffs on corn imports and the price of feeding slaves goes up even more.
    We also have higher tariffs on manufactured imports from Britain, or maybe we don't. Without the bad feelings built up by the British aid to the CSA, would the USA have built up it's industry on a tariff base?
    3. Homestead Act immediately. America imports of immigrants and sends them to the frontier just like in OTL. We also would have had a million less dead soldiers and civilians. The Indian wars would have ended a generation earlier. Probably a lot of southerners without plantations full of slaves would move to the West. Certainly, a lot more southerners would still be alive.
    4. Landgrant College Act immediately. America rapidly industrialises just like in OTL. More students and teachers in this ATL.
    5. Larger navy to protect merchant marine. This is built up more slowly and is kept up longer, not as in OTL. We do have to worry about war with the CSA and the UK in a way we did not in OTL.
    6. Larger USA standing army. Not as in OTL. This declines in size as it becomes obvious that the CSA has no interest in starting a war with the USA.
    7. Less economic connection between the USA and the CSA. The USA is taking less and less imports from the CSA in favor of California, and the USA is no longer making loans to the CSA planters in favor of Britain. Sometimes the British just take over the loans from the USA banks, sometimes the British loan money to the CSA planters at lower rates of interest and the CSA planters pay off the USA bankers.
    8. Less progress on gauge standardisation. The 'southern guage' may actually predominate in the CSA. That reduces trade with the USA even more. The CSA may be economically less important to the USA than Canada.
    9. Acquisition of Alaska, just as in OTL. The USA has a lot more money without the civil war. This is a permanent effect.
    10. We might buy Labrador from Newfoundland. They kept trying to sell it to us, we might have accepted. For that matter, we might have agreed to annex Newfoundland itself.
    11. We might have set up more colonies in Africa for our freed slaves. Northerners didn't like freed slaves much either. Namibia wasn't claimed at the time. We could have bought out any trading interests there and it was certainly a more healthy climate than Liberia. Probably would have made the Boers nervous, not that the British would have cared what happened to the Voortrekkers. The British just wanted Capetown as a naval base.
    12. Faster expansion into the Pacific with a bigger navy. Hawaii more quickly? What about New Caledonia and Samoa and Fiji and New Guinea? Nauru, etc?
    13. Faster Panama canal? With the technology of the day, probably a Nicaragua canal.
  2. Nicomacheus Member, Sociedad Thrasybulo

    Nov 15, 2007
    1) At some point you make a reference to re-using the Articles of Confederation in a seceded CSA. Any reference to the Articles during consideration of secession would be ironic, as the Articles specifically include a clause declaring the union over which they preside "perpetual."

    2) The Homestead Act might have been harder to pass than you credit. At the time business interest blanched at the idea of giving land away. Without the desire to compensate veterans as a part of the Act, it might be harder to get though. It would probably pass, but it would involve some debate between those who want to give land away to encourage settlement, growth and eventual industrialization and those who want to sell it.

    3) The 14th Amendment is probably not passed. The United States are referred to in the plural, rather than the singular. Without the Civil War, Federal authority might be somewhat limited. Later civil rights issues in the US (regardless of race, they would probably come up in connection to immigrants) become bogged down in the same questions of federalism as slavery and are probably punted to the states.

    4) How happy the South is about the agreement seems dubious. Sure they don't have to fight a war, which probably would create the agrarian, decentralized society you describe for lack of Southern nationalism. However, deep in the bowels of the slavery debate was the issue of westward expansion and whether the new territories purchased by the Union or won by the Union's military (in which the South then participated fully) would allow the expansion of a "Southern way of life." Confined within its new international borders, the Confederacy might feel just as choked as it thought it would if free soilers barred slavery's expansion west.

    5) When do you propose this movement might arise? If Lincoln has already issued his call for volunteers, then he and the Republican party will have to be convinced. Lincoln beleived that preserving the Union was the only way to preserve American liberty: during the House Divided speech, he has a great line about no foreign army every being able to take a drink from the Ohio or Missouri rivers. The sheer size of the USA in 1860 guaranteed its security, to some extent. A competing republic on the continent threatened--even to OTL Lincoln (not only one who had somehow read Turtledove's TL-191 series)--massive land war, death, and the fall of liberty.

    6) Another issue for a peaceful settlement is the status of the Mississippi. The Union would probably want it and its tributaries to an international waterway and be guaranteed of free passage through New Orleans. While in a short span of time, railroads would dampen the need for the river as transport, in 1861 it appeared a major necessity to continued Western settlement. Maybe the lack of such a settlement in the "Treaty of Secession" increases American desire to purchase Labrador and as much of the land around the St. Lawrence River as possible, so as to open a new conduit through the Great Lakes to Western transport.
  3. David S Poepoe Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    El Segundo, California
    Well, the 14th Amendment originally extended rights to former slaves only, since then its been used for just about anything to extend Federal judicial power. It had nothing to do with if the US was referred to in plural or singular. There is some speculation that the 14th Amendment wasn't even legally ratified.

    Centralization will still happen in the North, Lincoln was just carrying on Henry Clay's concept of 'the American System' which was built upon the idea of a central bank and internal improvements.
  4. Nicomacheus Member, Sociedad Thrasybulo

    Nov 15, 2007
    My comment relates to the increase in centralized power under the Union. Singularization you are correct has nothing to do with Constitutional Ammendment, but everything to with popular perceptions of central authority (are we one nation or a union of several?).

    Similarly the 14th ammendment in the later half of the 19th century became a way to incorporate the Bill of Rights against the states, creating a Federal power to enfore equal rights across the Union. While it was inspired by complaints against the Dred Scot Decision, a movement to peacefull relase the Southern states might have muted the force of the Radical Republicans and hence that of the 14th ammendment (assuming that the 13th and 15th were also passed in something like their modern form).

    While Lincoln probably would have pursued Clay's American system, that doesn't have the same effect that the fighting the Civil War would on the popular support for the centralized authority of the Federal government. If constitutional ammendments never become a path for social reform (i.e. the Constitution is not used to outlaw slavery) it may not be used in that way in the 20th century: rather than the 19th ammendment, individual states would have to introduce women's suffrage as they saw fit. The lack of the "Civil War Ammendments" leave the USA more of a federation in terms of its government and the powers of its central authority, however many internal improvements it may go on to build.
  5. rudebadger Well-Known Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    North South East and West of here.
    Assuming there is no external pressure to abolish slavery from the CSA then all the owners need do is greatly limit their already captive population from breeding, reducing their numbers and increasing their value to them.

    Again assuming that any new importation of Africans is prohibited, there is practically no reason for the CSA to give up this newly valuable resource for several decades at least.

    This strategy would also reduce the possibility of a home-grown slave revolt and may be the cause of future problems as northern abolishonists continue their efforts to free the slaves, perhaps by armed raids across the USA/CSA borders or by smuggling weapons into the CSA.
  6. Admiral Matt Member

    Jan 18, 2004
    Here's the problem though: If the price is being kept high, then whoever encourages their slaves to breed will make a tremendous amount of money. It's an inherently unstable system. In summary: No.
  7. Antanas Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    How will you divide land of teritories between USA and CSA. Teritories were real cause of war
  8. The Mists Of Time Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    I think wkwillis, you are looking at this as being far more simple and easy than it really was. It's not so simple and easy as The USA saying to The CSA "Go In Peace, Wayward Sisters," and it is done.

    There are a lot of complex issues here that would have to be negotiated between The CSA and The USA, and many of those issues involve a lot of very deeply felt emotions on both sides. They also involve various high stakes financial interests. At some point one side or the other would probably have walked away from those negotiations. A shooting war could easily erupt anyway as some of those negotiations begin to break down.

    Also, while The North had the capacity in both agriculture and industry to survive without The South, The South could not have survived on its own or at least not nearly as easily as The North could. The South just lacked the industry to do so. The North could make what it needed, The South could not.

    A problem for The CSA would have been that The South's economy rested on a single agricultural comodity that was very very labor intensive, grown in a plantation system controlled by the wealthy few. If the cotton crop fails one or two years, or cotton prices go way down, and your economy goes down the drain.
  9. Derek Jackson Member Monthly Donor

    Jan 15, 2004
    Which wayward sisters?

    Would it be just the first 7

    , would VA, NC, Tennesse and Arkansas go.

    What about Kentucky and Missouri and perhaps Maryland?

    I understand that in OTL Virginia was only persuaded to leave the Union after the attack on Port Sumter and that this was crucial for 3 other states.

    As I understand it a part of the economy of the Upper South (which might not seceed) was selling slaves to the deep South. Would such a trade be allowed to continue?

    Clearly a Republican Federal govenment would not enforce the Fugitive Slave law in respect of those states outside the Union.

    This creates a problem for places like Virginia and Kentucky. I can also see a lot of disputes. Proving identity was pretty hard in those days.

    An escaping slave would naturally claim to come from Alabama or some other seceeded state. A slave catcher would insist that this particular item of property was 'owned' by someone in Kentucky Virginia or whatever state was in the Union.

    In the longer term I also suspect that there would likely be other sessessions unless the CSA is at some point forced to beg for return to the Union on whatever terms,
  10. wkwillis Member

    Jan 7, 2004
    A little more clearly...

    1. I assume that the Union minus five (of 12) states would be more liberal, and that this increase in liberalism would induce the other conservative states to leave. Specifically the remaining states would start passing laws that would encourage the other states to leave, as well as the ones they passed in OTL with conservative senators elected in the occupied border states that I covered in the original posting.
    a. Tax slaves.
    b. Impeach slave owning Supreme Court Justices from what is now another country and appoint (liberal) Republicans.
    c. Move toward territorial elections and statehood, so that territories (all territories had antislave majorities because all territories were first settled by people moving to the frontier for cheap land) would vote for statehood, rendering the whole territorial ownership conflict moot.
    That would do a lot to make the border states leave. So Virginia, Kentucky, etc, would be out even after the Union evacuated Ft. Sumter. I don't think of this as secession so much as being tossed out on their ears.
    So the first southern states vote to secede, then the others leave one by one, taking their Senators, Representatives, and Judges with them.
    Oklahomah stays Indian Territory. They make their own rules. Perhaps the West gets the Arizona Territory and the New Mexican Territory gets divided in half between the Confederacy and the West. The West at this time was more than big enough to defend themselves against Britain and the Confederacy. Of course, if the Confederacy wanted to fight a war with the West and have their commerce raided so the cotton had to be exported to the North instead of Britain, far be it for the North to argue with them about it. Basically, the Mexican session gets divided between the South, the West, and the Indian Territory, except for Colorado that goes to the North. Maybe it gets divided in three? Would the Utah chunk of the Mexican session go with the North, or declare independence?
    Basically I am looking for an ATL where the South doesn't default on the Northern mortgage holders and start the civil war by firing on Ft. Sumter.
    A peacefull, boring, Brazilian south with emancipation when slaves are too common and cheap to be worth arguing about, say, around the same time the Brazilians did, when the price and value of slaves dropped so far that the masters couldn't be bothered to round them up when they went to town and got a job. Which is pretty much what happened in Brazil.
    And also without pruning my family tree quite so much. Or costing the US government so much money. Or granting the US government so much power.
    Who knows, perhaps the USA and the CSA and the WSA might form a federation with the Canadians sometime around when the British lost a war to Germany around 1914?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2007
  11. David S Poepoe Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    El Segundo, California
    Wkwillis I am bewildered by your concept of 'liberal' and 'conservative' states within the context of 1860s America. What exactly are you talking about?
  12. wkwillis Member

    Jan 7, 2004
    Liberal means supporting one man, one vote, or at least one white man, one vote. The South had problems with an elite that really didn't like that and in South Carolina an elite that really, really, didn't like that.
    Liberal means getting rid of slavery by letting the people that lived there, or at least the white people that lived there, vote on their government. These pioneer elected governments all got rid of slavery, except Texas.
    Liberal means giving people public land for free if you lived on it for five years, or at least selling it in small chunks so the pioneers could afford to buy it and then clear it, sell produce, buy more, clear it, sell produce, buy more, etc.
    Liberal means supporting free public education, in some cases free public high schools for higher scoring students, and in some especially liberal states, free college education for school teachers, what used to be called 'normal' schools.
    Liberal means giving public land for railroads to build on, so some of the increase in value of the land caused by cheap railroad transit went to the railroads.
    Liberal means establishing freedom of speech, forbidding postmasters to open packages and confiscate books or newspapers that they disagreed with.
    Liberalism in 1860 only partly resembles liberalism in 1960.

    Liberalism in 1860 is what the North enacted when the South didn't have any Senators or Representatives to block them from passing laws.
  13. David S Poepoe Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    El Segundo, California
    Why yes, Lincoln was a paramount example of liberalism brought on by being an enlightened dictator. He suspended the first amendment, writ of haebus corpus, imprisoned those that disagreed with him and closed newspapers. Why not just unconstitutionally do things - which he did.

    The crucial point that I see on your list is extending any basic rights to blacks once they are free. The North may not have had slaves, but it wasn't by an stretch of the imagination the doorstep of paradise for blacks. Heck, most of the Jim Crow laws started in the North and migrated South.

    Wouldn't it be liberal to be understanding and acceptive of others points of view?
  14. wkwillis Member

    Jan 7, 2004
    In 1860, you were lucky if the others were willing to let you exist, let alone pursue happiness. The northerners were much more easygoing than the southerners but they still denied votes to women and children.
  15. Tegytsgurb Well-Known Member

    Oct 20, 2007
    What I am not yet sure of is when you have someone write this book? It would have to be way before the 1850s, because while the Southern reason for secession was slavery/republicanism/loss of power (specifically election of 1860), you are correct; the abolitionists were still a great minority in the North, Lincoln did not support them, even Seward did not adopt all of their policies. The major, if not only, reason the USA declared war on the CSA, at least at first, was because they considered it illegal to remove themselves from the country. Now there was no precedent of this either way, but certainly enough northerners, and specifically enough Democrats, went along with this to build up the armies. So it seems to me that for any book to have significant effect it would have to be written much earlier, probably before the Mexican War.

    So granted that, could you please be slightly more specific with the question?