Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Anaxagoras, Feb 13, 2006.
Flanders is, ITTL, what the Austrian Netherlands were IOTL before the French Revolutionary Wars.
If that's the case, most of it is french-speaking, at that time, IIRC.
Uuugh? After Louis XIV's conquests, the most populated areas were Flanders and Brabant, with very large Flemish majorities. Liège is an independent bishopric directly resorting to the Emperor, and Hainault, Namur or Luxembourg have much smaller populations (with a large German-speaking part as far as Luxembourg is concerned). Flemish was clearly the language of the majority. This said, under Austrian rule, French grew than to become the language of the nobility, the high bourgeoisie and the central administration. This had to do with the long governorship of Maria-Teresa's brother-in-law, Charles of Lorraine, and the overall prestige of the French language during the XVIIIth century. It would probably be even more so for TTL.
The real decline of French in Flanders was during the French occupation between 1794 and 1814. Antwerp was never half French-speaking in the XIXth century, maybe 10-20% at most, and concentrated amongst the higher classes.
The demise of Flemish did lead to violent reactions against the French OTL, see the Peasants' War that lasted for several years in the Kempen.
Why was the United States of Belgium an aberration? Most historians over here see it as a first failed attempt at independence, the lessons of which were drawn with success in 1830...
Good question about Antwerp. The Dutch had closed navigation on the Scheldt since the beginning of the XVIIth century. It's hard for me to imagine the French making concessions to the Dutch without asking for the reopening of the Scheldt in exchange...
The largest difference is actually between West Flemish and Dutch. Waes (the Antwerp dialect) is quite close to Dutch in writing, even if pronunciation is radically different.
The Catholic Church was actually the crucible of Flemish resistance to French OTL... The Church will support the Flemish cause if it has the feeling that French is the language by which Flemish populations could access the thinking of Enlightenment. See what happened in Brittany.
Good question, Charles V's majority was acknowledged when he was 15 for his Burgundian heritage in the XVIth century. Louis XV's was acknowledged when he turned 18, and effective only in his 20's.
For Louis XVII, it will be 18. How long it takes him to fully assert himself is open to question, though.
Are Acadia and Newfoundland (Terre-Neuve) considered part of Canada ITTL? I don't believe they were OTL during the French Period, and had their own governors.
By the way, I am very interested to hear more about political developments in New France. What is the relationship of the colonies like with the Monarchy, the Church, the French Reformists, the neighbouring English colonies, and the Native Indians? Also what is the position of slavery in Louisiana and Haiti, and how is this viewed in Canada and France?
The Dominion Parliament in Philadelphia passes legislation to establishment a permanent army of regular troops, albeit rather small, while still allowing each colony to maintain a militia under its own control. The move is controversial, both because it is seen as giving too much power to the Dominion government and because it might provoke the French.
When the news reaches Paris, many in the French government are both angered and concerned, seeing it as a direct violation of the Treaty of London, by which Britain had promised not to station regular forces in North America. Many hawkish officials refuse to see any legal distinction between the Dominion of America and Great Britain itself, since Britain controls its foreign and military policy.
British efforts to build up their military strength are made more urgent by a sudden rise in Catholic militancy in Ireland, which had been rather peaceful for several decades. As always, there was a great fear that Irish rebels might attempt a revolt against British authority with the help of the French.
King Louis XVII, upon his eighteenth birthday, obtains his majority and the Regency Council is automatically abolished. The nobody’s great surprise, however, the first act of the king is to appoint Talleyrand as Prime Minister of France. Observers comment that it will likely be some time before Louis XVII is his own man, and say that he is as ruled by Talleyrand as Louis XIII was by Cardinal Richelieu.
Still, Talleyrand recognizes that Britain has gone too far and that, unless matters are settled quickly, it could again rise to challenge French power, particularly with increasing British economic strength. He therefore decides on war, hoping for a short and comparatively cheap conflict to persuade the British to keep their place and not stand in the way of French power. Besides, with the Austrians locked in war with the Turks and France the dominant influence in both Germany and Italy, it seems unlikely that the British will be able to gain a major Continental ally.
An ultimatum is issued to the British, demanding that they nullify the Dominion regular army and cease the construction of warships in Dominion ports. If the terms are not accepted by January 1, the result will be war.
The British Cabinet, now with William Pitt the Younger as Prime Minister, refuses to accede to the French demands. Personally, Pitt wants war with France to redeem both Britain’s and his family’s honor. Instead, Britain sends a message to France that it finds the demands unreasonable and that force will be met with force.
On January 1, the respective governments announce a state of war exists. The first major engagement takes place only a few weeks later, when a strong French fleet clashes with a British fleet of roughly equal size in the Channel. Neither side gains a victory, but the British are clearly determined not to lose control of the Channel and be subjected to an invasion once again.
In North America, the great distances and comparatively small numbers of troops mean that fighting is scattered and sporadic. Both sides make raids into each other territories, burning farms and threatening larger communities. Large numbers of regular French troops are dispatched from Europe, with the intention of launching a strong offensive as soon as proper strength is built up.
As soon as the news of the war reaches Australia, British ships begin using New Edinburgh as a base to raid French shipping in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The French believe that, as before, no decisive result can be obtained without a land invasion of Britain itself. It therefore begins building up a strong army at Brest, with the intention of landing it in England as soon as a substantial reduction of British naval strength can be obtained.
Other nations watch the developing war with alarm. Austria and Russia, busy seizing territory from the Turks, curtail their operations to prepare for the possibility of being dragged into the conflict, although there is no actual peace treaty. Tiny little Holland busily improves its frontier defenses, worrying that a French army might swarm across the Duchy of Flanders.
The members of the Holy Alliance, following the lead of France, declare war on Britain. The minor German and Italian states are not particularly important, but Spain’s entry into the war puts the British base of Gibraltar in danger.
In North America, French regular troops, reinforced by militia (both colonial and Indian) launch an offensive towards Albany, planning on using it as a base from which to attack New York City and New England. Despite winning some tactical victories, the difficult terrain makes logistics difficult and the advance slows to a crawl.
British raiding of French shipping in the Indian and Pacific Oceans continues, much to the annoyance of the French.
In the Caribbean Island, a Royal Navy fleet commanded by Horatio Nelson scores a decisive victory over the French fleet at the Battle of Guadalupe. Shortly afterwards, a force of Royal Marines from Barbados lands on the island and quickly defeats the French garrison.
When news of the victory reaches London, there is riotous celebrating in the streets, as if the single victory had restored British honor after the defeat in King Louis’ War. The French are appalled and immediately dispatch naval reinforcements to the Caribbean to deal with Nelson.
British diplomats secretly meet with Austrian and Russian representatives. They bluntly state that they believe they can defeat the French and that, with Russian and Austrian support, the overweening French influence over Europe can be destroyed, or at last greatly curtailed. Subtle hints are dropped that Austria’s position in Italy might be restored and that Russia might become the major power in central Europe.
In response to a British crackdown justified by security concerns, Catholics in Ireland riot in Dublin and other large towns. The French begin to consider a landing in Ireland as a prelude to a landing in England, perhaps even liberating Ireland from English rule and bringing it into the Holy Alliance.
In the Caribbean, Nelson successfully eludes a larger French fleet sent to defeat him. A few weeks later, he is able to surprise a second French fleet, smaller than his own, and destroys it. Nelson is now considered the greatest military hero produced by Britain since the Duke of Marlborough.
A French expedition from Pondicherry in French India lands in western Australia. With little difficulty, they capture the settlement at New Edinburgh, effectively putting an end to British merchant raiding in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Fighting in North America persists. A Spanish attempt to attack Savannah from Florida ends in failure, while the French remain generally bogged down in northern New York. On the other hand, a British effort to launch an offensive against Montreal ends in failure and a French naval raid on Boston inflicts heavy damage, with much of the shipping in the port being burned.
France decides that they will attempt a landing on Ireland this year, followed by an invasion of England the following year.
The British recall Nelson from the Caribbean to take command of the Royal Navy in British waters. Newspapers makes much of this, declaring that Nelson is the only man who can now save England.
At long last, the Spanish are able to seal Gibraltar off and institute a tight blockade. Although the British garrison has stockpiled supplies to withstand a long siege, the British are reluctant to send a naval relief force, since the French are expected to attempt an invasion of Ireland and the fleet is needed for home defense.
In late summer, a coordinated Franco-Spanish operation takes place. A major assault is launched against Gibraltar, in the hopes that the British will be pressured to send reinforcements. The British do not blink, but the French move ahead with their plan. A large fleet sails from Brest, protecting a flotilla of transports bound for Ireland.
Eluding the British fleet and assisted by local Irish rebels, the French disembark about five thousand men on the southern Irish coast, although bad weather makes the operation difficult. Shortly thereafter, however, they realize that the British fleet under Nelson has located them and is moving to attack.
On September 17, the Battle of Cork takes place. Nelson, with thirty ships-of-the-line, is faced against a somewhat larger French fleet. Disdaining the poor weather and using the naval tactics he has developed over the years, Nelson scores an overwhelming victory, burning or sinking many French ships and capturing others. Eleven French ships escape.
The French troops in Ireland are isolated and without supplies. Almost immediately, they are deserted by all but a handful of the Irish rebels. A much larger British army surrounds the French and, knowing resistance would be useless, a surrender is negotiated within a few days.
When the full extent of the French disaster becomes obvious, Talleyrand immediately realizes that he must sue for peace. Peace feelers sent out to Britain are returned positively.
At the end of February, the Treaty of Portsmouth is signed. Territories captured in the war (Guadalupe by the British, New Edinburgh by the French) are to be returned. More importantly, the restrictions imposed on the British by the Treaty of London in 1775 are removed. Although many British wanted to continue the war and exploit their recently-gained naval superiority, Talleyrand’s skill as a negotiator was displayed to its full, and France got off more lightly than it might have expected.
The British celebrated the end of the Restitution War with ecstatic celebrations and Horatio Nelson was raised to the level of a demi-god. The Pitt government immediately dissolves Parliament and calls for new elections, hoping to capitalize on the victory in war and increase their majority. William Pitt the younger believes that he has finally restored the honor of his family.
In France, the ruling class looks around for a scapegoat and their gaze falls squarely on Talleyrand. Although he had little to do with military strategy, he is the most visible member of the government and made the initial decision to go to war. King Louis XVII dismisses him, and he retires to his chateau, indulging in his love for food and wine, while awaiting a recall to power. He realizes, far better than others, that the situation remains essentially unchanged and that France remains the most powerful nation in Europe.
Austria and Russia take note of the French defeat, wondering if perhaps the country was not as powerful as it had initially seemed. Many officials in the respective governments wonder if they should again turn their gaze westwards, towards Italy and Germany, rather than eastwards towards the Balkans.
In North America, the borders remain unchanged by the war. But the Dominion of America was proud of having defended itself from the French and Spanish threats and believed that it had made a significant contribution to the British victory.
Ah - the ripple effect. It's very nice on what you did with Nelson - although distinctly not OTL but not seperate all together. The axis of Europe has changed - which is really remarkable on how different areas push. Even with a defeat one can rise up from the ashes - which is pretty good if one thinks about it. I do like how the Dominion killed off the Canadian push towards Albany - is there something to the effect where the Dominion is distinictly different in military force compared to the Canadians since a tie was made between France and the Native American tribes? In all, good effect, great TL, and I hope you continue it.
Government of New France:
French lands in North America are administered by a Governor-General appointed by the French government in Paris. The capital of New France is Quebec. While the Governor-General has supreme political power in New France, he is bound by his instructions from Paris.
While the people of New France have no sovereign power, the Council is made up of prominent citizens (selected by the government in Paris) and serves to advise the Governor-General. In addition, the Council has the right to petition the government in Paris, even over the objections of the Governor-General. Typically, half of the Council’s membership is made up of prominent political and religious leaders who were born in New France, while the remaining members are is sent over from France itself.
New France is divided into separate provinces for administrative purposes. The St. Lawrence River Valley is governed directly from Quebec, while the Ohio River Valley is governed from the town of Montcalm, the upper Mississippi from St. Louis and the lower Mississippi from New Orleans.
The Catholic Church uses the provincial system as well, appointed a bishop for each province. Despite some suggestions that an entirely separate organizational structure be created, the Catholic Church in New France is entirely an extension of the Catholic Church in France.
The Governor-General, for all his political power, does not command the French military forces in New France, which are under the overall control of a senior general appointed by Paris. During time of war, the military commander in New France is given extraordinary power over the resources of the colony and has authority over the general war effort in North America. Like the Governor-General, however, he is bound by instructions from Paris.
Government of the Dominion of America
The Dominion of America is governed by the Dominion Parliament in Philadelphia. It has complete authority over all domestic matters, although its foreign and military policies are reserved to the Parliament of Great Britain in London. Certain economic matters, particularly concerning trade between the Dominion and other European nations, are also controlled by London, although the exercise of the latter power has become increasingly lax.
The Dominion Parliament, like the Westminster Parliament, is divided into a House of Commons and a House of Lords. The members of the House of Commons are elected by those subjects with voting rights. In general, the number of seats for each colony is determined by population, although there are numerous irregularities. The universities of Yale, Harvard and William and Mary are each entitled to an MP as well.
The House of Lords consists of hereditary nobility, some created by the King upon the passage of the Act Regulating the Government of the American Colonies, while others are transplanted nobles from England and Scotland (with a few Irish peers are well).
Each of the thirteen “states” maintains its own state legislature, which handles all local matters. In general, the relationship between the state legislatures and the Dominion Parliament is analogous to the relationship between the Dominion Parliament and the British Parliament.
The head of government in the Dominion of America is the Viceroy, who is appointed by the King on advice from the British Cabinet. The second highest office in the land is the Speakers of the House of Commons of the Dominion Parliament, an office which was de facto evolved into the representation of the Dominion to the British government. In practice, the Viceroy and the Speaker work together to run the Dominion.
The Viceroy is also the commander of the Dominion military forces and whatever British forces are in the Dominion of America.
And Acadia is governed from Louisbourg on Isle Royal? And if France holds Newfoundland, it would be governed from Le Port de Saint Jean (St. John's Harbour), but unfortunately you haven't mentioned Newfoundland's fate at all, so I'm just guessing.
So do the provinces have either own councils or lieutenant governors? If not what function do they serve?
They would be provinces wouldn't they? That's what they were called IOTL before the ARW. And the use of "states" implies some level of theoretical legal sovereignty, which is was it chosen during the Articles of Confederation period, correct? Either way I am interested to hear more about how the relations between the three levels of government play out in the future.
Newfoundland (and Nova Scotia) are part of New France. I should have written more about them.
The provinces have local administrative structures, but no sovereignty.
Hmm, you're quite right. They'll be called provinces.
The defeat in the Restitution War and the fall of Talleyrand creates political upheaval in France. As the scramble for offices takes place, the young King Louis XVII is placed under severe pressure. But the excellent education provided by Talleyrand was not wasted; while many of the offices are filled by incompetent court buffoons, the more important ones are filled by quite qualified people, including many young members of the Reform faction.
In Britain, national pride is restored, quite out of proportion to the extent of their victory. With its naval power restored, there is much discussion about expanding the settlements in Australia and using them as a base from which to launch an economic penetration of Asia (India having lost since been acknowledged as having fallen entirely under French influence). The decision is also made to focus more effort on the trading posts in Africa.
Austria, confident that France’s power has been dealt a heavy blow, begins to exert pressure on the Republic of Venice to withdraw from the Holy Alliance. The Austrians are not comfortable at having a French-allied state on their border. The French view this with alarm.
French explorers reach the Pacific Ocean by land, establishing a claim to the Oregon Country. Spain does not protest, as France and Spain are so closely aligned in the Holy Alliance, but Russia views the achievement with suspicion.
Louis XVII struggles to put into place a new French domestic policy, but being young and inexperienced and no longer having the benefit of Talleyrand’s guidance, he finds it extremely difficult. Among the members of his government are several members of the Reform faction, which hope to institute broad changes in how the French government operates. But an equal number of conservatives are working at cross-purposes, seeking to fill offices with their supporters and political allies.
In the realm of foreign policy, France continues to suffer the aftereffects of the Restitution War. At the same time, Austria is growing increasingly bold, making threatening moves towards Italy and Germany, where France has been the dominant power for nearly half a century.
In Britain, manufacturers continue to enjoy a boom, and trade with France has expanded rapidly following the conclusion of the war. Only continued political troubles in Ireland threaten the prosperity of the country.
The Netherlands finds itself eclipsed by British industrial power and struggles to maintain a strong position economically.
Austria issues an ultimatum to the Republic of Venice, demanding that it withdraw from the Holy Alliance and sign a treaty with Austria. To the surprise of the Austrians, however, the Venetians refuse and call upon the Holy Alliance for aid. By the end of February, Austria realizes how badly it has miscalculated when the nations of the Holy Alliance declare war.
France, contrary to the expectations of many, was ready for the conflict. The Restitution War had been primarily a naval and colonial conflict in which the main body of the French Army had not been involved. Still the most powerful force in Europe, France went forward to war with the determination to restore its battered reputation.
Within a few months of the outbreak of the conflict, French armies (with contingents from allied Italian and German states) marched against the Austrians both in northern Italy and southern Germany. A series of fierce battles takes place, with heavy losses on both sides. By the end of the year, however, the Austrians were in full retreat.
Russia weighs its options. An element of its foreign policy is to ensure that France and Austria remain hostile to one another, so as to reduce the ability of either to threaten Russia. To allow Austria to be disastrously defeated by the French would throw this balance-of-power strategy into disarray.
As campaigning halts for the winter, the Russian ambassador in Paris delivers a note to Louis XVII, stating that any French move on Vienna itself would be a matter of grave concern to Russia. At the same time, reports are reaching Paris that Russian armies are assembling in Poland.
Delighted with the success his armies have already achieved and wary of possible Russian intervention, King Louis XVII enters into negotiations with Austria for an end to hostilities. The terms are quite lenient, Austria is beholden not to interfere in the internal politics of Italian and German states, particularly those which are members of the Holy Alliance.
Within France, the Conservative faction is disgusted with the lenient terms of the peace treaty and feel that Louis XVII caved into Russian pressure. The Reform faction, however, is delighted, as they desire for Franc to focus on internal reform rather than expensive foreign adventures. All in all, however, the War of 1807 was a great success for France, doing much to restore the reputation of French arms.
The members of the Holy Alliance take notice of the willingness of France to defend them against other powerful nations, but many remain disappointed that the Holy Alliance is so completely dominated by France. Spain continues the pretense of being a great power on the same level as France, but this fools no one.
King Louis XVII announces his marriage to Princess Maria Joaquina, daughter of King Charles IV of Spain. This news throws Europe into political turmoil, for Charles IV has no sons and Maria is his eldest child. Therefore, a son born to the couple would be the heir to the throne not only of France but also of Spain. British politicians are especially dismayed, and references are made to the War of Spanish Succession a century before, when Britain fought for over a decade to prevent such a dynastic union between the two countries.
In North America, an increasingly large number of French traders and settlers are moving west of the Mississippi, establishing trading posts to engage in commerce with the Native Americans. Many tribes (particularly the Teton Sioux) oppose the French expansion and there are numerous armed conflicts.
The population of New France now exceeds that of the Dominion of America, but the population density of the Dominion is far higher. While the Dominion is gradually becoming a realm of towns and cities, New France remains largely rural and pastoral. New York, Boston and Philadelphia are all larger than New Orleans (the largest city in New France).
In India, the past several years have been largely quiet, as the French have long since settled into a comfortable position in the Sub-Continent. Aside from some areas of Bengal and southern India, few territories are officially French. Instead, the continent is controlled by a complicated system of alliances between the French and various native rulers. The basis of French influence remains their alliance with Mysore and their de facto control over the Mughal court. The cardinal rule for the administrators of French India is not to interfere with Indian culture in any way, specifically in matters of religion.
It sounds very good (hey a comic!) but England isn't following up on it's success in the Restitution War. I would have pressed on - not as McCellan but Grant. I do like how you followed up on the Dominion of America - seeing that it's more density concentrated and thus a chance to whomp New France's butt. I really like the format - three years but a whole lot of information within it. What is going on about Africa and Admiral Nelson?
They got what they wanted- a restoration of British honor and an end to the restrictions of the Treaty of London. What might they have gained from further fighting?
Land, maybe a border at the Mississippi.
King Louis' War had made them cautious and they did not want to take unnecessary risks. They figured they should settle for what they had gained (as well as get western Australia back) rather than risk a continuation of the war, which might have brought subsequent reverses. The Battle of Cork had restored their honor and their naval reputation, but perhaps the next year would have brought a major defeat.
I agree, the Dominion would be wanting the Brits to follow up and gain a bit more land for them (the Maritimes, maybe some of Ohio territory)...
Nice TL, though. Very detailed.
Separate names with a comma.