If the Confederacy Wins the Civil War, Does the United States Move Its Capital?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Anaxagoras, Jun 2, 2016.


If the Confederacy Loses the Civil War, Does the United States Move Its Capital?

  1. Yes

    55 vote(s)
  2. No

    52 vote(s)
  1. Not Henry G. Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    When people answer you and you go "Nope, they lost OTL so they can't win. Here's my chart" to every single reply. That is how you crush discussions.
  2. PhilKearny Free Bill Cameron! Free TFSmith121, too!

    Aug 9, 2009
    Japhy, I didn't miss your point nor was asigning you anything. I responded to three different people. If you look again, you'll see I responded to a post by Not Henry G, who is quoted below. Careful reading is important.

    As to your response, I suggest you actually reconsider what you problem is. That you are so upset with insightful posts of TFSmith121, strongly suggests you're the one who has issues with their own ego. TFSmithh121 brings a world of facts to the board and employs reason. If you can't stand that (and I can see why after reading your posts) then place him on your ignore list rather than inaccurately and wrongly label deterministic. Or learn more.

    Either way. I am out of here--and I think I'll follow my own advice about the ignore list.

    CaliBoy1990 and Alternator like this.
  3. Fabius Maximus Unus qui nobis cunctando restituit rem

    Apr 3, 2013
    Perfidious Albion
    Link, please? Seeing is believing, after all.
  4. Spengler Free AG! Banned

    Oct 12, 2007
    Minnesota in the Place of Mayo
    Sap please explain to us why the south wold use black soldiers.
    And the USA will not. Because why? Sap. Seems like all to often you have this beleif that the USA would never notice a huge threat on their border as though the USA has its head in a sand hole. Also of course why would the CSA use black soldiers when the reason for them allowing slave owners with more then 20 slaves to say behind was to prevent the slaves from escaping of commiting violence? I am asking you some simple questions based on history.
    Ddmkm122 and PhilKearny like this.
  5. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

    Feb 16, 2011
    The Commonwealth
    He may be referring to the parody story Sap wrote in the ASB section "Storm in a Teacup".
  6. Japhy Second Best Poster on the Site Banned

    Feb 17, 2007
    Albany, New York
    My apologies, you might be aware of the fact that you're quoting posts in the reverse of the standard for the site, so you can't actually expect everyone to immediately catch that. Especially since you didn't refer to me in the bit you were typing up.

    I have nothing wrong with insight, I have everything against people trying to shut down discussions. As I have repeatedly said, it is very easy for one to raise questions in the process of providing answers. "Well if the border will be placed on the Potomac the answer can be X. If the Union is able to maintain territory in Northern Virginia that they'd gained from the moment troops were arriving in Washington, Y. And if Maryland goes, Z." Thats the basic standard for how folks should be treating basic questions on a discussion board. As I noted, I don't think the Confederacy could win. I also don't even really think that they'd have to give things up to the Potomac, short of some drastic changes in the opening of the war. But its not a problem with facts, or reason. Its an issue of decorum. This is a discussion board, there's really no reason to start posting walls of text and comment after comment to show everyone how smart you are. The exchange of facts on a discussion board in fact, requires something far more in line with the rest of the site. It certainly doesn't require accusations of people being Neo-Confederates when, as others have pointed out, no one is saying anything of the sort in this discussion.

    Well, thats a shame then.
    Stolengood, martymcfly, M79 and 2 others like this.
  7. Saphroneth Just don't ask me to write a normal world Banned

    Apr 22, 2013
    Well, it depends how you define soldier. The South certainly OTL used black (slaves, usually) in their supply chain, for which the North used enlisted men.

    If you're talking about my ASB or parody stories, OTOH, they are ASB/parody.

    Well, I didn't actually say the US wouldn't have such a ship; they probably would, though the James is shallow enough to make it hard for the Union to do the equivalent. I'm just noting that the CSA will be trying to ensure it has a vessel able to sail up the Potomac, and that (since any realistic Confederacy will have Norfolk) that means the US will be faced with either heavily fortifying the Potomac, permanently keeping battleships garrisoned in Washington DC, or moving their capital. It's basically trying to illustrate why the US has to be concerned, because in OTL they sort of blithely assumed they were fine until events pointed out that you need a coastal defence system.

    The Endicott program (which was a single coastal fortification set) cost a lot of money; continuously updated defences would cost a lot more, probably several times as much since you need new weapons for each generation of improvement in guns and armour (e.g. a new weapon to match the capabilities of a ship which can either resist your old forts or shell them from outside their effective range).

    You also seem to think I've said the Confederacy would use black soldiers. I'm not sure why you think I strongly hold that opinion - though it's a matter of record that they did in some cases, on a scale not a million miles from the US using black soldiers in the American Revolutionary War. (one state, Louisiana for the CSA and Rhode Island for the US, was much more enthusiastic about it than was generally the case, though in the CSA case they forced through a blanket ban and the 1st LA Native Guard was disbanded.)
    Those 1st LA NG are actually an interesting case as they were volunteers - enthusiastic enough to provide their own weapons, at least, so the stumbling block really is CSA attitudes rather than black ones. Funny world, eh?

    Having looked, the one TF is talking about is the bit where I have Cetswayo and a Zulu Impi joining in at Gettysburg; what's not mentioned is that on the same page I have the British joining in at Gettysburg on the Union side in a separate piece. In both cases I'm trying to illustrate something of the tactical shortcomings taking place at Gettysburg, rather than say I actually think it would happen.
    I'd have thought the fact it was in a "oneshot ASB scenarios" thread would illustrate that, well, it's an ASB scenario.

    I simply refuse to countenance the idea that it is completely forbidden to write anything in any forum in which the CSA are viewed as anything much more than targets. After all, it is quite possible for me to hold the opinion that the CSA were morally reprehensible as a state while also writing a situation in which they happen to win, especially on the forum of this site which is reserved for magic.
  8. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Oct 4, 2005
    I have given you WAY too many chances. This is the last straw.

    You have no one to thank for this besides yourself.

    Ddmkm122 and Puget Sound like this.
  9. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Oct 4, 2005
    REport issues, don't go to insults. Play the ball, not the man.
    Ddmkm122, M79 and CaliBoy1990 like this.
  10. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Oh the Irony!
    (Sorry I just couldn't resist it, bad edgeworthy!)

    Anyway ...

    Former national capitals
    From 1774 to 1800, Congress met in numerous locations; therefore, the following cities can be said to have once been the United States capital:

    First Continental Congress
    Second Continental Congress
    Congress of the Confederation
    United States Constitution
    • Federal Hall, New York City, New York: March 4, 1789 to December 5, 1790
    • Congress Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800
    So anyone one of these would qualify on the grounds that they had in the past, meeting the needs of historical precedent and capability.
    Of course there's always the old myth about Port Angeles.
  11. Saphroneth Just don't ask me to write a normal world Banned

    Apr 22, 2013
    Actually, from a purely defensive PoV Trenton looks quite good.

    I've just remembered the OTL example of a place where this could have happened. Korea!

    Seoul is still the SK capital despite it being really very vulnerable, so I think it's an example of how the prestige-and-popular-opinion element of a civil conflict might make moving the capital difficult to achieve.
    Ddmkm122 likes this.
  12. htgriffin Member

    Jan 19, 2004
    Bit of a handwave, but....

    De Jure? No, far too much anger over large swaths of the country leaving over losing an honest election and the anti-rebellion response being screwed up that badly.

    De Facto? Government Business gets done in Philly or NYC. If the Confederacy hangs together it is a military threat. If it melts down it is still a pain.
  13. galveston bay Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Cabool, MO
    kind of depends on how the South wins and under what circumstances...

    in the traditional theory, which usually involves the Trent War, or Lee winning in 1862 and causing a collapse of political will by the North, I cannot imagine that the North would long keep its capital in DC

    Remember, it was chosen as a political compromise between the Northern states and Southern States during the early years of the Republic and after a Civil War makes that compromise a dead letter, why keep it there? The climate sucks (the British considered it a hardship post until the invention of air conditioning), its built on a swamp and it is literally indefensible. The only reason to keep it is for reasons of defiance against the South, and because there are some buildings there of value.

    Well building those buildings elsewhere can certainly be accomplished, indeed you could actually tear them down, ship the materials, and build them again to the same plan just about anywhere you wanted.

    The rational place for the US capital without the Southern States would be somewhere around Chicago, as it is the transportation nexus of the East and West, has great transportation links, and is far from any external threat aside from the Great Lakes, and one thing the US could do is build a navy more than strong enough to secure those.

    in a later period Denver would be better, but in the 1870s I would think the Chicago area would better serve
  14. GohanLSSJ2 Peruvian Pan-Americanist

    Jul 18, 2015
    Wow... I-I had no idea he was actually in warning...

    This is honestly a big shock for me.
  15. Alternator Devil's Advocate

    Jul 23, 2013
    New England
    New York Harbor is actually very, very easy to turn into a fortress - every single access route can be effectively covered by fortress guns, and there is more than enough space to build a massive naval yard and station enough ships to prevent anybody from getting any ideas about trying to wear down those fortresses.

    It's expensive - you need a lot of forts - but once you've committed to spending the money, it's really easy to do. Still not the best capital, though - too far away from the west.

    I'd expect Chicago: you can travel there easily from anywhere in the Union by rail, it's almost impossible to invade without first breaking the spine of the Union (getting enough ships on the Great Lakes to try a naval invasion means you've already established total superiority, and marching overland means the same), and if Canada is friendly then it has easy access to the ocean (and Canada will be friendly out of self-preservation, even if Britain isn't).
    Ddmkm122 likes this.
  16. Not Henry G. Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2013

    Yeah, he's been warned before. I remember the one just before this, it was for a week after he went out of his way to mock some guy he was debating, pretty much after the other guy had conceded and moved on.
  17. Not Henry G. Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    I didn't know it was chosen as a compromise. In that case, if they don't care about showing weakness (or somehow moving the capital doesn't actually show it) then I guess they would actually movie to a more important place.
  18. Anaxagoras Vox clamantis in deserto Banned

    Sep 25, 2005
    Between a rock and a weird place
    Indeed, at the most consequential dinner party in American history. Jefferson hosted and, being Jefferson, he no doubt served the best food and finest wines available. He and Madison made a deal with Hamilton that the capital would be on the Potomac and, in exchange, they would drop their opposition to Hamilton's plan for the federal government to assume state war debt. Jefferson later felt that he had been hookwinked, for Hamilton's assumption scheme marked a major shift in power away from the states and towards the central government.
  19. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

    Jul 2, 2012
    Oh I agree completely. If you commit to spending the money to build proper defenses, and, just as importantly, to maintaining and updating them, New York can be turned into an extremely formidable position. In that respect, it has pretty geography for a costal port - all of the approaches can be covered with land based guns, and those positions themselves are well situated for their own defense. Plus, as you say, it's a big, deep port that can host a sizable fleet and yard to maintain it. My point was less that New York can't be properly fortified, and more that it needs much greater defenses from seaward attack than the other cities mentioned - Rome and London. I mean, take Rome for example: it's about 15 miles inland, and the only approach by ship is up the Tiber River, which itself has a maximum depth of about 20 feet. In itself, that makes Rome less vulnerable to naval forces than New York. To protect Rome, you only need to defend the mouth and course of the Tiber, and from less powerful warships, at that. London would presumably be more vulnerable because the Thames is navigable by larger ships, but the essential principle remains. But I'm getting a little far a field here. I think the perception of New York as being vulnerable from the sea would be a significant mark against moving the capital there - regardless of the truth of that perception.

    I think the capital would stay in Washington, even with a border on the Potomac. It would be a matter of pride to keep the capital there. However, I would expect that a backup capital would be Philadelphia. It's far enough to be secure, and the symbolism of Philadelphia as the home of liberty and the refuge of the government in the face of seccession and the South would be tremendous.
  20. CaliBoy1990 A bright future is still possible! =)

    Jul 14, 2010
    El Pueblo, East Texas
    I would have suggested Philadelphia most of the time(in fact, they did just that in TL-191), but dartingfog's come up with a very interesting scenario here-

    This is honestly a well-thought out scenario and a pretty unique one, too. The fact that it was also named for a Founder would also, I think, provide a significant prestige boost as well. :cool: