Jefferson's Anti-Slavery Crisis: Alternate History of the U.S.

Content incoming. I'm thinking when I reach 40k words, I might also put a vignette section afterwards. Develop characters somewhat...
 
Mexican American War Part 1
The US Election of 1848, so close to the Mexican American War, was marked by an intense struggle of “who could be more competent at conducting the war”. The candidates were George M. Dallas of the Democratic Party and James Birney of the Whig Party (as the Federalist Party had collapsed previously and its remnants coalesced into the new “Whig” Party after 1840.

George M. Dallas won because most Americans thought Birney would not punish Mexico for the massacres of American and Texan settlers on disputed territory. The electorate became almost bloodthirsty for vengeance against the Mexican soldiers, and many voters also wanted more US expansion into the West. As such, the massacre on the Nueces, where Mexico's soldiers had slaughtered a group of American settlers in Texas, proved to be the final straw. The United States of America declared war on Mexico as a result on April 8, 1848. The Mexican American War had begun.

The Mexican American War was marked by catastrophic leadership on the Mexican side. Santa Anna had no idea on how to lead an army effectively. He kept blundering around his own country's northern border, making mistake after mistake, and having difficulty defending it from the Yankees. Most of the battles, including the battles on the Rio Grande, the Battle of Chihuahua, the California incursions, and the Siege of Santa Fe, were disastrous for Mexico--it kept losing battle after battle. The Mexican public also had difficulty supporting the war at times, thinking Santa Anna to be a blowhard who thought he could take on the Americans instead of negotiating. This diminished support for the war in some areas of Mexico, further hampering the Mexican war effort. The losses of many battles by the Mexican army further impeded Mexican morale and support for the war, and Mexico's political instability caused many people to doubt that their government was doing the right thing. It didn’t help that the US army was capably led by Winfield Scott. He saw the successful accomplishments of the following objectives for the US Army.

  • Take California and New Mexico
  • Take Northern Mexico
The first case where the Mexican Army saw a defeat was in New Mexico, where Mexican forces kept on losing ground to the Americans. Uprisings in California and other northern Mexican territories also happened, making it easier for the United States to move its armies westward. A common pattern in this war would be Mexican officers seeking glory leading their troops into problematic situations. The Americans would exploit this, often leading to many US victories. It was said that disease played a bigger danger to US soldiers than the Mexicans did—highlighting both the incompetence of Mexican forces, but also the need for better medicine for soldiers. In addition to their awful leadership, another reason Mexico ended up losing the war was a lack of industrial capability. The United States of America could simply bring much larger reserves of equipment due to having many more military factories. Many of the Mexican forces ended up chronically underequipped—in one battle, it was said that the guns were more important than the men. The Mexican officers there would rather bring home their equipment than their personnel if they could only carry one. Such an underequipped army could do little but keep losing battle after battle, even in the heartland of its homeland. As a result, desertions were common among the Mexican forces as soldiers simply ran away rather than fight a losing war. Routs (where an army retreated in a disorderly manner) often happened to the Mexican army due to poor discipline and distrust of the generals.

Soon, Mexico City itself became under threat. The US Navy landed at the Battle of Veracruz, scattering the few Mexican ships there, and landed an amphibious assault. From there, it was only a relatively short distance to Mexico City. The US Army crushed all resistance in its path, eventually reaching Mexico City in 1851. The Mexican government, realizing it was doomed, was forced to sue for peace in the Treaty of Mexico City. This led to the ceding of Mexico’s northern territories to the United States of America. They would eventually form the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah.

Bold = new text:
George M. Dallas, though, did not want to continue being President after the Mexican American War. He decided not to run again in 1852. As the US started to settle its new territories and turn them into states, the stage was set for a more placid era of American history.

This war would prove that Mexico's army was incompetent. It would spur a modernization campaign in Mexican history dedicated to improving the industrialization of the country and the effectiveness of the military. Such a national embarrassment would not be repeated again, especially because Mexico, after having lost its northern territories, had ambitions to become a power in Central America to compensate.
 
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Still slightly disappointed that Texas didn't remain independent but still looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Could it be possible for Texas to be split up or not? And I assume that while the states have OTL names they do not have OTL boundaries. Because OTL states so long after the POD is a cliche I find rather annoying.
 
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Still slightly disappointed that Texas didn't remain independent but still looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Could it be possible for Texas to be split up or not? And I assume that while the states have OTL names they do not have OTL boundaries. Because OTL states so long after the POD is a cliche I find rather annoying.
Split up Texas: That's possible. I'm not sure what to do tbh. The states have OTL names but not OTL boundaries. I need a person who is good at maps at this point. And I can revise the chapter.
 
I wonder how France is developing sans the French Revolutionary Wars or Napoleon.
Hmm. You'll see in the 1860s issue.
Long story short: France wanted to export the Revolution abroad. This angered Great Britain, Austria, and Spain, who formed a coalition against it. Some inconclusive fighting later, and everyone's tired. Nothing really became of the "Anglo Coalition War" (Will need to update in the next Europe chapter). Thank you. Austria might collapse soon, though.
 
Split up Texas: That's possible. I'm not sure what to do tbh. The states have OTL names but not OTL boundaries. I need a person who is good at maps at this point. And I can revise the chapter.
  1. I'm going to discuss ideas for partitioning Texas in the map/flag thread.
  2. Maybe the New Mexico territory could be divided in half on a horizontal east-west basis instead of the OTL north-south division. Or maybe one of those states owns Las Vegas instead of Nevada.
 
Good ideas. I also wanted the US to be recognizable as... the US, so I didn't want something so different that people wouldn't recognize it as the US. You still have great ideas for partitioning of Texas and New Mexico. I need maps...
 
Perhaps an eastern state of OTL Texas to the Nueces, a Western one with the eastern part of New Mexico along the Rio Grande, then on a line straight down like OTL's Texas/New Mexico border to the Rio Grande, then another for the center. That place is huge!
 
Perhaps an eastern state of OTL Texas to the Nueces, a Western one with the eastern part of New Mexico along the Rio Grande, then on a line straight down like OTL's Texas/New Mexico border to the Rio Grande, then another for the center. That place is huge!
Sounds like a great idea! I'll probably incorporate that by 1880s or 1890s when you have the formation of the last states in the West. That will be the last Westward Expansion and Consolidation chapter.
 
Perhaps an eastern state of OTL Texas to the Nueces, a Western one with the eastern part of New Mexico along the Rio Grande, then on a line straight down like OTL's Texas/New Mexico border to the Rio Grande, then another for the center. That place is huge!
Sounds like a good idea. I'll write something about it...
 
Books of the Era.
Some lessons learned from the Mexican American War included the importance of artillery in battles. The superior American artillery caused major problems for any Mexican infantry attack. Many of the Mexican lines ended up pulverized by the barrages of firepower from artillery guns. The importance of joint army-navy attacks was also seen, as the attacks on Vera Cruz and deeper into Mexico itself demonstrated. Most importantly, logistical concerns became important. Armies across the globe saw a shining example of how an army’s baggage train (in this case, the supplies of the US Army) contributed greatly to the victory of its side. Military strategists took notes on this fact, especially von Clausewitz, who wrote books on war strategy—one of his influences was indeed the Mexican American War. (The others were chiefly wars in European history). He was one of the most important military minds in the late 1850s to the early 1870s, and his books became the cornerstones of the curricula of many military academies.


With the victory of the United States in the Mexican American War, the United States stood on another height in its history. Settlements of the west continued apace, with more states forming as settlers streamed westward. Intriguingly, in the late 1870s, Texas agreed to a rearrangement which the famed author Rudyard Kipling saw as a “maceration of a state”. Texas was divided into several parts. (More will be on this in the map update...)

As the 1850s turned into the 1860s, more of its attention could go to solving internal problems, and settling its newfound domains. The literature of America also became important in this era. Many dime-store novels about the Western frontier popularized it, and helped contribute to the legend of the cowboys. The novels also exaggerated at many points—the West wasn’t as violent as originally thought, especially after the 1860s ended. Cowboy duels weren't actually that common--especially after the "Cowboy as Entrepreneur" era ended, and gun violence ordinances passed in the states and territories.


Other novels depicted scenes of other countries such as the European ones, or of countries in Asia or Africa. “Explorer novels”, books published about newly-explored lands, captivated the minds of many Americans, and may have spurred interest in the “American Scientific Exploration Committee” established in the late 1870s, supposedly to “fill the gaps” in scientific knowledge. One such novel, “Into China” told the story of a young trader named Jan Brand in his journey to China. It showcased large swathes of the Chinese countryside and its cities. Brand faced a conflict with the Chinese on trade, which led to several close calls with the Chinese authorities. Thankfully for him, the Europeans showed up and drove away the Chinese soldiers that were giving him problems. The story was an allegory of European efforts to open up China, and would give many Americans their first look at what China was like.



Similarly, the book “Disappeared with the Wind” by Victor Hugo (published 1870) discussed the infamous “Sack of Charleston”. Kipling thought the Sack went too far—he claimed that the old culture vanished due to the overzealous actions of the British soldiers in the “British Columbia Rebellion”. The arduous rebuilding process afterwards was also described in very accurate detail. The panorama of slaughter, the ruins as far as the eye can see, and the struggling rebuilding of the various social classes as they tried to make something out of the devastation seemed as an indictment of war itself. The book’s main character, Edgar Riemann, faced the loss of all his and his family’s wealth after the destruction in the “British Columbia Rebellion.” Upon seeing the ruins of his mansion, he says this famous quote. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn anymore. Everything had disappeared with the wind due to the bloodthirsty British Army.” The rebuilding process causes Edgar Riemann to ally with people he’d never thought he would have to ally with in order to find his place in the new “British Columbia.”

The book sold well, especially in the United States of America. Another book about “British Columbia” was Mark Twain's The Adventures of Thomas Finn, which showcased the adventures of a young man down the Mississippi River, with his attempts at playing pirate, finding lost treasure, fending off robbers, and other escapades. It also showed an in-depth look at the cultures along the Mississippi, with careful attention to detail. Twain also depicted the hollowness of various people (usually Southerners) using the Bible to justify racism--something that other reformers would find disgusting. In some ways, Twain was ahead of his time.

Other books in the era criticized American policies or culture. The book “Greaseball”, published in 1867 by Thomas Nast, criticized political machines, which often ran the local politics within large cities and were home to vast amounts of corruption. The book highlighted a massive scandal in New York City, perpetrated by the Tammany Hall political machine, that involved ballot stuffing, other forms of voter fraud, and mass embezzlement. The New York Times managed to corroborate the reports—spelling the decline of the Tammany Hall figure known as “Boss” Tweed, who ended up arrested for various charges including embezzlement and bribery.

Similarly, the book The Urban Horror by Frederick Douglass showcased a particular problem in American society. It displayed the industrialized horror of meatpackers, and the appalling conditions suffered by their workers. The book follows the main character, David Dunburrow, as he immigrates to the U.S. thinking it a land of opportunity. He finds few opportunities and ends up working at a meatpacking industry, where the terrible working conditions described in graphic detail make him ill of poisoning rather quickly. His family is quite literally torn apart by the industry (one scene depicts his cousin falling over an edge and get diced to bits below); the company (due to operating in a time with surpluses of labor) fires David Dunburrow after he has expended his value. Dunburrow ends up on the wrong side of the law and ends the story in prison, upon which, he finds other prisoners that were working in an organized labor movement. He decides to join them when the prison is compromised via a break-in. Published in 1859, and quickly became a bestseller. The Urban Horror spurred calls for safer workplaces and more pay for workers. Eventually, it would lead to the formation of the Occupational Workplace Cleanliness Act, which would mandate safety inspections, among other workplace safety measures, to occur within businesses.
 
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So the books have arrived. Any books that you'd like to see that could be radically different from OTL
Since slavery has a time bomb (finished by 1836), it won't be seen as favorably as it was in the antebellum period OTL. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" will be radically different, for instance.
 
The Dust Settles, and the Sun doesn't set.
Bold = Updated Text.
"British Columbia" was in ruins after its failed bid for independence. A rebuilding was taking place, but many in the British government were questioning the utility of the rebuild. They already spent large amounts of money and blood putting down the rebellion--and didn't want to spend more money on what they considered as a failed province. Other ministers, though, wanted “British Columbia” to become profitable again. Most of the actual economic rebuild process started in the late 1840s and early 1850s after putting down the last of the southern guerillas like the “Golden Circle” terrorist movement that harried British patrols.


Much of the populace of “British Columbia, thankfully, did not particularly like the whole rebellion to begin with. It was almost entirely in the defense of slavery. Alexander Stephens put it well when he stated that “The rebellion was crushed due to its lack of popular support—but it came at a great cost. Most of our local governance disappeared as punishment.” At this point, local initiatives were not going to work well without backers back home in Great Britain. It didn’t stop burgesses or colonial representatives from trying, but those didn’t have much power at all anymore.


Education became an issue after the rebellion failed. Many analysts thought the lack of education made it easier for rabble-rousers to sway sections of the populace. These reformers claimed that improving the education of “British Columbia” would make it easier for people to reject any future radicals. The main problem with this strategy, though, was the immense cost. The education plan was pushed to the back burner, although dreams of a wider education would persist, and reappear in the 1880s and 1890s
.


With the abolition of slavery came a new question of what to do with the economy. A tenant farming system soon developed in the south. More importantly, the beginnings of industrialization started to appear in the New South. Diversification of agriculture also occurred, with the increased production of wheat. Railroads, first repairing the old ones damaged by war, and the construction of new ones, started to emerge in “British Columbia.” Perhaps the most influential “British Columbian” in favor of this economic change was James B. D. De Bow. He had wanted “British Columbia” to become a faithful dominion of the British Empire like India and Egypt were becoming—especially India, which was very productive for the British Empire, and seen as the “jewel in the crown”. He attempted to gain local support for the railroads, and published a magazine called “The Southern Commercial Review”. Evidently, the mother country agreed with him, and wanted to build more railroads (primarily to get goods and raw materials to their markets in Great Britain faster).


Soil erosion became a big problem. Many crops simply “disappeared with the wind” due to weathering of topsoil. The expert scientist Alfred Russel Wallace had gone on a trip to “British Columbia” in 1848—almost as soon as the soil erosion problem surfaced—and researched the problem. He wrote several papers on the nature of soil erosion, why it happened, and the importance of not letting the soil blow away. He also was tasked with finding solutions for soil erosion while keeping the land productive. By 1852, he would come up with new systems of crop rotation, and the planting of crops like legumes, peanuts, and other crops that would leech nutrients into the soil. As a result, soil erosion became less of an issue. The food culture also changed, with new dishes made due to the new food crops introduced by Alfred Wallace. Besides agriculture, the fisheries along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts became more intensive, especially in Louisiana and Florida—this would have effects on both the maritime ecosystems and on food culture. More production of pork and beef also occurred—and having effects on food culture as well.


The British efforts in colonization did not end with “British Columbia” and British possessions in the Caribbean. The colonization of India continued apace, and so did the colonization of Egypt. South Africa was also settled due to the strategic location of the Cape. By the 1850s, settlement was starting there, but faced the problems of the Zulus and the Boers that would not be solved until far later. The Zulus, for instance, would keep being a problem for the British forces in South Africa until the late 1880s.


The British Empire also attempted to colonize Australia and New Zealand. The explorers sent by the British Empire often catalogued dozens of new species of animal and plant—collections of which were brought back to science labs. Some of these animals (like the platypus) looked so bizarre that people thought they were fakes (in the age before extensive quality checks, fakes did happen, so peoples’ suspicions were not entirely unfounded). Animals and plants were not the only subjects of study in Australia. Some scientists also studied the landforms, or they made sketches of the native peoples. This discovery process would repeat itself in other colonized lands as parts of the “Scientific Expansion” in the age of the great European empires. While many of the new discoveries in "Scientific Expansion" occurred in the natural sciences (zoology, geology, biology, etc.), others occurred in other sciences such as the social sciences. Wallace, for instance, made several new discoveries in agricultural sciences, and his techniques would spread beyond "British Columbia", surfacing in Egypt and Australia. Even American scientists were trying out some of Wallace's ideas when soil erosion became problematic in the "Black Blizzards" of the Great Plains.


If only it was so civilized, though. Expansion came at the cost of native peoples, who were often brutalized and killed to clear the land. South Africa would see the marginalization or elimination of the Zulus and Boers in a later era (1880s-1890s). The Aborigines almost vanished in Australia outside of the desert in the Outback. Now, Britain was not the only brutal colonial power. When France had its turn in Africa, it often proved to be little better. Other European powers also would join Britain in a vicious war against China since nobody wanted to be left behind in the trade negotiations.

However, India and China deserve their own section.
 
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