Thanks for the long response. Will try to do it justice.
I tried to follow the base map as best I can but that might have been my own subconscious assumption guiding my hand. This is my first map trying to copy a real map with my own hand.I believe that the area where New Mexico borders Oklahoma in our world does not align completely with the Texan border. Extremely minor, and I st first thought other maps showing that on here were wrong before I checked up current day maps.
Las Vegas was on the basemap but very small. I added because I needed a name in that spot and recognizable is nice.Ahhh, and would Las Vegas be large or important enough to show up on this map in this point in time? Though I see it is one of the smaller names.
I haven't written the updates for this part yet so I can't answer in detail. And yes, this is a bit bombastic.By the way, is this map partially propaganda? I am wondering which tribes would have been doing the attacking (though I imagine they would have had their reasons)
Many Southerners wanted a southern route in OTL. They never truly rallied behind the cause and then the Civil War happened. In this TL however, the South stays in the Union (mostly) and is able to throw their Congressional weight around. It should be noted that this railway is viewed as able to export slavery to the Southwest, a vital feature for the South. Also,t he idea was that the railway would be an economic boon to everywhere it passed (which was not truly the case in OTL).I can't see if this would really be seen as helping the South.
When the USA did surveys of the West, looking for routes (organized by Jefferson Davis), they looked at four. One was very far north from Minnesota through Dakotas to Portland area. One was OTL through Utah. Another was through the Gadsen purchase so extremely close to the Mexican border. A fourth was considered on this route which later became highway 40 (and the Sante Fe railway). The landscape allows this route.Also something in my head wondering if this would involve them going through a load of mountains. I remember reading that the Gadsden Purchase was partially to gain some good land for a southern railroad, though I suppose if the railroad doesn't go through Texas, they would have little reason to curve the railroad even further south, right next to Apache territory.
The TL is a Douglas wins in 1856 and manages to hold the union together. And yes this is a sop to the South to keep them engaged, and not a popular one. And yes, I foresee faster statehood for the Southwest in this TL although the climate is very harsh here. Mostly mining really, at this stage.Given the date on the map, was there no Civil War? They South all grabbed even more concessions and promises form the North withtou giving anything in return? And was the railroad to northern California and Oregon complete by now? Otherwise we are getting the Great Plains less heavily settled. I can also see a lot of outrage in the north, at how the railroads aren't taking people to lands that can be more easily settled. Would we see statehood in the southwest before we see it in Wyoming and Montana?