Marche Consulaire: A Napoleonic Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by TRH, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Threadmarks: World Map 1815

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    And as promised, here's a map of the world in 1815, shortly after the Treaty of Madrid. Credit to @Kikkomaan for making the map itself. Cheers!

    1815 Map.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter Nine: The End of the Beginning

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Hey guys, it's been a little while since the last chapter. Of course, I've been traveling, had some family emergencies to sort out, and am writing up year-end music reviews on my blog, so that's slowed me down. As such, I'm only about halfway done with Chapter 10 right now. Still, I want to keep some momentum before Turtledove season, so here's Chapter Nine now. It's mostly a recap, and summing up where important actors are standing politically. Also, lots and lots of foreshadowing. Enjoy.

    Chapter Nine: The End of the Beginning

    Excerpted from The Founding of Modern Europe by Ronald Hansen, 1978.​

    At first, the Treaty of Madrid seemed likely to be a short-lived truce, much like the Treaty of Amiens twelve years before. The 1814 peace proved more resilient, in large part because the combatant nations, including France and Russia to no small degree, had grown weary of continuous warfare, and a shift towards settling internal affairs was common across the continent.

    For Napoleon, the experiment with the Continental System laid bare the importance of trade to European security. With the advent of peace, British manufactured goods began to enter the European market again, but the Emperor limited their spread through protective tariffs. French industrial development began in earnest during this period, particularly in the Southern Netherlands and the Loire basin, where coal and iron were in ample supply. [1]

    Like in Britain, textile manufacturing was an important early industry. One other industrial process that rose to prominence was canning. Canned food was developed during the war as a means of supplying troops with unspoiled provisions in the field. The inventor Nicolas Appert constructed a factory for mass production of his innovative glass jars outside of Paris in 1810. Over the following decade, more such factories opened, using both glass, as Appert did, or, after the Continental System was lifted in 1814, imported tin. These early canned goods were expensive due to the precision demanded in the production process. To offset this cost, more exotic foods were often sold, particularly tropical fruit.

    As for Britain itself, the country entered an odd place socially and politically in the wake of Madrid. The resumption of full trade with Europe and Americas restored business confidence, and the slump of 1813 quickly receded. The return of economic prosperity could not alleviate a broader sense of malaise, however, as the nation got to grips with its second defeat at French hands in just over thirty years. The Earl of Liverpool dutifully fell on his sword, resigning his office as penance for leading the country in a losing war. Lord Castlereagh, his primary confidante in diplomatic strategy during his Government, followed suit, and new elections were called.

    The campaign was unusual, in that both parties were in exceptionally weak positions. The Tories were in disarray, with George Canning emerging as their leader in the House of Commons, in large part due to a lack of interest from other potential candidates. [2] And just like the American Revolution, the Party was seen as owning the failed war against Napoleon, and the subsequent Treaty of Madrid. Despite these significant liabilities, the Whigs were in even worse shape, led by the diffident and maladroit George Ponsonby. In the end, the Tories prevailed, but their majority was trimmed down to 70 seats in the process. Canning would have a weak mandate to govern, and with George III’s physical and mental health both hanging by a thread, he would have a long struggle ahead of him to restore British self-confidence and strength.

    In Russia, Tsar Alexander was well-pleased by news of peace in Europe. For one, it legitimated his significant gains in Europe and the Caucasus. Just as significantly, it promised breathing room in which he could pursue more ambitious domestic reforms. The Tsar was not prepared to go to the lengths that his adviser Mikhail Speransky prescribed, but he was quite willing to pick and choose from the suggestions he was given to chart a moderate path forward for his country. In 1810, he had introduced the State Council, an advisory body to help him devise and execute policy. This group had little sway over Alexander himself, and lacked the authority to legislate on its own, but would prove more influential in the future, when weaker and less driven Tsars became more dependent on its recommendations. [3]

    Alexander also fostered science and the arts, following in the tradition of Peter the Great and other reformist Tsars. By establishing a solid educational base, Alexander laid the groundwork for a modern administrative state. This potential would not be realized until well after the Tsar’s death, but in following Sperensky’s advice, he unknowingly paved the way for the end of the monarchy in the following century. Of course, such changes remained a distant dream of the future in 1815. For the time being, Russia had secured its place in Europe. Rather than challenging the Napoleonic Order, it would spend the next century advancing its Caucasian and Asian frontiers, filling the void where its European peers could not.

    If France and Russia were the victors in the Napoleonic Wars, then the losers were certainly Austria and Prussia. The latter had fallen far from its heights under Frederick the Great, and been reduced to a French satellite in all but name. Austria avoided the same fate in large part by reconciling itself to a subordinate position to France, retaining more of its strength at the cost of its dignity. Despite these catastrophic setbacks, in both states there remained a kernel of significant power. The Austrians had gradually strengthened and modernized their military, to the point where it could stand its ground against even the Grande Armée.

    Prussia, for its part, had been more surreptitious in its reforms as a matter of necessity. In doing so, they had created the first General Staff, institutionalizing the sort of flexibility and clear thinking that Napoleon and his Marshals relied on raw talent to fully realize. In doing so, they applied the lessons of the late Napoleonic Wars better than any other power, leaving them deceptively well-prepared for future wars of attrition, where the most efficient and direct applications of raw force would prove the key to victory. For observers curious as to the Quadruple Alliance’s ability to punch so far above its apparent weight several decades later, the staff work of generals like Scharnhorst and von Clausewitz provide the answers.

    Spain occupied an unusual position in Napoleonic Europe. Like Alexander, King Fernando was no bosom friend of Napoleon, and whatever associations he had with the French were alliances of convenience only. Unlike the Russians, his primary concern was not with expanding his empire, but preserving it. The Martyrs of Guadalupe fell to his armies with relative ease, but unrest still festered in New Spain, particularly in remote regions like the Yucatan Peninsula, where centralized authority was shaky at the best of times. Far more troubling, however, was the unrest in La Plata, where the radical republican junta led by Juan Jose Catelli had taken power.

    Not content with securing their own hinterland, Castelli’s republicans began to push into Paraguay and Chile in 1814. The populace in those areas was more loyal to the monarchy, but without support from Spanish regulars, it would only be a matter of time before the La Platans overran both. Fernando made protecting those areas his first priority, with offensive operations being put on hold until after the rebel advances had been checked. In addition to those problems, the king also had to contend with opportunists, who might take advantage of the instability of Spanish America to seize portions of it for themselves. Portugal and the United States were of particular concern, threatening Montevideo and Pensacola, respectively. [4] An alliance with Britain would help rein in both, but Fernando was conscious of the danger of looking weak, and relying on a mercurial ally to guard his own possessions was anathema. Spanish domains would be safeguarded by Spanish strength, regardless of the consequences.

    Lastly, there was the United States. President Madison would depart office in 1816, and Secretary of State James Monroe was the heir apparent to succeed him. Monroe’s position was not entirely secure however, as many Americans were weary of Virginian Presidents, who had governed the country for all but four years since the Constitution was ratified. Should he prevail, however, Monroe would have to contend with the rise of sectionalism in American politics.

    With settlers moving into the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, new states would emerge, and it was an open question as to which new states should allow slavery and which should not. Southern politicians like John Calhoun of South Carolina and Thomas Cobb of Georgia warned of a “Federalist plot,” wherein the increasingly marginalized northeastern Party would join forces with abolitionist Democratic-Republicans, in effect creating a Party of the northern states, relegating the remainder to be a Party of the south. This cleavage, they warned, would inevitably lead to a civil war. With this specter of sectionalism and sectional parties looming, the fifth President of the United States would have a daunting challenge ahead of him.

    [1] Having the Austrian Netherlands is understandably going to be a big boon for French industry going forward, given their wealth of resources.

    [2] Also, Canning was shuffled out of the Cabinet after the Duke of Portland died, so he escapes association with Madrid here, which is more than a lot of Tory leaders can say.

    [3] The State Council is OTL, but with the foreshadowing there, you can expect it to take a different path in the future. Pure absolutism isn’t as attractive ITTL, ideologically speaking.

    [4] The Portuguese meddled like this IOTL, too, actually. That’s why Uruguay is its own country today. Things might not shake out the same way here, however. You’ll just have to wait and see how that goes.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter Ten: Dark Romanticism

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Hello again, guys. Been a while since my last update. Unfortunately, I'm still not quite done with my blog's music reviews, I've been sick, and there's been a death in the family, so I've had a lot on the brain lately. Insofar as we're starting a new phase of the timeline here, it's kind of weird that I'm starting with this chapter on Gothic literature, but I kind of needed the easy breather. And hey, cultural updates make timelines more distinct. Chapter Eleven will definitely take us back to South America and see how the revolution down there is going. In the meantime, enjoy.

    Chapter Ten: Dark Romanticism

    Excerpted from Blood Beneath the Rose: A History of the Gothic Novel by Katrina Bentsen, 1990.​

    Although there’s certainly some truth to the adage that art is ultimately a product of its time, and the social and cultural conditions that surrounded it, it leads to dangerous assumptions when applied to individual pieces. There’s the ever-present risk of reading more into a work than is warranted, and the leaps of logic that sustain this line of thinking descend into pretentiousness at a rapid clip. That said, the zeitgeist of the Napoleonic West was certainly fertile ground for the development of Gothic literature. The comprehensive defeat of the old European monarchies, along with the rise of industrialization and urbanization, all created a climate in which the literary tropes of Horace Walpole and his successors felt more relevant than ever before.

    Although a multitude of Gothic literature was written in the 1810’s and 1820’s, three books from this period are exemplary, both for their success at the time, but also in showcasing how the conditions of their time influenced the development of the genre. The most famous of these, both at the time and today, is Mary Shelley’s The Modern Prometheus. The book’s themes regarding humanity, Doppelism, scientific obsession, and artificial life are well-trodden ground, but the framing device is often forgotten. [1] The Doctor relates his story to members of an Arctic expedition, as he had pursued his errant monster to the frozen north for revenge. Geography is actually an important throughline in the novel; Shelley famously began writing while vacationing in Geneva and, in the infamous Year Without a Summer, snowed in, and that sense of forbidding Hyperborean fastnesses informs much of the landscapes described in Modern Prometheus. [2]

    Mary Shelley, as an avid reader and a friend of Lord Byron, himself no stranger to the Romantic movement, understood the ability of exotic settings to evoke certain moods, and to otherwise set a scene. This has always been a cornerstone of Gothicism, whether it involved the abandoned castles and monasteries of Walpole, which, although present and familiar sights to European audiences, could still command attention through the history they evoked, or through vistas of wilderness farther afield, which capture the imagination through their natural majesty and distance.

    This second kind of physical description informs Washington Irving’s The Children of Leeds, the first great American horror novel from this period. In fact, one could say that the entire legend surrounding the Devil of Leeds stems from the remoteness of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, and the claustrophobia and paranoia they can evoke even today. The Pine Barrens are a strange enigma in American geography and development. The bustling metropolises of New York and Philadelphia are close by, and the sizable and well-traveled Northeast Corridor rail line runs straight through much of the area. Despite the proximity to civilization, the woods of southern New Jersey have retained much of their sense of wildness, and it should come as little surprise that legends surrounding a quasi-mythical creature might emerge in this setting. And starting in the 1700’s, a folk tale surrounding a demonic creature did emerge in New Jersey. [3]

    It was this legend that Irving drew upon for his own novel. A New York writer, he traveled into New Jersey several times during the early 1810’s, hearing several versions of the story surrounding the Devil of Leeds. Irving was not above capitalizing on hoaxes and tall tales, having put out a missing person notice regarding the character of his first novel to drum up sales in 1809. And by 1818, Irving had distilled the local legends into his magnum opus.

    The Children of Leeds was a challenging work of fiction, both in its subject matter and in its narrative style. Like Shelley, Irving told the story in an epistolary fashion, helping to resuscitate a mode of storytelling that had come under heavy ridicule during the preceding century. Unlike Shelley, Irving played fast and loose with the reader’s sense of time. The framing device is crucial, because Megan Potts, the last witness to the birth of Deborah Leeds’ accursed thirteenth child, notes how her flight across the Pine Barrens has taken a toll on her nerves, and her journal writing suffers as a result. That it also may have affected the accuracy of her recollections of the fateful night goes without saying.

    As any film aficionado can attest, the story of the Devil of Leeds, just like that of the Doctor and his Monster, has survived to become a part of popular culture to this day, with Leeds Point, New Jersey still marketing itself as “the most haunted town in America.” [4] That these two stories thrived commercially and culturally can be attributed to their timelessness: the weighty yet intuitive themes of Shelley’s work, along with the gripping atmosphere and character drama invoked by Irving, have assured immortality as gothic classics.

    By contrast, the premier French roman noir from the early Napoleonic era can be said to have survived in large part due to its timeliness, and it loses some strength divorced from some historical and cultural grounding. Of course, this critical consensus surrounding Jean-Luc Botrel’s La Comtesse Hongroise seems odd, since it shares much of the same brilliance that undergirded the better-known (at least in the English-speaking world) works from Shelley and Irving. [5]

    Like those authors, Botrel combined local folklore with a blend of historical and cultural knowledge to craft an original narrative. Certainly, the French war veteran deserves credit for bringing the vampyre to the modern world. Indeed, for sheer brazenness, he outdoes his contemporaries, explicitly revealing his vampyric antagonist to be the Hungarian Countess Bathory, who had spent centuries feigning identities as her own descendants. That the historical figure was guilty of exactly the crimes that she stands accused of in the novel is a chilling reminder that truth is often stranger, and more horrific than fiction. More than that, though, Botrel did what seemed unthinkable under the regime of Napoleonic censorship, and skewered not only the incestuous nature of the Hapsburg monarchy, as contemporary readers assumed, but the notion of hereditary leadership in general.

    Jocelyn Gicquel made this case in more length in the forward to her Romans Noir anthology ten years ago, but the motif of blood and heritage, which the protagonists decry as “barbarism and atavism,” as easily applies to any hereditary lineage, and can be seen as a denunciation of how conflicts like the French Revolution, despite spilling rivers of blood, only replace one dynasty with another. The cycle of monarchy and empire in France proved nearly as stubborn as that in Austria, after all. The promise of liberté, fraternité, égalité remains one that the French do their best to live up to, but the tendency for wealth and power to be borne in the blood is equally resilient.

    In any event, the ability of modern audiences to come to stories with novel interpretations based on our own experiences is part of the joy of literature, and has enabled Gothicism to stand the test of time as a source of entertainment. Just as the writers of the Napoleonic era looked to the past for inspiration for their own stories, so can modern writers take cues from them. By understanding their inspirations, we can better appreciate the world they lived in, as well as our own.

    [1] Doppelism refers roughly to the uncanny valley, the sense that something is close to be human, but still somehow off. It was derived from the idea of Doppelgangers bringing unease and bad luck.

    [2] IOTL, they were rained in, but given the conditions of OTL 1816, snow in the summer in Switzerland wouldn’t be a huge stretch.

    [3] Excepting Irving writing about it, all of this stuff about the Pine Barrens and the Jersey Devil is OTL. It’s always weird when you get a patch of basically virgin wilderness smack in the middle of one of the most urbanized regions of the world, and like the author says, not surprising that you’d get ghost stories and the like cropping up.

    [4] I may come up with a TTL replacement for “movie”, but I haven’t decided on anything yet, and “film” is a neutral placeholder for now. Also, you’ll note that TTL’s Frankenstein doesn’t use that name; Shelley uses epithets for the Doctor and the Monster instead.

    [5] This is a fictional author and work. Basically, some OTL nobody who served in Napoleon’s army heard local stories about vampires, later read up on Elizabeth Bathory, and decided to write a proto-Carmilla.
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter Eleven: One Good Turn

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Hey guys, just wanted to let you all know that this timeline is very much not dead. I will finish this, even if it takes years. In the meantime, enjoy the new update, and comments are appreciated. Latin America will be the focus here, and next time...another revolution. So, not too different from this chapter.

    Chapter Eleven: One Good Turn

    Excerpted from The First Wave: Independence Movements of the Napoleonic Era by Juanita Perez, 1984​

    The events of the Argentine War of Independence have been likened by many observers to those of the French Revolution – as this analogy goes, both upheavals escalated into larger conflict as the forces of monarchy attempted to extinguish them. Eventually, each of these wars embroiled a continent. The only difference, or so they say, is that the Argentinians lacked a Napoleon, someone with both the domestic clout to stabilize internal politics, and the military skill to spread their influence to all of their neighbors. [1]

    In truth, this comparison oversimplifies both conflicts, and sells short French strengths, which allowed their republic to survive seven years of fighting even before Napoleon took charge. Ever since the Middle Ages, France had enjoyed a larger population than any of its European neighbors, and the military reforms brought about during the Revolution finally enabled the country to leverage these strengths to the fullest. Combining the weight of numbers with excellent artillery and officer corps meant that the republic’s armies had significant advantages over the various Coalitions and their more antiquated militaries.

    Rio de la Plata lacked the same preponderance of manpower, even compared to the other colonies in South America. This shortcoming was compounded by the borderline utopian political ambitions of Castelli and other radicals in the Buenos Aires Junta. These men held out hope that even though the appointed leadership in other colonies had declined their invitation to form a republic, the common man in Paraguay or Peru would be more sympathetic, and would join revolutionary armies should they appear.

    This optimism would be tested by events on the ground, as revolutionary forces overextended themselves. An 1813 expedition into Paraguay was defeated by local troops, necessitating a larger force to bring the area to heel the following year. [2] The Republican campaign in Upper Peru faced even stiffer opposition, and by the time of the Treaty of Madrid, the heaviest fighting in Spanish America was taking place along the rivers south of Lake Titicaca.

    Despite their struggles, the revolutionaries did have several significant advantages that helped them avoid the same fate as the Martyrs of Guadalupe. The Criollo militias of Buenos Aires and Montevideo had gained valuable experience fighting the British in 1806 and 1807, and these cadres provided a foundation for expansion of the La Platan army during the revolution. Second, their victory in Upper Peru proved a boon for the revolutionaries economically. La Plata had traditionally been a relative backwater of the Spanish Empire, largely dominated by subsistence agriculture. The silver mines of Potosi were not the powerhouse they had been in the 16th century, but they retained significant reserves of the precious metal, as well as tin and other minerals. Silver exports were critical in securing a steady inflow of weapons, cotton, and other important resources. [3]

    Most important of all, however, was the fact that Buenos Aires was merely the loudest and most radical source of discontent in Spanish America. Fears of British invasion faded with the Treaty of Madrid, and the uneasy peace that prevailed in other Spanish colonies came to an end. In Caracas, Simon Bolivar declared his temporary modus vivendi with royalist authorities void, and proclaimed a Republic of Gran Columbia. To make matters more fraught, Bolivar had cultivated ties with republicans in New Granada, and his declaration resulted in renewed unrest there as well. [4] Only in New Spain was revolutionary sentiment diffuse enough for the territory to remain relatively peaceful, and even so, it was a peace enforced by significant numbers of Spanish troops.

    The end of the Napoleonic Wars had other effects on the fighting in Spanish America, however. Despite the Spanish navy’s attempts to curtail rebel trade, commerce with Europe began to resume after 1815, resulting in even more weapons finding their way to Bolivar and Castelli’s armies. Most important of all, however, was that a Spanish Army officer resigned his commission and returned to his native Chile.

    Chile had many of the same social characteristics and inequalities that had provoked the Junta in Buenos Aires, but they lacked the same experience with foreign invasion, and the subsequent radicalization that sent Argentine criollos inexorably towards independence. Still, much of the same middle-class discontent was there, and with the right leadership, it would ignite. The spark was provided by retired soldier Jose Miguel Carrera, a well-educated war veteran who had, to his shame, served in the expeditionary force that had recaptured New Spain several years earlier. Armed with fiery charisma and a tale of redemption, Carrera became a leading force in Chilean politics as the colony finally resolved to follow the example set by La Plata and New Granada, declaring their own independence from Spain.

    Of course, the situation in Chile was far more difficult than it had been for previous independence movements. The Spanish army retained significant strength in Chile, using it as a conduit through which they could meet the rebellious La Platan forces. As such, Carrera and his allies resolved to fight an irregular campaign, raiding the supply lines of forces attempting to recapture Upper Peru. The Buenos Aires Junta welcomed this development – although they preferred a more universalist vision of a united South America to Carerra’s more distinct Chilean nationalism, they recognized the usefulness of a threat to their enemy’s rear area, and ignored his ideological heresies for the time being.

    And so indecisive fighting between republicans and royalists along the Andes continued for several years. The royalist forces were stronger on paper, but had difficulty resupplying themselves, while the rebels made good use of the river system on their side of the mountains. The stalemate dragged into 1819, when an unexpected stroke of fortune changed everything. [5]

    [1] Honestly, I’m a little out of my depth on this Latin American history, and am worried it’s going to turn into an Argentinewank eventually. Still, I hope I’ve justified this at least a little with everything else going on here.
    [2] They didn’t send a second Paraguay expedition IOTL, but here the influx of foreign arms makes the Argentineans try for a levee en masse strategy, and so they’ve got more manpower to play with.
    [3] Bolivia actually remained a major silver producer well into the 20th century, even if tin had become more important by then.
    [4] Bolivar made two failed attempts at a Venezuelan republic IOTL, but those were butterflied by his wartime cooperation with the royalists here.
    [5] I may be a little out of my depth on Latin America stuff, but I think it’ll be worth it once things get even more crazy and complicated in the next update.
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter Twelve: Of Patriots and Tyrants

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    I should explain my writing process a little here. I have the story divided into arcs of sorts, with the first one ending with the Treaty of Madrid in 1815. Other than those, however, my chapters are essentially delineated by whatever subject matter I want to address in them. This can result in really lopsided chapter lengths, and before I knew it, this latest update swelled into the longest one yet - almost 3000 words including footnotes. Still, it is what it is. Today, the Spanish Revolution. After this, we'll be returning to the United States for an update. Enjoy, and feel free to comment. Especially in areas like this outside my usual wheelhouse, reader input can be a useful guide.

    Chapter Twelve: Of Patriots and Tyrants

    Excerpted from The Age of Revolutions by A.F. Stoddard, 2006​

    The wars for independence in Spanish America were a bitter and acrimonious struggle, to say the least. Although the hardline approach taken by King Ferdinand VII with his colonies deserves much of the blame for this, the conflict was also exacerbated by other factors – some political, others social, and even some economic differences.

    The examples of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte certainly loomed large, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that opportunists and adventurers like José Miguel Carrera wanted to emulate these two figures, and conquer their way to power. At the same time, Creole elites within the colonies were dissatisfied with the previous century’s economic reforms, which brought the Spanish Empire more in line with the mercantilist ideals of the British and French Empires. Colonial offices, which until then were commonly purchased by local Creoles, became appointed by the Crown instead, and Madrid-appointed intendencies increased overall tax revenue, albeit at the cost of central authority in each colony. These new arrangements were calculated to benefit Europe at the expense of America, and so despite the common tendency to portray the republican revolutionaries as liberals, they were, in large part, fighting to preserve their traditional privileges. [1]

    And it’s also important to remember that in times of war, radicals on opposing sides have a symbiotic relationship – if one side adopts a hardline stance, the other can claim vindication for their own position. As a result, the radical republicanism of Juan Jose Castelli and Simon Bolivar clashed with the firm absolutism of King Ferdinand, each hardening the resolve of the other. Unfortunately, this meant that even victory would not be enough for the royalists – their reprisals would only cause lingering resentment that would blossom into more revolts in the future. [2] This deadlock could only be broken by the removal of one or the other belligerent, and in 1819, with the Spanish Revolution, that’s exactly what happened.

    The Napoleonic Wars had put a significant strain on the Spanish military, as it did for other combatant nations. Unlike other countries, however, the unrest in the New World required Spain to stay on a war footing for years after the Treaty of Madrid. The list of expeditions seemed endless: to Mexico, New Granada, and Argentina in 1813, to Buenos Aires again the following year, back to New Granada in 1815, and to Chile and Peru for several years after that. For the common soldier, service in the 1810’s entailed one trek after another through mountains and jungles, with no end in sight. And as it turned out, their commanding officers were equally disillusioned.

    The critical figure to the 1819 Revolution was José Palafox y Melci, a general from the Aragonese aristocracy. After commanding royalist forces in New Granada in 1813, Palafox eventually concluded that only a more diplomatic approach to the colonies could regain their trust. In this, he found a kindred spirit in Francisco Javier Calo, the beleaguered President of the Council of the Indies. As a Creole from Santo Domingo, Calo was especially sensitive to the political needs of the colonies, and as the 1810’s dragged on, he became increasingly convinced that Fernando’s intransigence was the main obstacle to peace.

    Matters came to a head on July 9th, 1819, when a regiment in Seville, under orders to embark for South America, turned on its officers and imprisoned them. [3] More mutinies followed throughout southern Spain, as soldiers called for higher pay, an end to the American expeditions, and, among more radical units, the abdication of Ferdinand himself. Even at this critical juncture, Ferdinand seems to have only have half-recognized the precariousness of his position. He agreed to raise the army’s wages, but at the same time insisted that the Seville mutineers be punished. More importantly, he made no concessions on the question of the war in the Americas. With this crisis fully exposing the discontent and rot within the Spanish armed forces, Calo, Palafox, and other Spanish generals and notables agreed that the time had come to act.

    Ten days after the initial mutiny, Calo offered the king a final lifeline, suggesting that the Cortes be convened to write a Constitution for Spain. This olive branch, however well-intentioned, proved a tactical blunder. For all his heavy-handedness, Ferdinand was, if anything, openly paranoid about the prospects of a republican revolution, and he interpreted Calo’s offer as the prelude to just such a coup. With the help of his conservative supporters, Ferdinand and his family fled Madrid less than a day in advance of Palafox’s soldiers.

    This oversight was a hinderance to the coup plotters, who had hoped to coerce Ferdinand into abdicating his throne. Instead, he was able to escape to France, and denounce the revolutionary chaos in his country. Nevertheless, the king had ceded Madrid to his enemies. Instead of declaring a republic, as the rebels in South America had, Palafox and his fellow generals instead declared a regency, accusing the king of being demonstrably unfit to govern. Calo, as the new Prime Minister, convened the Cortes to discuss plans for a Spanish Constitution to guide future monarchs.

    In the meantime, however, the uprisings in the Spanish colonies still needed to be dealt with. Fortunately, apart from Rio de La Plata and Upper Peru, Spanish armies had the upper hand in most of the New World, despite low morale and fatigue. This gave the new government room to send out peace feelers to the rebel forces, promising both amnesty for recent events as well as a reorganization of the Spanish colonial system to be more responsive to the needs of the colonists.

    The Ordinance of 1819, as it was known, was a comprehensive overhaul of the governing of the Spanish Empire. The single monarchy would be replaced by an intricate set of constituent kingdoms established in the American colonies. These kingdoms would all swear fealty to the throne in Madrid as before, but otherwise be given far more internal autonomy, to satisfy the local Creole elites.

    As radical as this plan seemed, however, it had precedent in past proposals for reform of Spanish America. In particular, the plan owed a great deal to the Conde de Aranda, who had originally proposed such a reorganization in the wake of the American Revolution, hoping to stave off just such a spate of revolutionary activity. The Ordinance required several modifications from Aranda’s original proposal, however. The trade barriers against the British that the Conde had proposed were far too contentious in the wake of the Continental System. And with the royal family having escaped to France, Bourbon princes would be replaced with appointed viceroys in each of the American kingdoms, with the Spanish king retaining nominal suzerainty. [4]

    One final difference was the scope of the plan. Aranda’s original vision only included three new kingdoms, one each in New Spain, New Granada, and Peru. Prime Minister Calo’s amended version had three additions, with kingdom status granted to Chile, Venezuela and Rio de la Plata as well. The latter was a necessary addition given the vehemence of their rebellion, but the first was a political ploy, calculated to drive a wedge between the universalist ambitions of the Buenos Aires clique and the more particularistic nationalism espoused by José Miguel Carrera. If all went according to plan, the Chileans would accept Madrid’s proposal, and leave the recalcitrant La Platans isolated.

    To be sure, the Ordinance carried significant drawbacks, the obvious one being the ability of the American kingdoms to inexorably drift away from Madrid’s orbit. This was, however, a price Palafox and the Spanish army was willing to pay. After years of fighting, it was imperative to draw down hostilities to preserve Spanish strength, and the proposed arrangements still offered more Spanish influence in the New World than they could expect in the event of a clean break.

    The Ordinance received a mixed reception in the New World, with particularly complex results in South America. Things went smoothest in New Spain, where the revolutionary position was the weakest. The most prominent resistance leader was Jose Maria Morelos, a former member of the Martyrs of Guadalupe.

    Morelos was wary of the Spanish peace offer, but replied that he would consider standing down on certain conditions. These included land reform, limits on church privileges, abolition of slavery, and that Francisco Castaños be replaced as Viceroy, as the executioner of Hidalgo had gained notoriety in New Spain as the face of oppression. The Spanish reply offered to appoint Morelos to the Viceroyalty himself, and give him leave to pursue reform agendas as he saw fit. The brazenness of this about-face was enough to sway Morelos, and on September 9th, 1819, he accepted the new appointment as Viceroy of the Kingdom of New Spain. [5]

    In New Granada, the Ordinance caused a political split within the independence movement. One of the leading figures among the rebels was the Venezuelan Simon Bolivar, who dreamed of a Grand Columbian state that comprised both New Granada and Venezuela. More importantly, he wished for the new state to be an independent republic. For him, the 1819 Ordinance was an empty promise, designed to quiet calls for freedom by dividing rebels against themselves. As a result, he vehemently opposed accepting the offer from Madrid.

    Unfortunately for Bolivar, he found himself in the minority. And as Bolivar’s comrades turned against him, the worst betrayal came from an unexpected source – a 27-year-old soldier named Francisco de Paula Santander. Santander castigated Bolivar for what he called “craven hypocrisy”, noting that the Venezuelan had willingly arranged a ceasefire with Spanish authorities ten years earlier. For him to treat with the Bourbons when it was convenient, only to turn away when the people of Spain were attempting to replace absolute monarchy with a constitutional order was a betrayal of principle. Santander accused Bolivar of opportunism and worse, Bonapartism.

    Santander’s invective hit its mark. At his suggestion, Bolivar was incarcerated by his fellow revolutionaries, before eventually being turned over to royal authorities. New Granada and Venezuela would both accept new viceroys by the end of 1819. [6]

    In Peru, the political situation was even more fraught. This colony was more conservative and devoted to the monarchy than its neighbors, and to them, the Palafox regency was simply Republicanism hiding behind a thin veneer. They replied that they would accept such an Ordinance only from a Bourbon king, and that their loyalty remained with Ferdinand and his descendants. As a result, they joined Rio de la Plata in being the only colony to reject the Ordinance outright.

    The situation in Chile was rather the inverse of that in New Granada, although this was not obvious to Madrid at the time. Carrera was the most visible face of rebellion here, and his calls for an independent Chile put him at odds with his co-belligerents in Buenos Aires. However, the lengthy stalemate along the Andes finally tipped in favor of the Spanish in August and September 1819, with La Platan forces retreating into Upper Peru, their strength finally spent. With this in mind, Carrera saw little to lose and much to gain in accepting the peace offered by the 1819 Ordinance. His two main stipulations were the departure of Spanish forces in Chile, and that he be appointed Viceroy. With these granted, the deal was struck, and Spanish forces began withdrawing from their last major operation in the Americas.

    Carrera’s success was, however, shortly revealed to be illusory. Although he believed himself to have swayed his fellow Chilean Creoles towards his own nationalist stance in his four years among them, this was not the case. A rival faction promoting universalist sentiments also existed, led by Bernardo O’Higgins and other members of the Lodge of Rational Knights, and backed by Buenos Aires. When Carrera and his brothers moved to take charge of the revolutionary movement in 1815, this faction had reluctantly acceded to Carrera’s agenda, but now that peace had been secured with Madrid, the Carrera family had outlived its usefulness. [7]

    On the Ides of March 1820, the Lodge and its allies executed a successful coup against Carrera, killing the general along with his most prominent supporters. The new government rejected the Ordinance of 1819, and declared its intention to unite with Rio de la Plata. Two months later, the La Platan army marched into Santiago unopposed.

    This reversal was an embarrassment to the government in Madrid, but there were more pressing concerns at home. Although Napoleon Bonaparte had granted sanctuary to Ferdinand and his family, the deposed monarch’s requests for a French army to restore him to power fell on deaf ears for the time being. This didn’t entirely ease the sense of insecurity in Spain, where regent Palafox remained ill at ease so long as the Bourbons plotted against him. And while the general had successfully defused most of the violence in Spanish America, external actors further complicated the situation. The Portuguese, previously deterred by threats of war from Ferdinand should they intercede in South America, now mobilized to invade Rio de la Plata. Palafox and Calo, having washed their hands of that part of the continent, raised no objection.

    More galling, however, was the situation in Florida. In the fall of 1819, the city of Pensacola was occupied by American forces under General Zebulon Pike. A former explorer, Pike had previously been captured by Spanish authorities on one of his expeditions into New Spain over a decade earlier. More importantly, Pike’s captivity had taught him much about the fragility of Spanish rule in the New World, something he would exploit repeatedly in his later career. [8]

    Because of this insight, Pike felt secure in his unauthorized actions against Madrid, confident that war weariness in Europe would hand him a victory through fait accompli. This confidence was borne out by the subsequent Adams-Cevallos Treaty, acknowledging American control over Florida. The American public had little time to savor this triumph, however, as a more pressing crisis loomed, one that would swiftly eclipse all other concerns.

    [1] This is another theme I want to explore with this timeline. The French Revolution is seen as having succeeded, at least in a way, and although the geopolitical implications are limited beyond Europe, the political and cultural ones are enormous. That doesn’t mean that the world is so evenly divided between liberalism and conservatism, however, and that’s very apparent in Latin America ITTL. These revolutionaries are (generally) not psychopaths, but they’re no saints, either.

    [2] And this is my best extrapolation of how things would proceed in the absence of Napoleon invading Spain. Without the Peninsular War wrecking the country, Fernando has significantly more strength he can bring to bear against rebels in the New World. That said, his military strength isn’t enough to resolve lingering political questions, and I see that as his real obstacle to long-term success. And because Fernando won’t bend, his kingdom will instead.

    [3] This is actually pretty similar to the start of the OTL Trienio Liberal. Fun fact: Seville (unofficially) recorded the hottest ever temperature in Europe in 1881, of 50 degrees Celsius. Combine extreme heat with the tense political climate and low pay, and presto, soldier mutiny.

    [4] This is my stab at taking Aranda’s OTL proposals from the 1780’s (which I admittedly only have limited second-hand information about) and tinkering them to fit the needs of the new liberal government. It’s important to keep in mind that Palafox sees himself as having a popular mandate to end the wars in America, so he’s willing to entertain really generous terms, even to the point of a glorified peace at any price deal.

    [5] Fortunately for Palafox and Calos, their desperation for the best deal they can get means they can catch the rebels off-guard with their generosity. The contrast between their ideas and Fernando’s enhances their self-presentation as a genuine break from past policy.

    [6] An ironic reversal of what Bolivar did to Francisco de Miranda IOTL.

    [7] Here Carrera gets screwed over by butterflies. Because he spent a longer period in the army ITTL, he’s seen in Chile as something of a Johnny come lately to the rebel cause. He talks and fights his way to the top in part because of his military skill, in part because the Chileans were desperate enough to entertain a unified front, but less so because his ideas were seen as persuasive. And unfortunately, his ego blinded him to this reality until too late.

    [8] In his journals, Pike mentions an encounter he had with a spy sent by the local governor, who posed (very poorly, in Pike’s estimation) as a discontented local, complaining that he and his were prisoners just as much as Pike and his men. The idea apparently being to suss out Pike’s intentions, and whether his expedition was sent to stir up unrest with bait. Whether or not this encounter was real, it at least indicates that Pike was aware of unrest in New Spain, as well as knowing that Spanish authorities were worried about it. And no, the Spanish haven’t heard the last of him yet.
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  6. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition!

    Jun 28, 2017
    Secret Catholic World Domination Conference
    How have I not read this yet?!!!!

    Very well done!!!
  7. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Jan 4, 2004
    Yea I also missed this. I'm only up to the American discussion but this is a pretty well thought out timelien.
  8. Xgentis Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Belgium, Wallonia
    I would like to point out that the first use of modern general staff in the was in revolutionary Wars under General Louis Alexandre Berthier and latter Napoleon took over and used it in all it's campaigns as well as his subordinates.
    Saying that french success was due to raw talent alone isn't true.
  9. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Well, the main thing I took away from reading up on the subject was that there's a lot of different answers for that question, many of them dating it back to well before the French Revolution. Do the post-1806 Prussians deserve that distinction as opposed to anyone else? Honestly, I don't think I'm qualified to answer that. All I know is that that is one of the interpretations out there, and one that the writer in question is favorable to because of his knowledge of what came afterwards. For him to say that Napoleon and other French generals got by on talent alone is an exaggeration, although I do understand that many of the duties one normally expects of staff officers, like sifting through intelligence, were things that Napoleon liked to handle personally despite having a Chief of Staff.
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter Thirteen: The Missouri-Arkansaw Crisis

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    And it's time for another update, this time on American politics. I'll admit, I'm starting to wonder if my narrative pace is too slow, and if I should just try to move things along a little faster than I am right now. At the same time, I kind of see myself as a by-the-book writer. I'm leery of glossing over too much material, since I feel that's a mistake my least favorite timelines tend to commit too much. So, I guess I'll leave that in the air as an open question for you guys. Next chapter, I'll be returning to France and England for a while, if only because I feel like I've written more on Latin America than France so far, and that doesn't seem quite right.

    Chapter Thirteen: The Missouri-Arkansaw Crisis

    Excerpted from The First American Party System by Charles Francis Adams, 1871.​

    The first party system of the United States is commonly remembered as a casualty of sectionalism, with diverging Northern and Southern interests inexorably rending the Democratic-Republicans asunder. While concerns over slavery and trade policy certainly played their part in this fracture, the last decade of the system illustrates that personal ambition and pique were equally consequential in bringing about the eventual split.

    The 1816 election represented the first chink in the dam. What had been presumed to be an easy election for Secretary of State James Monroe was interrupted by dissension from within his own party. As was mentioned before, the country had had its fill of Virginian presidents, who had held the Presidency for all but four years of the republic so far. More importantly, however, Monroe’s detractors noted that he himself had challenged President Madison’s bid for office eight years earlier. As such, his denunciations of the upstart William Crawford as putting personal ambition before party or country rang hollow.

    In the end, Crawford’s coalition of supporters from Georgia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Kentucky proved too much for Monroe to overcome, and the Democratic-Republicans officially nominated the Georgian for President. [1] After that, the general election campaign against the Federalists was effectively a formality. Monroe never fully forgave Crawford for denying him the Presidency in 1816, and so my father found himself replacing the Virginian as Secretary of State in the new Administration.

    William H. Crawford, fifth President of the United States.

    As much as it was possible, the Crawford Administration attempted to bridge sectional divides through its policies. The fact that it failed, and in so doing, led to the fraying of Crawford’s party in 1824, does suggest that the ultimate dissolution of the Democratic-Republicans was exactly as insoluble as pessimists like Thomas Cobb feared. Crawford’s cooperation with fellow statesman such as Henry Clay and my father was largely centered around the notion of building American strength through internal improvements at home, and expansion of its frontiers. Road and canal building, along with a new charter for a Bank of the United States satisfied the former imperative. [2] The latter was realized through treaties with Britain and Spain, along with greater settlement of the west.

    Ultimately, Crawford’s system would be tested by two crises in the latter half of his first term. In both cases, these obstacles proved daunting because they had been precipitated by the Administration’s focus on improvement and expansion. First, there was the Panic of 1819, the first true financial calamity to plague the United States. One unforeseen consequence of American policy from this period was a speculative bubble surrounding land and agricultural interests. To promote migration westward, the government sold land to settlers at low prices, and the Second Bank exacerbated public euphoria through excessive lending.

    This state of affairs couldn’t last, propped up as it was by high prices for agricultural products and artificially cheap credit. If anything, the seeds of its failure were sown concurrently with the boom itself, as European farmers began to recover from war, and cotton growing in India began to challenge the American monopoly. By 1818, the American agricultural sector began to contract, and in the following year, it took overextended banks down with it.

    Despite the scope of the chaos that ensued, the state and federal responses to the Panic of 1819 also show the flexibility and resilience that Good Feelings America could muster. Crawford was a realist in matters of finance, and understood the importance of restoring public confidence in the economy. To that end, he convened a special session of Congress to pass debt relief for those who had bought public land. [3] As well, he urged state banks to suspend specie payments to depositors, in the hopes that an expanded money supply could combat the crisis.

    President Crawford weathered the financial crisis, which did little to jeopardize his election to a second term. Nevertheless, it provided a cautionary lesson about the volatility of modern finance, as well as the manic tendencies that western settlement could inspire in the American public. What proved even more trying was the Missouri-Arkansaw crisis, which lay bare the political dangers involved in opening new land, and new states into an already uneasy equilibrium.

    In February 1820, Congress began debate on statehood for Missouri. While the measure began without incident, it would swiftly take on far greater import, as sectional divides over slavery assumed centrality. This discord did not begin with discussion of Missouri, however; in fact, it was a related debate over the status of Arkansaw territory where debate over slavery was first broached. In that debate, New York Representative John Taylor opted to force the issue into the open, with an amendment prohibiting the introduction of new slaves into the territory, paired with gradual emancipation for children born in Arkansaw thereafter.

    Taylor’s amended proposal passed the House of Representatives narrowly, on a vote of 89-87. [4] Buoyed by this success, a similar amendment was added to the proposal for Missourian statehood, which passed by 90 votes to 79. Both of these measures failed in the Senate, then controlled both by Southern delegates and by Northerners less sympathetic to abolition. With the Senate unwilling to approve Taylor’s amendments, and the House unwilling to approve Arkansaw Territory or the state of Missouri without them, a standoff ensued.

    More than any other issue, it was the Missouri-Arkansaw crisis that most profoundly challenged Crawford’s faith in his own system. His ambition had been nothing less than to extend the Era of Good Feelings into perpetuity, with the Democratic-Republicans advancing the national interest through negotiations within the party, as opposed to contesting power with an opposed faction.

    From John Taylor, the President saw not simply a challenge to slavery, but to his larger unipartisan vision. From this perspective, the coalition of Federalists and northern Democrats who had passed Taylor’s amendments became not just an alliance of convenience, but an opposition party in all respects except name. This would lead, or so Crawford feared, not simply to the dissolution of his party, but of the Union itself. [5]

    Crawford would spend much of 1820 trying to sunder what he perceived as the Northern coalition, to secure Missouri’s entry and neutralize the Federalist threat. In this, he had assistance from Speaker Henry Clay, who shared the President’s dim view of the crisis, if not his fear of the Federalists. However, even Clay found himself frustrated by the intransigence of Taylor and his Congressional allies. He assured the President that he could pass an unamended proposal for Arkansaw Territory, but to do so would only harden Northern resolve on the question of Missouri.

    To resolve as many outstanding issues as possible, Clay proposed a compromise, whereby Arkansaw would face no restrictions on slavery, while Missouri would be admitted with Taylor’s amendments. To maintain sectional balance in the Senate, Missouri’s admission would be paired with that of Alabama, while Maine’s request for statehood would be postponed until Congress was ready to admit another slave state. In addition, the Missouri-Arkansaw border would delineate the division between future free and slave states further west. With reluctance, Crawford signed the appropriate measures in March of 1821, at the beginning of his second term.

    The Compromise of 1820 doubtless saved the Union in the short term. Indeed, one imagines that if the matter had progressed towards bloodshed, the first of it would have come from the House floor itself. Still, this did not protect Clay and Crawford from opprobrium at their concessions. Ironically, the fiercest critic of the Compromise was a Northerner, John Holmes of Massachusetts. As a representative from Maine, Holmes was livid at the territory’s statehood being sacrificed as appeasement of the “New York abolitionists”, namely Taylor, Senator Rufus King, and Representative James Tallmadge, who had all supported the Compromise.

    In any event, the fear of sectionalism and sectional parties could no longer be dismissed. As the Era of Good Feelings gave way to unease, and an increasingly assertive North faced a defensive and paranoid South, any party hoping to bridge the geographic and ideological divide would face an impossible task. The only remaining question would be how to dissolve partisan union while preserving the union between the states. That would be the challenge of 1824.

    [1] Funnily enough, this was a close contest IOTL, despite Crawford never announcing a candidacy, and making clear he didn’t want to run. All that really changes here is him deciding to go for it, and swaying the nine votes needed to tip the scales.

    [2] More so than Monroe, Crawford seemed relatively open to things like internal improvements, and less concerned with their constitutionality. This is otherwise OTL Monroe policy.

    [3] This is different from Monroe’s response, but only somewhat. Monroe refused to call a special session to deal with the Panic, and he didn’t enact debt relief until his second term. Crawford is doing much of the same thing, but more proactively.

    [4] This nearly happened IOTL too, actually. The historical vote was 87-89 against. What’s going on here is that the North, having been spared a lot of economic damage from the absence of a War of 1812, plus more trade with Latin America, is a little bit stronger and more self-confident than OTL. As a result, there aren’t as many doughfaces in Congress, and they’re willing to hold out for abolition in Missouri. This dynamic will have even more significant implications further down the road, as I’m sure you can imagine.

    [5] Thomas Jefferson expressed his fear of this at the time, and opposed the Compromise because he feared it would reinforce sectional differences. ITTL Crawford shares that fear, not least because of the implications for his party. Like the Framers, he’s no fan of rampant partisanship, and so he sees Democratic-Republican dominance as a way to avoid party becoming the most important political divide.
  11. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    I somehow missed this timeline entirely before today; what a pleasure to find a fresh take on a Napoleonic victory. Subscribed!

    What will be the effects on Ireland of an apparent revolutionary victory?
  12. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Well, I'll get into more detail about British developments in general in the next update, but so far, I don't think Ireland will have diverged too much from OTL yet. The mess involving the Act of Union and Pitt's failure to secure emancipation all happened before the POD, and since then, nobody's had the breathing room to do anything meaningful. Or, in Liverpool's case, didn't want to push emancipation to begin with. Right now, they've got a really fragile government led by George Canning, which by itself shows how awkward things are, given how contentious he was in his own party. And for him, the main concern at this point (1820-ish, that is) is the public debt. So all that's to say, I don't quite know yet, but I'll see where the butterflies take me.

    In any case, thanks for reading, and I hope you'll enjoy everything I have in store for future updates.
  13. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I honestly think keeping it at this pace would work best, at least for the more significant regions. One way of managing would be to only visit more remote regions every once in a while and when there doing a gloss of what has happened, while actually focusing on the meat of the update.

    So from what I can read it seems like Missouri will eventually go free-soil while Maine has been distanced from the rest of the north. With Monroe held from office does this mean that the Monroe Doctrine hasn't been fashioned (yet?).

    I look forward to more updates.
  14. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Well, my philosophy in covering the world is essentially to wait until there's a visible causal link between the main narrative and whatever part of the world I'm talking about, that would warrant a chapter on how things are changing. So for example, I knew from the start that it would be essential for Napoleon to not invade Spain in order to get a lasting peace settlement. And once I started researching the chain of events that led to the Peninsular War, I started to realize just how influential this period was in both Spanish and Latin American history. So as a result, I felt obligated to cover the Latin American independence movements at length, and explain how things go with such a momentous event being absent. And at the moment, there's still some unresolved issues in South America from the last chapter on it, so I'll want to go back there at least one more time before this story arc ends in 1830.

    And with that in mind, what may be best is to continue that basic approach, and maybe include some catch-up material if and when I bring in regions like South Africa or East Asia or the like. I don't plan on tackling either until at least the next arc, but that's always open to re-evaluation if butterflies demand it.

    As for the alt-Missouri Compromise, yeah, that's the gist of it for now. Maine was one of the strongest Free Soil states in the country, so they'll certainly still stand with the North on that issue. Also, they have outstanding border disputes with Canada that preclude them wandering too far off the reservation. Still, this is a disappointment for them, one that's going to complicate Massachusetts state politics for a while to come. And Missouri was the source of much of the trouble in the Bleeding Kansas crisis IOTL, so we can expect a far different confrontation between free and slave states, probably over some entirely different scheme to expand slave power. That'll be a ways, off though.

    And the Monroe Doctrine. Honestly, quite apart from Monroe losing the Presidency, the main thing preventing an OTL Monroe Doctrine from emerging is the larger context. Monroe issued his declaration after most of Latin America had broken away from Spain and Portugal, and it stated that it wouldn't apply to existing colonies. At this point, thanks to the Ordinance of 1819, most of the conflict in Latin America has been resolved, but at least nominally in Spain's favor. Even the colonies that aren't playing ball with the Palafox regency are ones that Madrid's essentially washed its hands of. That doesn't mean that the US is okay with the state of things south of the border, but it does mean that any doctrine outlining American policy in dealing with it will have to be significantly different. And there will be an answer of sorts, but it's coming later, well after Crawford has left the White House.
    Zulfurium likes this.
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter Fourteen: The Eagle's Repose

    TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Well, unfortunately my job is getting more demanding lately, which has cut into my time, and perhaps more importantly, energy, to do research and writing. I'd intended for this new chapter to cover peacetime France, plus relations with Britain, and how French migration patterns are changing ITTL. In the end, I had to give short shrift to the British relations, and the French diaspora will be the subject of the next, probably much shorter chapter. A Britain-focused chapter will come sometime in the future, as well. In the meantime, this new update addresses some of France's longer term 19th Century issues, in particular its demographic problems. I'd thought about letting Napoleon implement a bolder policy attempting to imitate England's Agricultural Revolution, and see if that might jump-start French birthrates and industry relative to OTL, but decided it would be too incendiary domestically. Instead, he'll do more of a compromise between that kind of platform and OTL France. Historical trends are stubborn things, after all. Enjoy.

    Chapter Fourteen: The Eagle’s Repose

    Excerpted from The Age of Revolutions by A.F. Stoddard, 2006.
    The exact timeframe of the French Revolution remains a contested one among historians even today, but the ratification of the Treaty of Madrid is widely seen as marking the end of the Revolutionary period. By affirming the Bonaparte dynasty as the masters of Europe, it served as the final acknowledgement that the Bourbons would never again sit the throne in Paris. All that remained for Napoleon was managing his empire, and adjusting to its peacetime demands.

    For a long time, the first Emperor’s economic policies were seen as a continuation of the mercantilism of the preceding century. The Continental System was done away with, only to be replaced by a less stringent, but still decidedly protectionist trade program. Napoleon’s German and Italian satellite states served as a captive market for emerging French industries, while tariffs kept more efficient British goods at bay. Combined with the sheer size of the French domestic market, these policies provided a sizable foundation on which to develop French textiles, canning, and ironworking enterprises. And as these industries grew, the demand for labor drew French farmers into urban areas seeking higher wages.

    In the last two decades, however, this interpretation has been challenged by revisionists, who raise several objections to this narrative. First, they suggest that because of his use of the Continental System to win his war with Britain, the Emperor became unduly associated with trade barriers and protectionism, even in peacetime. Second, it’s noted that Napoleon’s trade and industrial policies are often contrasted with those of his son. Because Napoleon II was more ideologically committed to Ricardianism, observers tend to exaggerate the policy differences between the two Emperors. By the same token, the French system is juxtaposed against that of Britain – but, the revisionists argue, the perception of Britain tends to be derived from later in the century, after their own reckoning with the Corn Laws and other protectionist measures. Comparing Napoleon’s France to Britain under Canning, one finds that both countries employed selective tariffs in some areas, while eschewing them in others. [1]

    This debate is no minor intellectual dispute, because the revisionist argument goes a long way towards explaining some of the economic and social changes that took place during this period. In particular, the French government resisted entreaties to levy farm tariffs. Traditionally, French agriculture had been the envy of Europe, and hardly needed protection to dominate the international market. This started to change, however, as Russian wheat and other imported goods became more widely available during the post-war years. [2]

    The burgeoning French entrepreneurial class welcomed the disruption, as the influx of foreign goods lowered the costs of several key production inputs, along with the cost of living in general. They made the Ricardian case to the Emperor through Jacques Claude, the Comte de Beugnot. Having served as the prefect in the Nord department before rising to head the Interior Ministry, Beugnot had forged working relationships with local manufacturing magnates, who impressed on him the importance of their work to the national interest. As a result, Beugnot’s counsel to the Emperor was to disregard calls for protection for the French small-scale farmer – better, the Comte argued, to encourage consolidation in this sector, and foster greater efficiency, with more productive farms supplanting their weaker competitors.

    Jacques Claude, Comte de Beugnot

    It is tempting to make comparisons between Beugnot’s proposal and the economic upheaval in Britain caused by its Enclosure policies during much of the 18th Century. However, the two cases differ both in initial conditions, as well as implementation, which explains their divergent results. The Emperor was swayed by Beugnot’s arguments not to protect French farming, but balked at more direct intervention to bring about consolidation in this sector. This reticence on Napoleon’s part can, in turn, be explained by the second distinction, that being the power wielded by minor French landholders. With feudal and clerical authority shattered by the Revolution, most French farmland now rested in the hands of small farmers, who guarded their land and their livelihoods jealously. The Emperor was likely all too aware of the danger of internal revolt should he challenge the status quo in the French countryside.

    Lastly, the relative power and prosperity enjoyed by small French farmers explains their resilience towards hostile market forces. For those landholders who did see their fortunes go under, it also explains their diverse set of reactions. An observer of the British Agricultural Revolution would expect displaced rural workers to have found their way towards Paris, or else to growing centers of industry such as Mons or Saint-Étienne. And to some degree, France did experience such a demographic shift, with rural populations migrating towards cities. However, the logistical realities of the time also meant that for a displaced French worker, travelling to the city was only marginally more promising than trying one’s luck overseas. As a result, French trade policy helped fuel the 19th Century French diaspora. [3]

    That said, trade and economic policy was only one of the Empire’s preoccupations during this period. Certainly, for Napoleon, these considerations were always secondary to the larger political situation. However convincing Beugnot’s case for selective Ricardianism may have been, it is hard to discount the possibility that the Emperor’s trade policy was actually driven by a desire not to antagonize Tsar Alexander. More than anything, the memory of the Continental System left Europe with two maxims as its legacy: first, that trade could be a weapon, and should often be understood as such. And second, that control of one’s own trade policy is a critical element of national sovereignty. As a result, it would be seen as an affront for Napoleon to raise trade barriers against his primary ally. [4]

    And although the Emperor was more willing to offend British sensibilities than Russian, there were important steps towards rapprochement with London during this time. In general, the Emperor favored symbolic, low-cost concessions as the basis for reconciliation, while dangling the prospect of more significant peace offerings. One area of agreement between the two countries was on the question of slavery. In exchange for the return of Martinique and Guadalupe, the British had persuaded Napoleon to once again abolish slavery in French colonies. Having acceded to this request, Bonaparte decided to follow the example set by the British in West Africa. Following the Treaty of Madrid, the French navy began taking action against the slave trade in Zanzibar, using Grand Port as a base to raid slave shipments departing from East Africa.

    However welcome this gesture may have been, the most important entreaties from Britain concerned the Spanish Revolution, and here, Napoleon was more reluctant to act. He allowed the deposed King Ferdinand to take shelter in France, but had otherwise decided to let the King and Regent Palafox compete for his favor, rather than committing to one side too hastily. Several Napoleonic scholars have suggested that the Emperor, having seen the potential to expand French influence in the New World, also wanted to buy time for the Ordinance of 1819 to take effect.

    For his part, the Regent publicly announced his willingness to step aside, should Ferdinand or one of his relatives promise to respect the authority of the Cortes, as well as the new Constitution they had enacted. This proposal should be taken with some skepticism, since Ferdinand’s well-known antipathy towards Constitutional government meant that in practice, Palafox could remain Regent for as long as he pleased. The only way to guarantee his ouster would be to commit the French army, something Napoleon understood all too well.

    As his audiences with Ferdinand dragged on through 1819 and into 1820, Napoleon tired of the obstinate Spaniard, and became increasingly interested in Palafox’s suggestion to put a more pliant individual on the throne. Eventually, he said openly that he would be willing to invade Spain and restore the monarchy – but only if Ferdinand abdicated to someone else.

    Ferdinand’s opposition aside, this tack had its own problems. The King’s only child, the Princess Maria, could not inherit, so the throne would instead pass to his eldest brother, Prince Charles. Charles, much like Ferdinand, was staunchly conservative, and openly spoke of the need to quash the “sacrilegious Jacobinism” that had overtaken Madrid. [5]

    This was no solution to Napoleon, who had by now concluded that a restoration of the same reactionaries who had alienated their people to begin with was a non-starter. What he needed was a candidate with the flexibility to accept Palafox’s call to honor the new Spanish Constitution, while also being pliant enough for the Emperor to influence. Ferdinand’s youngest brother Francisco was weaker-willed and more of a cipher, an ideal proxy for French interests, given the right advisers. The prince’s ambitious wife Luisa Carlotta was amenable to the prospect of becoming Queen, and won her husband over to the idea. His older brothers were more recalcitrant, perhaps sensing that in their sibling, Napoleon saw an easy pawn. As a result, persuading both Ferdinand and Charles to abdicate in favor of Francisco was a challenging prospect.

    In this, the Emperor sought assistance from his erstwhile foes in London and Vienna. Here, he played the role of a frustrated peacemaker, whose measured attempts at brokering a compromise were being stymied by Ferdinand’s intransigence. [6] Napoleon made the case for Francisco as the new King of Spain, arguing that he could restore the Spanish monarchy without a shot fired, but only if the exiled monarch and his brother Charles could be prevailed upon to step aside, for the good of their country. This led to a complex series of diplomatic maneuvers, with British and Austrian diplomats interviewing all three of the Bourbon siblings at length to weigh their cases against the Emperor’s. This impasse would preclude a unified response to the Spanish Revolution for nearly two years. In the meantime, events on the other side of the continent would take center stage.

    [1] This is an assertion that I saw crop up in the 90’s, stating that Britain under the Corn Laws was actually more protectionist than contemporary France. I don’t know enough about trade policy to gauge its veracity, but at least in this timeline, it carries more weight, since France did start introducing farm tariffs after the Bourbon Restoration IOTL.

    [2] As far as time frame goes, this is roughly concurrent with the Panic of 1819 from last chapter. Basically, the recovery from the war and from 1816’s Year Without a Summer results in depressed food prices on both sides of the Atlantic.

    [3] Chapter Fifteen will explore this migration in more detail.

    [4] This may seem like an obvious or banal observation, but think about the international economic institutions we’ve got in the real world, and how anti-trade barriers they tend to be. A stronger emphasis on national sovereignty as represented by popular control of trade policy could make for some interesting Global North-South debates come the 20th Century.

    [5] Infante Maria Luisa died as an infant IOTL, and complications from her birth resulted in her mother’s death during her second childbirth. Here, Maria is born without a hitch, and the Queen remains reasonably healthy as a result.

    [6] I alluded to this strategic shift way back in Chapter Four. Napoleon’s now in a position where he can broker compromises that conveniently benefit him, and then turn around and blame more skeptical parties for getting in the way of a reasoned settlement.
  16. sodan Donor

    Jul 12, 2013
    the demographic problems are partly solved by the territorial increase like Savoy or the left bank of the Rhine isn't?
  17. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    Well, population size is remedied by those things, but I'm more concerned with birth rates inside France itself. Not only as a matter of national strength, mind you, but also because those kinds of population pressures dictate migration patterns. Places like Ireland and Germany experienced a lot of emigration in the 19th Century because they were overpopulated. France wasn't squeezed nearly as hard, from what I've gathered, hence a much smaller diaspora. So the prospect of changing that a little ITTL also offered the opportunity to think about where French people might wind up settling, and the social and cultural consequences of that. Just look at the Dutch diaspora for an example of how a small country that settles in lots of places can make for some really interesting history. We'll still see a little of that in the next chapter, but I also saw significant obstacles that I wanted to acknowledge.
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  18. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    The historiography of the Revolution in this timeline will be fascinating- you can picture Lafayette and Dumouriez being treated as potential proto-Bonapartes, military men unable to complete the revolution due to a failure to commit perhaps.

    If the Empire democratises somewhat in the nineteenth century, you can picture a strain of leftist thought that sees the need for a Caesar/Cromwell as a necessary step in dismantling a tyrannical regime.
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  19. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2010
    Dominion of Scotland, Imperial Commonwealth
    Is this accurate? Did Napoleon really tell the Brits that they would be getting a horrific peace deal if they conceded? I would have thought Napoleon would have accepted even a complete white peace, or even giving up some minor things to the Brits for peace. After all, as soon as the British accept peace (even if they are being perfidious and intend to go back on it) that 10 year window say is more than enough time to consolidate and now with the economy flowing again allow an easy win.

    It seems to me the case was not Napoleon's draconian demands to Britain, but rather Britain's refusal to accept a France hegemony (in particular the occupation of Netherlands) that meant there was no reconciliation possible. As such this line seems flawed unless I am mistaken.
  20. TRH Tyrannosaurus Rex Handler

    Sep 19, 2012
    I certainly agree about TTL historiography. A moderate spoiler about leftism here: there will be no Karl Marx in this story. The banner of socialism is instead going to be divvied up among several different branches, influenced by a variety of different thinkers. That said, the more putsch-focused ones will have other models, and more of a bottom-up approach where organizing and tactics are concerned.

    My wording may have been unclear here. The draconian peace in question was the Treaty of Tilsit, which concerned Fox far more than whatever he was hearing directly from Napoleon. IOTL, he was disillusioned by far more prosaic diplomatic issues with France concerning Hanover, the Mediterranean, and the French insistence on negotiating separately with Britain and Russia. That last one concerned him in particular because of what he saw as an attempt to split up the UK-Russian alliance. Here, there is, if anything, even more reason to be afraid of that. Fox is more than smart enough to get the implications involved in TTL Tilsit's rewards to Russia. That, more than anything, is what convinces him that Napoleon intends to alter the balance of power in his favor, and therefore even seemingly moderate peace offers from him can't be trusted.
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