I am thinking the north will try to secede by saying that slave power had corrupted the union and we need to create a new union.
I wouldnt be too sure about that. First, IOTL the north didnt secede even after Bleeding Kansas and the Dred Scott decision. Second, the north wouldnt secede because they were opposed to the idea that states could secede from the Union. Outside of extremists like William Lloyd Garrison, secession was unpopular and viewed as illegal in the north.
The Union Cannot Endure

From “The Great Realignment: The Death of the Democrats and Whigs” by Eugene Bugders
Published 2017

“Sam Houston had every right to expect an easy renomination by his party – after all, he had stuck to the basic platform laid out in 1852 and had strived to balance North with South. However, the Fire-Eaters had risen to dominate the southern delegations and were furious with President Houston. Houston was labeled as a closeted abolitionist, and his statements in opposition to the Jacinto v. Sherwood decision only fueled the fire. Jefferson Davis, though a moderate, had grown disillusioned with the President and addressed the convention shortly after its opening, and proclaimed, “the President has forgotten who made him President. He has ignored his southern backers and has thrown his lot in with the Yankees and Abolitionists. He has forsaken us, and therefore we must choose a new nominee.” On the first three ballots, Houston held a commanding lead, but came up short of the required two-thirds to win the nomination. Meanwhile, the southern delegations searched to find a nominee to unite them. Previously, their support was divided between Preston Brooks, Jefferson Davis, and James Buchanan. Initially, the three factions could not decide on who to support, until Davis met with Vice President Franklin Pierce. Pierce harbored presidential ambitions of his own and sought to escape Houston’s administration, which he viewed as a sinking ship. Further, Pierce was a supporter of slavery who had opposed Houston’s concessions to the Free-Soilers during the Cuban annexation debate and had broken with the President over Houston’s criticism of the Jacinto v. Sherwood decision. Pierce offered to become the south’s nominee, as he, a northerner, would be able to attract the most northern support. Pierce’s ally, William L. Marcy, promised to deliver the votes of New York to the south should they select Pierce. Davis and Brooks agreed, as they knew that Pierce would be more appealing than pro-slavery southerners. Davis in particular favored Pierce because he believed Pierce would be a moderate and would try to keep the Union together rather than push for any radical action.

On the sixth ballot, Franklin Pierce was entered as a candidate, with the support of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New York. Upon hearing of Pierce’s candidacy, Sam Houston reportedly shouted, “I knew that snake would try something. That two-timing scoundrel!” The Vice President secured the delegation of New Hampshire on the seventh ballot, while he reached out to western railroad interests. Pierce distanced himself from Houston, but he realized that in order to attract western support, he would have to identify with Houston’s platform. What happened was Pierce disavowed and condemned Houston’s policies regarding slavery while supporting his plans for a transcontinental railroad. On the eighth ballot, the Californian and Missourian delegations flipped to Pierce, followed by on the ninth Kentucky and Tennessee. The sudden rise of Pierce gave pause to the Western states and railroad interests, who wanted to back the winning horse. However, they, worried that Pierce would fizzle out, hung to Houston until the Iowan and Indianan delegations switched their allegiance on the eleventh ballot. This proved the cause for the switch of Sacramento's allegiance the next ballot. Northern support was still needed, and for this Pierce relied upon his own northern heritage as well as the help of William L. Marcy. Pierce’s own dealings bore fruit, with Vermont and Maine agreeing to lend their support, along with half of the Connecticut delegation. William L. Marcy, meanwhile, wrangled the delegations of New Jersey and Maryland to Pierce’s side, granting him almost total control of the East Coast delegations and 198 delegates, one more than the two-thirds minimum. Sam Houston reportedly pounded his fist on his desk and cursed “a thousand fiery deaths upon that thief” for stealing the nomination from him. For his running mate, Pierce decided to select a moderate southerner , and ultimately selected Senator Jefferson Davis.

But Houston’s path to reelection was not over, for a new party, the Native American Party, was organizing its first presidential campaign, and many in the party wanted to run Houston as their candidate. the Native American Party, better known as the “Ignorant” party for the answer given by members when asked about the organization (“I am ignorant”). The Ignorant Party was founded on xenophobia, especially towards Catholic immigrants. It was the belief of the party that all Catholics were agents of the Catholic Church, which was part of a “Romanist Conspiracy” that sought to infiltrate the United States government and rule the world. The Ignorants ignored the issue of slavery and pinned the blame for all of America’s woes on Catholic immigrants. The party believed that the President had enough popularity to win the west and the upper south to give the Native American Party a fighting chance. With the backing of the delegates, Houston defeated his strongest rival, steamboat tycoon George Law, on the first ballot of the convention. No doubt his status as an incumbent President gave him a boost in the Convention. Houston selected New Jersey Senator Robert F. Stockton as his running mate in an attempt to appeal to northern voters, but nevertheless the Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, New York, and the New England states bolted to the Freedom Party over the party’s adopted plank of repealing the Wilmot Amendment and replacing it with a 36 - 30' line. Nevertheless, Houston was perhaps the best possible nominee – a prominent politician with a large base of support in the west, the Texases [1], and the upper south.”

From “The House of Freedom: A Story of America’s Oldest Party” by Leander Morris
Published 1987

“1856 was the first time the Freedom Party was running a Presidential candidate, and they wanted someone who could appeal to northerners who weren’t Free Soilers or radical abolitionists. This ruled out the strongest contender, Charles Sumner, who instead proposed Senator Fremont of California. Fremont was a founding member of the Freedom Party and was nationally known for his explorations of the west. He was also, while an ardent abolitionist and former Whig, relatively moderate on issues of slavery and was not nearly so radical as Sumner to insist upon full rights for blacks.

The 1856 Freedom Party convention was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The opening address was given by Representative Abraham Lincoln, who wowed the delegates with his oratorical prowess. His address’s electrifying endorsement of John Fremont was a significant blow to his main challenger, William Seward. With the backing of Speaker Nathaniel Banks, Fremont surged into the lead on the first ballot, and despite a setback on the second ballot, won the required majority on the third ballot. Given that he was a westerner, the convention came down to two main contenders for the Vice-Presidency: David Wilmot, the author of the divisive Amendment, and Abraham Lincoln, who had captivated the delegations with his opening speech earlier in the day. By a wide majority, Lincoln was confirmed as the Vice-Presidential nominee on the first ballot. Of course, Lincoln’s popularity with the Freedomites would not last [2], and the Freedom Party would come to regret their decision in time, but it is Lincoln’s presence on the ticket that secured Illinois for the Freedomites.

The party platform called for “the halting of the spread of slavery, so that this Union may be preserved.” Though the planks on slavery and the condemnation of Red Kansas as “a vile war perpetrated by the Border Vagabonds, who have thrust brutal violence and wanton bloodshed upon the peaceable settlers of Kansas”, the delegates also passed a standard Whig platform, which called for the completion of a transcontinental railroad, the creation of a central banking system, and a new tariff.”

From “American Realignment” by Jonas Walsh
Published 2019

“The Panic of 1856 yet another blow to the Democratic Party. Though neither President Houston nor Congressional Democrats were at fault, the Freedom Party jumped to blame the Democratic opposition to central banking as the reason for the severity of the recession. The Panic of 1856 began in the United States when, in August 1856, the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company announced it was suspending payments at its New York branch. The failure of Ohio Life was due to fraudulent business practices and sparked a run on the banks that devastated the northern industrial economy as businesses lost their money and closed, while workers’ savings were wiped out by the collapse of several large northern banks.

Any hopes Franklin Pierce had of winning moderate Northern votes evaporated as Northern workers, bankers, and businessmen deserted the already-ailing Democratic Party. Previously Democratic northern newspapers published editorials castigating them for “selling out to slave power, cutting the tariff, chaining the free man (in reference to Jacinto v. Sherwood), and sending the economy into free fall.” Other newspapers went after Pierce on character grounds, with one formerly Democratic paper in Ohio publishing an editorial saying “it disgusts me that the Democrats have placed such a scheming, backstabbing, corrupt individual as Senator Pierce at the head of the ticket. How can anyone trust a word spoken by the man who betrayed the President to pursue his own personal ambitions? I would rather even such a radical as Senator Fremont occupied the White House, for at least he has principles and beliefs. Pierce has none.”

Fremont, meanwhile, was struggling to attract both Ignorants and Catholic immigrants. He was hampered by the Ignorants claiming he was a Roman Catholic [3] and thus part of the Papist conspiracy to rule the world. He was, however, able to counter it by stating that while he was not a Catholic, “it is one of the founding principles of these United States, and one of my personal principles, that no matter their faith all men have a place here.” Fortunately, most northern voters didn’t dwell much on the rumor, as Fremont’s vociferous support for increased tariffs earned him the vote of the midwestern Germans and his support for a central banking system won the support of the northern industrial and financial interests.

The upper south and the Midwest were the two major battlegrounds, with the upper south contested between Houston, who was supported by moderate southerners, and Pierce, who was supported by the Fire-Eaters. Pierce did hold the advantage in the deep south, as this was the area where most Fire-Eaters were concentrated. With the strong backing of Fire-Eaters like Preston Brooks and moderates like Jefferson Davis, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia were securely in the Democratic camp. Though Tennessee had a large contingent of Houston supporters (after all, Tennessee was his home state), Pierce had confidence that his running mate, Andrew Johnson, would flip the state for the Democrats. In the Midwest, Pierce fought against Fremont for the votes of the farmers and frontiersmen in Iowa. The main battleground state was Illinois, which at that time was still very much a state of small farmers and the home of two rising stars in their respective parties: Stephen Douglas was the proponent of popular sovereignty and a powerful orator nicknamed the “Little Giant”, while Abraham Lincoln was a folksy, personable, and charismatic speaker. To woo the voters of Illinois for their respective tickets, Douglas and Lincoln held a series of debates throughout the state. The debates centered around the issue of slavery, which is a subject we have been ignoring for much of this chapter. Before we discuss the debates, which (though it seems difficult to comprehend today) made Lincoln extremely popular in the Freedom Party.

Slavery, predictably, took center stage during the campaign. The Freedom Party accused the south of a conspiracy to control and dominate the Federal government through corrupt measures. They pointed to southern pressure to annex Cuba, Southern refusal to “set aside the disagreements of Sectional character for the betterment of the nation” (i.e. the construction of a transcontinental railroad) [4], heel-dragging that resulted in Red Kansas, and the Supreme Court decision in Jacinto v. Sherwood. Let us unpack these one by one. Fremont and his surrogates believed that Cuba had only been annexed by the Federal government because of undue southern influence over the Houston administration. On the stump for Fremont, Charles Sumner declared that the bloodbath in Kansas was entirely the responsibility of the Democrats. “Were it not for the criminal recalcitrance, the malevolent reluctance of the southern party [5], the bloodshed and chaos currently besieging the fair plains of Kansas would have been avoided.” But the most invective was reserved for the Jacinto v. Sherwood decision. To the Freedom Party and many northerners, the decision meant that, as it was put by an editorial in Wisconsin, “the vile infection of the slavocrats has spread to not only the Congress and the Presidency, but also to the erstwhile neutral arbiter of the law, the Supreme Court. This corrupt and unlawful decision has proven that even the Supreme Court has succumbed to the perfidious influence of the Southron planter. We must win in November, lest the North become suborned to the minority and become just as shackled as our colored brethren.” Effigies of Roger Taney were burned, and he retired to his home in Maryland when his safety was no longer guaranteed. Freedomites pointed to the decision as proof that slavery would not die out on its own, for, as Abraham Lincoln put it in one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, “the South will fight tooth and nail, will drown the whole of the nation in the blood of patriot and traitor alike, to preserve their corrupt and evil institution. Either slavery is allowed to persist and spread, or the union will be torn asunder as the south fights to achieve those ends while the Union fights to prevent them from doing so. Either the whole Union succumbs, and slavery spreads its tendrils into every state and territory, or the South breaks away. Should they win, not a slave will be left in the union. Should they lose, not a slave will be left. This union cannot endure, half slave and half free.”

The south’s invective was far more rabid than even the most radical Freedomite. Fremont was tarred as a “black abolitionist, an amalgamationist who will plunge our fair and genteel society into the throes of race war.” Houston, meanwhile, was attacked by the Fire-Eaters as a secret abolitionist who would “allow our peculiar institution to become abolished or extinct by dithering and indifference, by simply doing nothing. Compromise will not save us.” Meanwhile, Houston’s supporters attacked Pierce and his Fire-Eater backers as “radicals of the worst sort, who would rather plunge the Union into chaos and war than give up a single slave. Slavery can only be preserved through compromise and careful negotiation, not a war the South cannot hope to win.”

Talk of secession swirled in Southern capitals, especially those in the lower south. Preston Brooks traveled across the south campaigning for Pierce, telling crowds in Charlotte, NC, “The only recourse we shall have if Fremont wins is secession. The Yankees have proven they can force their miscegenationist agendas upon us with their corrupt Wilmot Amendment. If the radical Black abolitionists win, they could do anything! Slavery would be abolished, the tariff would be raised, and the proud and noble traditions of the south would be forced under the heel of the North!” At a rally for Pierce in Memphis, Brooks declared that a Fremont victory “would represent the defeat of freedom and liberty in these United States. Blacks will run amok, raping the womenfolk, and murdering the men. It will be chaos. I would rather tear the Union apart than have Negro rule forced upon us by the Yankees. It is better to die fighting against Northern tyranny than die subservient to it.” Spurred by Brooks’ inflammatory rhetoric, many Southern legislatures made plans to vote on secession should Fremont win, while militias stockpiled weapons and supplies for the planned war of secession. Sam Houston was too consumed with his third-party bid to pay attention to the crumbling economy or the gaping rift between North and South and retreated into the Oval Office. This left his cabinet to its own devices, and his Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, supplied arms to arsenals throughout the South, and claimed it was because he received “credible threats of a Negro servile insurrection in the Southern states.” Still, many in the upper reaches of the south held out hope that Houston would be reelected, and compromise would be achieved. Whether the ultimate outcome was fortunate or unfortunate is a matter of debate, but we can all agree that the hopes of both the upper and lower south were dashed when November came and went.”

WI Pierce Doesn’t Run? Discussion on “Counterfactual.Net”
Started June 2013

Big Sam said: Many people assume that Sam Houston’s defeat for re-nomination was inevitable, but it was not guaranteed. Could Franklin Pierce have been defeated? Could Houston have defeated Fremont in the general?

Fremon_Fan56 said: After Franklin Pierce secured the support of northern delegates, Houston was finished. The best way to have Houston win is, in my opinion, to prevent Pierce from entering his name into contention. That way, whether the southerners back Davis or Brooks, their man won’t be able to readily gain the support of the north.

Harry Allen said: Of course, the convention could easily have become deadlocked. Houston wasn’t the most popular man in the north, after all, given his ardent support for the annexation of Cuba as slave territory. given the ease with which Pierce attracted northern backing, I think that had he not run, Stephen Douglas’s campaign could have gathered steam without Pierce sniping midwestern supporters. An interesting CF would be if Douglas won the nomination and implemented popular sovereignty. It could either have delayed (or even prevented) the civil war by settling the slavery dispute democratically, or it could have made Red Kansas a walk in the park and caused bloody wars in Platte and Sonora. Ultimately, a Douglas nomination is more likely than a Houston renomination.

Zachary T said: This is funny, because I was actually reading about this the other day. According to David Thomas’s excellent “The Rise and Fall of the Jacksonian Party”, Houston had not only lost the confidence of the south but was on thin ice with the northern political establishment.

“Many northern delegates disliked Houston’s perceived friendliness to southern interests and were planning to support Stephen Douglas when Pierce announced his candidacy. Douglas was seen as a neutral arbiter of the issue, and many delegates shared his opinion that the federal government should wash its hands of the sectional dispute and delegate the issue to the people, in the Jacksonian tradition. Jacksonian thought did, in fact, play a large role in how Douglas developed his political doctrine. In keeping with the belief that the people should be the primary arbiter of policy, Douglas decreed that the territories should be incorporated first, and their legislatures would decide the future of the state.

Of course, by 1856 Jacksonian doctrines were fading away, but the north was willing to rally behind Douglas once more, if only to stop Houston. However, the entrance of Pierce totally changed their equation, and Douglas found himself abandoned. A relative unknown, even as a senior member of the administration, Pierce inspired hope in Northern delegates that he would be able to compromise as compared to Douglas' steadfast devotion to Popular Sovereignty. After Pierce's nomination, it became apparent that he was a tool of the south to further their interests, and so many deserted to the Native American Party. Perhaps, had Douglas won, he could have led the Democratic Party to pose a strong threat to the Freedom Party, though he certainly would have performed worse in the South”
A Douglas victory is pretty likely in this scenario because he would appeal to moderate abolitionists who disliked Fremont but disliked the southern candidates more. It's my opinion that Douglas, would have defeated Fremont in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, the Midwest, and perhaps California, as well as winning the upper south (Esp. Missouri, Maryland, and Virginia). Do I think this would prevent the Civil War? Probably not. As Thomas continues:
"Popular Sovereignty was not a particularly inspiring ideology for the South. They viewed it as a moderate sop to the abolitionists. Though they might have supported popular sovereignty a decade or even five years ago, the south was unwilling to risk the north flooding territories in question with settlers and throwing the vote. Further, the Southern kingmakers like Jefferson Davis distrusted the northern Douglas and viewed him as a closet abolitionist, though there has never been any evidence that he opposed the institution in practice.”
God-Emperor of the Sun said: Interesting analysis, Zach. I agree, Douglas would have been a formidable opponent of Fremont. If the civil war begins, does it occur later or in the same time frame? Can Douglas win? Do states like Missouri or Kentucky secede? Could Virginia remain Unionist?
Fremont_Fan56 said: I think the civil war would begin no later than 1859. Its possible the Southern senators present Douglas with some sort of ultimatum to overturn the Wilmot Amendment or make some other blatantly pro-slavery move. Knowing Douglas, he’ll insist on popular sovereignty and refuse. I guess then the lower south secedes, but I don’t know about the upper south. First, Missouri had two state governments, so it never technically seceded. I think without Fremont’s [REDACTED], Kentucky stays neutral or even aligns with the Union, given that its not led by an outright abolitionist party. Virginia seceded only after the [REDACTED], and even then it only [REDACTED]. Nevertheless, I think the Union could be more successful without incompetent political generals like Nathaniel Banks. Maybe you could even see McClellan, Pope, or Sickles take on prominent roles! They were probably the most talented forgotten Civil War Generals, imo [7].

From “A Pocket History of France” by Eugene Barclay
Published 2001

“On the evening of January 14th, 1858, Napoleon III of France and his wife Eugenie were en route to the Salle Le Peletier Theater to see Rossini’s William Tell, when their carriage came under assault. Felice Orsini, an Italian anarchist, and his accomplices had three bombs prepared with which they planned to kill the Emperor and his wife. The first bomb thrown by Orsini landed under the front wheel, immobilizing the carriage. The second landed in the carriage itself, killing Napoleon III and maiming his wife. The third and final explosive also landed in the carriage and killed Empress Eugenie. All in all, eight people (the Emperor, his wife, the driver, and three guards) were killed in the assault. Over 150 passengers were wounded from the blast and shrapnel. Though Orsini fled the scene, he was quickly apprehended during the ensuing city-wide manhunt. The anarchist was quickly sentenced to death by guillotine and left behind two letters addressed to the deceased Emperor.

With the new Emperor, Napoleon IV, just under two years old, a regent was required. The first-in-line, the Empress Eugenie, was dead. Second in line was Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon III’s uncle and the former King of Westphalia. Jerome eagerly accepted, despite his advanced age. However, the new Regent was forced to contend with a sudden explosion in Republican and Royalist agitation. Many of Napoleon III’s backers were opportunists, especially those in the army, and they abandoned the Regency Council right as Republicans started to agitate for reform. The Legitimists and Orleanists had been united the year prior [8] by the Duke of Nemours, and had in their senior leadership Patrice de MacMahon, a hero of the Crimean War and a monarchist. With MacMahon’s assent, a coup was planned to depose the Bonapartists and implement a constitutional monarchy along the lines of the July Monarchy (but, in order to ensure its longevity, significantly more democratic). MacMahon was to lead troops loyal to the Fusionist cause into Paris, where the Regency Council was holding meetings. Once this was accomplished, the monarchy was to be declared restored and elections would be held to draft a new constitution.

While the Fusionists plotted, the Regency Council was forced to contend with the Republicans. Led by Emile Ollivier and Victor Hugo, the Republicans refused to cooperate with the Bonapartists in the Assembly, and Republicans marched and protested in the streets. This afforded an excellent opportunity to get troops into Paris without alerting the Regency to the Fusionist plot. Patrice de MacMahon thus leapt into action when the predicted order came from the Regency: suppress the Republican agitators and restore order to the streets of Paris. 2,000 troops, of which around half were veterans of the Crimean War and most of which were monarchists, were led by MacMahon into Paris. The Republican barricades and marches mostly ended peacefully, with only twelve fatalities. However, rather than return to their barracks like the Regency wanted, Marshal MacMahon led his troops to surround the Tuileries Palace and demanded the Regency Council abdicate to the National Assembly. Surrounded, and with both the monarchists and royalists in open opposition, the Regency dissolved itself and the Empire was, by all intents and purposes, dissolved.

Elections for a new National Assembly returned a Monarchist majority, with the Republicans forming a loud and strong opposition. Over the opposition of Emile Ollivier and his allies, Alphonse Thiers and the Fusionists ratified a new constitution, establishing the Duke of Chambord as Henry V of France, with the Orleanist prince as his heir. However, many demands of the Republicans were met, with universal male suffrage implemented and legal protections for newspapers and opposition groups passed. The new Fusionist Kingdom, as it is termed, was termed the ‘Republican Kingdom’ because Henry V lacked almost any political power.

Some supporters of a Bonapartist restoration argue that Napoleon III, had he survived, or even Napoleon IV, had he not been deposed, would have restored France as a continental hegemon and would have made France the premier imperial power.”

From “The Looming Crisis” by Albert Porter
Published 1998

“The three months leading into November 6th were the most chaotic of the 1856 campaign. Houston took a break from attacking Pierce and both took aim at Fremont. “A vote for Fremont is a vote for disunion, for these radicals will tear the Union asunder,” decreed a pamphlet released by the Houston campaign. Millard Fillmore stumped extensively throughout New York, joined by his political allies. The Native American Party saw New York as a make-or break for their campaign. The state was one of the largest Democratic bases in the north, and if Houston could win it would severely damage Fremont’s campaign. Fremont relied upon his ally William Seward to counter Fillmore, and Seward did an admirable job mobilizing his machine allies against the Ignorants.

Fremont ran a spirited campaign. Everywhere he went, crowds chanted “free men, free soil, Fremont”. Fremont constantly denied he was an abolitionist and insisted he merely wanted to arrest the spread of slavery and “contain it in the states and territories where it currently persists”. He clarified further, saying “the Wilmot Amendment is constitutional, and it retains its position as a just and fair Federal law. As President, I shall protect it from assault and see that its provisions are enforced fairly and properly.” This was interpreted by the south as a threat to the existence of slavery, while the north celebrated it as a principled stance against “slavocrat tyranny”. Fremont also went on the attack against his opponents, with his surrogates labeling Houston an “indecisive man, incapable of resolving the crises facing our nation.” Meanwhile, Pierce and his lower south backers were accused of “fomenting rebellion and secession in the Southern states”. Of course, the Panic of 1857 greatly helped Fremont against Pierce and Houston. Houston was despised as the instigator of the recession, while Pierce was tarred as a crony of Houston’s who would fail to resolve the issues. In fact, it was the strategy of the Freedomite campaign to paint their opponents as indecisive and weak, while portraying Fremont as a decisive man of action, capable of leading the nation.

The Freedom Party’s strategy worked, and on November 6th, John Charles Fremont won a resounding victory. Every state north of the Mason-Dixon Line voted for Fremont, with only two plurality victories – Indiana and New Jersey. Houston had hedged his bets on carrying New York and New Jersey, neither of which went for him. In fact, Houston came in a narrow second to Fremont in New Jersey (39.5% to 37.9%, with the rest going to Franklin Pierce), and a distant second in New York (54.6%-46.3%, the rest going to Pierce). Illinois, seen as a key state by the Freedom Party leadership, went for Fremont with 46.3%, with Franklin Pierce coming in second with 43.1% and Houston winning the remainder. The Freedom Party were greatly aided in their large margin of victory by record-high voter turnout (82% of eligible voters did so). In fact, Fremont won 54% of all the votes in the north, with the rest divided between Pierce and Houston.

The south was another battleground, even more hotly contested than the north. The lower south, as predicted, went for Franklin Pierce by a wide margin – he netted over 57% of the votes in the region. However, it was the upper south that was the true contest. Many states that permitted slavery but opposed secession, such as Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, the Texases, and North Carolina voted for Houston (North Carolina very narrowly, 51-49). Tennessee resulted in a great blow to Pierce’s campaign, as in spite of Andrew Johnson’s vigorous campaigning, Sam Houston took the state narrowly, as well as Arkansas. Though Pierce did not expect to win – he was too unpopular in the north – he was crushingly disappointed by his failure to carry the upper south, though he had the consolation of winning the 15 electoral votes of Virginia.

The south, especially the lower south, was aghast at Fremont’s victory. Not only did the upstart Freedom Party capture the White House, but they also expanded their majority in the House, winning 109 seats, and narrowly captured the Senate with 33 seats. The shock soon gave way to panic, as the south worried that if Fremont won without southern support, what else could he do with solely northern support? South Carolina didn’t wait to find out and the state legislature passed a resolution on the 9th entitled “A Resolution to Call the Election of John C. Fremont a Hostile Act” and stated the intention of the state to secede from the Union. Preston Brooks was a major supporter of secession and left Washington to rally popular support for outright secession (South Carolina had merely declared her intention to do so). In a speech in front of City Hall in Charleston, Brooks declared “our economy, our survival, our entire way of life, is under threat from the Black Abolitionists who have seized power in Washington. It is abundantly clear that sitting idly by is not an option, for the Negro shall, once he is seized from his master, rape, and pillage throughout the land. They shall despoil the countryside and brutalize our women. This corrupt Union is no protector of our sacred rights. When Fremont’s tyranny looms, we must fight to preserve our rights, and the rights of our states. Some have said: “We must negotiate! Surely a compromise can be found, a settlement reached!” And to that I say: We live not in a time where compromise can be found. It is either abolition or secession. We cannot have the former, so we must fight for the latter! Secession is the only option. Some have asked me, “Congressman, would you lay your life down to separate the bonds between the states?” and I answer: We have before us two options: death, or disunion. And I do not know about you, but I would rather destroy the Union than die!” Brook’s speech [8] succeeded in getting support for secession, and soon crowds of South Carolinians crowded the state capitol chanting their new slogan, “Disunion or Death!”

South Carolina voted to officially secede from the Union on December 10th, 1856. In their resolution, they declared “the Union that had previously existed between South Carolina and the other states currently members of the ‘United States of America’ is hereby dissolved, our bonds severed.” In January 1857, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana all seceded from the Union, and state militias raided armories, seized forts, and expelled Federal forces.

President Houston reacted swiftly to the secession crisis. Firstly, he strengthened the garrisons in Norfolk to safeguard the United States Navy’s largest base. Secondly, secessionist agitators in Brazos, Austin, and Maryland were all arrested and imprisoned in February, even as Federal military property was seized throughout the south, including in states like Arkansas that had not yet seceded. John Charles Fremont was inaugurated on March 4th, 1857 and was immediately faced with a threat to the Union itself. This is where our story comes to an end, for the Civil War is an entirely new subject matter. Six states had severed their ties to the Union, and all the tinderbox of the South needed to explode was a single spark. And that spark that would ignite war between the United States and the Confederate States would come at Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay.”

[1] TTL’s term for the two states created out of former Texas – Brazos and Austin.
[2] All I will say is this: Andrew Johnson.
[3] Just like OTL.
[5] This editorial conveniently ignores the refusal of the Freedom Party to treat with the south and allow popular sovereignty in exchange for a transcontinental railroad.
[6] Sumner is ignoring the massacres and raids perpetrated by John Brown, but then again, the Freedom Party views him as a hero of liberty.
[8] OTL, the Fusionist alliance was severely hampered by the Henri, Duke of Chambord’s refusal to agree to a tricolor flag. TTL, he gives in and the alliance is cemented.
[9] The emulation of Patrick Henry in Brooks’ “City Hall Address” plays into an overarching theme of the Confederates: portraying their fight as one against tyranny, much like the Thirteen Colonies fought against British tyranny.

Next Time on NEW BIRTH OF FREEDOM: An Interlude While I Write the Civil War
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Just something I want to mention, Jefferson Davis was not a fire-eater. He was one of the moderates and opposed secession until it seemed inevitable. Many authors seem to make the mistake of labeling Davis as one of the radicals when he simply was not. Just something I wanted to mention in hopes that you do not make the same mistake many others seem to. I look forward to what comes next!

Edit: Also, Millard Fillmore was never a part of the OTL Know-Nothing Party. With the Ignorant Party being this TLs analogue, Fillmore should not be a member of said party, much less its leader. He opposed nativism, there is no reason for him to support it in this TL.
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Just something I want to mention, Jefferson Davis was not a fire-eater. He was one of the moderates and opposed secession until it seemed inevitable. Many authors seem to make the mistake of labeling Davis as one of the radicals when he simply was not. Just something I wanted to mention in hopes that you do not make the same mistake many others seem to. I look forward to what comes next!

Edit: Also, Millard Fillmore was never a part of the OTL Know-Nothing Party. With the Ignorant Party being this TLs analogue, Fillmore should not be a member of said party, much less its leader. He opposed nativism, there is no reason for him to support it in this TL.
Thanks for the corrections! Will fix.
Edit: Fixed the stuff
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Is (soon to be ex-)President Houston still nominally a Democrat or has he formally joined the Native American Party?
OTL, he briefly joined the Native Americans for the 1856 election, but became an independent afterwards. So, TTL, President Houston leaves the Native Americans and becomes an independent.
Although, after the war, he joins a new political party that has just formed
[2] All I will say is this: Andrew Johnson.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and try to guess what will happen. I suspect John Fremont is going to kick the can, or someone else is going to do it for him, leaving Abraham Lincoln to be a rough approximation of OTL Andrew Johnson in that he will not be radical enough for the Radical Republicans.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and try to guess what will happen. I suspect John Fremont is going to kick the can, or someone else is going to do it for him, leaving Abraham Lincoln to be a rough approximation of OTL Andrew Johnson in that he will not be radical enough for the Radical Republicans.
Well I didnt mean it to be that obvious... But yeah thats what I have planned