Stars, Stripes and A Pine

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by NerdyAlternateHistorian, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018

    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #1:

    The War of 1812 was meant to be a quick war, an easy war, a “Second War of Independence” that would be as great as the first…or at least, would’ve been. No-one expected a British victory in Baltimore. No-one anticipated the death of Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. And no-one expected the Northern states to be ripped away… [1]

    American performance during the conflict was very poor. Despite scoring a few crucial victories during the early years of the conflict, American troops were falling back on almost every front by 1814. The unexpected British victory at Baltimore left some of the country’s most important cities open for capture. Philadelphia would fall only a few months later.

    The utterly humiliating Treaty of London (1815) saw the United States lose nearly half of its states to the newly created Republic of New England. Although it was pretty much a buffer state, designed to protect Britain’s holdings in Canada, many couldn’t help but feel a bit of resentment: talk of New England seceding had been present since the beginning of the century, most of it stemming from the Embargo Act of 1807, though this piece of legislation was repealed just a few days before James Madison took office. Being forced to recognize New England caused serious damage to Madison’s reputation, already low because of his administration’s perceived incompetence during the War of 1812.

    A new border was also agreed upon between the US and Canada: a simple straight line, stretching from the now Canadian province of Wisconsin to the Pacific Coast (though the latter wouldn’t become official until 1845). Skirmishes between British and American soldiers on the borders of Wisconsin and Michigan would go on for many years. With the Democratic-Republicans having lost a significant amount of support, the 1816 election was won by Federalist candidate Rufus King… [2]

    Bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore (1814)


    [1] I couldn’t really think of a single POD for this timeline, so i have the British, either through better planning or sheer luck, score more victories in the War of 1812, allowing them to claim victory and press their demands.

    [2] More detail in a future post…
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Here's one: Isaac Brock isn't killed at the Battle of Queenston Heights.

    With him around, the British definitely do better than OTL...
  3. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #2:

    Ringing bells and cheering crowds, that is what Napoleon and his Grand Armée saw entering Paris after returning from another successful campaign against the Russian Empire. It was long, it was brutal, but after all, it was worth it. Who could’ve expected anything else? Hadn’t his record of winning war after war, battle after battle told them anything?

    He looked back at the final days of the campaign, especially the Battle of Moscow. He remembered it vividly: finally reaching the city after many months, finding the Russians preparing to abandon the city, crushing them with ease, and declaring victory while most of Moscow was burning around him. [1]

    Europe was at his feet. Russia was dealt with, and most of the continent’s great powers had been brought to their knees. Only Britain and Portugal remained, the only powers that still dared to oppose him. The war in Spain was the last one he had to wrap up before achieving total supremacy over Europe. Maybe he could force them into some kind off armistice or peace, but those were concerns for another time. Marie was waiting for him…


    Was it right for Britain to decrease it’s presence in Europe in favor of defeating the United States? That’s a question historians have talked about for ages. Some say the nation was too desperate for vengeance against it’s former colony, leaving it’s age-old ally Portugal in the dust as it stood poised for a French invasion (which, luckily, never came). Others say the Peninsula War was a lost cause, an attempt to save an empire that was already dying from within.

    While it is true that the Spanish Empire had been on the decline for decades, most of Spain’s colonial possessions were still very loyal in the years before the Peninsula War. Major independence movements wouldn’t really pop up until Napoleon installed his brother on the Spanish throne. Britain’s decision to scale down the number of troops in Spain mostly stemmed from a decrease in morale following Napoleon’s victory in Russia and the increase in manpower hoped for in North America after the surprise victory at Baltimore. The decreasing will of the British government to continue with a war that was increasingly seen as a lost cause was also an important factor in the decision. [2]

    Regardless of the answer, it was a major factor in Britain’s increasingly concerning situation: it had effectively been kicked off the continent after Portugal was forced to end their alliance, and was left in a perpetual state of tension with the United States. The country had, now both literally and metaphorically, become an island. As the population was stil reeling from the nation’s defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, many in power began to realize what the nation was faced with: a mighty Imperial Eagle, watching it’s every move…

    Napoleon heads back to France after the successful campaign in Russia (1812)


    [1] In OTL, the city was already abandoned when Napoleon arrived. Here, that coincidence is butterflied away…

    [2] It would make sense for the British government to increase men and supplies following success in the war with the United States, and decrease support for the Peninsular War, which they were probably going to lose anyway…
  4. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2017
    Well, strictly speaking there were actually a number of Russian soldiers in Moscow IOTL. They just happened to be disguised as escaped prisoners. Somebody had to start all those fires, after all...

    Anyways, fully expect Nappy to start encouraging and backing the South in it's revachist/expansionist goals if Russia is truely considered subdued (Though, without firsting helping boost the Austrians and Ottomans to act as watchdogs in Eastern Europe the Czar won't be down forever. Russia has the manpower and resources to rebuild for a round three within a few years, and certainly will if there isn't a solid front checking them).
  5. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #3:

    Rufus King was only one of two (the other being John Adams) Federalists to be elected to the White House. His situation before the election was one of the hardest anyone could have faced, as he had to make the Federalists appealing in the Southern states, who were dominated by the Democratic-Republicans. This was essential, as the Federalist party had almost lost its entire voting base with the independence of New England. But it wasn’t going to be easy, as many Southern states were still angry over the Hartford Convention (1814-15), which they saw as traitorous and secessionist. By shifting most of the blame to the New England Federalists specifically, combined with downplaying his abolitionist stance, he was able to gain 23 more electoral votes than Monroe with a surprising victory in Virginia. With the electoral vote secured, Rufus King would become the 5th president of the United States. [1]

    His presidency was filled with various important acts and treaties, one of the most important being the revival of the Franco-American Alliance in 1818. Intended to undermine British power and give France a diplomatic foothold in the New World, it was surprisingly successful, with most of the new South American nations sliding into the pro-French camp in the coming decades. It also ruined Britain’s attempts to keep France’s influence contained to Europe, and left many of the anti-Bonapartist factions in the British government enraged.

    Another important document with the aim of weakening Britain was the King Doctrine. Though it was officially created to prevent European empires (with, ironically, the exception of France) getting involved in New World affairs, everyone knew it was another obvious attempt to weaken the influence of the British Empire. The document would be in effect for decades, sometimes with alterations to fit the new political situation, until it was no longer considered necessary…

    Back at home, King had to deal with the ever-growing influence of slave owners on American politics. The 1818 midterm elections saw the Democratic-Republicans gain a majority in both chambers of congress, mostly stemming from the King administration’s growing negligence toward the Southern states and their increasingly vocal abolitionism, despite King’s attempts to keep them silent. The results led to a rift in the Federalist Party between the moderates and radicals, leading to a decline starting in the 1820s and the party’s eventual destruction in the 1830s.

    The last major act of the King administration was the Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in 1820. Finally completed after months and months of discussion and convincing Spain, who was reluctant to give territory to a nation that had lost a war only five years earlier, to even sign the treaty, it dramatically altered the American-Spanish border. Florida was ceded to the United States, and a new border, largely drawn based on natural landmarks, was created in the west: first following the Sabine River, then going straight up to the Red River, following that river until reaching the border of the Missouri Territory, continuing up that border to the 42nd parallel to become a straight line heading directly to the Pacific Coast. Britain protested, saying that it ignored British claims to the Oregon County (Columbia District for the US). This would mark the beginning of the Oregon boundary dispute, which wouldn’t be resolved until 1845. [2]

    King decided not to run for a second term, citing his declining health and the increasing breakdown of his administration and the Federalist Party as a whole. He was succeeded by James Monroe, the first in a long line of Democratic-Republican Presidents…

    Rufus King, 5th President of the United States (1817-1821)

    Stars, Stripes and A Pine - 1820

    [1] I think i might be stretching it here a little bit, but if he managed to build up significant support in Virginia and he really worked his ass off to get electoral votes, which he probably would in TTL, then i think this might be possible…

    [2] Though it is referred to as “Spain”, the treaty was actually signed with New Spain, one of the few Spanish colonies that had not yet declared independence. It would become Mexico just one year after the signing of this treaty. It’s only labeled as “Spain” for convenience.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
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  6. Corjomc Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    New England
    It's surprising that "America Needs No King" didn't become a rallying cry against Rufus leading to his defeat just on name alone.

    Does he preside over the "Era of Bad Feelings"?
  7. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Oh, that would've been so good! I really gotta pay more attention to those little details...

    And yes, he does preside over "The Era of Bad Feelings", maybe i'll mention that in a future post.
  8. Seandineen Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    Robert ross lives like in the Arkansas Duality.
  9. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #4:

    Ever since the May Revolution in 1810, during which Spanish Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros was removed from power and a local government was installed in the Río de la Plata, South America had been in a state of chaos. Revolutions and uprisings had ravaged the continent, killing thousands. The complete collapse of central authority following the French victory in the Peninsula War in 1812 made things go from bad to worse, as many of the remaining Viceroys seized total power in a series of bloody coups, effectively making them absolute monarchs. The most infamous example of this was José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa, Viceroy of Peru. Despite being a dedicated supporter of absolute monarchy, he supported the fairly liberal Cádiz Cortes (Spain’s first national assembly) against Napoleon. After the end of the Peninsula War however, he gave up the title of Viceroy and declared himself absolute monarch of Peru. What followed was a 9-year long period of war and bloodshed, as any uprising against him was crushed with brutal force, and the national treasury was drained by an expensive war with Peru’s northern neighbor…

    Gran Colombia, officially created in 1819 and led by Simon Bolívar, had always been a pretty unstable nation. Members of the government could never agree on what kind of form the government should take: federal, or centralized? These squabbles made it difficult for the nation to function, and put a halt on Bolívar’s vision of a united South America. That would change however, when a letter was received from the mayor of La Paz, in Upper Peru [Bolivia], which had recently been occupied and annexed by Abascal’s Peru. It called for Gran Colombia to liberate Upper Peru, and remove Abascal from power. Hoping that this could finally unite Gran Colombia’s government against a common enemy, Bolívar brought up the letter in a speech, made during the debate about whether Gran Colombia should go to war with Peru over the disputed territories of Jaén and Maynas. A declaration of war would be issued just a few days later. [1]

    The war was a moderate success, with Abascal being deposed after the Occupation of Lima. Gran Colombia would suffer a great tragedy, when the nation’s founder and first president, Simon Bolívar, was killed by a stray cannonball during the Battle of La Paz, ending the liberation of Upper Peru. The peace treaty left Gran Colombia in control of all the disputed territory, but forced it to recognize Peruvian control of Upper Peru. After Abascal was removed from power and then killed by an angry mob, Peru became a republic, adopting its first constitution in 1824. Bolívar’s death ended his vision of a united South America, but allowed Gran Colombia to stabilize itself under it’s new president Domingo Caycedo, who helped create a new constitution that finally established the nation as having a federal government, similar to the United States… [2]

    Simon Bolívar (1783-1821)

    José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa (1743-1821)

    [1] The war about the border dispute also happened in OTL, though here it happens a few years earlier and has the extra goal of liberating Upper Peru.

    [2] This doesn’t mean that Gran Colombia also has states, but the provinces are comparable with them in how autonomous they are, though there are many differences…
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  10. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #5:

    Brazil had been in a very weird place since Napoleon came along. Fearing the loss of the Kingdom and Crown, future Portuguese King John VI fled across the Atlantic to Brazil in 1808, along with his mother, Maria I of Portugal, and the Royal Court. The idea was that the royal family would temporarily stay in Brazil, and return to mainland Portugal once Napoleon was crushed.

    Napoleon’s unexpected victory in Russia and Britain’s forced withdrawal from the continent was a shock to the Portuguese royal family, and a major reorganization of the Empire was called for. A “United Kingdom” of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was created, elevating the status of Brazil from colony to kingdom. With this change in status, there was the expectation that Brazil would be granted more autonomy, but John VI instead clamped down on opposition and continuously increased his power, hoping to prevent the chaos that was ravaging Brazil’s neighbors. Many liberal factions in the government openly and aggressively denounced the King’s actions, as well as his refusal to do anything about the slave trade, with many wanting him to follow Britain’s example, which had abolished it in 1807. The most outspoken members of these factions were either thrown in prison for life, or executed. [1]

    John VI of Portugal (1767-1822)

    By the 1820s, John VI had essentially become an absolute monarch, and Brazil in particular was a powder keg ready to blow. The various liberal factions had become radicalized after years of executions and crackdowns, with most openly calling for secession in the country’s various provinces. The most powerful and influential of these was the “Confederation of the Equator”, led by Manuel de Carvalho and Joaquim do Amor, who wanted to break away from Brazil and form a new, liberal republic. Their faction gained a large amount of support from people dissatisfied with the King’s policies, and slaves who were promised freedom in this new state. All they needed was a spark to start a rebellion, and they soon got one. [2]

    John VI was holding a parade in Rio de Janeiro, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Kingdom’s foundation. He would also be driven through the city’s various streets in a carriage, making him a possible target for an assassination attempt. Many precautions had been taken: guards had been placed on the rooftops to spot sharpshooters, and dragoons surrounded the carriage at all times, in case someone tried to run up to the carriage and kill the King with a pistol. What hadn’t been accounted for, surprisingly, was someone trying to blow up the carriage with an explosive. As the carriage was riding through one of Rio’s most notorious streets, an assassin, member of one of the city’s local extremist factions, threw a grenade. The grenade exploded just a few inches away from the carriage, sending shards of metal flying through the air. The assassin was shot and killed just a few seconds later. The attack killed 3 bystanders, injured 12 more, and left the King with a shattered arm and a collapsed lung, as well as a giant metal shard having lodged itself into his leg.

    Unable to walk and barely able to breath, the King was hospitalized. Everyone knew it was unlikely he would survive, and so the government had to prepare for the day when his son, Pedro, would take the throne. This day would come unexpectedly quick, as the King died just 2 weeks after the attack. There would be a short period were Brazil would officially have no king, as the government wanted to make certain changes to government and constitution, to prevent the excessive absolutism that John VI had become so infamously known for, leaving the door open for radical separatist factions to take advantage of the situation…


    [1] This “United Kingdom” was also formed in OTL, mostly because the royal family got a little too cozy in Brazil and refused to return to Portugal. Here, it is created so the Portuguese king can rule his nation, while at the same time being a safe distance away from France and Napoleon.

    [2] The Confederation did actually exist in OTL, and was formed during Brazilian War of Independence against the “United Kingdom”. It was crushed after a single battle with Brazilian forces. Here, it is not only a lot stronger and has a lot more support, but also has different reasons for existing (The Confederation in OTL had more to do with disagreements over the new constitution, while in TTL they are the more traditional freedom fighters).
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  11. NerdyAlternateHistorian Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Stars, Stripes and A Pine, Post #6:

    The rainforest was unexpectedly quiet, with occasional sounds from all the fascinating birds and insects, which couldn’t even have been dreamt up by the most imaginative people back home. Beams of light pierced the forest canopy, creating an evening glow that was stunning by it’s sheer beauty. The journey had taken them much longer than expected, as they’d clearly underestimated the difficulty of travelling through a dense rainforest in the middle of the rain. Nearly a quarter of his troops had either been bitten by an insect or snake, or had simply drowned during one of the many river crossings. England’s countryside, with it’s innocent animals and muddy roads, looked decent by comparison…

    …At least, that’s what Wellington thought to himself. He had some hope that this conflict could finally restore some of Britain’s prestige, climbing out of the dark hole Napoleon had left them in. A whole decade of anger and instability would be washed away. He would be one of the many to come home triumphant, to be heralded as a hero of the nation, to become immortalized in the history books.

    He lost that hope a long time ago. This war had become uncomfortably similar to that horrible war in Spain, with small militia picking off his troops almost every day. He was one of the few generals that didn’t resign out of disgrace following the end of that war. A political career was out of the question, a man who’d lost a war would have a hard time being taken seriously in Westminster. This war felt more like a redemption to him, one last chance to set things right, one last chance to…

    He stopped as he heard bushes rattling behind him. Without hesitating, he ordered his men to fire. A few seconds of eerie silence, followed by return fire from the militia. He quickly got off his horse and pulled out his sword, hoping he could finally finish them off. Just then, he felt a bullet scrape his neck. After immense cursing that even shocked some of his own troops, he lept toward one of the militia and pierced his chest. Most of the soldiers didn’t even bother fixing their bayonets, using the backs of their muskets to bash the militia’s heads in. When the fighting had finally stopped, he climbed back onto his horse, with the soldiers quickly following him. That bullet wound in his neck would come later, he had a war to finish…

    Duke of Wellington (1769-1850)

    While officially known as the “Brazilian Civil war”, it was in truth a much more international conflict. Britain saw it as a way of finally securing a victory against Napoleon, who was no longer in any physical condition to lead an army on the battlefield. Even if he was, most think even he would’ve had trouble fighting in the dense and inhospitable places Brazil had to offer.

    Britain allied itself with Portugal, while France sent troops backing the Confederation (the US refused to help, citing the Confederation’s anti-slavery stance). The Royal Navy blockaded the Confederation’s ports, though the blockade became more and more difficult to maintain as France’s new and improved navy gained many strategic victories, despite sometimes heavy losses. The war saw experimentation on both sides with rocket artillery and ironclad ships, though these had little effect on the war’s outcome. It would take more than a decade for these weapons to be turned from simple prototypes into effective combat weapons.

    Many note the war’s lack of major large-scale battles, this largely being the case because of the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest provided the perfect opportunity for militias to sneak up on large armies and cause significant casualties. These militia were a mix of Confederate, French and “volunteers” from various South American nations. Britain and Portugal were forced to operate with “armies” the size of scout patrols, and even that didn’t get rid of the problem. The frontline would remain mostly static in the final year of the war. [1]

    Portugal was the first nation to give up, as it’s treasury had already been strained before the war, and the war itself only made this problem worse. With preventing an uprising as it’s main concern, Portugal asked for an armistice. Britain followed, as continuing the war without Portugal would be pointless. [2]

    The peace treaty forced Portugal to give up Brazil, recognizing it as well as the new Confederation of the Equator (“Equator” for short). Britain had to pay large sums of money to the French, and was also forced to recognize Brazil and Equator. British Guyana was ceded to Gran Colombia. Pedro, son of John VI, would be crowned Pedro I, King of Brazil. Miguel, one of John VI’s sons, would get the Portuguese crown. The treaty effectively dissolved the “United” Kingdom that had existed since 1812.

    Britain would be affected significantly by the outcome of this war. Francophobia reached an all-time high, and politics became a lot more polarized. More radical parties and movements would spring up throughout the late 1820s and early 1830s, threatening to tear Britain apart. But the sun wouldn’t set just yet…

    The United States actually turned out to be the biggest winner of the war, without even fighting in it. It opened up trade with Brazil in various goods, and gave the US one of it’s most important allies throughout the 19th century. What wasn’t known, was that multiple slave owners in both nations had begun trading slaves with one another, forming the basis for the “Chain-and-Whip Line”, a smale-scale version of the Atlantic Slave Trade, that wouldn’t be discovered and fully stopped until the 1890s… [3]

    South America - 1825


    [1] If you could even consider there to be a “frontline” in the first place.

    [2] Being forced to fight a war across the Atlantic after years of having a stagnant economy and almost non-existent trade, means that it won’t take a long time before you break.

    [3] This will have some serious repercussions down the line, though i probably won’t mention it again until many, many posts later…
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