The Stars at Night: A Texas Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Sicarius, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Sicarius yeeeeehaw

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    "If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell."
    - General Philip Sheridan

    Part One (Right below this, man!)
    Part Two
    Part Three
    Part Four
    Part Five
    Part Six
    Part Seven
    Part Eight
    Part Nine
    Part Ten

    This is my first timeline here, so sit back, be kind, and don't forget to rewind.

    Texas! The Lone Star State. America's America. Everything's bigger there. Before magnanimously allowing itself to become the largest of the US states (unless you count Alaska, which I DO NOT), Texas was the ONLY state that was also an independent Republic - unless you count Vermont, California, Hawaii, the pre-Confederacy Confederate States, and West Florida, which I DO NOT. The world was undoubtedly robbed the day Texas joined the US, and indeed a Republic that continues in its independence is as common to Alternate History as zeppelins and President Hitler. Of course, in those alternate histories Texas is too often pretty much the same size, shape, and culture as it is today, because nothing says "stability" like a mid-19th century Republic bordered by Comancheria and a chaotic revanchist Mexico, riven with debts, and packed with slaves in a time where the Peculiar Institution was becoming decidedly out of fashion.

    It's in this period that our stage is set. Come with me on a journey into the fledgling Texian Republic in the year of Our Lord 1841, when a peculiarly pickled protagonist and a pack of precocious pork presses play on our particular piece...

    THE STARS AT NIGHT: A TEXAS TIMELINE

    Part One
    POD: Pigs of Departure

    [​IMG]
    The Republic of Texas, 1841

    Dateline: AUSTIN, REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. 1841. TUESDAY. A vital hinge point in the web of time. Sometimes history swings on the actions of great men, or lucky arrows, or fortuitous weather. And sometimes, more often than one might think, it all comes down to drunks. [1]

    One such man, whose name and cocktail of choice are both lost to history [2], is the true architect of our modern world. Because tonight, stumbling down the streets of Austin, he will seek out a place of warmth. A comfy bed, a feather pillow, a complimentary bathrobe. And such a fine establishment he will find! Unfortunately, it is 3AM, he has no money, and he can barely talk. But, with the enterprising spirit of the truly hammered, this man finds a viable alternative: the pigpen. When you're drunk enough this is a pretty acceptable situation. Let's not throw stones. We've all been there. [3]

    However, our enterprising spirits enthusiast did not have the manners to close the gate to the pigpen upon entering. An action which would normally solicit questions about whether one was raised in a barn, although in this context if anything that would mean he would be more familiar with pig protocol. Upon the break of dawn, hotelier/pig owner Richard Bullock is horrified to find his beloved hogs have been replaced by (or possibly turned into [4]) a filthy drunk man. Taking a long moment to contemplate the situation, Bullock finally settles on the most reasonable course of action: viciously beating the man with a stick.

    [​IMG]
    Historical reproduction of what the pigs in question no doubt looked exactly like.

    Upstairs, hotel tenant Jean Peter Isidore Alphonse Dubois, Comte de Saligny, French Charge d’Affaires, watched these plebeian affairs diffidently. Someone beating a filthy man in a pig pen with a stick was about par for the course with his experience in Texas. But nevertheless, this new country offered a wealth of opportunities for la France. JPIAD (CdS [FCd'A])'s enthusiastic letters were finally convincing the boys back home of that. Just a little bit longer, and he'd really get the ball rolling... [5]

    [1] The Drunk Man theory of history.
    [2] I'm going to assume a comically large jug with XXX on it.
    [3] Drunk, in a pig pen, in 1841. I can't count the times it happened to me!
    [4] A reverse Circe. Reverce.
    [5] OTL, Bullock's pigs broke into Saligny's room and ruined his shit, leading him to leave Texas in a huff. This actually happened.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
    wolfram likes this.
  2. Swan Station Under a hatch

    Be careful what you say, or Alaska will split itself in two and make Texas the third largest of the US States. :)

    Anyway, this is fantastic so far. Subscribed.
     
  3. MNP Dark Souls 3!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Central North America
    A timline written in the style of a Cracked article. Let's see where this goes.
     
  4. Arafeel postmodern rightwing apologist

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    Christiania, Republic of Norway
    Good stuff, i like they this is writen.
     
  5. Errnge I'm back, bitches

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    definitely going to be watching closely. love the style in which it is written
     
  6. Sicarius yeeeeehaw

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Part Two
    Everything's Pigger In Texas

    Mere weeks after the pig incident, the Texian House passes "An Act to Incorporate the Franco-Texian Commercial and Colonization Company." The bill calls for the Company to introduce 8,000 French families and to establish and maintain twenty forts for twenty years in return for a grant of three million acres from the Republic of Texas and exemption of the settlers from all taxes and tariffs for twenty years as well. With this and a previously negotiated seven million dollar loan from France to the Lone Star Republic, Franco-Texian relations are flying high, due in no small part to the constant pro-Texas letters de Saligny sends to his government. Soon, with the encouragement of Francophile Texian President Mirabeau B. Lamar (The B. stands for Buonaparte), the Franco-Texian Bill passes the Senate.

    [​IMG]
    Mirabeau Lamar. Check out smugdog millionaire over here.

    This isn't the only population transfer in progress. In scenic Biebrich, near the Rhine, a collection of German nobles have gathered. Together, they organize Adelsverein, the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, a group dedicated to building a new Germany on Texas soil. Presumably, they hadn't heard about all the French. The mass emigration will of course be controlled by the nobles, to no small personal benefit...

    In the next year, the first French settlers begin to arrive in Texas, settling mostly along the Brazos River. France begins its first military construction with a largely symbolic recommissioning of Fort Saint Louis, originally constructed by early settlers in 1685. The laying of the cornerstone of the new fort is a public event, highlighting the longstanding (and somewhat exaggerated) connections between the two nations. Former President Lamar is on hand, and gives a friendly speech praising cooperation between the two nations and pledging eternal Franco-Texian friendship. And also, not-so secretly, laying the groundwork that he hopes will allow him to once again be Current President Lamar.

    But there's a much more pressing election going down in a nearby country. You might have heard of it: The United States of America. Texas is quite the issue in the 1844 clash between James K. Polk and Henry Clay. Texas had long been seen as the desperate nerd in the corner of the prom which the US could ask to dance any time they wanted. However, the Lone Star Nation was now being romanced by a sultry Gallic interloper. Polk claims that France is moving in on Texas, and that the US has to swoop in and grab it while it still has the chance. Clay, on the other hand, uses the French complications to stand even firmer against annexation. He claims that Texas has cozied up to foreign powers and is accepting too many French and German immigrants. Further, French forts and land claims in Texas would be difficult to get around - the French are already there, in force, as part of a legal agreement. French troops on US soil is simply unacceptable, but you can't just violate a treaty with France like they're a bunch of Indians or something. The US has problems enough as it is with Oregon; pushing two of the most powerful European countries over territorial claims is dangerous. Polk counters that the French will be driven out of Texas by force if necessary, as the British will be from Oregon. Polk speaking of war on TWO major European powers makes many stop thinking of him as bold, but instead as reckless. On election day, the people of the United States provide a narrow win to Henry Clay.

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    President Henry Clay. It's unfortunate about the whole ... face situation.

    With the election of an anti-annexation US President and an apparent American turn against expansion, and with the benefit of growing ties to France, Texian overtures to the US gradually fade away despite the best efforts of annexationist President Houston, who leaves office in December of 1844 disappointed and, for the first time, somewhat unpopular. France offers to his successor, Anson Jones, that they will broker a diplomatic agreement with Mexico, firmly establishing Texas's boundaries and securing Mexican recognition of the Republic. Although Jones is incredibly cautious (still hoping he might eventually become a US Senator from Texas), with prospects of joining the US dimming and Texians beginning to become more comfortable with the idea of long-term independence, it's vital for Texas to secure its position. France is happy to secure its commercial and military interests. Mexico is NOT happy (and when is it ever, these days?), but it seems that Texas is either going to stand with France or the United States; either way, it's better for Mexico to get what they can now, rather than risk a later fight with a stronger Texas backed by a powerful benefactor.

    Under the French mediated settlement, Texas keeps much of their territorial claims. The main losses are in the South, where the border is settled at the Nueces, rather than the Texian Rio Grande claim, and the West, which is set at the Pecos. Texas makes some gains in the less populated (and admittedly, less hospitable) north, with Mexico mollified by the French suggestion that a northerly Texian border would be a better buffer against the United States. The treaty is a tough sell to the proud Texians, and Mexico isn't thrilled either. But Texas never really controlled the south or west anyway, and getting to keep the important trading post of Santa Fe helps the medicine go down. Nevertheless, the public grumbles. Careful to avoid criticizing the French, former President Lamar attacks the concessions, renewing his old calls for a Texas that stretches to the Pacific, further gearing up for the Presidential election of 1847. [1]

    As Texas settles into its new shape, a steady stream of Germans establish New Braunfels, more French settle in the East, and the economy begins to pick up steam, it looks like there's a bright future in store for the Republic. But looks can be deceiving.

    [​IMG]

    [1] Lamar had wisely sat out in 1844, letting sadsack Anson Jones take over and usher in the unpopular treaty.
     
  7. herricks If you know what I mean

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Location:
    texas
    keep it coming
    since i'm from texas i would like to see the rio grande as the border but we can always take it & more later
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  8. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    AUS
    French-Texas...strange.....
    Yet, i am curious.
     
  9. Awesome Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Location:
    NC
    We're about 20 years away from the Franco-Mexican War, and there's an independent, French Alligned Texas running about. Things are about to get reeeeaal interesting.

    Keeping my eyes on this.
     
  10. SavoyTruffle Rabbit Tank

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Location:
    Touto
    This has to be the most intriguing TL I've seen here.
     
  11. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
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    I know. Definitely different than any other American TL i have seen yet. I mean, wow.

    Edit: out of curiosity, are there any other Texas TL's?
     
  12. Sicarius yeeeeehaw

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Part Three
    Mirabeauner

    The Texian election of 1847 was the first time former President/VP team Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar had faced off against each other directly. [1] In the past, Houston had more or less just rolled his way into the presidency every time he was eligible, since Texians pretty much voted on rabid patriotism and celebrity status, and there was no bigger patriotic celebrity than Sam Houston.

    [​IMG]
    And no bigger hat than Sam Houston's.

    But this time, Houston was tied to the discredited annexationist movement and (somewhat unfairly) the unpopular treaty, and his proposal that Texas basically wait around and the US would let them in eventually was not a crowd-pleaser. Houston, an actual member of the Cherokee Nation from his days of bumming around the Arkansas territory (Indian name: The Raven), was also in favor of peace with the Comanches that haunted the now even larger northwest. Believe it or not, 19th century white settlers were not huge fans of Indians, especially Comanches. [2]

    Mirabeau Lamar was the man to answer Texas's belligerent, probably drunken call. Lamar and his faction (which some had begun to call Republicans) favored a hard line against Indians, Mexicans, and everyone else darker than a manilla envelope. [3] He wanted to expand Texas to the Pacific, increase foreign (read: French) economic ties, and make the Republic a world power.

    The election wasn't too harsh, by 19th century standards. Lamar insinuated Houston was an appeaser and a drunk, without directly calling him such. These duties were left to former President and Vice President David Burnet, a certifiably insane man who once attempted to use his temporary authority on one of Lamar's sick days to go to war with Mexico. Burnet and Houston loathed each other, with Houston at one point calling Burnet a hog thief. [4] Burnet gleefully published a treatise entitled Review of the Life of General Sam Houston, which in the 19th century was a dead giveaway it was going to be full of crazy bullshit. It accused Houston of being a drunken, opium-besotted Indian lover who would let Mexicans overrun the nation, stealing Texian women and wearing obnoxiously large hats.

    [​IMG]
    Have you seen this man? Please call the Texas Pignapping Hotline.

    In the end, it was remarkably close for a Texas election, with 4,968 for Houston and 6,854 for Lamar. Houston was not happy; this was a man not used to losing, facing his second big political defeat in the past few years. He retired to his estate to plan his political future with the help of his longtime advisor, bourbon. It was a moody time for Texas politicians in general. After Lamar's inauguration speech, a lengthy affair haranguing Texas's enemies, former President Anson Jones quietly snuck off and became former Living Person Anson Jones, shooting himself in the head in his hotel room.

    With the dynamic team of Lamar, James Pinckney Henderson [5] as Vice President, and David Burnet as Secretary of State [6], it seemed like Texas was going on the offensive. But events would overtake the nation once again, as in late '47 a farmer in Mexican California discovers some shiny yellow metal on his land...

    [1] Under the Texas constitution, no President could serve two consecutive terms, which had previously prevented them from competing. As mentioned, Lamar sat out the last election for both political and health reasons.
    [2] The crack cocaine of Indians.
    [3] The hard line would be composed of bullets.
    [4] Pigs: A developing theme?!
    [5] Both an Attorney General and a Brigadier General, commissioned by Burnet. Considered the best bet to put in the Vice Presidency without making Burnet get pissed and challenge anyone to a duel, as was his way.
    [6] A position which would not allow him to sneak in and declare war on the Moon while Lamar was at the dentist, or anything like that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  13. Geekhis Khan I'm Not Dead Yet...

    Joined:
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    As a Born Texan I consider these cynical slights on my Founding Fathers...absolutely, hilariously Brilliant! :D I LOL'ed many times. Also a very original POD and TL concept. Subscribed.

    Extra Points for the Drunk Man Theory of History. ;)
     
  14. Errnge I'm back, bitches

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    a chance for Texas to get its Rio Grande Border

    Also, awesome TL!

    Subscribed being the best new thing!
     
  15. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    AUS
    I do not know how or if, but Texas becoming an plausible Southern-Western-US rival might be interesting, but i would still hope that the US gets California.
     
  16. herricks If you know what I mean

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Location:
    texas
    i made this map when i was bored afew months ago bout how id want an independent Texas to look by 1900. the numbers where states i had made it also had Alaska
    Mexican_war_overview2.gif

    Mexican_war_overview2.gif
     
  17. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    AUS
    Overboard Texas-wank.
     
  18. Color-Copycat Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
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    Новоро́ссия (HOBO-RUSSIA)
    Ha! That's great, right there. Mirabeauner... why haven't I thought of that myself? Anyway, very unique style you've got going on. Hope you can take this pretty far.
     
  19. herricks If you know what I mean

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Location:
    texas
    well it did get help getting California from the US
     
  20. Sicarius yeeeeehaw

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    A short and rather dry entry; consider it a lead-in to the fun stuff!

    Part Four
    Miner for a Heart of Gold

    The California Gold Rush was a big deal. Between 1847 and 1851, nearly 300,000 people made their way west with dreams of gold dancing in their heads. In two years, Yerba Buena's [San Francisco] population grew twenty five times its earlier size [1]. 90,000 people showed up in 1848 alone. California rose from being a backwater with a name cribbed from 16th century Spanish fanfiction to the center of the world's imagination. The world probably had not imagined a long, deadly trip filled with hostile natives and bandits ending in a place rather less gold-filled than advertised and under the boot of greedy local officials, but there you are.

    [​IMG]
    200 jackasses indeed.

    Yes, California was not exactly sunshine and roses for the 48ers. The territory had never been an especially big focus of the Mexican government, and they weren't really in any position to spring into action now, as usual dealing with the uppity Yucatan, political strife, and fears of a Texian invasion. Some troops were sent up north, and Californian officials were sent orders, but if anything this made the situation worse, since the Mexican goal was to squeeze as much money from this situation as possible. On top of that, the local officials of course wanted their own piece of the action, as did the soldiers (often local criminals hired by the officials). On top of that, as said, gold wasn't exactly spewing from the ground in molten geysers, as a lot of people had apparently thought, leaving thousands stranded with no job and no prospects. Many people didn't even get to California, running out of money and settling in the United States or Texas (which experienced some much smaller population growth itself, especially in the port town of Galveston).

    By 1851, California was filled with people with no job, people with jobs who were getting squeezed by the government, the merchants and land speculators who profited off these people, and lawless bandits who had carved out a niche based on claim jumping, robbery, and extortion, protected by bribery. It was a powder-keg waiting for a match. And that match was named John C. Frémont.

    [​IMG]
    Frémont's companions attempt to warn him of an oncoming eagle attack.

    Son of a French immigrant [2] John Frémont was a fun-loving guy who spent most of his time exploring lakes and rivers and leading expeditions across the treacherous southwest, often with his buddy Kit Carson. In the late 1840s, Frémont began leading parties up from Texas into California, and seeing that the gold rush was about to turn immigration into an even bigger industry, began work on a guidebook. 1849's "Frémont's Guide to California" was highly successful, full of detailed maps and instructions for avoiding painful, horrible death. With a little money in his pocket, Frémont took his own advice and settled in California, buying a ranch outside Mission San José, in the Bay Area.

    But Frémont was an ambitious fellow, not to be satisfied with the sedentary life of the gentleman rancher. Which is why he leapt at the chance when a coalition of community leaders and businessmen came to him with an interesting proposal...

    [1] Twenty fucking five, people! Of course, they only had just about twenty five people living there to begin with, so.
    [2] A DEVELOPING THEME!?