This Guilty Land: A Post-Civil War Timeline

Good stuff so far, watched. Very strongly reminded of TastySpam's "Dixieland" TL which had a similar premise of the South becoming independent more through dragging out the war than any brilliant campaign on their part. Let's see if the CS becomes as much of a clusterf*ck as it was in that TL...
I haven't actually read that timeline, so hopefully I don't accidentally make it too similar.
IMO, the rump North should be more progressive in the long run, both socially and economically. I mean, it would be more homogenous and at the same time more industrialized, more urban - simply a perfect long-term breeding ground for progressive politics.
Good point. The North and South of this TL both have a lot of divergence and evolution coming.
Just started this, but I’ve gotta say great intro and will be reading in this with enthusiasm.
Guess the question is what happens in 1919 which leads to it ceasing to exist that year.
All will be revealed...
Chapter Two: Sovereign and Independent Character

(excerpt from Losing The Peace: A History of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1919, Ivan Bornstein, Cambridge University (1937))*

Winning the Second American Revolution was but the first hurdle for the newborn Confederacy. The nation, forged from the fire of a nation similarly smelted by Britain’s tyranny, stood triumphant over the United States, and was now a rising power in the American continent. Yet, navigating the peace they had won was to be their struggle.

Soon after their victory, those nations once perceived as potential allies, namely Britain and France, turned on them. Seeking to strangle the newborn in its grave, these powers condemned the continuance of slavery guaranteed in the Confederate constitution. This constitution served to drive a separation between North and South. Mostly, however, these differences were fairly minor. Wording of passages differed, for example, and the Confederacy more strongly asserted both the autonomy of the states and the connection the states had to God. Whereas the people of the United States stated in their constitution that they sought simply to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America", their Southern neighbours added “invoking the favour and guidance of Almighty God”.

More significantly, however, the Confederate constitution prevented foreigners from voting in elections, altered the means by which states would be admitted, and limited the President to one 6-year term. Two passages in particular stood out as issues, however. Namely, those which pertained to slavery. The document central to Confederate government prohibited any illegalizing of slavery - ensuring slavery’s eternal legality - and allowed for the Confederacy to procure slaves from their Northern neighbor. While the latter would not be overtly problematic at first, the former proved to be an issue.

With few allies, the Confederacy was in a rough situation. While they could continue for the time-being to trade with Britain, they could never truly ally themselves with the hegemonic Brits due the Empire’s disdain for slavery. Britain was, for their part, unwilling to press the issue in an meaningful way- they wanted trade with the Confederacy and did not wish to aid the United States. Most other nations feared the wrath of Britain and, as such, would not allow themselves to be seen as anything more than business partners with the Confederacy. The Confederacy’s strongest ally was Brazil, though Dom Pedro II was unhappy with the arrangement. Beyond Brazil, however, many other powers viewed the Confederate States as a welcome addition to world politics. France and Austria exploited Confederate nationhood as a means to secure their establishment of the Second Mexican Empire, (covered in more detail in chapter 8).
Domestically, circumstances seemed, at least on the surface, a bit more certain. Not easy, not even necessarily stable, but certain. The main issues were the rebuilding of property and infrastructure damaged in the war, as well as maintaining cohesion in the new nation. The unyielding defense of the South which had won them the war was not without consequence; many had died in the act of secession, and amends would have to be made. Winning a war is one thing, but convincing the victors that their victory was worthwhile can sometimes be difficult.

Jefferson Davis, the first President of the CSA, was of little help. A man content to relegate duties to others, who felt as though his job had been completed, Davis had a perhaps overly hands-off approach to governance. With the aforementioned restriction of only one term, Davis and many of his successors had no need to maintain popularity in order to seek reelection. Thus, Davis set the precedent that Confederate Presidents should do little and rely on others for the administration of the nation.

Of course, this was what the founders of the Confederate States had hoped for. Without a strong centralising figure, the powers of the individual states could not be tampered with. After all, the election of Lincoln, perceived as a strongman, was a major factor in the secession to begin with.
As such, the Confederate leadership’s ideal President was a man without strong ideals, strong ideology, and shallow enough to seek the Presidency and yet be utterly devoid of a plan beyond that. Davis was not exactly that, but he would do for the time being.
In the meantime, a massive reconstruction effort was implemented, seeking to rebuild what had been lost to the Yankees. It was also decided that a strong land army was necessary to secure the continued independence of the South. Robert E Lee, as the Commanding General of the Confederate Army, was placed in charge of maintaining the continued defense of the CSA. One reason that this was vital was that illegal raids were still being made by Northerners and Abolitionists. The border would have to be carefully defended.

There was another matter which would need to be addressed as well: expansion. Many Southerners had long dreamed of Mexican control, whether through annexation or as a client state. This so-called ‘Golden Circle’ was a fantasy, of course, but one which lingered in the minds of many Southerners.

(excerpt of a speech given by an unknown member of the Knights of the Golden Circle to his fellow members at an 1866 meeting. Recovered by Historian Morris T. Blackwood)*
"My comrades, who have so valiantly defended our culture and our way of life in the face of Northern aggression, hear my words! I have caught word from amongst you that our order is no longer of use, that our most righteous of duties have been accomplished, and that the time has come for us to lay down our swords, content in knowing that we have licked the damyankees once and for all. I pity thee, of little faith! Do we now rule Mexico? Does our flag now fly proud and unwavering over Havana? Have we created the empire we sought to come together and create, that will win us dominion over God’s creation?

"Even now, the British, traitors to our race that they be, refuse to allow us our ways. Just as they did in the war! When we sought our freedom, the bastards were content to allow the hordes of Lincoln and McClellan to burn our land, to rape and pillage as they pleased! To take our property and dress it up in uniforms and give it illusions of equality!

"The French, cowards all of them, will similarly kowtow to Britain. “Yes massa”, the Frenchman says, refusing to aid in the defense of the white man’s destiny for fear of a lashing by Victoria.

"Without an avenue to diplomacy, we must be vigilant, and expand our borders as we have long dreamed. I say we cannot give up dreams of greatness at the first sign of victory. The Confederacy is a stepping stone on a path towards the Golden Circle. As the papers read on the day of our victory, one thousand years of Dixie!"

Yes, obviously that speech is a bit dramatic, but these are the guys who decided to call themselves "The Knights of the Golden Circle" IRL. Writing that nonsense made me a little sick to my stomach, to be honest.
Crazy.fantasists. Wasn't the real Davis a micro managing workaholic?
Interlude: Born In The CSA
Interlude: Born In The CSA

Born in the CSA I

May 24th, 1868. Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America

It was Sunday, to be exact, which is why Will Lawrence was not working. Will was a laborer at the port. Payment was poor, but Will needed what he could get if he were to survive in the white man’s world.

You see, Will Lawrence had been a slave only five years earlier.

On this particular day, Will sat comfortably on a park bench (or as comfortably as a black man could in the United States in the year 1868) with one of his few friends, a Mr. Elroy Foreman. A fellow laborer, Elroy was the only white man Will had ever met who treated him better than dirt. Elroy, a few years older than Will, read the newspaper aloud to Will. Will could not read, having never been taught, and Elroy was not the most compelling speaker, but this was their arrangement, and they liked it well enough.

“It says here that Colfax is the nominee for the GOP.”

“I know that. They decided that a number of days ago, remember?”

“Yes, Willie, I know, but that’s what it says.” With a laugh, Elroy said “I don’t decide what’s in the paper, I just read it.”

“It must be an old paper, from a few days ago or something” Will said. Elroy checked: it was.

“Yes, this is Friday’s paper.” After a moment, Elroy asked, “Do you vote?”

“Elroy, you must remember that I was-”

“Sorry! Terribly sorry, Willie!” They didn’t talk much about that time, or at least tried not to, but it did come up from time-to-time.

“To answer your question, no. I don’t see much point. It’s a contest to determine which o’ these white folks will tell us all what to do. I appreciate what the Republicans want to do for folks like me, but I don’t think much of this whole affair.”

“What affair?”

“America, Elroy.” There was a moment of silence, and Will couldn’t help but think of his sisters, brothers, cousins, still trapped in bondage. Men like his father, who’d been whipped ‘til his back looked like a mountain range. Women like his sister, concubine to some devilish white man. Did it matter if it was Colfax who won instead of Seymour? Would any man do anything to help the slaves? Lincoln might have tried, but that certainly hadn’t gone as planned.

“I’ll tell you this much, Willie,” Elroy interjected, interrupting Will’s unpleasant thoughts. “I’m voting for Colfax. Say what you want about the Republicans and Wade and all that, but Schuyler Colfax would never take no bribes from those railway men.”

Born in the CSA II

May 28th, 1869. Archer, Florida, Confederate States of America

They’d changed their names, crossed the seas, and tried their best to fit in. Phineas Hoffman, whose name had been Pinchas in the old world, sat with his wife and Doctor Fleming on the floor of their house. Hoffman was a tailor, and not a particularly good one. His wife was screaming loudly, and pushing their new baby out of her body. Phineas had sent his other children, Daniel and Sarah, to their Uncle’s house for the evening, so that the Hoffmans and Doctor Hilel could peacefully agonize over the birth.

Phineas and his wife, Rebecca, had travelled from Europe just after the war that tore this land in two. This was, in hindsight, a smart move. Jews in the German states had a target on their backs after that business with Bismarck.[1] They’d had Daniel soon after they arrived, and then Sarah. Phineas wondered what the children would become, how they would react with another member of their family. Daniel was quite quick for his age; he was only five years old, but could already read a little, and would watch birds and other animals around their home for hours at a time.

As Phineas pondered his children’s fates, his wife was more concerned with their new child, who was emerging from her. Phineas held her hand, and smiled, and told her it would all be alright. Doctor Hilel told her simply to push. Hilel was a clinical man, not one for niceties. Phineas imagined he’d be a good military surgeon, though Phineas had never been in the military himself.

Eventually, the baby came. It was a heavy little boy, shrieking and pink. Phineas looked down on the babe held tightly in his wife’s arms. He saw himself, as he had in Daniel. After a while, Phineas picked up the boy himself.

“What a little Shtarker! Just like his papa!”

It was as such that Joel Hoffman was welcomed into the world.

[1] Not organized pogroms or anything, but antisemitism certainly did increase in Prussia and friendly nations after Bismarck's death ITTL

I promise, these 'slice of life' segments are relevant.
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Chapter 5: The Mission At This Moment
Chapter 5: The Mission At This Moment

I write these words to you now, my friends, from the great and illustrious halls of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, which I am visiting as of now. Just this morning, papers across British North America came bearing news of the successful negotiation of a union between the Maritime Provinces. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island will unite in brotherhood, a nation within Britain’s expansive empire. It was not a declaration of independence as Washington’s ilk signed so many years past. Instead, it is a declaration of dependence; of dependence on one-another, of fraternity and friendship. While I do write these words in part as a congratulation towards these provinces, I also mean to draw attention to the lesson which can be drawn from Maritime Unity.

Many of us here to the west of Fredericton have not yet seen the tide which comes ever-closer. It is thought that we have no need for our own Union. After all, are we not already protected by the crown? Are we not content as the Province of Canada?

I would like to draw your attention to the recent border skirmishes by Yankee aggressors, the Fenians, who believed that senseless violence could further their cause. The Bible teaches us that violence is not always the best solution. Think of Matthew 26:52, alongside many of Christ's other teachings. While these attacks by our Southern neighbors were eventually repelled, think of the damage they have wrought. We laugh now at the once-United States’ so-called ‘manifest destiny’, but we have seen how easily their citizens will take up arms to invade our lands and take our nation prisoner. This is a situation in-which turning the other cheek will not suffice. While we may avoid the taking of an eye for an eye, we need to defend our lands as the Israelites of old defended theirs. We must do so as a nation, not simply as a province of Great Britain’s empire.

Fear not, for I do not call for rebellion. I have no stomach for such things, and would not seek secession as the government of Richmond did nearly a decade ago. No, I propose merely that we have status within this empire similar to that which our Eastern comrades now hold. Quebec and Ontario are united now, and will likely gain an autonomous status eventually. That, however, is not enough. If we are to create a new nation out of British North America, it must be one which grants status and citizenship to all of these lands’ inhabitants.

In the central and western areas of British North America, many men and women do not live the lives of civility we here take for granted. My upbringing in those lands would likely have been one deprived of agency within the British empire were it not for my opportunities in the Church. The Metis of Manitoba are Frenchmen just as the inhabitants of Quebec are. We share a language with you, and a continent with the English, to say nothing of the Indians, Negroes, and other Europeans also living here.
It seems to me inevitable that the crown lands of the West will one day join in arms with the inhabitants of Canada. I urge our leaders to consider those of their Christian brethren not blessed with riches, urbanity, or European heritage. If we are to survive and not fall as old Rome did, we must unite all of the godly and righteous men of this land, and not just the privileged few.

We, the people of this land, have slept for centuries, content to be protected by our kindly mother country. We must awaken and mature into a faithful but strong child. We have inherited a great deal from Britain, and we must cherish that inheritance. If all we have to give is our hearts, let us give it to unity. Let us give it to a Canadian nation, where all men can be equal. Like the fasces, we are stronger together. It may take time, for deeds are not accomplished in an hour, but I hope that we may achieve autonomy and national brotherhood.


Sincerely, The Lord’s Dutiful Servant, Deacon Louis Riel [1], February 20th, 1870

(Originally published as an editorial in the Le Canadien [2]. Translated to English by Professor Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac of McGill University, 1969.)*

[1] Riel had been in seminary school in Montreal IOTL, but left after the death of his father.
[2] This paper was, from what I can tell no longer being published at this time IOTL, and had not been for quite some time. ITTL, it has been revived.
Chapter 6: A Special Relationship
Chapter 6: A Special Relationship


January 6, 1871, Florence, The kingdom of Italy

George Perkins Marsh felt small in the presence of the man with whom he spoke. A proud son of the Republic though he was, even an American feels a strange sense of shrinking when he spoke to a King. The Ambassador had no logical reason to feel this way; he was an accomplished man, and Victor Emmanuel II was merely an aristocratic fop. It didn’t matter: Perkins Marsh was hopelessly in awe.

“His Excellency the President would be here personally if he could, your majesty,” Marsh spoke cautiously, “but he is unfortunately preoccupied at the moment.” He was fairly certain he was telling the truth, President Colfax felt very strongly about the meeting.

“I am sure we will meet at some point in the future.” the Italian monarch replied.

“Indeed, the President wants to assure you that he will visit when he has the chance.” There was currently intense internal strife within the United States government concerning the formal abolition of slavery, with it being feared that the few remaining slave states would attempt to secede. Pendleton's administration had pulled military forces placed in slave states like Maryland out, and Colfax, a fierce abolitionist though he was, thought the optics of sending military troops in to enforce his will may not be desired. Until this strife was over, the President knew he could not leave the United States to visit Italy of all places.

"That is well and good." The King seemed to be perhaps a little offended by Colfax's absence. Perkins Marsh chalked that up to aristocratic neediness. No one in the American government was thrilled that Italy was a monarchy. Colfax had written to Marsh that he had hoped Italy would become a republic, and was disappointed in their decision to create a monarchy. Everyone wished Garibaldi could have stepped in as President. Of course, Garibaldi was uninterested in political office, and was currently trying to find a war to fight.[1] Everyone also wished the USA had taken him up on his offer to lead Union forces. No use worrying about the past, or what might have been, Marsh thought. The Italians were a constitutional monarchy, and it wasn't like the Union had never befriended a monarchy before.

"The President most importantly wants me to tell you that he is thrilled with the Unification of Italy, that he hopes this nation becomes a model which others strive towards. After all, it was Rome which inspired so much of our Republic in the New World."
"I am not yet king of Rome." Victor Emanuel was right, the Pope still held the city of Rome, and was supported by the French. [2] An invasion of Rome would likely mean war with France, and France was currently building the strongest army in Europe, or so they claimed. "I am not yet Caesar. But there is always time." The king laughed slightly. "Tell the President that I appreciate his support. Garibaldi has always admired the Americans. At least YOUR Americans, that is."

"The President hopes that our two nations may be comrades. He tells me, and I'm quoting directly here, that he hopes that this will be 'the start of a beautiful friendship'."

[1] Bismarck's death did not prevent a war with Austria, but it has prevented the Franco-Prussian war.
[2] Without the Franco-Prussian war, Italy has not seen a proper opportunity to attack the Papacy.

Bit of a short one this time. I've been very busy as of late, but I wanted to get something out to assure you guys that This Guilty Land is alive and well.
Chapter 7: Moldering On
Chapter 7: Moldering On

(Selection from An Artistic History of the Modern World by Chadwick Stockwood, 2002, University of Maryland Press)

American Nihilism
The decades following the division of the United States is defined by many movements in popular culture and popular understanding of the world. In the historiographic sphere, this period cemented the notion of "The Imperfect Union". In essence, this is the belief that the United States was inherently unstable. The flaws inherent in the USA's foundations began to show earlier than the war of southern independence. Shay's Rebellion, the Burr plot, Nat Turner's rebellion and John Brown's raid were begun to be understood as manifestations of American instability. It was Flint who stated that "the founding fathers of the United States were men desperately trying to make a 4-by-4 square fit in a 2-by-2 box, too lazy to build a bigger box despite having ample wood and tools. They wanted the men and women of this land to coexist, all the while reinforcing the artificial divisions between them." The late 19 and early 20th centuries would later be dubbed America's "little dark age" by Flint. The war and its consequences, as well as the general disunity which followed, created the idea in the mind of many Americans that the American experiment had proved a failure.

In literary and theatrical circles, the war created a deep and desperate sense of loss and futility in the minds of many Northerners. The works of Ambrose Bierce and Mark Twain demonstrate the sense of disappointment many felt in the aftermath of the loss of the South and the continuance of American chattel slavery. The works by in the disunited states during this era would be categorized by later scholars as the "American Nihilism" genre. One example, often overlooked but of deep and crucial significance to understanding Dark Age America is Moldering On.

A play by Anglo-American playwright James Isaac, Moldering On is a bizarre play, often considered ahead of it's time. The play consists of three acts which seem largely disconnected, and scholars continue to debate what, if any, connection they have at all.

The first act centers around John Brown, now a soldier in the army of the lord alongside Spartacus and Nat Turner. Spartacus and Nat try to console a depressed John Brown, who is ashamed that his movement ultimately did nothing. After a solemn meditation on the concepts of slavery, freedom, and resistance, the act ends with a comic song entitled "The Best Reason To Do What We Do", which comes to the conclusion that dying for a hopeless cause is better than living for one.

The second act centers around an affair between Comstock, a preacher, and Emilia, a married woman. The joke of the story is that Comstock and Emilia's husband are portrayed by the same actor. Ultimately, Comstock gets Emilia pregnant, but since the two men look identical, she doesn't think her husband will notice.

The third act is a descent into madness focused around a man who slowly divides into two men. This is presented as deeply painful and disturbing for the man, but nobody around him cared that he is dividing. He slowly becomes two men, and the two men battle each other, before realizing that they themselves are dividing. The two breakdown into tears, and the play ends.
Image from a modern production of Moldering On
The first act is the most often analyzed, and it is occasionally staged on it's own, despite Isaac's explicit instructions that all three acts must be staged together. It was a favorite of many of the nihilist-abolitionists of the late 19th century, and is still widely studied by students across the English speaking world. All three acts are bleak in their own way, but act 1 is the only one in which the bleakness is understandably politicized.

Isaac's works, including Moldering On, were neglected during his own lifetime, with the only staging of this play known to have been performed during his lifetime was a production he himself directed and which drew only a small crowd and overwhelmingly negative reactions. It was only after Isaac's death that the play was reexamined within the context of American Nihilism and the Little Dark Age.

It is worth noting that the existential and nihilistic literary and artistic traditions which emerged in Europe’s own interwar period of the 20th century is distinctly different from its American counterpart. This movement is touched on in more detail in chapter 3.

[1] Actually from an adaptation of Brecht's The Threepenny Opera performed in the UK. Found on this website:
so the second and third acts are obviously about secession and the US and CSA
the third about the risk of further seccesion and the second about how similar yet untrustworthy the CSA is.

nice to see the depressing tone your going for.most CSA victories focus on the south recovering and evolving but here the focus is on the north as it deals with the trauma and depression .it makes it clear that the CSA victory would be In fact a bad thing and the north as a a genuinely ideologically convinced place.
Chapter 8: A Soldier All His Life
Chapter 8: A Soldier All His Life


February 13, 1872, New Orleans, Louisiana, Confederate States of America
James Longstreet scanned the crowd. From horseback, Longstreet had a relatively good view of the streets of New Orleans. As the parade procession passed down the streets of the city, Longstreet saw hundreds of Confederate citizens engaged in exultation. Longstreet had been asked to attend this new parade (they were calling it Rex, for whatever reason) in order to provide a sense of order to the chaos of Mardi Gras. It was believed that having a war hero, the man who had stood at Lee’s side no-less, would bring a level of southern class to the event. Mardi Gras was a very un-American holiday in the eyes of many. It had its origins in papism, and was viewed as debauched and hedonistic. Longstreet laughed a little about this. The notion that he was supposed to tame the holiday. He, the same James Longstreet who drank whiskey like water some days, who’d been a troubling student at West Point. He was no Southern Paladin, no knight-in-shining armor. And yet they paraded him through the streets as if he were some Russian Duke.

Like he was Lee. James knew who they wanted him to be, there was no use denying it. These people wanted him to be the old King of Spades, God rest his soul. Lee’d never have done it, of course. The old man really was a gentleman, and not always in the best of ways.

Still, Longstreet knew he had lucked out. He was beloved, famous enough to be the guest of honor at an event such as this, but needn’t spend his days sprawled over maps of the border, eternally worried at the threat of Yankee aggression. That was for old Tom Jackson [1], and thank the Lord that fellow had something to do. He was a queer fellow, but defense served him. He was a stone wall, after all.

Longstreet had been considered for the appointment to Commanding General. As far as James could tell, President Lubbock didn’t trust him. He didn’t know why, but he didn’t think much of it. Longstreet had no interest in being Commanding General now. The job had been rough on Lee, and James was content as a New Orleans businessman. Still, he was connected, and he was aware enough to have a pretty good idea of what was coming.


Francis Lubbock, Second President of the Confederate States of America
The CSA was not built to last, he reckoned, not as it was now. Longstreet was by no means an abolitionist, but he knew the Confederacy was hemorrhaging good grace with
the other nations of the Earth over its continuance of the peculiar institution.

Without a strong federal government, James sensed that the nation would lose cohesion. Time and pressure would erode national cohesion until the CSA was a joke, a purely theoretical body. Longstreet shuttered at the notion that it was the rights of the states that would kill this nation. Divided, the states would fall.

As he scanned the crowd of faces, Longstreet saw his kin, saw these men and women of Southern heritage, and in that moment he knew fear. Fear that the nation would collapse, that brother would fight brother once again, that secession would be constant.

In that moment, from atop his high horse, riding through the streets of New Orleans like a Roman hero at a triumph, the once apolitical James Longstreet decided that only he could save this land.

[1] Tom Fool lives to suck more lemons and refuse to slouch another day.
Well, a nation founded on 'State Rights' is obviously ties to that policy, a nice noose around their neck. I don't really see how he alone could change things.