To Wake Early: An American TL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dan Reilly The Great, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania
    So this is my first proper TL, so I beg your patience with me as I am new to this process.

    The POD is that during the diplomatic crisis involving the recruitment of American volunteers to fight in the Crimean war in 1856, the UK minister to the US; John Crampton, is not replaced, but rather the incident is resolved much more quickly and Crampton retains his post which he will hold until 1861.

    This TL will be conveyed through excerpts from scholarly papers and books from this ATL, along with interviews with eye witnesses, and standard timelines which will be used to highlight events and facts not covered in other materials. I may also add in some narrative passages as well for dramatic effect, but I haven't decided upon that yet.

    I will be posting the first installment of this TL tomorrow(or today) as soon as I finish fleshing it out. But as a bit of a teaser this TL will feature the following:

    -foreign troops in American cities either as an occupation force, or a friendly one, or both :eek:.

    -A socialist/communist KKK

    -some steam punk elements

    -the term "American" in the title does not necissarily mean that it exclusively applies to the US ;).

    -possibly a major realignment of European alliances by 1900 compared to OTL.

    Hope I didn't give too much away.

    Feedback is welcome and appreciated.
  2. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania
    Part one

    Ok so here's the first installment of this TL. Again this is my first proper TL, and actually I only recently started getting into the 19 century as an area of interest, so feel free to supply constructive criticism.

    so here it is:

    To Wake Early: An American Timeline

    -1856: John Crampton; British minister to the US is found actively recruiting American volunteers to fight in the Crimean War. Relations between the two nations sour, however cooler heads prevail and thanks to the quick maneuvering of the British Foreign Minister, Lord Clarendon, the situation is quickly diffused. The briefly vacated position of British Minister is filled once again by John Crampton.

    -1857: Richard Lyons is named British Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Emperor of Brazil.

    -1859: A slave revolt lead by noted abolitionist John Brown results in disaster as the national armory in Harpers Ferry explodes during a battle between his forces and local militia. Over 100 people are killed in the explosion. Conflicting accounts result in two main versions of events being circulated. One which was favored by the abolitionist camp indicated that the explosion was the result of the reckless members of the local militia. The other which was favored by the pro-slavery camp indicated that the explosion was deliberately set by members of Browns party. Although a later investigation by the war department leaned in favor of the formers version of events, the investigation was mostly inconclusive and neither side was satisfied. In either event it was largely reputed that Brown himself as well as a few followers managed to escape the blast and evaded capture in the Appalachian wilderness. It would later be revealed that John died at the armory and his son Watson survived. What is certain however is that the incident only helped to widen the rift between northern states and southern states. Authorities in Virginia believed that Watson and his cohorts successfully made it back north into Maryland and probably further. Allegations were made by many in the pro-slavery south to the affect that the state governments in the north deliberately interfered or sabotaged the efforts to apprehend the survivors, these allegations were however vehemently denied by many northern state politicians and law enforcement officials. In fact Brown was quite talented at evading the authorities and he was being helped not by northern state governments, but by elements withing the Underground Railroad.

    -1860: In exchange for making an exception for British goods in the Alves Branco tariff the United Kingdom agrees to start purchasing cotton from Brazilian plantations. This would mark the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between Brazil and the United Kingdom as well as open the door for further economic dealings between the two nations. This was also eventually hailed as a victory for Emperor Pedro II against the pro slavery parliament of Brazil as in exchange for the allowing the increased cotton trade a “slave tax” was instituted which required slave owners to pay a small recurring tax on any slaves they owned, this tax was increased by the end of the year.

    -Further increasing the rift between north and south in the US, pro slavery activists hold a number of “Helper Bonfires” which were demonstrations where the demonstrators would burn copies of Hinton Rowan Helper's The Impending Crisis of the South as well as copies of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Although less numerous, abolitionist activists held counter demonstrations in the north burning copies of George Fitzhugh's Cannibals All!, or Slaves Without Masters.

    -The US presidential election resulted in a victory for Republican Abraham Lincoln in spite of not winning a single southern state. The election would be remembered as the most bitterly divisive and contested election in US history as “poll riots” broke out across several border states along the Mason Dixon line, namely Kentucky and Virginia.

    -In response to the election results, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee secede from the United States and form the Confederate States of America.

    -Napoleon III lifts a few minor restrictions on the press in France, this move is meant as a way to curry favor with the populace but in fact does very little.

    -1861: Confederate armed forces open fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, the fort is promptly surrendered. North Carolina, Arkansas, and Virginia also secede and join the Confederacy. Robert E Lee resigns his commission in the US army and accepts one with the Confederate Army. Union and confederate forces engage in battle at Manassas which results in a surprising Confederate Victory. General Thomas Jackson is killed as a result of two gunshot wounds sustained during the battle. President Lincoln signs into law a bill that calls for the enlistment of 700,000 troops.

    -The British mail packet Trent is intercepted by the USS San Jacinto as it carries Confederate diplomats James Mason and John Slidell to the United Kingdom. The seizure goes well until a drunken member of the crew of the Trent gets into a fight with American sailors. The ensuing fight results in the deaths of four British sailors and one American, and the Trent being seized as a prize by Captain Charles Wilkes of the San Jacinto. The “Trent Incident” as it came to be known infuriated the British and lead to calls for war amongst both the populace and both houses of parliament An additional 18,000 troops are sent to Canada, and plans are drawn up and preparations made for an invasion of New York. Although the British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston most desires to stay out of the conflict in North America, John Crampton is unable to secure an amenable resolution to the situation. The situation is only exacerbated by the refusal of the Union to release Slidell and Mason, the US army stations an additional 100,00 troops along the Canadian border.

    -The union Army starts stockpiling large amounts of gunpowder in preparation for a possible shortage.

    1862- On January 8 The Battle of Mill Springs ends in a nominal draw with nearly 2000 casualties on either side including Union General George H. Thomas, leaving the Union to look for a victory somewhere in order to salvage morale. That victory comes on February 12 from General Ulysses S Grant at the Battle of Fort Henry, the press in the north hails it as a massive blow to the confederacy, and national morale is slightly buoyed This effect is amplified by the later victory at Fort Donelson on March 1st.

    -The parliament of the United Kingdom declares war on the United States, the previously prepared military operations against the US east coast are set in motion. A flotilla of more than 40 warships sets sail for the American east coast on March 3. On April 12 the flotilla arrives off the coast of Long Island NY which is followed by a brief skirmish with US naval forces in the area under the command of Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough known as The Battle of Long Island Sound. This is a misnomer however as the battle actually took place in the Atlantic and no actual combat occurred in Long Island Sound. On the early morning of March 4 100,000 British troops under the command of General John Michel disembarked onto the southern shore of Long Island and march into Brooklyn. A mob of armed disgruntled Brooklyners amass to oppose the British army. The result is what will become known as the “Brooklyn Massacre” as British Troops open fire into the crowd, over 300 people die in the massacre. American furor over the massacre is extreme as the president and several members of congress call for the Union Army to sweep the “vicious barbarians” of the British Army from America's shores. By the next day the rest of New York City is under British control, and two days later the surrounding area is secured as well.

    -In April Watson Brown along with a group of both abolitionists and freed slaves begins a guerrilla campaign against the Confederate government, this group goes by the nickname The Harpers Society in honor of the place of Watson's father John's death. Although they do target legitimate military targets like railroad junctions and factories, for the most part Watson's group spend their efforts attempting to foment slave rebellions throughout the Confederacy. Although primarily active in South Carolina and Virginia, Brown and his followers carry out raids as far away as Florida. The US war department actively supports Brown with arms and supplies. The Confederate government offers a $500 reward for his capture.

    -The Canadian front is marked mostly by skirmishes between American and British forces until on May 14 a force of some 60,000 men under General Joseph Hooker marches north toward Ottawa. Hooker encounters some minor resistance in the form of local militias and some scattered forts, but otherwise he is unopposed until June 18 where he encounters an army of some 40,000 troops which is a mix of poorly trained militia and regulars from both Canada and Britain. The Battle of Perth as it was known ends in a rather spectacular British defeat. Although the forces under General Sir William Williams fought admirably, their hastily prepared fortifications were not up to the task at hand and his army hardly had the supplies necessary to engage the Americans. Casualties on the British side numbered in excess of 8,000 with only about 2,000 American losses. The reaction in the UK to the defeat at Perth is of utter shock, Canadian forces were considered to be “more than a match” for any American invasion by The Times. That combined with the grain rationing as a result of loss of trade with the Union contributed to a large amount of unrest at home, what was once patriotic fervor in favor of punishing the “upstart Americans” for their insult to British sovereignty with the Trent Incident had been reduced quickly to war weariness and unrest at fighting an unnecessary war over “sinful pride.” The retreat from Perth was a chaotic and disorderly affair as Williams' army lacked any semblance of order, and he was constantly harassed by Hookers forces. To Williams and the city's defenders credit however The Siege of Ottawa was a long and drawn out affair, lasting more than half a year.

    -On May 3 Admiral Sir William Parker had his fleet engage the American forces and fortifications on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Two days later 70,000 men under the command of Michel crosses the river and is engaged by 80,000 men under Major General John Pope. The battle was a hard fought affair centering mostly around Hoboken for which the battle was named. However after almost two days of fighting Hoboken fell and the formal siege of Jersey City begins on may 8th. After two weeks of fighting, Pope is forced to concede the city and retreat in order to avoid being encircled and cut off. As a result of the battle, Jersey City caught fire and within two days much of the city had burned to the ground. For the rest of the month the two armies skirmished with each other as Popes army continued to retreat south toward Trenton.

    -In December Riots break out in Northern Ireland and Wales in response to strict grain rationing.

    1863- On March 15 the Confederate Government increases the reward for Watson Brown's capture to $2000

    - On April 3 Bartolome Mitre is killed by an out of control horse cart in Buenos Ares.

    -On July 12 the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment is decorated for actions undertaken at the Battle of Sharpsburg which includes the first Medal of Honor ever awarded to an African American.

    - August 4th Forces under the command of General Benjamin Butler successfully defeat a vastly larger Confederate force at the Battle of Valley Forge. This marks the last Confederate foray into Union Territory as well as the first successful use of the gatling gun in combat. This piques the interest of several at the war department, however a continuing ammunition shortage with the army along with high ranking military officers who fail to see the advantages of such a weapon combine to keep it from obtaining popularity.

    -On October 12th Emperor Pedro II institutes a law which enlists slaves as soldiers in the Brazilian army, the law states that slaves who serve for four years are granted their freedom, and the slave owners are paid for the slaves.
  3. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania
    Update number two, the conclusion of the War Between the States

    From: A House Divided: The Wars Between the States, HarperCollins, 1974

    The First War Between the States has been called “the war of shouldn't” simply because so much that happened during the war quite simply should not have happened. Even the war itself should not have happened, in spite of what many Confederate apologists may believe, the primary reason for secession and war was slavery; an institution which did far more to hold back the economy of the south than any other factor. The leadership of those states in fact should have been the greatest champions of abolition, as getting rid of it would have been a great stride toward making the economy of the southern states competitive with that of the northern states. Worse still, the overwhelming majority of people who sacrificed their blood and lives for the Confederate cause had so much to gain from abolishing the institution they were fighting for.

    The British Empire and the United States had almost no reason to go to war, neither side had anything to gain from it, and they both had a lot to lose. Both nations needed something from each other; the British needed American grain, and the Americans needed British saltpeter to help fight the war with the Confederacy. Politically both governments suffered; the considerable unrest caused by the massive grain shortages on the home islands proved to be disastrous for the Palmerson government which collapsed as a result of both the war, the grain shortages, and the Lancashire Cotton Famine. Also the Liberal party never managed to achieve any kind of success and ceased to be by 1884. Worse still was schism between the United Kingdom and Canada following the war. The American invasion combined with the considerable lack of military support from the home islands along with the economic downturn from the panic of 1866 and raised taxes resulted in considerable resentment toward the crown and parliament as a whole. These attitudes would set the tone for Anglo-Canadian relations for decades to come. In the United States the British entry into the war proved to be disastrous for Abraham Lincoln's presidency. Although the British invasion of the northeast did initially solidify public support for the war effort, this waned as the war went on and after the British managed to extricate themselves from the conflict, thus eliminating themselves as a target for the Lincoln Presidency to rally support against. The immediate effect of lengthening the war as a result of the British invasion had almost guaranteed that Lincoln would lose his bid for re-election in 1864 to George McClellan. Not to mention the longer term effect of crippling the Republican party which was limited to congressional seats in the north east for the next two decades after the war.

    The war itself should most definitely not have lasted as long as it did, by all measures it should have ended at least a year earlier in 1865 rather than February of 1866 if not even earlier than that. The Confederacy had an opportunity to end the war and still hold on to a substantial portion of Virginia, as Grant's Virginia Campaign had only started achieving success just before the inauguration of President McClellan in January of 1865. They could have immediately asked for terms to end the war the day after McClellan took office and most likely would have gotten just about everything they would have wanted. In stead President Davis and the Confederate Congress continued to hold out for the possibility that Lee would be able to salvage the situation in Virginia. When it became evident that the situation was beyond salvaging, they sent their first entreaties for peace to Washington on March 17, 1865, literally two days after the Battle of Clarksville ended. Even then they were convinced that Lee could retake the state successfully and thus strung out the peace negotiations for the next ten months in hopes that Virginia could be repatriated. By all accounts the Confederacy had everything to lose by not simply suing for peace as soon as possible. Their economy was already in dire straights by 1865, and when the government started printing money things only got worse. Their manpower situation which was already deficient compared to the union and was increasingly desperate, so much so that the Confederate Army began enlisting African American soldiers in late June.

    By every measure the Confederacy should not have won. Plain and simple they were way out of their depth when it came to challenging the Union. Aside from the brilliant leadership of Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Beauregard, the Confederacy was no match for the Union. Their population could not support anywhere near as large an army as the north could, their industry and infrastructure was vastly inferior to that of the Union, and their economy was downright backwards compared to their northern counterpart. The Confederacy didn't even hold the monopoly on good generals either, for both Grant and Meade were excellent generals who had very successful careers and a long list of victories to go along with it. The only area in which the Confederacy seemed to have an abundant advantage over the Union was in luck. The fact that Robert E. Lee decided to side with the confederacy over the Union due to his allegiance to his home state is remarkably lucky. His personal view of the Confederacy was of considerable distaste, and he was one of the most ardent abolitionists in the Confederacy after the war. The fact that part of the state of Virginia broke away from the CSA after the war started, and that the rest of it wound up in the Union by the end of the war only illustrated just how extraordinary Lee's choice was. British intervention as has already been said quite simply shouldn't have happened, the United Kingdom had no need for Confederate Cotton, and the issue of slavery more or less ensured that the CSA would never have full support of the Empire. General McClellan should have been relieved of his command much earlier than he was, it is only by a combination of sheer luck on his part and the major gunpowder shortages that his deficiencies as a General were not more fully exposed during the war.


    The Union and the Confederacy in 1866

    From: topic: War of the Triple Alliance, last updated 2008

    The War of the Triple Alliance was a war that lasted from 1864 until 1867 between Paraguay and the allied countries of Brazil, Uruguay, and the United Kingdom. It was one of the bloodiest wars in South American history.

    The exact causes of the war are in dispute, however several major theories have been submitted by different members of the academic community. Among these are British manipulation, especially after the troublesome involvement in the American Civil War which lead the Palmerson Government to seek an “easy victory” in a different conflict in order to regain support lost due to the war in America. An alternate theory is the aggressive policies of marshal Solano Lopez in regard to the River Plate region. The war began with military actions between Brazil and Paraguay in 1864; it did not receive the name “War of the Triple Alliance” until shortly after British entry into the war in 1865.

    Although the war started out quite badly for the Brazilians and Uruguayans, early British assistance in the forms of arms, supplies and military advisement helped to keep the Brazilians from becoming too disadvantaged, and eventually lead to a stalemate in early 1865, however British official entry in May of that year greatly helped the Allied cause, eventually ensuring victory.

    The end result of the war was a total defeat for Paraguay with its army shattered while the Royal Navy in cooperation with the Brazilian navy successfully managed to almost completely wipe out the Paraguayan navy by the end of the war. Paraguay was in utter ruin as a result, and it would be decades before the nation would recover, the twenty years following the war were marked by severe civil unrest throughout the nation and forced the Brazilian army to occupy it for years to come and contribute severely to heightened tensions with Argentina in the 1880's and 90's.

    The Empire of Brazil came out of the conflict as the most powerful nation in South America. The Brazilian army wound up becoming the most modern, well equipped and well trained army in South America thanks to British training and support, and it wound up becoming a major driving force in Brazilian politics from that time forward. Anglo-Brazilian relations were thoroughly strengthened as a result of the conflict, leading to a strong trading relationship between the two nations that helped to ensure that Brazil would become a major economic and industrial powerhouse toward the end of the century. Meanwhile both Paraguay and Uruguay wound up becoming client states of the Brazilian empire by the beginning of the 20th century, marking the beginning of Brazilian dominance of the diplomatic arena in South America.


    So maybe somebody will give me a response this time? obviously with 206 views somebody is reading it, but it would be nice to get some feedback. Anyways enjoy the update.
  4. Nitzkrieg Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    I for one am enjoying it very much. You put a lot of detail in it, and while I'm no expert it seems good enough. I think the reason a lot of people aren't responding is that the Civil War is thought of as Done to Death. But there are those of us left who still enjoy a nice one. It's more interesting to see what happens post war, so continue and they will come.
  5. DuQuense Commisioned Officer CSN

    Jan 1, 2004
    Florida ,CSA
    Plausible ACW with British Entry, Except the CSA would have regained Virginia at the peace table.

    With less than 10,000 Men left in Paraguay, OTL, then if TTL was close to the Same, Any Brazilian Occupation will end in the Annexation of the territory.
  6. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania

    thanks :)

    actually I wasn't really interested in doing an exclusively ACW TL, the civil war is just the foundation of this one, but I figured you can't do a TL where the ACW goes considerably different without going into some detail about it. I actually plan on taking this well into the 20th century with some interesting "world wars" and political alignments.

    Point taken about virginia, however ITTL even with McClellan as president in 1865 animosity between the states is much greater as a result of a nastier series of events starting at the bloodier Harpers Ferry raid. Also the Union still had parts of Tennessee as a result of a similar to OTL western theatre (reduxed though), combined with excessive confederate BS at the negotiating table results in the Union having a "take it or leave it" attitude. In spite of early successes thanks to british entry the CSA is in very dire straights in 1866, they squandered their oppurtinities to gain more concessions by stalling for a year and at this point they are just glad to have what they do. I think this seems like a plausible reason to have Virginia stay in the Union, but if it's that ASB even with my explanation let me know, I'll see about making some changes.

    The WotTA went more quickly ITTL due to british participation, effectively I traded the Argentinians for the British(a good trade for the Brazilians:)). The war was still bloody, but not the meat grinder of OTL. Also I wanted to avoid pulling a Stirling and making nations annex smaller neighbors just to arbitratily have superstates later on. Plus I am trying to not wank Brazil too much. Paraguay is still going to be effectively subordinate to Brazil though.

    Thanks for the input
  7. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania
    After much delay here is part three:


    Watson Brown, first leader and founder of the Harpers Society

    From: Time Magazine Article Watson Brown: Hero or Villain? December 12, 1987

    Every time Twin Peaks comes out with yet another historical epic, the movie-going public is given yet another history lesson, albeit a most likely inaccurate and horribly abridged one, and Ronald Reagan's big budget Born Free, is no exception. Now to be clear, the star studded, special effect ridden juggernaut that Reagan has produced is very well made, the acting of Roger McCaddams, Lucy Masterson, and the rest of the cast is impeccable, and while Reagan's mainstay is blockbuster Sci-Fi films, he does an excellent job with a very different subject. However one must not confuse quality film making with historical accuracy, and while there are a good number of accurate facts portrayed in Born Free, there are at least as many inaccuracies as well. Granted it is accepted that some more mundane facts may get lost in favor of a more interesting story for the purpose of making an entertaining film, and of course the desire to elevate the motives and character of a particular person may also play a significant part in this as well so that the audience will have a clear view as to who the real hero is. However, sometimes history is far more muddled in terms of morals and facts, and sometimes the true story is just as interesting and dramatic as the fiction that is sold to us.
    McCaddams' Watson Brown is portrayed as a bachelor at the start of the film who then falls in love with Masterson's Mary Johnson; a slave woman who is freed during the Harpers Society's raids in South Carolina. The pair have excellent chemistry on screen and their romance is portrayed deftly by both actors, however the fact is that Brown was already married at the time of the Harpers Ferry raid, to one Isabella M. Thompson who was white, and they had two sons. It is a shame that this was not the relationship that was shown to moviegoers in stead, Watson's letters to Thompson are one of the key pieces of evidence that historians have used to figure out what kind of man Watson was, and Thompson's letters revealed that she was in fact a remarkably interesting woman as well. Her early letters to him revealed a troubled woman who missed her husband while he was away fighting for abolition, although she was ever the faithful wife at that time, it was quickly revealed in later letters that she was in fact becoming increasingly disenchanted with Watson's obsession. Some of her later letters spoke of his son Moses growing up without ever having even spoken with his father. She made repeated allusions to her own loneliness, and at one point she mentioned the possibility of getting a divorce. However in spite of this her love for him was amply demonstrated in her diary entry from the day that she heard of Watson's death on April 12, 1868 when she wrote:

    “.... I fear that as his[Watson's] life has come to an end, so too would mine were it not for the love of my children....”

    It is unfortunate that Mr. Reagan saw fit to remove such a compelling story from his narrative in favor of something that would be seen as “more glamorous” by the viewing public.
    The relationship between Brown and Thompson is also a good window into Watson's psychological journey from that fateful night at Harpers Ferry to the day of his death outside of Clover Hill, Alabama. Where Born Free portrays Brown as a loving husband to Johnson and caring father to his son Joseph, in reality Watson actually grew quite cold to Isabella and his children over the course of 1860, where his letters expressed more emotion and passion for the cause of abolition than for his wife and children. Strangely enough however, his diary seems to reflect stronger feelings for his family than he let on to them, he even goes so far as to contemplate giving up the cause to go back home:

    “....I long to see my children grow into men, and to hold my dear Isabella in my arms once again. Yet as much as each battle won seems to bring me closer to such a reunion, it feels as if every slave we free and every slave owner we kill is only one of many many more to come. This battle may never be over, perhaps it would simply better to leave the fighting to the generals and the armies in stead...”

    Although the film does hint at such sentiment in Brown with a couple short lines, for the most part this aspect of Watson Brown's life was ignored.
    The film also portrays Brown as a mere young idealist following his own father's crusade for freedom to all, but the death of his father and brothers at the hands of vicious and bloodthirsty Virginians changes his perspective on things and drives him to launch a roaring rampage of revenge against the entire Confederacy for the deaths of his father and brother. The local farmers and militia members at Harpers Ferry are portrayed almost as sadists who seem to actually take pleasure in killing the followers of John Brown, while it was one particularly sinister militia man who actually intentionally sets off the magazine at the armory when he believes that the raiders are going to get away. This portrayal is quite the blunt assault on confederate apologists who claim that it was Brown himself who set off the explosion at Harpers Ferry, and while much of the limited evidence that was retrieved by the investigators for the war department into the incident seems to conclude that the explosion was the fault of the locals, and not John Brown's party, there was never any indication that it was an intentional act by anyone on either side. In fact the war department investigation was quite explicit in drawing the conclusion that the explosion was the result of undisciplined weapons fire, and not some vicious act of vengeance.
    Born Free also indicated that Watson immediately began preparing to take his war to the Confederacy following the death of his father and brothers, however in reality Watson spent nearly a year hiding out in the Appalachian mountains before deciding to take up arms again. And while he did commit some minor attacks on plantation owners and freed a couple slaves here and there in the South, it wasn't until the start of the war that the true guerrilla war started. Meanwhile although the film portrays his decision to show mercy to women and children as well as the old and infirm is accurate, it fails to show the summary executions which became the preferred practice of The Harpers Society when dealing with Plantation owners. Nor did the film show how the Society would make plantation owning families stand outside and watch as he executed the able bodied men and then burned their houses to the ground as well. Granted, slave owners in the 1860's were hardly saints, but violent gun battles put up by the plantation owners in the films were a far cry from the way in which the Society actually racked up the body count for much of its early history.
    One thing the film did in fact get right was that the term terrorist was brought into popular parlance in America as a result of Watson Brown's raids. It was Jefferson Davis himself who first started labeling The Harpers Society as “Terrorists and murderous savages” which was the exact line spoken by Davis in the film. In fact Born Free seems to have gotten almost entirely correct the complete propaganda campaign that the Confederacy waged against the Society during the war, even going so far as to accurately reproduce wanted posters and pamphlets that were printed in 1864 by the Confederate government, right down to the accusations of witch craft and vicious mutilations of women and children.
    The role of Colonel Henry Wirth played excellently by Burt Reynolds, was an mix of both accuracy and fiction. Shown torturing slaves and suspected abolitionists with remarkable zeal, as well as going so far as to burn down a church with the parishioners still inside, he seems to represent all that was to be hated about the Confederacy. In actuality it seems that Wirth was based off of Henry Wirz, who was in charge of hunting Brown from 1862 onwards. While Wirz was quite the brutal pursuer(at one point some of his superiors thought that he was going too far and even reprimanded him for excessive force), there is no evidence to suggest that he ever ordered any church burned to the ground, much less one full of people, and the scene where he has over 200 slaves murdered and buried in a mass grave was a sensationalized version of an actual event. The true event took place just outside of Thomasville, North Carolina and only involved the execution of 12 slaves who were captured as part of a raiding party for the Harpers Society, rather than simply being unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as the film suggested. Although he is documented as having used torture regularly to obtain information, even going so far as to have one man tortured to death during one interrogation session in 1864, he was not quite the complete monster he was portrayed as in the film, and contrary to what the film shows he was not present at Clover Hill when Watson was killed, and in fact was recovering in a hospital in Raleigh from wounds sustained in a previous gun battle with members of the Harpers Society.
    Perhaps the biggest problem with Born Free is the way in which The Harper's Society's tactics are portrayed in the film. While they are shown gloriously freeing slaves and fighting oppression, which indeed they did do throughout their history, their choice of tactics on many occasions were not as laudable as their goals. To be sure the Confederacy did in fact use brutal tactics and committed more than their share of atrocities, and such a fact was clearly portrayed in the film, however the excessive uses of force by the Society were largely ignored as well. Although the Confederate government's propaganda against the Society and Brown did in fact include many exaggerations, the label of “terrorist” was not an exaggeration at all. On many occasions, the Societies battles with government authorities caused heavy civilian casualties, although some have argued that those deaths were as much the fault of overzealous Confederate troops as anyone else's, it does not change the fact that on a number of occasions the Society seemed to have little regard for the lives of innocent bystanders. What's more is the longer term effects of their guerrilla campaign which may be the worst effect that the Harpers Society had, and is arguably one of the worst effects of the First War Between the States. In spite of the very different motivation of the Ku Klux Klan, it is quite evident that they drew inspiration for their choice of tactics from the Harpers Society, and that the widespread violence occurring in the Confederacy in the 1870's and early 80's was largely as a result of the terror campaign of the Klan and because of fighting between both the Klan and the Harpers Society. In spite of that however, evidence does suggest that upon Watson's death the Harpers Society in fact became more violent, not less, and Watson made considerable efforts to curtail the influence of some of the more violent members of the Society, which is a fact that many of Brown's defenders point to repeatedly. Either way, the only thing not in dispute is that Ronald Reagan has yet another hit on his hands.

    “I have served my country in the most honorable and faithful way I could, if given the choice I would still have acted the way I did on that day. Today I weep for France, for fear that She is headed toward utter ruin, and I pray for Her, in the hopes that she will find a way out of her inevitable troubles.” -Louis Jules Trochu at his trial for high treason, August 12 1871

    From topic on The August 7th Plot:

    The August 7th plot, also known as the Trochu Affair in France, was an attempted coup in France that took place on August 7th 1871. The coup was orchestrated by a group of high level politicians and military officers lead by Louis Jules Trochu and Leon Gambetta both of whom acted out of what is believed to be a combination of their own personal ambition and the belief that Napoleon III's poor leadership had lead to France's Defeat in the Franco Prussian war and that he was going to lead the country toward even more ruin if he was not removed from power. Although the coup did succeed in assassinating the current emperor Napoleon III, it failed in capturing his son Louis Napoleon who together with imperial loyalists managed to defeat the conspirators when he along with Patrice De Mac-Mahon lead an army into the capital and arrested the conspirators who were quickly tried and executed for treason.
    Louis Napoleon managed to rally much support around himself following the attempted coup and upon his coronation in September he started a campaign to solidify his hold over the rest of the country. Patrice De Mac-Mahon rose to become marshal of France as a reward for his loyalty and would come to be the primary force which would shape the French army for years to come and his influence would be a major driving factor for the remainder of the century.

    From: A House Divided: The Wars Between the States, HarperCollins, 1974

    The years following the First War Between the States would mark a very troublesome and unsettling time for the Confederate States of America. The infant nation would undergo far worse growing pains following its inception than the original thirteen colonies ever had to following the American Revolutionary War. It would be marked by grievous missteps on the part of both its government and ruling classes, massive upheaval amongst the masses, and hostile isolation from nearly all foreign powers. Worse yet however was the fact that many within the ruling classes of fledgling country failed to even realize just how precarious the state of their nation was at the time.
    Following the Confederate victory in the war the entire populace celebrated with much enthusiasm for much of 1866 and 1867. Politically many things stayed the same throughout the nation, in spite of what many at the time thought, there was little to no desire within the populace or government at the time to make changes once independence was achieved. Quite to the contrary, in spite of heavy pressure from the British government, there was no momentum within the Confederate Congress to abolish or even limit the institution of slavery. The army was largely disbanded as it was treated as mostly a militia force rather than a standing army, and no state wanted to contribute the manpower or funds to support a large standing army. The status quo regarding the plantation owning aristocracy was strengthened shortly after the war, nearly all taxes and tariffs that were leveled against them were abolished either by Jefferson Davis or his successor James Lawrence Orr.


    Second President of the Confederacy, James Lawrence Orr

    Economically, things went from bad to worse; following the war many of the soldiers returned to find little to no work waiting for them as the Confederate economy was in a dire state as a result of the war. Worse still, the presence of slavery ensured a cheap source of labor that supplanted the need to hire paid white workers. The attempt by the confederate government to industrialize was almost completely abandoned after wars end, which only further contributed to the stagnation of the economy.
    In fact the only bright spot to be seen was the government policy of “reconstruction” which was meant to rebuild much of the damage done in the border states during the war. Unfortunately due to constant infighting amongst the different states within congress resulted in reconstruction being far smaller than it needed to be and failed to make even a noticeable dent in the massive unemployment and poverty afflicting the nation. On top of this Richmond continued to practice the policy of printing money to pay its bills as it had during the war, this lead to massive runaway inflation and wasn't stopped until 1871 after things got so bad that even the plantation owners began to feel the effects the crisis and put pressure on congress to make a change. Faced with a seemingly hopeless situation at home, many poor whites decided to try their luck by emigrating to the United States, however the US economy at the time was also suffering a big downturn and so the US congress passed the Davis-Cole act of 1869 which put severe limits on immigration from the Confederacy to the United States. On top of this came the Confederate congress passing the similar Oldham act meant to slow down the mass exodus of poor whites from the country, although the stated purpose was to keep escaped slaves making it over the border.


    A Confederate one million dollar bill, a rather large number of these were entered into circulation during the height of the hyperinflation crisis.

    Eventually a small but vocal and growing minority of poor and middle class whites became increasingly angry at both the plantation owners who they thought effectively controlled the government and manipulated it to keep everyone else in the country poor and disenfranchised, and the Confederate government who they viewed as corrupt and useless. Several movements sprang up across the Confederacy who advocated reform of the government. The most notable and successful of these groups was the Ku Klux Klan, which was established in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1869 by a group of disgruntled veterans who thought that they had been betrayed by the very government they had fought and suffered for during the war. Many of these veterans came to believe that the landed aristocracy had come to benefit most from the suffering and dying of the soldiers in the army, and that while they reaped the rewards of that sacrifice, the soldiers themselves suffered the most. As such one of their chief aims was the elimination of the plantation system and the abolition of slavery. However, this by no means meant that they felt any desire to achieve any form of equality or freedom for black slaves, in fact much of the rhetoric of the founding members of the Klan was rife with virulent racism. Unlike the Harpers Society who also wished to abolish both the plantation system and slavery itself, the Klan viewed blacks to be just as much the source of their problems as the plantation owners were. What the leaders of the Klan believed would be the ideal solution to such a problem wasn't fully explored for years to come, but some believed in forcing freed slaves to live in reservations like Native Americans, while others supported merely deporting all of them to other countries, or perhaps even to Liberia in Africa.
    For a couple years at first the Klan was merely a regional movement solely operating in Tennessee, however in 1872 former Confederate general George Gordon rose to prominence within the Klan and managed to become its leader. Gordon was one of the first members of the Klan and prior to its founding, he began reading Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto which he later claimed played a major part in his decision to join the Klan. He proved to be an able speaker and infused elements of Marx's own communist ideology into his own rhetoric. He managed to get some of the disparate parties within the Klan to put aside their differences and unify for a common goal, and by the end of the year he managed to unify nearly all of the various anti-aristocratic movements in the south under the banner of the Klan. From 1873 until 1875 it is estimated that the Klan increased its membership to nearly 400,000 men, which led its leadership to contemplate grander schemes. In 1876 Gordon attempted to bring the Klan into the arena of politics in both the state level as well as in Richmond, however he met with only minor success which Gordon and others within the Klan attributed to the “Rampant corruption in Richmond.” Believing that the lack of political success was a direct result of dirty tricks and underhanded tactics of the current political establishment the Klan increasingly turned to extralegal means to achieve their ends.
    Throughout the second half of the 1870's the Ku Klux Klan intimidated and threatened plantation owners, murdered and lynched freedmen and slaves, and carried out a violent terror campaign throughout much of the Confederacy in an effort to force Richmond to redress their grievances. The years from 1876 until 1883 were bloody indeed for the Klan as it battled both the authorities and the Harpers Society which it considered to be a bitter enemy. It wasn't until 1883 that the Confederate government came around to fully realize just how much of a problem Gordon and the Klan were and finally decided to put a stop to things once and for all. So in April of 1883 the Confederate government had war hero General James Longstreet prosecute a large scale campaign throughout Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama which were the states hardest hit by Klan related violence. After almost a year of fighting the Klan was severely weakened and George Gordon along with the majority of the Klan leadership was killed in a battle with government troops in Topeka, Kansas in 1883.
    Although the government and its supporters touted the defeat of the Klan as a great victory, it would prove to be only a temporary respite from internal strife as the Harpers Society would continue to wage a terror campaign of their own, and while the Ku Klux Klan may have been weakened, it was far from beaten, and would continue its own political agenda for years to come.


    again, comments and feedback are welcomed. Let me know what you think, and don't forget that I plan on taking this well into the 20th century, so expect many more updates.
  8. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

    Mar 10, 2004
    Helper Bonfires? A leftist Klan that rises up and attacks the CSA? This is fascinating stuff!
  9. Leistungsfähiger Amerikan Angry American with Guns

    Nov 27, 2008
    America City(Washington DC)
    Keep this up, it looks interesting.
  10. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania

    Thanks, I appreciate it, in reality a leftist klan isn't that much of a stretch under the circumstances. IOTL the klan showed up in response to freed black men and carpetbaggers, ITTL carpetbaggers have been replaced by the plantation owning aristocracy, and blacks are still targeted because slavery is rightly attributed as the cause of such economic troubles, racism just happens to be the irrational part of the equation, but then again the KKK was never all that rational IOTL either so it still fits.

    Thanks again :).

    keep your eyes pealed for the next update, I promise I'll have it by next week, it should include the beginning of the rematch between the states.
  11. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania
    From article on Alexander II of Russia:

    Alexander (Aleksandr) II Nikolaevich (Russian: Александр II Николаевич, Aleksandr II Nikolaevich) (29 April [O.S. 17 April] 1818, Moscow – 14 March 1895, Saint Petersburg), also known as Alexander the Liberator (Russian: Александр Освободитель, Aleksandr Osvoboditel') was the Emperor, or Czar, of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his death in 1895. He was also the Grand Duke of Finland and the King of Poland.


    Tsar Alexander II of Russia


    Assassination Attempts:

    Most remarkable of Alexander's reign was the number of assassination attempts on his life during his reign as Tsar of Russia. It is believed that he had survived an estimated 18 assassination attempts, most of which taking place during the 1860's and 1870's. Amongst these attempts at least six were perpetrated by the Narodnaya Volya which also was responsible for the the two attempts which came closest to succeeding.

    On March 6th 1879 the Narpdnaya Volya set a charge in the dining hall of the winter palace which successfully killed 14 people including the Tsar's eldest son Alexander who died after being impaled on a splintered piece of furniture. The bomb however failed to kill its intended target who stepped out just prior to the explosion.

    Just two years later on April 10th, 1881 the group attempted again.

    As he was known to do every Sunday for many years, the Tsar went to the Manezh to review the Life Guards. He traveled both to and from the Manezh in a closed carriage accompanied by six Cossacks with a seventh sitting on the coachman's left. The Tsar's carriage was followed by two sleighs carrying, among others, the chief of police and the chief of the Tsar's guards. The route, as always, was via the Catherine Canal and over the Pevchesky Bridge.
    The street was flanked by narrow sidewalks for the public. A young member of the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) movement, Nikolai Rysakov, was carrying a small white package wrapped in a handkerchief.
    "After a moment's hesitation I threw the bomb. I sent it under the horses' hooves in the supposition that it would blow up under the carriage...The explosion knocked me into the fence."[4]
    While the bomb did succeed in killing a cossack and wounding several bystanders, it failed to injure the Tsar who was shielded within his bullet proof carriage. A second young member of the group sent to kill the Tsar then threw another bomb at his feet as he exited the carriage, however the bomb failed to go off. Then a third bomb carried by Ignacy Hryniewiecki, threw another bomb but by this time Alexander was completely surrounded by cossacks and members of the local constabulary and so the bomb only succeeded in killing 5 police men and 2 cossacks while merely wounding the Tsar, who was quickly evacuated from the scene.

    Ironically enough this proved to be the last gasp of the Narpdnaya Volya, which quickly lost support in the following months and years. Also, had they succeeded in killing the Tsar he would have never had the chance to enact the Duma which had been in the planning stages for more than a year before the assassination attempt in April, and would become one of the primary building blocks for some of the most expansive reforms of late 19th and early 20th century Russia.


    Founding of the Duma

    Quite possibly the most far reaching and most significant of Alexander's achievements was the founding of the Duma which was the forebear to the modern Russian Parliament.

    After the assassination attempt in 1879, Alexander appointed distinguished General Count Mikhail Tarielovich Loris-Melikov to head the Supreme Executive Commission to deal with the domestic unrest within Russia. Unlike others in the Tsar's government, Melikov preferred to deal the problems at the root cause by eliminating the source of peoples grievances. Thus in 1880 he recommended to Alexander the idea of an elected parliament. Alexander was quite receptive to this idea, and in spite of at least two assassination attempts in the intervening period, on April 28th, 1881 he announced to the Russian people at large his plan to institute the Duma.. This in turn garnered much favor from the people and consequently cost revolutionary groups like the Narpdnaya Volya considerable support which lead to increased stability within Russia for the remainder of the century.

    At first the Duma had only minimal power and influence within the Russian government, with the help of Alexander who also enjoyed considerable influence on the floor of the Duma it would eventually become the primary mover and shaker by the first decade of the 20th century. Many reforms would take shape from within the walls of the Duma, chief amongst those would be the establishment of universal suffrage for all males over 20 in 1902, as well as the elimination of conscription except in times of dire national emergencies. The creation of the Duma would mark the beginning of the end for the Russian autocracy, and act as the bridge for Russia to move from absolute monarchy into a modern republic.

    From: The Southern Empire: Industry and Commerce in South America 1850 – 1900, Oxford Press, 1968

    It should be noted that one of the biggest factors in the quick ascendancy of Brazil and South America as a whole in the industrial world was in no small part due to the rise of the Brazilian Railroad Company. Although the growth of South America's economy is usually credited to Fletcher, Jennings, & Company establishing locomotive manufacturing facilities in São Paulo in 1875, in truth it was actually the foundation of the Brazilian Railroad Company a year earlier which lead to the English locomotive manufacturer to expand its operations to South America in the first place.

    The Brazilian Railroad Company was founded in early 1874 by Irineu Evangelista de Sousa with financial backing from the Rothschild family who had emigrated to Brazil after the ascension of Napoleon IV due to their connection to some of the conspirators in the August 7th plot. Although there did exist some railroad networks in Brazil at the time, they were merely regional lines and lacked any kind of unified gauge Less than a year after its founding the company managed to receive backing from Brazilian Emperor Pedro II as well as Peruvian President Mariano Prado to begin work on a trans continental railroad between Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and Lima, Peru. Pedro had a number of reasons to support the building a railroad on top of the obvious benefits to the economy and industry of Brazil. Chief amongst those was his decision to repeat the practice of offering incentives to slaveholders to sell their slaves into freedom so as to fill out the work force needed to build the railroad. This choice worked well and as a result, by 1880 nearly all slaves in Brazil were freed, and in 1881 Pedro signed a slavery emancipation into effect, officially ending the practice of slavery in Brazil.


    Irineu Evangelista de Sousa, considered the father of the Brazilian Transcontinental Railroad.

    For the first two years the construction went well and it looked as if things were going ahead of schedule, however in the third year a yellow fever outbreak caused severe delays in the construction schedule as heavy manpower losses cut deep into the overall construction effort, in fact in 1879, the track had only progressed a total of two hundred miles. However in 1881 the last length of track was laid and the rail line was completed. By the end of the decade the transcontinental railroad would be connected to every major railroad in South America.

    The immediate effects of the railroad were substantial in their own right. The addition of connecting lines to the main railroad helped facilitate the growth of many cities throughout Brazil as major train stations were established in them, and Brazilia became the primary rail hub of all of South America, which in turn resulted in it being the economic capital of the continent by the end of the century. Rio de Janeiro became the primary port through which commercial shipping traveled through due to its close proximity to São Paulo and the primary headquarters of the Brazilian Railroad Company, of course this was helped significantly due to so much shipping going through there as a result of the construction of the railroad in the first place.

    The Brazilian Transcontinental railroad upon its completion in 1881, originally the main transcontinental railroad was to be completed first with regional rail lines laid down to connect the coastal cities later, however delays due to disease resulted in both the main and regional lines being completed at roughly the same time.

    The secondary effects however were just as significant as the immediate ones. The elimination of nearly all slavery within the borders of Brazil helped to get rid of much of the dead weight holding back the modernization of the country. Rio de Janeiro became a crucial port in South America as a result of the railway, however Fletcher Jennings & Company built major ship building facilities there in 1887 due to the city's importance as a major port. These factors wound up combining to turn Rio de Janeiro from merely a major port into “The Gateway to South America.” Most of all was the fact that the transcontinental railroad was the catalyst that turned Brazil from a largely agrarian nation into an industrialized one, and in fact would be second only to the United States in industrial output by the end of the century in the western hemisphere.

    From Western Traditions, 5th Edition, Princeton University Press 1995

    It can be said that the first true arms race began in the 1850's, more than a century before the development of the first nuclear weapon. It was during the Crimean war that the first signs of this competition between nations first appeared. With the innovation of ironclad vessels which made their first appearance during that war. It was the superiority of steam powered ironclad vessels equipped with explosive shells that spelled the end of wooden warships.

    While England maintained absolute supremacy in terms of number of ships, France under Napoleon III decided that rather than attempt to outnumber the British at sea they would in stead attempt to out innovate them. Thus came the first oceangoing ironclad vessel; La Gloire which outclassed just about all other ships of the time, this would not last however. Meanwhile the British were not interested in falling behind the French, and thus commissioned ironclad vessels of their own that were to be superior to their French counterparts in every way, thus the HMS warrior was commissioned in 1860, soon Russia would follow suit as would the rest of Europe. It would be in 1863 that the first clash between ironclad ships would occur when the USS New Ironsides engaged the HMS Warrior in battle off the coast of Boston. The battle ended nominally in a draw that slightly favored the British, however it would still prove to be a watershed moment in naval history, for even though it did not kill the concept of wooden hulled warships, the battle did put the last nails in its coffin, and anyone who doubted this would soon eat their words after the Battle of Lissa which would in effect be the Battle of Thieves Ledge writ large.


    The French La Gloire was the first oceangoing ironclad.

    Following the American Civil War, things only sped up and got much more complicated. While the ironclad changed the way naval war was fought, the battleship only accelerated that change. And again the French led the way with the Redoutable which was fully armored and equipped with Barbettes for its main armament instead of relying on broadside firepower, it was also the first battleship to use steel extensively. The British quickly followed suit with battleships of their own, then the Germans and Italians, and then the Russians. Finally the United States entered the fray, not keen to see a repeat of the British invasion of New York and New Jersey, the War department began work to fully modernize the US navy. It would order six battleships to be built by the mid 1880's, the first was christened the USS Maine and would be the lead vessel of the Maine class, however the purchase by Brazil of four battleships of its own from the British in 1889 resulted in the war department ordering an additional four which brought the grand total up to ten battleships which would bring the US onto the scene is a major player amongst great naval powers of the world.


    The USS Maine was the first American Battleship, and was far from the last.

    Meanwhile on land things were heating up too, modern industrial techniques had advanced to the point that armies no longer had to rely on massed formations of men wielding mussel loading weapons, in stead the breech loading repeating rifle had come into play as the mainstay of all modern armies by the 1870's. These new rifles spelled the end of traditional tried and true tactics that had been used in the Crimean and American Civil wars of the 50's and 60's and required a major shift in the tactical doctrine of all modern armies.

    While the United states may have been playing catchup with the other nations in naval technology and tactics, by the late sixties and early seventies it was a leader in terms of superior equipment and tactics on land. This is largely owed to the foresight of General Robert Gould Shaw, who was put in charge of the US war department bureau of ordinance following the American Civil War. During the war he had served extensively in front line units and was also present for the Battle of Sharpsburg which was one of the bloodiest of the war, he is known to have said that his experience during the war lead him to the conclusion that better techniques had to be developed to reduce the number of battlefield casualties. As such upon being promoted to the rank of brigadier general by the end of the war he used his families political connections to get appointed to head of ordinance. Once there he quickly began reversing or changing many of the policies of his predecessor Brig. Gen. James Wolfe Ripley. He is credited with having the US army standardize to the Springfield model 1869 rifle. He is also credited with facilitating the widespread acceptance of the gatling gun by the war department, as well as the rifled breech loading field gun. It is believed that reports of the Battle of Valley Forge along with the US war department's adoption of the Gatling gun lead to both France and England adopting it as well. This of course resulted in similar changes within the armies of Germany, Russia, and Austria Hungary as all of the major powers scrambled to modernize their land armies as well. It is of considerable significance to note that the armies of these nations looked very different in 1880 than they did in 1860.


    Robert Gould Shaw is considered by many to be the father of modern warfare.

    However, Shaw's biggest contribution to warfare is the adoption of the first armored combat vehicles. In 1878 he was exchanging regular correspondence with noted inventor Richard Gatling when the subject of troop protection came up, in one of his letters to Gatling, Shaw mentioned the idea of housing troops within a large armored shell, much like an ironclad. Gatling then suggested the idea of marrying a steam engine to the apparatus, eighteen months later the first prototype steam tank was built. By 1882 the US army had ordered 50 of them built. However Shaw and Gatling could never get enough funding for larger numbers of tanks, and they only saw limited service during the Second War Between the States, following their use in that war, they would become much more widely accepted which was the first step toward modern armored warfare.


    The first steam tank was only armed with a gatling gun and had only a crew of three. It received the name tank when one of its drivers referred to it as “a giant tank full of steam” referring to the sweltering conditions within the crew compartment.

    From: Baptism of Fire: Birth of a Nation, Harper Collins, 1973

    Following the First War Between the States the political landscape underwent some drastic changes in the Union. While at the start of the war the Republican party enjoyed a nearly insurmountable level of control over the government, as the war progressed they suffered major setbacks in the polls. The protracted and bloody nature of the war along with the inability of the US army to make significant ground for much of the war caused a heavy backlash against Abraham Lincoln and the Republican party. Seizing upon this discontent, the Democratic party lead by George B. McClellan managed to almost completely eliminate republican majorities in the house and senate, and take back the White house, they would proceed to seize both houses in the subsequent election in 1866. So far was the republican fall from grace that they failed to re enter the white house until 1884, and they were not in the majority in either house of congress until 1886. In fact the only thing which prevented their fortunes from being worse was the ineptitude of the democrats to capitalize on their gains for anything but the most temporary of advantages.

    The presidential election of 1868 is interesting in that it marked the last time a member of a non major party would win the white house. Following the inability of McClellan to deliver on his promise of peace for nearly a year after being elected along with the panic of 1867, both he and the Democratic party struggled to garner much support at the polls. While the Republican party put forward famous war hero Ulysses S. Grant, the New Whig party had Washington Hunt who left the Democrats to run in opposition to the incumbent McClellan on a platform of reform and change in Washington. This election is noted for being exceptionally close and is the only election to have been decided by congress. Meanwhile the Democrats maintained a narrow margin in both houses of congress, and the new whigs picked up only 8 seats in the house and two in the senate. In spite of a largely hostile congress, Hunt's presidency is regarded as one of the more successful and productive ones in American history, and he managed to gain re-election in 1872 as well. His presidency is noteworthy for taking place during the passage of both the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments. The thirteenth amendment firmly established the limits of states rights and expressly prohibited the right of states to secede from the Union, in spite of Hunt's strong urging to congress not to pass the amendment, he uncharacteristically failed to persuade enough lawmakers to defeat it, this marked one of the few failures of his presidency. The passage of the thirteenth amendment then paved the way for congress to securely pass the fourteenth which outlawed slavery without risk of any further secession. The remainder of Hunt's presidency was marked by strong economic expansion, reduction in trade tariffs, and a strong focus on national defense and political corruption.

    Unfortunately for the whigs, the success of President Hunt did not translate well into success for the overall party, and by 1890 the New Whig party followed it's predecessor and collapsed. The democrats meanwhile were in the midst of an identity crisis, the outbreak of the war caused a major split in the party between the war democrats who supported many of Abraham Lincoln's policies during the war, and the peace democrats who were more friendly toward the Confederacy. Following the war there was a strong backlash against the confederacy and its supporters, and in spite of the democrat's early successes as a result of war weariness of the American public, the peace faction grew increasingly unpopular, and following their poor showing in the election of 1868 many democrats and some moderate republicans began realigning their political stances to garner support, and thus the northern democrat was born. Drawing on disenchantment with the republicans for the loss of the war, fear of foreign invasion, and the pervasive anti-confederate feelings throughout the nation, the northern democrats built support upon the ideas of states rights, strong national defense, and an aggressive approach toward the “southern menace” of the Confederacy. Using these key platform issues the northern democrats managed to regain many of the losses of 1868 and 1870, and held a comfortable majority for the next few congressional elections, as well as allowing Samuel Tilden to take the white house in the election of 1876.


    18th president of the United States, Washington Hunt

    The republicans were not content to simply hold the minority and many republican politicians in the late 60's tapped into the strong anti-confederate feelings of the time and used it to push the platform issue of civil rights, under the guise of thumbing their nose at the slave owning south, the republicans pushed a number of civil rights laws into effect in the late 70's and early 80's. Most notable of which were the Plat-Gorman Act which outlawed segregation of federal facilities and hospitals, and much more importantly the integration of the military in 1884. Although these laws did cause riots in cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Saint Louis, the republicans managed to finally take the white house in 1884 when William B. Allison was elected president, and then gained a majority in the house in 1886.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  12. SilverSwimmer Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2009
    Very interesting timeline DRtG.

    That picture of the steam tank is freakin' awesome!! :D
  13. imperialaquila Aspiring Thru-Hiker

    Feb 28, 2010
    Happy Valley
    I like this TL so far. Also, I'm not too hopeful about steam tanks, awesome though they may be; one artillery shell hits the boiler and KA-BOOM! No more steam tank.

    One minor nitpick: The president has nothing to do with amending the Constitution; only Congress and the state legislatures can approve a constitutional amendment. There is no such thing a a presidential veto of a constitutional amendment.
  14. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania

    thanks a lot, I'm glad you liked it, that picture is why the last update showed up today in stead of two days ago(gotta remember that jpeg's don't have an alpha channel when I'm compositing something :mad:)

    I promised some steampunk elements and thus I delivered, I mean what's the point of having a TL with some steampunk unless you are gonna have some wicked pics of some badass steam tanks or dirigible battleships (I might fit that in too if I can make it work realistically.)

    oopse, my bad I gotta double check my facts a bit better then, anyways it's been fixed.

    As far as the steam tanks go, awsome as they may be there will be some limitations on how effective they are right away, *spoiler* they're going to be slightly more reliable than a king tiger *spoiler* in regards to the artillery problem, hasn't that always been a weakness of tanks? I mean isn't an Abrams tank effectively susceptible to blowing up if directly hit by a high calibre artillery shell? I always figured that a tank's defense against artillery was its mobility. Either way I intend their use in the upcoming ACW rematch to have much bigger effects some time down the line rather than on the ACW II, not to say that they won't have some kind of effect on the war.

    Thanks again for the feedback and the encouragement, I really appreciate it, and it's encouraging to see that people are reading my TL.
  15. Nonfiction Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    please continue, this is awesome!
  16. imperialaquila Aspiring Thru-Hiker

    Feb 28, 2010
    Happy Valley
    Glad to help.

    After thinking about steam tanks, I realized you're right about the vulnerability of the engines, but I also realized that steam tanks would need to be very big to carry all of the coal they'll need to run for any reasonable length of time. Which makes them slower due to sheer size. Which combine to make them sitting ducks for any competent artilleryman. Also, you'd need a very big crew to man the engine, not to mention handle the gun. To make a good tank, you need gasoline engines for their compactness. Steam tanks are an awesome concept but not so good in the execution.
  17. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania

    Well, I based the size of the steam tanks of TTL on the size of steam powered tractors of OTL, they didn't have massive coal hoppers for storage and I'm pretty sure they didn't require large crews to operate them. That's the best I have to work with, since tank development was an offshoot of tractor development OTL IIRC, keep in mind that unlike steam locomotives, steam tanks do not need the massive towing capacity, they merely need to carry their own weight, and the distances they need to travel are far shorter that a train would need to travel, I believe that armies would tow them behind teams of oxen or horses between battles, both because they don't carry enough coal for the job, and because some of them will be broken down quite often.

    And like I said their impact will be much more noticeable in the future, the very next conflict will merely be a testing ground for the concept of armored warfare which will show certain people the potential of motorized armored vehicles in fighting wars. *spoiler*this will be most noticeable in TTL's analogue of WWI when only a couple nations adopt armored warfare going into the war, which will be obviously the US, and the European nation which gets involved in the second war between the states, *hint*it isn't going to be the UK*spoiler* Now I'm not trying to argue with you so much as asking you to hold your skepticism until you see what happens when the first tanks see combat, wanking is the last thing I want to do in this TL, much less steam punk wanking.

    thanks much, update will be posted either tomorrow or thursday.
  18. SilverSwimmer Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2009
    I have to agree, however, i think that when tested in the battlefield, although it might be quickly found very cumbersome and not quite as effective as planned, the leaders and thinkers will find the potential for such a machine like this, possibly quickening the innovation of such engines and other inventions. The steamtank will most likely be a fluke of a weapon, but it will be the start of an earlier tank innovation, and motor vehicles in general.

    Plus, its freaking awesome :D Go steampunk!
  19. W.W.A.F.T. World Wide Awards For Tailors

    Jun 27, 2009
    excellent work, I especially like the long updates.

    I have a few of questions though:

    first, you said that the confederate government is in richmond, when the US retained that state.

    second, you say general gordon was killed in kansas, also a union state.

    third, wasn't brasilia founded in 1960?
  20. Dan Reilly The Great Well-Known Member

    Dec 6, 2008
    The Frigid Tundras of Pennsylvania

    thanks for the proof reading, first issue was a typo, I keep getting stuck thinking of the CSA in OTL terms and forgetting that virginia is part of the union, I meant to put it in Atlanta.

    Second part: another brain fart on my part, that's supposed to be alabama.

    As for the third part: well shit...:( I figured that being it was the capital of the whole country it would have been there for a long while, like most other national capitals in the world, it never occurred to me to double check that fact, well I don't really want to have to redo that map, perhaps I'll justify it by having Pedro move the capital after the War of the Triple Alliance, or maybe I'll go back and fix the damn map.

    Thanks again for proof reading me, I'll go in and fix those bugs before putting in the next update. But in the meanwhile here are some preview pics from the next update to wet your appetites.

    First is a pic of this TL's Canadian Flag, also the next update will include a part regarding the political situation in Canada and the UK following the war.


    And here is a map of the US and its controlled territories from 1892 following the second war between the states. The year may be pushed back later if it conflicts with how the TL turns out.


    See if you can guess why the the US is occupying the non confederate states before I post the next update, if you can figure it out you get a cookie*

    EDIT: can't change that post, I'll have to fix it in the cleaned up version, either way the changes are as follows: the Confederate capital is in Atlanta, Gordon was killed in Tuscaloosa Alabama, and the capital of Brazil is Rio De Janeiro, the subsequent posts in this version will reflect this. Thanks WWAFT for the assist.

    *you don't actually get a cookie

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010