Until every drop of blood is paid - A more radical American Civil War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Red_Galiray, Sep 6, 2018.

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  1. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    What conditions are needed exactly for Lincoln to make emancipation a war goal?
     
  2. Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    Principally, establish firm control over the Border South so that secession is not a threat anymore (guerrillas will probably continue), have an army big enough to enforce this control, and have a stable and strong administration that can withstand the expected backlash, which can be achieved through military success. And, of course, for Lincoln to radicalize some more. He's more radical indeed, but he's no Thaddeus Stevens, not yet. And remember, Lincoln is a master of realpolitiks. He will consider every detail and every possible political consequence before taking such a tremendous step. But the main issue right now is that he needs to have the Border on his side. Once Union control over Kentucky and Missouri is no longer a concern, he is free to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
     
  3. Meshakhad Room of Hungry Mossad Interns

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    Engels might be the organizer, which might be enough for it to be called "Engels' Brigade" which turns into the "Red Angels". Or not. Willich could end up in command of said brigade. This might be enough for Engels to end up moving to the US permanently. As others have said, I'd find the notion of this pushing the US towards socialism early quite charming.

    Here's a particular thread to work on: when Lincoln finally begins pushing into the South, he enacts some version of the "40 acres and a mule" plan, seizing land from southern slaveowners and distributing it to freedmen. Engels and his people comes down on the heels of the Red Angels Brigade, and begin organizing the freedmen into farming cooperatives. The American South - and especially the Black Belt - becomes a bastion of American socialism.
     
  4. KidCabralista Cape Verde's Unofficial Wikipedia Meister

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    Freedmen and poor white farmers seem like a receptive demographic to some form of socialistic message - it might even help to firmly unite the two groups against a common enemy in the large landholding slavers that kept both of them down.
     
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  5. Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    I am open to this idea. My only concern is whether Engels showed any interest at all in taking part in the ACW, either as a commander or organizing a brigade. I suppose he could help organize the brigade of First Internationale Volunteers some were talking about. But would he be interested in that? Also, would Lincoln accept a First Internationale Workers' Brigade? The Republican party does have a pro-labor undercurrent, and I can see them turning from fighting slavery to fighting wage slavery. It's possible that after the war, Conservative Republicans become a center-right party that supports ending Reconstruction and low tariffs, while Liberal Republicans become a kind of socialist party.

    I really like the idea of organizing the freedmen into farming communities.
     
  6. KidCabralista Cape Verde's Unofficial Wikipedia Meister

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    I mentioned this earlier, but something akin to that actually happened in Texas with the military-backed (initially) Freedom Colonies - perhaps Willich does such a project throughout the South?
     
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  7. Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    Yeah, that sounds great!
     
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  8. Meshakhad Room of Hungry Mossad Interns

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    You realize that if you don't do it yourself, I'll have to write a follow-up timeline where the United States goes full socialist and becomes the standard-bearer for Marxism around the world.
     
  9. Daztur Seoulite

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    For Native Americans I can't help but think that DC falling pushes them towards the slavers. It's obviously in their interest for the USA to be taken down a peg, the US army in the north is going to be stripped bare and the slavers doing better makes supporting them seem less risky.

    Native Americans being more involved in the war also opens up the option of giving freed slaves 40 acres and a mule at the expense of Native Americans instead of planters, with the slavers' land being turned over to unionist Appalachian whites instead. That'd give the Republicans some large supportive voting blocs at the expense of making Native American policy that much more genocidal.
     
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  10. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

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    It's comical to me how fast everyone is jumping on board doing stuff decades down the line. It's the same kind of overreacting you see at the start of a sports season. :)

    Seriously, red has said he will not be covering Native American relations because he doesn't know as much about them and because he is focused on the Civil War. I am reminded, to continue the sports analogy, of when we did a serpentine draft of presidents going up and down each row selecting them to do a major 20-page paper in high school government class. Lincoln fell to me at 12th partly because I think seniors were worried that they would have to do a paper on the Civil War as well as Lincoln's presidency. Even though that's almost all there was when I did my paper.
     
  11. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    Actually on that note, what IS stopping the border slave states like Kentucky from joining the rebellion right now?
     
  12. Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    That's the subject of the next chapter.
     
  13. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    If Marx with/or someone else come to the us with volunteer regiments we could easily see the grounding of communist movements emerge and there leaders especially if they intermingle with regular union units
     
  14. TC9078 Empire

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    Kentucky's legislature was very pro-union: they told their pro-neutrality governor to get bent several times.
     
  15. Threadmarks: Mini-updates 2: "We have a Manifest Destiny to perform."

    Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    The dream of a Southern industrial nation faded away after several failures at the start of the decade. Instead, a new vision arose, one that envisioned a Southern empire stretching from Dixie to the Patagonia, with control of every foot of land in between, where slavery could grow and thrive.

    Southerners started to dream of this Southern Empire. If they could not equal the North through industry, they could do so through expansion. In their eyes, slavery was not the corrupting force abolitionists claimed it was. It was benign, a social and political blessing that elevated whites and allowed progress and prosperity, social order and morality. White Supremacy made even poor whites feel secure, for no matter how low they were, they were still better than the Negroes. And such a sacred institution needed to expand. Otherwise, it would ultimately suffer the fate moderate Republicans thought it deserved: ultimate extinction.

    The battle for expanding slavery to the western territories was a dramatic one that occupied the attention of most of the nation during the 1850’s. From the Compromise of 1850 to Bleeding Kansas, this battle defined the anti-slavery and pro-slavery movements, and is one of the direct causes of the Civil War. Southerners did achieve a major victory by admitting Kansas as a Slave State. But the prospects for getting more slaves out of the Mexican cession were dim. Territories like Arizona and New Mexico were not promising. Further south, however, laid fertile tropical territories.

    The riches of Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico; the tropical wonders of Central America; and the little developed but ripe for taking Mexican provinces. A delegate to a Commercial Convention toasted "To the Southern republic bounded on the north by the Mason and Dixon line and on the south by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, including Cuba and all other lands on our southern shore”, while the Yankee John L. O’Sullivan, an unlikely filibuster, expressed that the South wanted “more, more, more!”, until “the entire boundless continent is ours.” To Yankees that opposed further expansion, a Louisiana newspaper answered that no more territories for slavery “is almost as senseless as ‘No More Sun.’ . . . The Negro in a hot clime, where white men can with difficulty labor in the broiling sun, is an agricultural and commercial necessity.” A Virginian agreed, expressing that he saw a “nobler destiny for the South . . . than awaits any other people” in the development of “the labor of the African under the direction of the intelligent Southerner” in the Caribbean and South America.

    The South and some expansionists Democrats who believed in Manifest Destiny cast lusty eyes over these territories, which they wanted to take, either through official means, or through bloodshed and rebellion. First, they tried diplomacy.

    Just after finishing the Mexican War, President Polk said that he was “decidedly in favour of purchasing Cuba & making it one of the States of [the] Union.” Southerners expressed great excitement for the idea. Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis, who would later become the Confederacy’s Secretary of War, declared that the Gulf of Mexico was “a basin of water belonging to the United States”, and for that reason Cuba “must be ours.” His fellow Mississippi Senator Albert Gallatin Brown declared: “I want Cuba, and I know that sooner or later we must have it", while newspapers printed columns detailing how control of Cuba would give the US control of “the commerce of the world, and with that, the power of the world."

    Some Southerners also wanted Cuba because they believed Spain was going to enact emancipation at the bequest of Lord Palmerston. If the Cuban slaves were liberated, the island would become another “Santo Domingo”. An overseer said that he would rather conquer Cuba than see it become “a howling desert”, while Alexander Stephens exclaimed that Americans should do everything to prevent Cuba from becoming “a Negro State”. The presence of such a State so close to the Union would be an existential threat to the South. And so, despite some misgivings by planters who feared competition by Cuban planters, the South set off in a mission to take the Pearl of the West Indies.

    Polk’s official efforts were frustrated by the clumsiness of his Minister to Spain, who offered 100 million USD but was rebuked by the Spaniards, who declared that they would rather see Cuba sink to the bottom of the ocean than sell it to the US. Stephens described it as a peddler going to the Palace and asking the Queen “Madame, have you got any islands for sale today?” Even if Polk’s ambassador has succeeded, it’s unlikely that Congress would have approved any treaty, especially after the debate the Wilmot Proviso and the fate of the Mexican cession had caused. The election of Zachary Taylor as a Whig ended official efforts for the time being.

    Southerners were undaunted. They meant to pull of a “Texas” by liberating Cuba, reversing the Spanish efforts to “Africanize” the island, and then asking for annexation to the United States. For that purpose, they organized regiments of “filibusters” (from the Spanish filibustero), armed bands that sought to conquer more land by armed forces. Though illegal due to the Neutrality Act, filibusters received wide support by the public and sometimes by elected officials such as Senators and Governors. In the years following the Mexican War, most interest focused in Cuba, and in the South’s dashing champion, Narciso Lopez.

    [​IMG]
    Narciso Lopez

    His first two expeditions ended stillborn and in disaster respectively. The first was stopped by the Taylor administration, after which Lopez went South and appealed to Governor Quitman of Mississippi, who couldn’t lead the expedition but helped Lopez raise arms and money. Lopez parted from New Orleans, and landed in Cuba, managing to capture the small town of Cardenas, before being driven off by the Spaniards. The Taylor administration’s efforts to indict Quitman and Lopez for violating the Neutrality Act also ended in farce – no Southern jury could be convinced to convict them.

    Lopez’s romantic adventured met a grim end with his last expedition in 1851. He landed with 420 men, including John J. Crittenden’s nephew, William. The Spanish authorities quickly subdued them, killing some 200 in several battles and capturing both Lopez and Crittenden. They executed the first by garrote in La Habana, while the second died in front of a shooting squad, together with 50 of his compatriots. These actions awakened the anger of the Americans, who rioted and destroyed Spanish newspapers and business. More insulting for the Spanish government was an attack on the Spanish consulate at New Orleans, where Americans destroyed the installations, shredded the Rojigualda and defaced a painting of the Queen.

    The Minister of Spain to the US, Calderón de la Barca, warned Secretary of State Daniel Webster that Spain “could do no less than sustain, at all hazards, the honor of the Castilian flag.” Spain demanded compensation to her citizens and an end to filibustering. The whole affair profoundly embarrassed President Fillmore, who had only taken the helm after Taylor’s death. Despite hawkish calls for war by several officials who wanted to “seize Cuba at once!”, Fillmore and Webster limited themselves to friendly overtures towards Spain. Weakening the Americans’ position was the fact that the State Department had several times insisted on the right of any country to try foreign filibusters, and also the fact that Spain had 173 prisoners. The Fillmore administration finally managed to calm down the furious Spaniards, and the Queen pardoned the prisoners.

    Shortly after this drama, another soldier of fortune made headlines through similar efforts. William Walker was a short man, known for his piercing green-gray eyes and his thirst for glory and adventure. In 1853, Walker and his band of Californians invaded Baja California. Their objective was Sonora and its mineral riches, but the ill-fated expedition ended up in failure. Mexican attacks plus desertions finally compelled Walker to return to the US. This was but the start of his career, which would reach new highs and also new lows in the following years, when a friendlier administration took office.

    The election of Franklin Pierce had revived official efforts. Though the Democratic Party would end up splitting over the Slavery question, most Democrats could agree that Manifest Destiny was a positive good that ought to be enacted. Democratic leader Stephen A. Douglas was, for instance, a champion of the nationalistic Young America movement that sought to expand the nation. Pushing against these efforts were Northerners who were conscious that expansion would augment the South’s political and economical power.

    Manifest Destiny was still popular among Americans, including Republicans who envisioned a different version of it. For Republicans, expansion should bring light and civilization to forgotten and decaying regions, besides also generate profits for White Americans. The Blairs believed in colonization of liberated slaves because that would create "rich colonies under our protection” which could be used “likely in the end, to appropriate the whole region to our use." They firmly believed that Central America had to be the US’ “India”, but also that establishing colonies of Freedmen would prevent the South from establishing slave colonies.

    Pierce was not shy about his objectives. “The policy of my Administration will not be controlled by any timid forebodings of evil from expansion," he declared. “Our position on the globe, render the acquisition of certain possessions . . . eminently important for our protection.” Despite this, Pierce’s efforts to purchase Cuba proved to be as fruitless as Polk’s, and his Minister just as or perhaps more incompetent. A violent man very conscious of his honor, Pierre Soulé was a firebrand who lacked the tact or subtlety to work the intricate paths of diplomacy. His initial efforts bordered on comical, and included ignored ultimatums and pointless duels. Yet the administration continued its efforts, instructing Soulé by saying that Cuba had to “be released from its present Colonial subjection."

    For this objective, Pierce recruited Quitman, who joyfully declared that it was time "to strike with effect, after the fashion of Texas.” Weapons and men were raised, and Senator Slidell of Louisiana introduced a motion to suspend the Neutrality Act. But just like Lopez’s expedition, Quitman’s ended in disappointment, this time not because of the Spaniards but of Pierce, who, having spent all his political capital on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and following the disastrous 1854 midterms, could not risk another disaster. The Nebraska act had “deprived the administration of the strength which was needed & could have been much more profitably used for the acquisition of Cuba,” reported the Secretary of State.

    [​IMG]
    John A. Quitman​

    Still, Soulé would continue bringing up the issue with his blunders. The gravest and most consequential of them was the Ostend Manifesto. Signed by Soulé, the Minister to Britain James Buchanan and the Minister to France John Mason, the Manifesto declared that Cuba was an “essential part” of the “family of states” that formed the US, and that the American nation would never allow Cuba “to be Africanized and become a second St. Domingo (Haiti), with all its attendant horrors to the white race, and suffer the flames to extend to our own neighboring shores.” If Spain still refused to sell, then "by every law, human and Divine, we shall be justified in wresting it from Spain."

    The Manifesto caused a great reaction throughout the North. It was denounced as a “Manifesto of the Brigands”, a plea “to grasp, to rob, to murder”. The New York Evening Post called it atrocious, while newly elected Illinois Senator Abraham Lincoln expressed disgust at the idea of more territory being taken for “the unjust expansion of slave labor.” His fellow Republican, Senator Seward, was more imperialistic, but while he supported the right of the US to the Caribbean and “distant islands on either ocean”, he expressed that such expansion had to be for the benefit of “civilization and the rights of man.” Following the disaster of 1854, Pierce had lost so much prestige and power that he could simply not afford to undertake more filibustering enterprises. Soulé was pressured to resign, and official efforts ended. The next president, Buchanan, was a fellow Democrat who exposed similar rhetoric. “The destiny of our race is to . . . flow South,” he said, “nothing can eventually arrest its progress.” Yet the events that plagued and crippled his government would prevent all but feeble efforts that were energetically rejected by most lawmakers.

    Paralegal efforts would continue. After the dramatic standoff between Governor Geary and the Kansas Border Ruffians, Quitman was emboldened again. Denouncing the Northern abolitionist and concluding that the only route of expansion and thus survival for the South was in Cuba, Quitman organized yet another expedition in 1856. Having just angered the South with his support for Geary and his failure to arrest him, Buchanan threaded with caution and did not interfere with Quitman, who landed in Cuba in 1856, trying to link up with several revolutionaries. Spanish troops would end up trapping the Cubans and the Americans. Quitman and some of his men tried a desperate race to an American schooner, but they were captured. The former Mississippi governor was subsequently executed by garrote.

    The South blazed with fury. Buchanan had failed to punish a Yankee brigand, and had allowed a Southern hero to be executed. Calls for war started again, as well as riots. Nowhere was the reaction stronger than in New Orleans, which wanted to become “the great commercial focus for Mexico, Central America, and the western states of South America.” In their view, “the Yankees’ railroads” had been destroying New Orleans’ “lifeblood commerce”, and it was a nccesity to conquer more lands so that the Delta City could retake its place as the center of American commerce. For this reason, they had supported Lopez, and then Quitman. And even though Quitman was from Mississippi, Louisiana treated him and mourned him as if he were one of her sons.

    In this she was joined by the South. From the Rio Grande to the Potomac came cries against Buchanan and the Yankees. These Yankees, for their part, denounced Quitman as a “brigand… a ruffian and a pirate”. A furious Senator Robert M. T. Hunter said that he was “appalled by the monstrous lack of respect” the Yankees showed, while New Orleans and Virginia newspapers denounced “Yankee insolence, which applauds the crimes of Osawatomie but disrespects an exemplar gentleman.” Quitman’s death ultimately faded into the background due to the Dredd Scott decision and the conflict regarding the admission of Kansas, but it remained in the back of the people’s minds. “Should Kansas be sullied by the chains of the Slavocracy,” an Illinois newspaper reported, “we can expect a thousand more brigands such as Quitman to attack and pillage.”

    With two of her champions dead, the South turned to her new favorite soon: William Walker. “The Green-eyed man of Destiny”, as he was called by newspapers, was now ready for a new adventure, this time further to the South. He and several American investors eyed Central America. Submerged in political chaos and instability, with fertile land fit for tropical production that couldn’t be developed by the sparse Mestizo population, Central America seemed ready for Southern civilization and institutions.

    Walker decided to intervene in Nicaragua’s civil war, allying himself with the rebels who opposed the government’s Legitimists. Walker’s filibusters triumphed, and he and his faction assumed control of Nicaragua, with Walker as commander of chief. By 1856 he had around 2,000 Americans with him, and Pierce had offered diplomatic recognition. Besides the South’s dreams of empire, Walker intervention benefitted American geopolitical goals. The US and Britain were in a constant struggle to establish dominance over the Caribbean, and the Britons had supported the Legitimists. With Walker’s victory, Nicaragua would fall into the US’ sphere of influence and be opened to American investment, travel, and maybe other projects such as a canal. The last was especially of interest to Cornelius Vanderbilt, the owner of the Accessory Transit Company that sought to establish a route between New York and San Francisco.

    Thousands of people took the grants offered by Walker. The South had taken interest in the enterprise. The failures at Cuba and Mexico convinced them that Nicaragua was their best bet for expansion. "A barbarous people can never become civilized without the salutary apprenticeship which slavery secured," declared a New Orleans newspaper, while others insisted that slavery would secure “the safe development of the mineral and agricultural riches of Nicaragua.” Walker intended to bind Nicaragua to the South, and in the aftermath of Dredd Scott, that angered the North. The Pierce administration had already withdrawn support, and the Buchanan administration didn’t seem likely to give it again.

    In 1856, Walker decided to gamble by legalizing slavery in Nicaragua. The gamble worked, and thousands of Southerners rallied to his banners. But it was too late. The other countries of Central America united against Walker. Even the President of Nicaragua deserted him, upon which Walker took over as President, a movement that never was quite recognized – he was known as “the Usurper.” His army succumbed, and Walker fled to the US. After a year, he was ready to try again, but was stopped by Commodore Hiram Paulding. Paulding’s actions created a national debate. Happening in 1857, just when Kansas was taking a bloodier turn, the affair drew criticism from Northerners who considered Walker a pirate, and Southerners who viewed him as a hero.

    A second tour of the South raised enough resources for a third attempt. Like the Spaniards, the Central Americans had learned how to deal with filibusters. It was 1858, and Yankees had also lost their patience following the admission of Kansas as a slave state. “The Slave Power has extended its hands over Kansas,” wrote a Free-Soiler, “we cannot, we must not allow it to take another inch of land.” For that reason, Republicans, who had taken the House and denied the Democrats’ a majority in the Senate, refused to prosecute Paulding’s “high handed outrage” (as the South described it), and also to rescue Walker again. A British ship finally took him in, but instead of going to the US, it handed him over to Honduras, which summarily executed him.

    [​IMG]
    William Walker

    “The blood of Walker is in the hands of the North”, declared a Georgia newspaper. Throughout the South many protested. In their view, Walker’s “noble goals” had been frustrated by Yankee interference, and his life had been ended by Republicans. A popular caricature depicted Lincoln (fresh from his victory over Douglas) and Seward as his executioners. The outrage died down towards the end of the year, but it reappeared after John Brown’s execution, next year. “The North stands up in open ovation of a traitor,” said a Virginia legislator, “yet it carries off the execution of noble men like Walker and Quitman.”

    Filibustering had major effects on several people’s perception of the United States, leaving behind a legacy of hostility and mistrust. But more importantly, it increased the sectional tensions that engulfed the Union and contributed to the start of the Civil War. The shadow of the filibusters would influence Seward and Lincoln, and harden their resolve not to yield to Southern demands and “compromises.” It especially had an influence in the failure of the Crittenden compromise, which through its language of protecting slavery in any territory invited filibustering. In the grand schemes of thing, filibuster expeditions played second fiddle to the great domestic question that the US faced, yet they deserve attention and study for their role in augmenting the tensions that led to the Civil War.
     
  16. The Congressman Populist Liberty Conservative

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    I wonder if Republicans will pursue manifest destiny after the war as a move of national healing
     
  17. Theoretical_TJ Well-Known Member

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    That’s an enormous, breathtaking sum in the mid 1800s, probably worth 4-5 billion in today’s money in equivalence. Alaska was only $7MM and that’s after a very inflationary civil war.

    I don’t know why, but this is quite amusing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  18. Daztur Seoulite

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    I think that the filibuster chapter is pretty much the same as IOTL. Anything that I missed besides some bits of Lincoln?
     
  19. Red_Galiray En un pueblito al sur de Estados Unidos.

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    You know what they say... there's no better way for uniting people than giving them a common enemy.

    And that's the sum Polk offered OTL!

    OTL is somewhat more amusing in a gallows humor kind of way. Walker's third attempt ended when he hut a coral reef and the British did rescue him. He then started a fourth attempt, but by then the people were getting tired of this and he raised much less money and men. He reached Nicaragua and when he failed again, he surrendered to the British expecting to be returned to the US. And they handed him over to Honduras. You can imagine the exhasperated reaction of the British and the Hondurians... "you again!?"

    Pretty much. That's why it is a mini-update instead of a regular one. It only provides background info. There are a couple of differences. For one, Quitman was dissuaded from attempting an invasion, and he remained in the US in OTL. Also, Walker was executed in his fourth attempt, not his third as in here. By then his act had "grown stale", and thus his death was less impactful. Quitman's and Walker's deaths made them Southern martyrs, which created a Northern reaction when they got their own martyr John Brown. For all intents and purposes, filibustering's greatest effect was making the political discourse far nastier and mean spirited.
     
  20. fluttersky ~ᴍeʀmᴀiᴅ iɴ a seᴀ oғ aɴoᴍiᴇ~

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    What I want to know is... why on earth did the Confederacy do that?

    Surely the logical thing for them to have done would be to have left the city intact, and moved _their_ capital from Richmond to Washington DC? That would have been symbolic.
     
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