James Monroe began his role as President of the United States with some severe problems facing his presidency. The need to rebuild shattered American pride after the War of 1812, the precarious borders negotiations with Britain and Canada and the need to revitalise the American economy. The answers of all three problems seemed to be to in continuing Madison’s expansion of the Armed forces. Not only would it provide more jobs but also give America a stronger positioning on the bargaining table and help restore some of its shattered pride.
In Britain, continued resistance to the Corn Laws was beginning to be felt as more and more protests took place throughout the year. The Liverpool Government stood firm however and the Laws remained intact. Relations with the French Empire were also made rather warmer at this point as the Regency Council had dropped the tariffs enacted by Napoleon by a substantial amount. Though several hawkish Ministers were still seeing France as the great enemy, improved trade between the nations made sure they were in the minority.
In France itself, things were carrying on as normal without the presence of Napoleon. Several pro-Bourbon groups which had sprung up after the Emperor’s death were smashed as Fouche stepped up the secret police’s activities in tracking down anti-Bonaparte sympathies. The French domestic situation at this time was recovering as the shock of Napoleon’s death was beginning to wear off and life returned to normal.
In the Great Lakes territory of the Shawnee Nation, the first major troop movements of the Army began. Just outside Sawano Asiski, the 5000 troops who had been given modern training performed a procession under the watchful eyes of Tecumseh and various other important Tribal leaders. The procession was followed by several infantry and cavalry units giving an example of their new skills, showing their precision, accuracy and discipline learned over the last year.
The display was so impressive that Many Chiefs agreed to allow more of their own men to join the new Army and bolster their own position against both the Americans and British. The cavalry in particular had been very impressive, showing the ability and skills to rival any European Army. Tecumseh was delighted at the ability of the units and they were given the job of being the soldiers on the forefront of any battle, earning the nickname ‘Tecumseh’s Braves’ among many Americans.
As the American Army continued to expand, the New England Republic decided to build a series of forts along its borders with New York. Made to withstand the strongest of attack, the forts were planned to be three lines thick across the best routes an offensive Army could take if attacking the NER. Hugely expensive and seen by several in the government as unnecessary, the forts were nevertheless agreed to be built be the New England Congress with the construction to start in the next year.
The news was seen as an act of aggression in the United States, many people pointing out that the proposed forts could easily be used to launch an invasion on American soil. The American Congress agreed to build its own forts along the border with New England to restore the balance of power. This incident was seen as only another threat to the United States however on top of the Shawnee Army and the Alliance between the two nations. In order to regain the initiative, Monroe needed an edge, something to draw a line in the sand.
In a speech to Congress on the 5th September, President Monroe unveiled the Monroe Doctrine, the definitive foreign policy of his administration. The basic and most notable point was the sense of belligerence towards other nations. America would stand on its own two feet with no help from other nations. If any other nation were to interfere with any of America’s policies or it expansion, then war would be the answer, America would not suffer even the slightest transgression.
The reaction to the Monroe Doctrine was mixed. While it was domestically very popular, both Britain and the Shawnee Nation saw it as a pure aggressive act against them. A British suggestion for greater military co-operation was reluctantly accepted by the Shawnee Councils and plans were drawn up to start the program the next year. The New England Republic kept its reaction muted, its own borders fully secured against American expansion, the Doctrine was seen merely as political blustering by the Americans.
On the 5th November, a conspiracy against the Napoleonic regime was smashed by the secret police. A group of seventeen German Nationalists, Bourbon sympathisers and anti-Bonapartists had planned to attack the carriage that would take the young Emperor through Paris and kill him and the Empress-Regent. One of their number backed out at the last minute and betrayed the conspirators to the French government. The group was arrested and subsequently executed for treason against the state.
Though the conspiracy was almost insane in the expectation that the plot would work, the excuse was now there for the Imperial government to crack down even harder on dissident elements with a greater censor of the press and control over various national interests. In Britain, various people pointed out the similarity between the events in France and their own 5th November conspiracy, making an interesting parallel between Britain and France. The truth was that Fouche had ordered the arrest on that date for the reason that the parallels would be drawn and Talleyrand would gain some empathy with the British. After all, what better way to bring two countries together than sharing a national celebration?