This is robertp6165's very first timeline, ever. It is easily his most controversial ever, as well. Indeed, it has been responsible for some board members having near apoplexies!
In March 1865 the Confederate States of America passed legislation authorizing the recruitment of slaves as soldiers for the Confederate armies. By the time this legislation was passed (March 13, 1865) and the War Department acted to implement the new law (by General Order on March 23, 1865), the Confederacy had little time left to live, and little came of the legislation. But what might have happened if the legislation had been passed a year earlier?
This is not so far-fetched as it may seem, for by that time there was already a movement within the Confederacy, centered in the Gulf States, to do just that. And in January 1864, Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne made a proposal that, if it had not been squelched at the order of President Davis before it could become public knowledge, might have led to the passage of such legislation. Note that most of the events in the ATL leading up the passage of the legislation actually did happen…exactly one year later…in history as WE know it.
Through wise use of the newly raised black manpower, combined with a diplomatic offensive in Europe to secure recognition in exchange for a promise of early emancipation, the Confederacy is able to win it's independence, a treaty recognizing Confederate independence being signed in early 1865. The fact that the Confederacy wins its independence by the use of black troops has profound impacts on the attitudes of the white population of the Confederate States toward the institution of slavery and toward the black population itself. Slavery is ended by 1885, and racial attitudes become progressively more liberal in the Confederacy as time goes on. Meanwhile, in the United States, blacks are held up as the symbol of the defeat of the Union in the war. Northern racism, always there, explodes full force in huge riots in July 1865. Both political parties begin campaigning for the expulsion of all black Americans from the Union, an ethnic cleansing which is accomplished by 1880.
The butterflies released by all this lead to a vastly different late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This is a timeline which evokes extreme reactions. One either loves it, or hates it. There is no middle ground. Perhaps this is fitting, as the timeline challenges the pre-conceived notions of many people, and goes to the core issues of the most polarizing event in American history…the Civil War…in a way which, at the time it was written, was unique.