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The Franco-American War of 1798

Written by Blochead, it won a Turtledove Award in 2007 for “Best 18th Century Timeline”.

POD and its ramifications

It diverges in 1798 and initially focused on America and Europe, though over time it has grown more global in focus. The point of divergence is President Adams declaring war on France, thus formalizing the 'quasi-war' that had already started. Alexander Hamilton acted as according to his OTL plans by leading an army into Spanish-owned Louisiana. The more prominent features of this timeline include a longer-living Napoleonic Empire in Europe, Russian Constantinople, and a successful revolt by the Sepoys in the early 1850s. The timeline will likely be carried on into the present day.



As the relations between the US and France worsen, news of this diplomatic insult shocks the United States. Privateer combat intensifies along with American outrage at this new act. The young nation begins to forget the lessons of Washington when France continues to attack American shipping.

The final straw comes when French privateers begin hitting US ships near major ports on the Eastern seaboard, with rumors saying there were French privateers as far out as New York.

Soon after July 7, the United States declared war on the new government of France, and began to seek British support.


By 1799, America was rising to the new challenges of the war. Boxed in on the continent, with Spain and France on her borders to the south and west, the Federalists used the promise of new lands to entice the Democratic-Republicans into supporting the war efforts. Alexander Hamilton, the mastermind behind the Federalist Party, hopes to use the prospect of new lands as a way to build up support in the West.

And so, the American armies are quickly rallied around old Revolutionary era-commanders, though Washington himself does not reprise the role in the Whiskey Rebellion, he spends the last of his days ill and bedridden in Mount Vernon, where he dies on December 14.

But the Americans do find one particularly powerful friend across the Atlantic in Great Britain, which is eager to take a chunk out of France's holdings in North America. Though some in England are skeptical of letting the US become too powerful, negotiations throughout 1799 start to slowly redraw the future maps of America.

Hungry for new land but wary of the instability in Hispaniola, the British launch attacks on Guadaloupe and the other French Caribbean possessions, while revolt starts to fester in Haiti. French troops are massed on the islands, and silently concede their continental territory in hopes of defending their lucrative island colonies.

But not all nations are happy with an American Louisiana. Spain, bound to France by treaty and interest, declares war on the Americans.

But the entire war exists more on the papers and pamphlets than it does in reality. Despite the Battle of Louisiana and skirmishes with Indians as American troops push into their 'new land', the Americans' actions at the time are more of an intricate land-grab than an actual military conflict.

In Florida, American militias raid Spanish troops and forts, but America doesn't have the troops to fully annex it, and Spain doesn't have the interests to devote large amounts of troops to take it.

For these reasons, 1799 is a year of political intrigue rather than military adventure in America.

In Europe, however, the war is shaping up to be something altogether different.

France was not in a good position at home. The Second Coalition, composed of the British, the Austrians, the Russians, the Ottomans, and to a negligible extent, the Americans, was pressing on France's colonies and capable of invading the French mainland itself. With promises of French victory at home and abroad, Napoleon Bonaparte stages his coup on November 2nd (the now infamous 11 Brumaire) and plots his response to the war effort. Tired of chaos at home and weak response to threats abroad, the people of France were widely in favor of their new leader, despite his less-than-democratic ascent.



The effects of the new American front were first manifested here when France began to divert resources to their Caribbean colonies. But unfortunately, neither location received them. French relief was redirected from Egypt to Guadaloupe and Haiti, but instead found its end in the Mediterranean when faced with the guns of the British fleet.

Kleber, still desperate to evacuate Egypt, attempts to negotiate with the British and the Ottomans, but fails. Both of his adversaries know full well that there will be no reinforcements for him, and no hope of him putting up much of a fight if he refuses. The 2nd Coalition pushes in and defeats the French in Egypt once and for all. The new power vacuum does not last long. With the old Ottoman government gone and the new yet to arrive, Egyptians entertained thoughts for future independence.

Napoleon’s true interests lay in Europe first, and it was there where France won most of their victories. In Marengo, the French rallied to defeat the odds and the enemy, and put Brune in charge of the area while he prepared to strike at Austria. Combined with Moreau’s early summer attack across the Rhine, Austria decided to negotiate a peace. By early 1801, fighting on the continent was over, with separate peaces hammered out with other continental powers.



Here, fighting still raged on. Because while the nations of Europe were satisfied; Britain was only beginning its campaigns in the Caribbean. Using superior naval power, the British strangled Guadeloupe of supplies and in 1800, it was theirs. In the smaller colonies, the British continued to win wars at sea and consolidate their power on land. And they wouldn’t make peace until that land was theirs.

Spain continued their fight with the US indirectly on the Louisiana front, for they lacked the troops to actually fight the US there. Similarly, even the US’s rapidly growing military could not march across the continent to attack Mexico. So Spain instead began providing arms and support to Indians, who knew that the farther the US advanced, the harder their lives would become.

In Florida, the US pressed on with the aid of the British navy, though their manpower was mainly militia, the Spanish did not fare much better. Throughout 1801, the fighting continued, and by 1802 it was de facto US territory.

Spain instead concentrated their forces in their Western lands and the islands, and the British moved in to dislodge them. Hispaniola, however, remained firmly in French and Spanish hands. The British rallied troops to take the territory, but with news of slave insurrection growing in Haiti, nobody was quite eager to take on responsibility for the area.

In the US, even Jefferson began calling for a free nation stretching to the Pacific, and with no need for the Alien and Sedition Acts, the already-popular Federalists helped bring Adams back into office in 1800. The war was also having interesting consequences on the US economy. In 1798, inventor Eli Whitney demonstrated the utility of interchangeable parts to Congress. Now, with the war to increase demand, musket factories were springing up in the US. New England shipbuilding thrived with Congressional plans to expand the navy making up for the decrease in trade with France and Spain.



Napoleon, watching his naval defeats in both the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, scrapped any plans to invade England. Instead, he would focus his efforts on controlling the continent. As Britain formed its Third Coalition of Austria, Russia, and Naples, Napoleon crowned himself leader of a new French Empire, which he would rule using ‘enlightenment principles’. While it was somewhat of a morale boost to Frenchmen, it did not deter his European enemies.

Both sides geared up for war, and in 1804, the Coalition struck. With Napoleon’s forces concentrated near Bavaria and Italy, they decide to attack through Saxony and the neighboring states. A drive to the Rhine was launched, while Naples hoped to strike Italy as Napoleon shifted forces.

However, there were holes in the plan. Napoleon confronted the enemy at Gotha and struck a decisive blow against Austrian forces, cut them off again at Dresden, and left Austria’s armed forces nearly helpless to prevent his attack into Prague.

Because Napoleon had saved his European naval forces, he was able to prevent allied landings in both the Mediterranean and Germany, and when Prussia massed troops in Saxony to counterattack, Napoleon moved to encircle them near Leipzig in what many call one of Napoleon’s greatest victories. Having weakened Prussia, Napoleon battles his way into Prussia in late 1805.

Napoleon formed his ‘Confederation of the Rhine’ at great expense to Austria in mid-1805, but in the spring of 1806, his gains were under threat. Russian troops were marching into Prussia, so at Koenigsberg and Eylau, he dealt significant blows to their forces.

Negotiations dominated the remainder of 1806 and early 1807, but before the winter was over, an uneasy peace settled over Europe. Britain, which had yet to commit anywhere near the full power of its land forces in Europe, began looking for a different way to strike at the Empire and its clients.

Farther south, Muhammad Ali started his rebellion against the Ottomans, with quiet British support. The Anglo-American alliance and Eli Whitney had brought the potential of cotton to higher priority, and the merchants of England were quick to realize cotton’s new potential. Knowing the potential of the Nile’s farmlands, Britain would back Ali’s ascension to power quietly, but effectively. Though Ali didn’t want to become a foreign puppet, he knew the support of the British was not to be dismissed so lightly when his nation was at such an early and vulnerable stage. With their capital and the fervor of a new nation, Ali fought out the civil war and drew up plans for a grander, modern and prosperous Egypt.



While war in Europe went on in fits and starts, conflict in America was a constant, but softer drumbeat. By 1804, America had massively increased both its Navy and Army, and was the de facto ruler of Florida and much of the ‘Louisiana’ territories. Spanish forces that were supposed to arrive in relief were quickly put to the bottom of the Galician Coast, and so US forces rallied as they marched towards what is today known as the city of Pikesville in Texas, and defeated Spanish forces there, thus opening ‘a Southern corridor’ to the Pacific. With the ever-increasing power of the British fleet, Spain concedes much of its continental claims to the United States. Florida is given up, as is the northern half of Mexico, in 1805. However, when Spain continues to sink US ships in the Gulf of Mexico, the US declares war again soon after, this time seeking to take Cuba and Puerto Rico. But while the British fleet’s blockade of French and Spanish colonies helped, they were unable to lend any significant land support due to bloody, costly fighting in Hispaniola.

And so in 1807, the US and Britain continued their Caribbean campaigns, neither making much progress despite naval superiority.



With the nations of the European continent quaking, Napoleon watches as the British tear through his possessions in the Americas. But he has grander ideas. As he watches Ottoman attempts to retake Egypt unravel, both sides prepare for big advances. The British plot an invasion of Spanish colonies or the Netherlands, while Napoleon looks eastward for further conquests. Britain begins organizing another coalition, this time of Austria and Naples.

When fighting breaks out in 1810, Britain launches an invasion of the Netherlands, noting that Napoleon’s men are deployed mostly further south. However, the campaign falters. Napoleon begins encouraging revolutions in the Balkans and Greece, fighting skirmishes with Naples as he marches down the Balkan Peninsula. The Ottomans quickly move their army to intercept, but find their supply lines cut off by rebels and are destroyed by French forces. Greece becomes independent while Napoleon creates Balkan protectorates. In 1811, the British and Ottomans begin moving troops to the Middle East, while Russia considers shedding its neutrality.

However, Britain continues to support the independent Egypt under Ali, and begins to look for methods of funding its campaigns to not only push Napoleon out of Asia, but to snap up the colonies in South America.



With Simon Bolivar’s ship back to South America sunk by the British fleet, revolutions in South America do not fare quite as well. In 1808, Britain launches their first invasion of South America, into the Rio de la Plata area in Argentina. Posing themselves as ‘liberators’ rather than invaders, they establish a protectorate in Argentina, paying off locals for their support and killing those who fight the new government.

In Haiti, the slave revolt is in full swing, and the French commanders there either flee to the West or request passage back to Europe. The British allow the French to leave, and then occupy the Dominican, while the US takes Puerto Rico in 1809 and Cuba in 1811.

The United States also welcomes Louisiana into the Union in 1811, but the slave-free state controversy is already starting to grow. Pinckney, the current President, wants to keep slavery limited and encourage industrial growth, but with America’s role to a war coming to an end, a deeper domestic divide seems likely to appear.



Because of the lack of European-scale conflict on most of the American continent, settlement often went hand in hand with soldiering. Because the Federal Government, and not the states, was the owner of the nation’s new lands, there was a rift in the US political system over the price at which it should be sold. The Democratic-Republicans wanted land to be sold off as cheap as possible to encourage the development of their idyllic farming communities. The Federalists, however, saw the land as a source of valuable public revenue. But compromises were made. Soldiers who had traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to fight the Spanish were rewarded with cheap real estate in the west. But the Federalist program of rewarding soldiers was controversial in many respects.

Chief among them were the formation of black units, which did much of the fighting in Florida and the Tejas area. As part of the program, which Hamilton had devised during the revolution and put into action during the Franco-American War, he (a Major General, appointed by Adams) had set up a program of buying black slaves from owners and promising them freedom for fighting, an armed version of indentured servitude.

Hamilton also railed for a restriction of slavery into the territories, which Pinckney reluctantly agreed to. As a compromise, he set up the Louisiana Act of 1809, which said that slave-state status would be determined by vote, which conflicted with the earlier precedent established by the Northwest Ordinance. Pinckney also moderated the land prices to keep backlash from the Democratic-Republicans down.

This also gave the Federalists the political capital they needed to promote their programs of industry. Congress pushed through many Hamiltonian business reforms, and the need for more warships sparked a greater interest in Fulton’s steam-powered vessels, though it would be years before the Navy put one on the open seas.

However, in many ways Pinckney was a martyr for Hamilton’s political causes. Much of his Southern appeal was lost when he began pursuing what seemed to be anti-slavery policies, and though he fared better with smaller farmers, soldiers, and the pioneers moving west, the wealth and influence of the Southern aristocracy and the hardliner anti-Federalists were bearing against him.

Fearing that government was getting too large and with many fearing that the Federalists were plotting to abolish slavery completely, Madison, a strict constructionist (though one who was not very far from the Federalists on other matters), won the election of 1812.



Napoleon’s ‘liberation’ of the Balkans and Greece now threatens Constantinople, and rather than trying to prop up the withering Ottoman Empire, Russia decides to take over the whole show, and Britain, knowing that if it does not fill the power vacuum from an Ottoman fall, the other nations will, decides to marshal troops from India.

In his most ambitious move yet, Napoleon blockades the Gibraltar, and wins a few lucky naval victories that prevent the British from advancing into the Sea and thwarting his plans. Marshalling troops from Greece, he puts Constantinople under siege and handily defeats the Ottoman troops.

Russia, which had been quietly waging its war in the background, expands its campaign to the Middle East, and the Ottomans, while able to prevent Napoleon from taking the capital, do so at the expense of their territory in the Middle East and Central Asia. Russia marches down the Caucasus and threatens Turkey itself in 1813, though they become bogged down in the mountains, losing many men. The entire Turkish region is virtually under siege, and the opportunistic new government in Egypt begins to pick off the Arabian territories of the old regime, while a British force lands in Mesopotamia.

The war of attrition lasts through 1815, with the Ottomans whittled down to Asian Turkey and the lands to the immediate south of it, and the Janissaries still more interested in internal power than national influence, the Ottoman Empire folds.

The great session of negotiations that follows results in the Treaty of Athens in 1815. The British and their ally in Egypt receive much of Ottoman Northeast Africa and the Red Sea Coast along with Mesopotamia, Russia receives land around the Black Sea and European Turkey (including Constantinople). To Austria goes the remainder of the Balkans, and France receives little actual territory (unless one counts the pro-French independent nation of Greece), but manages to consolidate his Empire. Britain, bled nearly white by conflict and with more conquests still to digest, decides on leaving the Napoleon situation be.

By sacrificing millions of men and a major empire, Europe had gained a blood-stained peace. Napoleon now turns himself to domestic concerns. Expanding on his role as an ‘enlightened dictator’, he hopes to build stability and loyalty in his new domain. However, as the troops return home from the East, Prussia re-arms itself for a go at what it believes is a weak Confederation of the Rhine. How long Napoleon’s peace and government will last becomes a worrying question.



Madison, who was unable to stop the Bank’s extension in 1811, tries to reason with his party while avoiding falling too deep into Federalists policies. But almost immediately, his Presidency becomes controversial.

Unfortunately for the growing western population, Madison vetoed many transportation bills, prompting many states around the Great Lakes to organize themselves to develop a canal system. Hamiltonian policies had sped about the rise of organized corporations and industries, so in 1815 the construction of the Erie Canal began.

Madison did keep up America’s military though, and at the request of many military leaders he approved money for the development of steam vessels for the Navy. With the construction of canals and the resumption in trade, the demand for new ships only furthered the prosperity of the New England shipbuilders and Hamilton’s industrial vision.

Hamilton also encouraged the development of new military technology. Having fought against both Spaniards and Indians during his campaigns in what was now the Western United States; Hamilton took great interest in the works of John Hall and Eli Whitney, both of whom had set about working on mechanically interchangeable rifles. Hall, however, had come up with something remarkable: a breech-loading rifle. Hamilton took about to promoting the rifle as one of the ‘great triumphs of American industry’ and would use his influence in politics to push through large orders of the weapon, primarily financed by revenue from the Banks, which had yet to be used on major transportation infrastructure.

But far from America’s shores, trouble was brewing. Madison’s desire for expanded trade, especially with Europe now that fighting seemed to be coming to a close, was facing some new problems. By 1816, the Barbary Pirates were beginning their attacks on the United States once again, almost as soon as the American ships began entering harbor. Before re-election he railed that “We gave no tribute to France. We will give none to the Barbary Coast!” Despite his unpopular stance on internal improvements, Madison’s tough stance on the Pirates appealed to the nationalist fervor sweeping America, and so after his re-election, Madison dispatched the war heroes of the Franco-American conflict to fight off the pirates. Attacking Tripoli and Tunis, over the course of a year the US hammered out agreements to ensure it would never again have to pay for the safe passage of its vessels.

During this entire process, the absorption of the new territories had begun in earnest. The state of Tejas was admitted to the Union, with a significant population of free-black soldiers, and soon after came the state of Franklin. The area to the north named Oklahoma was kept as ‘Indian Territory’. Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Maine were all admitted to the United States.

But the admission of new states had brought on new problems for the young nation. The slavery divide was more intense than ever before. While pro-Federalist commanders in the Cuba Territory had guaranteed the freedom of Cuban slaves, whether or not they would be allowed to become citizens was an entirely different question. If their citizenship, or at least freedom was not guaranteed, the current governor of Cuba, John Eager Howard, decides to grant the Cubans citizenship, though much longer than it would take a white immigrant to get it, based on an un-passed bill regarding citizenship of foreign peoples who, by virtue of some treaty signed by governments thousands of miles away, were now in US territory.

While the Supreme Court struck down the notion as unconstitutional and set equal standards, the controversy only grew. Hamilton was not only an industrialist, but one of the most progressive thinkers on race relations (outwardly) of the era. While some politicians demanded that an equal balance of slave and free states be maintained, many Federalists (and small-farmer Democratic-Republicans who did not want the competition of organized plantation labor in their new lands) spoke against it, with more moderate politicians pointing to a plebiscite, as in Louisiana, and the radicals demanding abolition.

During this time, most states moved towards ‘universal white male suffrage’, especially in the West. Black male suffrage was also prevalent in New England and other free states, as well as in Tejas. Many in the deep South feared slavery would be abolished soon, because of the prospect of an imbalance between slave and free states.

Meanwhile, the industrial revolution was starting to take off in the US. With earlier Federalist control and a moderate Democratic-Republican President, the United States had taken after Britain in a number of ways. With immigration to the US rapidly increasing (especially after the destabilizing effects of the Napoleonic wars in Germany), the US found that the only resistance to its growth would be political, not economic.



Exhausted in Europe, the powers now turned to running the territories they had bargained with and squabbled over. The power with the most new territory and influence was Great Britain. From its protectorate in Patagonia to new territory in Mesopotamia, Britain’s global reach had only been expanded by conflict. But for now, their military capital was spent. With no power both able and willing to re-colonize Spain’s former American possessions, most of them are de jure free. The new Republics of Chile, Peru, and Colombia sprung up in the aftermath and began the process of solidifying their new nations, mostly with British and American aid. Direct colonization of any of the new nations by Europe was frowned upon by the Americans, and for the British, who could not have done so anyway, it was not much of an impediment to relations. In the Caribbean, trade thrived.

In Mexico, a new government was formulated, one that attempted to satisfy the liberals and conservatives both. With a Republican legislature, but a strong executive and some protection for the aristocracy to satisfy the powerful landowners, Mexico seems to have a stable government, lead by war veteran Santa Anna.

But there is one priority that seems to dominate the Mexican ruling class’ minds: revenge against the Americans and British, who’d taken what they believed to be ‘their’ land (though their nation did not exist at the time). Seeking aid from Napoleon, who’d nearly become their enemy, Mexico rearmed itself in hoping of claiming a place in the sun among the many infant nations in the Americas.

Back in Europe, wounds were dressed and plots were hatched. Among devastated Germany, immigrants went west and Prussia marshalled new armies for a future war against France and its Rhine client. Napoleon himself was putting the finishing touches on his empire, attempting to ensure its survival after his death for his young son, the ‘King of Rome’. Passing popular reforms to please the people of France and glorifying his war victories, Napoleon also knew of the threat from Prussia and maintained his military accordingly.

Russia, emboldened by victory but still troubled, fought off an 1824 coup organized by the handful of officers that visited Western Europe. But for the most part, Russians were satisfied with their nation’s performance in the war, having finally captured Constantinople.

In Britain, more liberal MPs were slowly gaining more, though the conservatives were still dominating. The anti-slavery policies of the Federalists were supported by many of the more liberal politicians in Britain, such as the Whigs, and calls for abolition of slavery were growing, especially now that the UK and US had taken on Hispaniola as a protectorate.



Though Americans were fairly happy with the Madison administration, westerners wanted a President that would support more internal improvements. As a result, John Quincy Adams, of the Federalist Party, won the 1824 election. Those elections also brought increasingly anti-slavery Congressmen, especially in the Senate. Westerners not only wanted federal support for infrastructure in the west, but the wanted slaveholding competition out.

Adams program helped expand roadways out farther West to aid the settlement of the Pacific coast region, and strengthened the Canal System. US steam technology, due to more cooperation with Britain, was also moving at a steady clip, and the US had begun deploying some steam-powered combat vessels and a transoceanic shipping line. Western entrepreneurs also started taking interest in a new concept of land-based steam locomotion that could make up for the canal advantage in the Great Lakes states.

But the dark clouds on the political horizon were about to burst.

Especially because of Hamilton’s policies, slaveholders were nervous about their future in the US. But things were only complicated in 1829, when American citizens in Cuba passed the 60,000 mark. Though the Senate was balanced and the House in favor of the South, a battle over the statehood of Cuba was sure to ensue. And even though the conditions of an average Cuban farm or plantation worker were not much better than his mainland counterpart, the Cuban laborers did have one thing to their credit: many were citizens under the liberal laws designed to avoid a revolt earlier. Combined with the influx of settlers and its position as a nexus of American trade, it seemed American society would soon erupt. The re-election of Adams and the Federalists wrought grumblings of secession in the South, who believed Congress was getting ‘too powerful’ with its regulation of trade through tariffs, and worries of future abolition.

When Cuba was voted into the Union after a number of Southern Congressmen walked out in 1830, Calhoun issued a scathing discourse against the centralized government of the Federalists, the excesses of Congress, and the ‘unconstitutionality’ of the restriction of territories to slavery. When parties were usually campaigning for the mid-terms, anti-Federalist radicals attempted to assassinate Adams, and militias were formed in the Carolinas and Georgia, where they vowed to ‘protect our property from Yankee Congressmen’. In the spring of 1830, Adams deploys troops to Franklin and begins marching more down through Virginia. Upon hearing this, Calhoun leads the states of Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama to secede and form the Confederate Republic of America. Casting themselves as ‘new American revolutionaries’, they muster troops to fight the incoming Federal troops. Entering South Carolina, the militia is beaten back for lack of organization and inferior weaponry when compared with the Whitney-Hall breechloaders in use by the Federal soldiers. US Navy steamships move to blockade the states from their vital source of income: cotton. When the CRA attempts to use clout from Britain, they find that the lack of control over other Southern states, Egypt, and India, has made their difference negligible.

Calhoun, and many other slaveholders (along with their slaves), flee to Brazil for the most part, fearing persecution by Adams and the other Federalists. At the end of the crisis in 1831 (amid a new Federalist majority aided by the lack of representation from a few states), Adams announces a program of ‘compensated manumission’ that includes a gamut of measures from the old serve-for-freedom programs of the Franco-American War to emigration programs to Liberia or Haiti.

As the entire affair unfolded, Mexico began to mobilize troops near their border, looking towards Tejas and Franklin eagerly, feeling the US is in a state of weakness. And with Napoleon and his allies looking towards increasing aid to Mexico, Adams began to hammer out the foreign policy he would become so famous for. Declaring that the Americas must remain a ‘sovereign domain’, he decided that US power would be used to prevent further re-colonization of South America, and that America would prevent coercive influence in other states in the Americas from being used against it.

Whether or not the world would heed his calls was another matter entirely.



An aging Napoleon is confronted with one final challenge when Prussia declares war and marches into the Confederation of the Rhine in 1827. Bringing together his best generals on that front, he is able to rebuff the Prussian army and fight it to a standstill within a few months. Both governments agree to revert to status quo antebellum, and many historians now regard it as the war that preserved Napoleon's empire. He would live till 1834, and his massive funeral in Paris was a testament to his greatness.

Succession occurred fairly smoothly, for Napoleon's reforms and industrialization program had won him great support among workers and soldiers alike. But the nations of Europe knew that his successors were unlikely to match his military brilliance, so plans were hatched to put France 'back into its rightful place'.

Britain's William IV conducts actions in Parliament during the reform crisis that allow the Whigs to make great gains in the legislature. In the early 1830s, they begin the manumission of slavery through indentured servitude.

The Spanish also use this time to occupy much of former Ottoman North Africa, and the French take smaller parts of Algeria and Tunisia. Britain, however, ensures that its power in Egypt and the Mideast remains unchecked. At this time, the concept of a canal through the Suez becomes popular in Britain, which already enjoys good relations with Egypt because of aid and cotton trade. Russia begins to make designs on Persia, but British diplomacy staves off the war at the very least.

Life inside Russia, however, is not good for those not of the Orthodox faith. After the captue of Constantinople, a new wave of religious fervor swept Russia, and many Jews fled to Europe, especially the French client of Poland.

The US (and Britain to a good degree) made good on the promises laid out in what we now call the 'Adams Doctrine'. Britain and the US solidified their trade links with Colombia and increased them with Peru and Chile. The role of the British and US in South America at this time was actually somewhat stabilizing, with their diplomacy averting a war between Colombia and Peru over Ecuador.

Brazil, however, having secured their independence from Portugal after a series of wars in the late 1820s, established government formally under Pedro I and the 1830 Constitution. Using a mix of British and Napoleonic ideals, the so-called 'liberal empire' would be the major slaveholding nation in the Americas. Despite some controversy over his policies, Pedro I managed to hold the young nation together until his death in 1835. Pedro II, his successor, would capitalize on the infant nationalism of Brazil.



Jackson won the 1832 election because of the growing power of the Western states, and the old Federalist standby of the National Bank faded quietly, its existence no longer required. Jackson’s platform was based around pro-Western policies, and expansion was one of them. So, the US in 1833 decided to resolve all border disputes with England. Giving up some of its territory in Maine and resolving the border to the Oregon country at the 49th parallel, Jackson wanted more land in the Oregon country, so in exchange for some of the revenue collected by the tariff (and a later abolishment of it to please British manufacturers), Jackson was able to claim Oregon country up to the 54-40 line in the Treaty of 1834.

However, Jackson had a new challenge to manage. Santa Ana, his army re-equipped and re-trained, was making his move, marching up to California, claiming that the Mexican government would not recognize the US claim, since Spain their ‘former colonial ruler’ had signed the treaty for it. Believing he could draw out the battle and defeat the American armies as they came, and that US sectional divisions (as evidenced by the recent insurrection in the South) would prevent an effective response, he hoped he could place Mexico among the New World powers.

General Winfield Scott, marching out of Franklin, fought his first battle at Ciudad Juarez, sweeping aside the forces Santa Ana had placed there to delay his relief to the siege he was conducting in San Francisco. Fighting continues throughout 1835, at the end of the year, Scott lifts the siege in San Francisco and Jackson decides to invade Mexico as ‘punishment’, with the Marines and Navy launching assaults into the Yucatan and Veracruz. When Santa Ana initiates his ‘war powers’ to maintain control through the tumult, two new Republics splinter off from Mexico, both with US aid and protection, one in the Rio Grande and the other in the Yucatan. The US demands the sale of Baja California as well, and Mexico grudgingly obliges. Santa Ana is removed from power in a coup, but the US-Mexican animosity remains.

Jackson is re-elected, and continues to pass pro-Western policies, though he is careful not to hurt the industrial Midwest and North too much. The campaigns in California also bring a new finding to light: gold is found in the territory, and settlers rush out. Back East, economic development is going steadily despite some shocks from the loss of the bank, but by now a significant banking system had already developed in New England and other parts of the country. The first transatlantic steamship line was established, and the US steam fleet was stronger than ever. New naval technologies, such as the Morey Engine, were being experimented with, while railroad boom opened up faster transport to the west where canals could not reach.

For the Native Americans, though, times were not as good. Jackson was planning to push them out into Oklahoma and the Dakotas, and most settlers would rather have them farther out than that. But for now, conflict had settled in North America.



Napoleon II unfortunately did not maintain the same respect among his clients that Napoleon did. The Confederation of the Rhine especially was becoming a new battlefield, not one of men as during the Napoleonic Wars, but one of ideas. While France had a semi-meritocracy based upon Voltaire’s ideals, the Confederation of the Rhine was ruled by an oligarchic collection of Princes.

Influenced by Hegel and Rousseau, the people of the Confederation had been exposed to enlightened ideas but had yet to experience them. Many thinkers of the Young Hegelian school went to the Rhine where they could avoid suppression by Prussian authorities.

1841 brought the first revolutions in the Confederation of the Rhine. While France’s enemies were eager to see this, the philosophy of the revolutionaries was seen as too radical by Prussia and the United Kingdom. They called for majoritarian policies, an end to organized religion, and increased workers rights. The quickly industrializing nations of the world were not eager to see such a philosophy spread.

Napoleon II deployed troops to the Rhine to little avail, the tactics French soldiers had practiced were not effective in counter-revolutionary campaigns. Blood and iron would not overcome what was, at its core, an ideological movement.

In Italy, the new revolutions were based on the restoration of old monarchies rather than radical philosophies. Poland, knowing that France was the only guarantor of its independence, was far more stable than the other Napoleonic clients. No major power would interfere directly other than France in the Rhine, but the consequences of the 1830s-1840s revolutions were felt across Europe. They were both spurned by a recession in the late 1830s and they fed continuing economic trouble throughout the 1840s. Labor movements in Britain and Prussia increased in fervor, while Russia suppressed any movement towards a liberal government.

Britain was however, tied up elsewhere.

Their client state in Argentina had gone to war with Brazil over the control of the Rio de la Plata, with Brazil winning most of the initial victories. Britain responded with naval force, and in the war of 1841 they not only pushed Brazil back, but instructed them to ‘abandon the slave trade’. Brazil said it would comply, but the trade continued for decades more in a somewhat more limited capacity.

Gran Colombia was also shaking up, with Ecuador attempting secession from the federation in 1836. Of the nations of South America, the United States had the most influence here through its Federalist ideals in government. Mexico only balkanized further as the semi-autonomous Central American states broke off and went into orbit around the UK-US alliance through the British client in the Honduras.

Another consequence of the revolutions in Europe was increased immigration. Germans mainly went to the United States or Argentina, while many Dutch nationalists who feared persecution by Napoleon II went to their kindred Boers in the Cape Colony, with smaller portions going to America.



Federalist Henry Clay is elected President in 1840 on a moderate platform based primarily on unity between the interests of the sections. He pledges to keep up the slave manumission program when some thought Jackson’s followers might end it, and under his administration constitutional amendments were passed that banned involuntary servitude and slavery once and for all after 1865, though compensation continued. While Clay did lower the tariff, he did slightly increase land prices, but promised to provide more federal funding to railroads and ‘span the continent’ with iron, which appealed to the West. However, jockeying over which companies would receive the contracts continued, and a great debate emerged over the location of the route, though the predominating attitude indicated that it would travel through the Industrial Midwest to San Francisco, the largest city in the state of California.

Clay’s first term also saw the beginning of the largest wave of immigration in history thus far, kicked off by Germany. The ‘bourgeoisie’ classes of Germany, particularly devout believers and businessmen who had their fortunes ruined by revolution, crowded into the United States. Irish too came during the Potato Famine, and when Prussia invaded Poland years later, many Poles flocked to America. This brought about serious societal shifts in America, particularly in the industrialized North. While business owners in the Federalist Party encouraged immigration, for it needed the influx of labor to prevent a drain of population to the West (The constant immigration also ensured that unions and other ‘radical institutions’ did not take hold as easily in America), the Democratic-Republican Party found itself in a bind. The populist wing of the Party wanted a restriction on immigration and better conditions for ‘hardworking American laborers and farmers’, an updated version of Jefferson’s vision of the US. However, the Jacksonian wing was far more liberal on immigration, and while it liked the small-government laissez faire attitude of the original party, they believed that government interference worked both ways and that the government should promote rugged American individualism, not class-based politics. They also parted ways with the populist wing on immigration, which Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans typically discouraged. With the election of 1844 and the effective ‘shattering’ of the agrarian vision, the party split into the American Party of nativists and the Liberty Party, effectively ensuring Clay a second term. But political strife flared outside elections too. In the Midwest, WASPs tried to organize to keep out cheaper immigrant labor, much to the chagrin of big business. During the 1845-1846 period, as more and more blacks were freed, they found it difficult to get in to some of the factories in the Great Lakes industrial belt, so while some stayed, many went to work instead on the railroads and settled in the West or the lands around the railroads.

Clay also fell under the popular pressure by most to expand American power and influence through Central America to “… protect the region from [Continental] European imperialism and the Mexican dictatorship.” One of the more popular ideas circulating was one of a canal through Nicaragua, a now independent client-ally of the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1845 the two nations signed a secret agreement that any canal would be under their joint ownership or influence to prevent the expansion of foreign power in the region under the Adams Doctrine.

The rapid expansion into the West brought with it an expansion of technology and militarism. The United States Army engaged in a series of clashes with various native American groups throughout this time period, and was quite successful due to the advantage of their breech-loading rifles, where earlier settlers and soldiers were felled due to older muzzle-loading weapons. As a result, the Army and the Winchester-Hall Company began developing repeating rifles that would hold multiple rounds for cavalry use and general sale.

Another innovation was by Colt’s firearm company, previously famous for their revolver. Their proposal for the ‘Colt Rotary Gun’ in 1851 was met with some interest, as a weapon that could fire extremely large volumes of bullets and could be transported by horse. While some dismissed it as impractical for the type of warfare occurring in the West, the company continued to build prototypes in hopes that one of the European powers would adopt such a weapon later.

The Morey Engine also saw use in the West for providing power for machine shops and other engineering tasks, especially at Army forts. It was also discovered by a machine shop owner in Pennsylvania that petroleum might be able to be refined into a much more effective fuel than turpentine or kerosene for the device.

But no matter the technological innovations, the Native Americans were not easy to ‘dislodge’. Many preferred not to live in Indian Territory in Oklahoma, so another chunk of land was set aside in what is today Montana to try and prevent even bloodier conflict.

The Pacific coast was becoming quite prosperous though. San Francisco and Vancouver were becoming the centers of Pacific trade with North America, and the discovery of gold only further spurned settlement of the area. The fertile land also made California popular with farmers as well as traders, while lumber was exploited in the Northwest.

Having shrugged aside all local adversaries and set itself firmly astride the continent, not even the undercurrent of violence in the West and the immigration conflict could dull the optimism Americans had for their country.



Outside the Western Hemisphere, the world was a very turbulent place. The British went to war in China in a conflict that was primarily based around the trade of Opium, which, while successful, triggered massive unrest that resulted in the Taiping Rebellion of 1849, which was spurned by a mix of Christian converts and minorities, that while was considered to be some to be heretical, was brutally effective at guerilla tactics. While other Western powers were poised to intervene against the Taiping due to trade interests, new conflicts in Europe and India kept the British preoccupied and the Kingdom secure through 1857.

The amiable relations between the US and UK were ultimately a part in the loss of India to British authority. In the early 1850s, as tensions between the BEIC and the locals rose, US missionaries began to arrive in India. They were unfamiliar with Indian customs and fervent in their beliefs. There wee rumors that the ‘community meals’ they served at makeshift churches contained the forbidden foods such as pork or beef, though these were perhaps rumors. The missionaries did however raise some of those for meals for themselves, purportedly, but no matter the truth, things were not going well. Problems were only further intensified when British campaigns in Burma and attempts to stabilize the Dutch East Indies required Sepoys to ‘cross the black waters’, much to their outrage. When the Sepoys returned to their ports (nearby which most of the American missionaries were based from) in 1854, it was a deadly convergence. Rioting had already been breaking out, and as news was distorted and disseminated farther inland, the anger only intensified. Outright rebellion faced the British as a nation that was bled by the cost of foreign imperialism lashed out, with nearly 100 years of growing anger at the BEIC behind it.

Once again, the stretch of manpower throughout the empire signaled troubled for its crown jewel. Later British historians remarked that the British detachments in the conflict areas were small enough to have them present nearly everywhere, but not large enough to be effective. With the combined weight of recently conquered Muslim territories and the powerful Hindus behind it, the British began fighting an increasingly bloody and desperate campaign against the British. In the short lived unity between Muslims and Hindus, the battle-hardened Sepoys were able to deal devastating blows to the British, and problems only worsened as the Sikhs started to lose interest in what they saw as a ‘losing prospect’. While the other ethnic groups of India were carving up de facto states for themselves, some Sikh leaders agitated for their own state and revolted against the British as well.

With troops tied up in Europe as well, the British retreated to some of their earlier strongholds, leaving much of India in a power vacuum. Other European powers looked on with hungry eyes while various demagogues and military heroes tried to carve states for their own groups.

Europe did not fare much better during this ‘age of revolutions’. With 1848 came the stirrings of war as Prussia, capitalizing on the decay of the French Empire, went to war with Poland. Frederick William IV, having seen the chaos the new ‘popular revolutions’ brought to the Rhineland, would not accept a similar movement in his own country, nor did he intend to try and subdue the violent land so soon. He believed a war that strengthened Prussia in the East would spurn nationalism, and his Romanticist dreams about reuniting with the former Teutonic lands in the Baltics. Though he did not announce this aim at first, the invasion of Poland resulted in a power-grab by expansionist Russia, bringing the two powers to war. While Russia was certainly the better since the beginning of their self-proclaimed ‘Golden Age’ with the capture of Constantinople, they were not quite fit to stop the Prussian Army which had remade itself after the humiliation at the hands of Napoleon II. The war continued into 1850, with Russia agreeing to cede all of Poland and part of the Baltics to Prussia. Russia’s army was fit to fight the less sophisticated armies of Central Asia, but not the Prussian war machine. Though tensions between the two countries remained high, the war for Russia seemed to be over in Europe.

For others, it was just beginning.

The Netherlands and Flanders revolted in 1850, drawing Britain into yet another conflict. With the ‘People’s Army’ organizing to spread their ‘vile ideologies’ (as one British conservative put it) into France, the British had to move to fill the power vacuum. Coming to the aid of the new government in the Netherlands, France began to collapse under the weight of Napoleon’s conquests. Their territories in Italy also went into revolt, and blaming British agitation in both fronts, France declared war on Britain officially in 1852. Britain deployed troops to the Netherlands and fought a series of battles onto the doorstep of Paris, where Napoleon II conceded Flanders and the Netherlands as an independent ‘Greater Netherlands’ at the behest of the United Kingdom.

Internal instability was also a problem in the nations of Europe. With the Irish famine and the shockwaves of the movements in Germany unsettling the traditional class systems, labor groups and agitators bedeviled many of the nations of the West throughout this period. These trends culminated with the death of Napoleon II in 1855, with the ‘general will’ based ideology taking hold of French Republicans and causing a revolt that had taken de facto control of the government in 1856.

The Dutch East Indies were finally abandoned by the British in 1854, and left to their own devices. Splinter groups competed to form new states, and European nations finishing their wars began to consider carving up that region as well.

The South American continent remained relatively peaceful, though the economic crises precipated by all this global instability certainly manifested itself there. In Colombia, the government acknowledged the secession of ‘Orinoco’, or Western Venezuela as some called it, but compared with the other conflicts in the world, this shift in power was relatively bloodless.

But the nations of South America were starting to come into their own now. While it is debatable how independent they really were with all the US and British influence in the region, Central American states had established themselves against Mexico and all of the continental South American nations were rallying armies and growing their economies. Land disputes between Chile and Peru, Argentina and Brazil still persisted, but there was no conflict between nations.

Pedro II of Brazil quietly abandoned his programs for slave reform, instead choosing to restrict the trade as the internal population skyrocketed. Some of the wealthier landowners began to experiment with the idea of an industrial slave based society, and fearing reliance on Europe, Brazil instituted a system of economic protectionism that, while making it unpopular with Britain and some of the other industrial powers, helped kick-start a fledgling industrial base in Brazil. To help develop a strong army, Brazil sent officers to observe the gamut of world conflicts in Europe and Asia, hoping to learn the effective structure, tactics, and weaknesses of modern militaries.



Britain’s conservatives rally after the defeat in India as evidence of the ‘ineffective’ softer policies. They demand a strengthening of the military and a stronger foreign policy to compensate. But as Britain licks its wounds and prepares to re-assert itself, other nations begin to pick up where they left off. Despite their astounding triumph, the unity that had thrown off the British yoke had dissolved as warlords and would-be rulers vied for power over the shattered subcontinent. The Portuguese and Danes were the first to move in, a scant three years after the ‘defeat’ of the BEIC. While the British clung to Ceylon and a few key ports, the continental powers established relations with various local states, providing funding and arms in exchange for favorable trade policies. This more indirect approach would be fleeting though, once the revolutionary fervor calmed down most powers hoped to get a tighter grip on their territory.

Another newcomer to the scene was Prussia, which in the late 1860s began to colonize a smaller portion of India and some of the former Dutch East Indies. The Dutch themselves, in a burst of nationalist sentiment after decades of French Imperial rule, would set up colonies in East Africa and Madagascar. Northwestern India remained relatively stable, with some Sikh and Muslim governments setting up free from interference. British presence in Afghanistan weakened with their influence in Northern India, but the British crown was not dormant. Conservatives pursued imperialist policies, and decided to cement their control over the seas by building the ‘two canals’, one with the US in Nicaragua (A US client by this point) and another in the Suez.

Unfortunately for the British, their increased presence in Egypt was not appreciated by the local government, despite the power Britain had given it so many years ago. When workers for the Canal revolted and the Egyptian government refused to quell them, the British deposed the Egyptian government and set up a puppet over the region in 1862. The project was nearing completion in 1870. The Nicaragua Canal, however, was impeded from the start. When construction began in 1867, the problems of malaria and other jungle related illness made work nearly impossible. The commitment of both governments to the Canal, however, did spurn interest in science and would later result in medical breakthroughs. Combined with the growing popularity of the theory of evolution earlier publicized by Matthews, and the mechanical advancements that shall be discussed later, some consider this time the beginning of a great period for science.

China’s bloody civil war finally ended in a sort of stalemate in 1868, when Russia looked poised to invade and the Qing decided to focus their military efforts there. The Taiping Kingdom would encompass much of Southern China, and put pressure on the Chinese Empire to reform if it wished to survive in the face of Western hegemony.

Russia was also becoming wary of Europe, and when Alexander II came into power in 1857, he focused most of his reforms on making Russia economically and militarily competitive. Looking at the successful Prussian model along with American and British technology, his sweeping reforms were eagerly adopted by the Russian populace. He also began programs to emancipate the serfs and expanded Russia’s railroad networks. Other concerns that were not instrumental to Russia’s status as a Great Power were put off until later. Russian soldiers were soon marching farther into Central Asia, with their ultimate goal being Persia and access to the Indian Ocean that seemed to dominate colonial affairs now. Wars were fought throughout the 1860s, with the Russian Army steadily improving. By 1870 Russia was poised to move through Turkmenistan into Persia.

Prussia itself became more concerned with German reunification along with its newfound colonial interests. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, Prussia moved west against the Rhine Republic, securing Kiel in 1864. But the Republic still survived and was becoming one of the intellectual hotspots in Europe, more concerned with their domestic affairs than imperialism. In France, the new French Republic was widely recognized in 1867, and the leaders of Europe breathed a sigh of relief, for decades of French military power had finally come to the end. Modeling itself partially on the Rhine Republic, France wanted to ensure ‘better living for all’ after years of neglect for the industrial base France had built itself upon.

Spain and Portugal both expanded their African colonies, with Spain particularly concerned with the Christianization of North Africa. Horrible tales, some exaggerated and some all too true, began to emerge from Algeria. Spanish troops were ruthless in their suppression of Islam in the public realm, and the local population was not eager to comply. As a result, Spain actively supported Catholic colonization, with many more conservative French fleeing the civil war settling in Algeria and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Brazil began to enjoy success with its ‘industrial slavery’ program. Despite the disappointment of the Emperor, he could not risk angering the slaveholders, the merchants, and industrialists by pursuing a program of abolition. The elected government was quite nationalist, and the powers of South America collided in the ‘Long War’ that spanned from 1862 to 1870 in a series of theaters. Brazil and Chile fought against Peru and Argentina. Brazil launched attacks into Paraguay and southeast Peru with Chilean assistance. Both sides received weapons from the UK and US in one of the more ‘infamous’ instances of corporate greed, with both sides using the Colt Rotary Gun on a wide scale before the conflict devolved into guerilla war. The end result was a victory for Brazil and Chile, with Brazil taking Paraguay and a smaller part of Southeast Peru and Chile taking the valuable saltpeter and minerals of the Litoral and some other areas of Southeast Peru.

In this era of renewed colonial warfare following the revolutions of the previous decade or so, new technology played a vital role. By now almost all modern armies had adopted breech-loading or even repeating rifles, and modern navies likewise used advanced ironclad vessels. The power of the Colt Rotary Gun and the other rapid firing weapons used also generated interest in the concept of using the Morey Engine to power ‘battlewagons’, a ‘rail-less locomotive’ that could function as an ironclad on land, powerful enough to resist the hail of lead from small arms and the Rotary Gun. The late 1860s had the US working with Prussia and the United Kingdom on these hypothetical ‘battlewagons’ that used wider treads to traverse difficult terrain.

Not all nations enjoyed the fruits of technological advance. Nowhere was this more the case than Japan, the formerly isolated nation that, opened up in the 1840s, seemed unable to reform itself, suffering much the same problem as China. Foreigners in Japan enjoyed extraterritoriality and favorable trade contracts, and already local Japanese were calling for seclusion rather than humiliation at the hands of the trading powers.

timelines/the_franco-american_war_of_1798.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)