Alternate History: North America Political Map, 1890
This is the political situation in north America circa 1890 in my Alternate History world that I am working on currently. Its all still a work in progress, but there are a number of major world events that I have changed.
Things such as a migration of more French to Louisiana, including Bourbon monarchist that fled the French revolution and subsequent rise of Napoleon. The area was still considered part of France, but Napoleon, short of cash and unable to suppress the revolt in Haiti, sells the land to the United States. The Bourbons there, upset with Napoleon and with the deal, refuse to yield their lands.
The United States Army, ill prepared and unwilling to begin any war so soon after independence (but seriously outnumbering the Bourbons), enter talks and are able to gain control over most of the purchased land, and let the Bourbon monarchists keep control over New Orleans and some territory west of the Mississippi in exchange for free trade rights through the New Orleans ports and along the river.
In 1812, War between the US and UK comes due to the British impressment of US sailors. It is a somewhat confused war, with neither side gaining any real advantage over the other, even after the British burn down the White House. The two combatants eventually sign peace, but before the news of the agreement reaches the US a British Army routes the force guarding New York city, where an accidental fire is started that decimates the city (most likely by the citizens fleeing the town).
The US feels betrayed by the British for their 'suprise' attack after the war ended (despite the fact that noone knew peace had been declared at the time), and after the war invests in a series of forts along the Canadian border and the coast, increasing the stockpiles of arms for any potential future war. The relationship between the two nations remains very volatile and stormy, and the burning of New York acts as a rallying cry for anti-Anglo sentiment.
The southern US, along with Texas, were quite dependent on slave labour by the middle of the 1800s. Rising outrage at the practice had been increasing steadily in the US for quite some time, and the Kingdom of Bourbon's abolution of slavery in 1829 (in a treaty with Mexico) acted as a real landmark moment in how slavery was percieved in the US. The northern states applauded this move, while the southern states were furious. Slaveowners across the south reported greater numbers of slaves escaping to freedom in nearby Bourbon, and slavery almost disapeared along the Mississippi river as freed slaves and anti-slavery advocates opperated hundreds of small rafts to pick up slaves from the east back and deposit them as freed men on the west bank. Likewise, slave owners to the west of Bourbon in Mexico also found their slaves escaping in massive numbers.
The Republic of Texas fights its way to freedom against Mexico (partly promped by its abolition of slavery), but any moves to join the United States begin to fizzle when the US goverment talks of reducing the potential states size from the land won from Mexico. Most Texans are supportive of the idea of joining the union, but as anti-slavery sentiment spreads in the north this desire slowly begins to fade away. Texas soons finds itself divided as the costs of keeping slaves in bondage increases greatly, due to the ease of their escape to the free land of Mexico or Bourbon. Abolitionists operating from Bourbon travel throughout Texas and the US south helping slaves to escape, and Texas is unable to act against these foriegners in any real action due to its reliance on trade along the Mississippi and the port of New Orleans. Soon, anti-slavery sentiment in Texas grows as many who owned slaves find it more economical to free them and then pay them wages instead.
Instead of joining the union, Texas establishes contacts with the European powers, who are glad to support an independent state in North America as a counter to rising US power. The UK especially hopes to support a state that could be an ally in the case of another war with the US, while France hopes to aid Texas as a sort of revenge against allowing the Bourbon 'rebels' to establish their own state, for soon after their independence they diplomatically annexed Santo Domingo (Haiti) in exchange for protection from any attempt to reconquer them by France. However, both of these nations are also hesitent to support a slave owning nation, and so their support is usually given along with pleas or demands to renounce slavery.
Texas, for its part, does not seek war with the US, and instead establishes a friendly relationship with it and the neighboring Kingdom of Bourbon. This close relationship with Europe sees large numbers of immigrants coming to the open land of Texas, including numbers of French protestants who land in New Orleans before heading west. While the slave owners in Texas balk at the close ties with the source of their trouble, Bourbon, economic realities soon prevail. In 1842, Texas signs a treaty with the european powers and Bourbon abolishing slavery, which leads to riots in many towns but closer ties with Europe. Soon the economies of both Texas and Bourbon benefit as European governments begin to send traders on the longer journey to the free states of Bourbon and Texas, and in turn immigration jumps for both states (Bourbon also sees its population increasing from a steady stream of escaped slaves headed west).
The US also sees a rise in immigation as they spread further west, mostly from Germanic peoples fleeing the wars there. The Irish also begin to arive, fleeing British prosecution, and sentiment towards the immigrants is mixed in the US. The Germans mainly stay in closeknit families and large groups before heading to the west, while the Irish are viewed as also having suffered from 'British Tyranny'. These immigrants also help to repopulate and rebuild New York city, which competes with New Orleans for European immigrants. The vast tracks of land available out west entice many Europeans who grew up landless, and the northern portions of America enjoy a booming economy in the 1850s as cheap labour from immigrants and freed slaves heading north pack the factories.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln becomes president, and his vocal demands for the US to "embrace the free, modern world" by abolishing slavery lead to a Civil War as the Confederate States of America rejected these demands and insisted on states rights within the federation. The American Civil War gave no real chance to the agrarian south, where the regions to the east of the Mississippi River had seen a severe economic downturn in response to fleeing slaves. Indeed, many Confederate Militias found themselves forced to loose men to guard the plantations on which the confederate lively hood depended.
The United States announced a complete and total blockade of the Confederacy, but found it hard to enforce as Bourbon allowed confederate cotton to be shiped out of New Orleans under Bourbon's flag (for a cut of the profit, of course). This uninteruped flow of money was a godsend for the Confederacy, giving them economic clout in Europe. Their military victories on the field were impressive as well, and both the UK and France took an interest in seeing the Confederacy become independent. Arms and equipment began to enter the Confederacy through New Orleans, while in the north anti-war sentiment began to grow, especially amongst those who felt that dying for abolition was not in their best interests. After 2 years of war, with no real gains by the Union army, the United States finally declared that all ships coming into or out of New Orleans would be searched, and all contraband and weapons would be seized by the US government.
In Europe, this action was met with angry denouncments of the US government by the merchants and governments who favored the south. They refused to cave to US demands, and on August 1st, 1862 a British trading vessel was fired upon and captured by the Union navy when it refused to stop and be searched. In response the UK declared war on the United States at the "breach of sovereignty". Accross the US, there was a second rallying cry against "Anglo Agression", and soon the recruits began to flow back in. The Union armies facing the Confederacy were reduced as men advanced north into Canadian territory. Canada posseses some of the harshest terrain, and the advance at the begining of fall was difficult going, but the experienced Union forces quickly overwhelmed the outnumbered Canadian militias and British garrisons, utilizing the fortifications build a half century ago to supply their advance and guard their rear.
Quebec nationalists, inspired by Bourbon's independence and hoping to gain support from the US, announced their own idependence from Canada, a mini-civil war erupting amongst the French speaking portions of Canada. With Canada threatened severely by the advancing Union armies, the UK was thrown into a rush of frantic activity. The government had severely underestimated the readiness of the US' military, and how their declaration of war might backfire by inspiring US citizens to enlist. They were able to scrape together a force and set sail for the US as soon as possible, but were beset by a lack of supplies and overcrowded ships. Off the Canadian coast, the vulnerable transports were seperated from their escorts in a storm, and stumbled into the Union Navy. Many of the ships were destroyed by the Unions warships before the large Royan Navy detachment could return, and thousands of British soldiers were lost.
Heaving occupied large swathes of Canada, but unable to break through any deeper into Confederate territory due to the 2-front war, Lincoln found himself in a desperate position in the 1864 election. The Confederates were able to recieve arms again due to the need to send ships north to figh the Royal Navy, the French had recently declared their support for the Confederacy (with the demands that it recognize Maximillian I as Emperor of Mexico) and were landing troops in Veracruz. The American people had grown weary of war, and even the fight against the hated British was not enough to keep them going. General Grants successful operations in the north were little consolation to a people demoralized by General Lee's ability to counter every Union thrust into the south. McClellan's Democrats scored a decisive victory after news of another Union defeat in Virginia days before the election. The Confederates were likewise sick of the war. They had been able to defeat the Union armies every time, but still had still lost territory and many of their soldiers were dead or captured. The home front was in a shambles, and people wanted peace. West Virginia, Missouri and Kentucky were solidly Union, along with a large strip of land in northern Virginia, while Union forces had pushed their way into Tennessee and Arkansas. Without consulting their European allies, the Confederate States and United States began discussing peace terms, and the United States was forced to aknowledge the Confederate States as a soveriegn nation, but the Confederacy lost territory, ceding parts of northern Virginia, and any claims on Missouri, Kentucky, or West Virginia.
Dismayed by the news that their ally had settled with the USA, France reacted quickly by offering peace with the US in exchange for their recognition of Maximillian I as Emperor of Mexico, which they agreed to readily. The UK, with Canada captured and the war growing more unpopular at home, were soon found without any allies against the US, who were now freed from blockading southern ports or stationing armies in the south. Parliment decided to settle with the US, whose demands were steep: Quebec would become independent, with its borders drawn by the US, while the US would recieve much of Canada's mostly empty western provinces.
Canada had lost most of its land in the war, but still retained control over its most populated regions (sans Quebec). Anger at the US was widespread, along with disapointment at how the UK had treated their Canadian brothers. But most of their anger was reserved for the French-Canadians, who they felt had stabbed Canada in the back and had sabotaged any chance of victory. In a few incidents French-speaking Canadien and English-speaking Canadians began to attack one another, usually with whichever group was in the majority forcing out those in the minority. English speakers fled to the rest of Canada while the French speakers headed for the Quebec border. Many towns were divided by the strife that followed Quebec's independence.
The Mexican territory of California met the news of Maximillian taking power with anger and distrust. The Mexican government had been able to retain control over their rebellious provinces in the wake of Texas' independence, but the reprisals against those who had revolted in 1846 had left lots of bad blood. Seeing their chance, the Republic of California declared itself an independence state June 9th, 1866. The locals had spent months stockpiling small arms and secretly training militias, helped as they were by a flow of veterans coming west in search of gold. But it was all for nothing as the Mexican government, already pressed by the French-backed Maximillian's forces, was unable to respond militarily. Californian forces were in control of the Baja California peninsula and north, using the Colorado river as their border. Angry over the US' support for Maximillian, the California Republic turned down the petitions to join the United States, as more Mexicans fleeing Maximillian's forces fled to the southern parts of the Republic and did not want to be part of any nation that supported the unpopular Emperor. Indeed, the gold rush was then in full swing, and most of the Republic's government were loathe to see any taxes payed to the US government instead of into their coffers. Its population swelled with immigrants and gold seekers, and when Emperor Maximillian finally was placed on the Mexican throne he was told by the French that they would not support any effort of his to retake lost territories like Texas, California or Deseret.
Deseret, formed by the Mormons who had fled west to found their own land, had been a semi-autonomous portion of Mexico for many years. The Mexican government had allowed them some self-rule in a bid to keep them from revolting like Texas had, and both sides had benefited. Mexico gained some taxes from the residents who lived there while the Mormons were free to practice their religion as they wished. Most local decisions were in their hands, and they had grown self-reliant.
The Mormons had slowly grown distant from Mexico, but had refused to join the United States before the Civil War due to the existence of slavery there and the laws that would be enacted against Mormon religious practices like polygamy. But when Maximillian became Emperor, Deseret followed California's example and declared itself an independent state. It found itself economically linked with California and the United States as those travelling west often came through Mormon territory, which in turn helped fill their coffers as hotels and bars sprung up to cater to the non-mormon travellers.
The Confederate States of America, having suffered through the blockade and war, were suffering severe economic setbacks as the century progressed. The debt they had accrued during the war was still there, and the problems in keeping slaves in chains was mounting. Most nations were now very vocal in demanding the CSA abolish slavery, and both England and France were using the debt owed them as a barganing chip. The slaves themselves were growing more restless, and aid shipped to them from staunch abolitionists in the North saw some of the bloodiest slave revolts in American history. By 1870, the CSA finally caved in, and abolished slavery. Large numbers of freed men soon fled the CSA to the open land of the west, or to find jobs in the booming industrial sector of the north. Many whites in the south, furious over having fought to keep slavery only to see it abolished by their own south, joined radical hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan to scare blacks away, or to keep them from seeking political representation or better jobs that these groups had decided were "too good" for negroes. While they had gained their freedom from bondage, they were by no means the equals of whites: legally or economically.
Nearing the end of the century, the USA's economy was booming. Larger influxes of immigrants were pouring in from across Europe, including southern and eastern Europe. Factories were being built rapidly, and technological innovation was driving the US forwards. They had managed to connect Seattle to New York by rail, and were now building rail-lines up into the US's new states of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and American Columbia. The US suffered from the loss of the souther states, but the economic realities were that the CSA was dependent on the USAs larger economic base and merchant fleet. Suffering as it was in the post-war period, the CSA was slow to build heavy industry and still relied on foriegn shipping to transport their goods. It would take a long while to switch from an agrarian economy to an industrialized one.
Deseret was also mostly an agrarian society, living off of a service economy and from small farming communities. The population was small, as the land was not the most fertile and most people who travelled through Deseret were travelling onto California and not looking to stop.
California was a great success. Large swaths of rich farming land, mass immigration from those seeking to strike it rich through finding gold, and an increasing industrial base. The growing importance of trade with Asia was also beneficial, as California became the major stop for American trade with Asia.
Texas and Bourbon were also doing well. They had profited from the American Civil War through trade, and Texas had seen a great rise in industry. The cattle raised in its northern parts were feeding the big cities of the USA, while the factories near its ports utilized the CSA cotton and other goods for trade with the rest of the world. Bourbon's wealth still depended almost entirely on New Orleans and the Mississippi. Collecting tolls and tariffs were very important to its economy, but New Orleans use in recent years had begun to decrease as more ports were being developed and the use of rail transportation overtook the Mississippi's role of getting goods to the ports.
Canada and Quebec were both still suffering from the war, and both were dependent on their coresponding sponsors. Canada found it distasteful but necessary to trade with the US, while Quebec found itself benefiting greatly from the USA's patronage.
Based off of a Wiki free-use map that I altered and colored, adding in flags for the different nations. Feel free to alter this and us it yourself, if you want.