A USA Less World
Part 1By Michael W Moore
To explore the ramifications of our world without the existence of the USA, first we have to logically find away that the USA would not have developed as in OTL.
Specifically we are looking for POD that eliminates the USA as a player on the world stage.
One would be the US Civil War. I rejected it because even if the South wins or there is a stalemate I figure the remnant USA still has the potential to drastically alter world affairs.
So I chose that critical time, post Revolutionary War, of the actual coming together of the USA.
First what did happen…
November 30, 1782 - A preliminary peace treaty is signed in Paris. The terms include recognition of American independence and the boundaries of the United States, along with a British withdrawal from America.
February 4, 1783 - Britain declares an end to hostilities in America.
March 10, 1783 - An anonymous letter circulates between General George Washington's senior officers in New York. The letter calls for an unauthorized meeting and urges the officers to defy the authority of the new Congress for its failure to honor promises made to the Continental Army. Gen. Washington gets wind of the letter and forbids the unauthorized meeting and instead suggests a regular meeting to be held on March 15.
And so on March 15, 1783, Gen. Washington's officers gathered together, effectively holding the fate of the fledgling America in their hands. Unexpectedly, Gen. Washington himself showed up and gives a speech.
Washington then took out a letter from a member of Congress that explained the financial difficulties of the government.
After reading a portion of the letter with his eyes squinting at the small writing, Washington suddenly stopped. He then reached into his coat pocket and took out a pair of reading glasses. They were surprised, as few of them knew he wore glasses.
"Gentlemen," said Washington, "you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country."
In that instant Washington's men were said to be deeply moved, even shamed and many were in tears. They looked with great affection at this aging man who had led them through so much. Washington read the remainder of the letter, then left without saying another word.
His officers then cast a unanimous vote, essentially agreeing to the rule of Congress. Thus, the civilian government was preserved and the experiment in democracy, that was the United States of America, was made possible.
POD- On the way to that meeting a blue tail fly bites Gen. Washington’s horse, the horse rears and throws its rider.
Gen. Washington lands on his head and sustains serious injury. He lingers in a coma for two days and on March 17th 1783, George Washington the Father of the USA dies, and with him dies the USA.
The meeting on March 15th proceeds as scheduled and Washington’s officers not knowing of his accident vote to march on Congress and demand payment on monies owed.
Much of the Continental Army marches to meet with the Continental Congress in April; the meeting does not go well.
Most of the delegates flee before the approaching army and two of them are caught and hung.
The Continental Army is unraveling and fast turning into a mob. They have no real purpose any longer, they’re not getting paid, and their leader is dead. Factions form, split and reform. Eventually, bitterly, they just give up and go home to their respective Colonies.
In the next few years some individuals try and put some sort of union back together again but the movements go nowhere.
Basically each of the thirteen Colonies became independent states in 1783 and 1784.
With the exception of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire who formed the Confederation of New England in 1784. The Confederation expanded north and west to encompass an OTL Vermont and Maine.
However bickering that had developed between New York and the rest of the Confederation reached such a point that New York left the Confederation in 1786 and formed it’s own state.
The boundaries agreed upon at the end of the American Revolution virtually guaranteed a westward expansion of the USA. This would happen this ATL but as individual states, not as a nation.
New York, the Confederation of New England (later shortened to New England), New Jersey, and Maryland, along with Delaware were essentially shut off by geography from this westward expansion.
They were indeed unhappy about this but short of open warfare with the other states or British Canada there was little they effectively could do about it.
First Pennsylvania and Virginia wrangled awhile about their western borders, but there was just so much darn land there really was no need for real disagreement.
They eventually agreed to a border on the Ohio River.
Giving Pennsylvania what in OTL would become the USA states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota.
Virginia would encompass OTL Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
Virginia had originally thought it would be able to get a bigger share of the land south of the Ohio than it eventually settled for.
North and South Carolina had threatened war if they did not receive a share of the westward expansion. They agreed to a joint territory, OTL Tennessee and small parts of northern OTL Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama.
Eventually this joint holding caused a joining of the two states, into a bigger Carolina in 1787.
Georgia received the bulk of OTL Mississippi and Alabama, north of Spanish Florida.
So by 1787 all the fuss about the individual states westward expansion was settled and there were now nine separate states, where OTL there had been one USA.
: New England
: New York
: New Jersey
It’s interesting to note the type of government adopted by each new country.
New England remained a very loose confederation of states with no real centralized government.
All power resided in the Assemblies and Governors of each state.
When negotiating anything with an outside entity the Governors in conference would appoint a representative
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware each had a British style Parliament with no Royal Family.
Maryland, Georgia, and Carolina all established a Constitutional Monarchy.
However none of the state Parliaments was about to turn over much power to a strong King. So they all nominated and elected rather milk toast candidates as Kings. The relationship of the King to Parliament was more akin the Britain of 200 years later than that of this ATL.
Virginia developed an OTL USA type of government with a slightly weaker President and two branches of Congress.
For the next decade or so all would prosper as sovereign states in varying degrees, with no real problems or major disputes arising between them.
The Indian population would be dealt with in a similar destructive manner, massive emigration would occur, and slavery would continue, predominantly in the southern countries. (Authors note: at this point it’s hard to think of the separate states as individual countries)
Most of the former colonies maintain a good relationship with the European powers, Britain included. Trade with Europe increased every year.
However from the end of the American Revolution in 1783, Pennsylvania had been irritated by the failure of the British to withdraw from Pennsylvanian territory along the Great Lakes and their backing of the Indians on the frontiers.
For the most part time passes pretty uneventfully until the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars breakout.
American resentment grew during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802) and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15), in which Britain and France were the main combatants.
France came to dominate much of the continent of Europe, while Britain remained supreme on the seas. The two powers also fought each other commercially: Britain attempted to blockade the continent of Europe, and France tried to prevent the sale of British goods in French possessions. French and British maritime policies produced several crises with the different American countries, but after 1803 the difficulties became much more serious.
In 1807 Britain tried to channel all neutral trade to continental Europe through Great Britain, and France declared Britain in a state of blockade. The Americans as a whole believed their rights on the seas as neutrals were being violated by both nations, but British maritime policies were resented more because Britain dominated the seas.
Also, the British claimed the right to take from American merchant ships any British sailors who were serving on them. Frequently, they also took Americans and this became a major grievance.
The various American countries were becoming more and more angry over time. However the collective navies of the American countries, even if they could get them to move in concert, was no match for the RN.
In 1807 Thomas Jefferson the President of Virginia managed to get all nine American countries to agree on an embargo on all European trade. The embargo had no effect on either Britain or France’s policies. It did however devastate the American economies, which went into a recession. In less than a year the blockade fell apart.
Having failed at a peaceful resolution of their grievances some of the American leaders began to call for war. A conference to discuss a united war effort by all nine American countries was called by the Prime Minister of Carolina in 1808. Nothing of merit could be agreed upon. The Americans would continue to seethe in impotence.
One huge event did occur during this time. The Louisiana Purchase from France was negotiated in 1803. Virginia’s President Thomas Jefferson brokered a deal with Napoleon and the other concerned American Countries that allowed them each to purchase parts of the Louisiana Territory. In no way could they pay for the purchase price of $15 million in cash, but Britain loaned them the purchase price at 6% int.
Jefferson was determined that Virginia not get short changed on westward expansion this time and convinced Pennsylvania to shift its southern border in the Louisiana Purchase to the Missouri River.
Each country would pay a prorated share according to its estimated acquisition of territory. Boundaries would in most cases be set by the extension of existing countries borders west. The Purchase was divided up as follows:
Pennsylvania would receive the area west of the Mississippi River and north of the Missouri River. This new territory would encompass the northern third of the OTL state of Missouri, the whole of Iowa and Minnesota, and roughly the eastern halves of North and South Dakota. Division of lands to the west and south west of the Dakotas were to be negotiated at a later date and to be split roughly 50/50 with Virginia.
Virginia would receive all land south of the Missouri River, south to the line extending west on its southern border with Carolina. This meant that Virginia would receive the OTL equivalent of the southern 2/3rds of the state of Missouri, a part of a northern Oklahoma, most of Kansas, and all of Nebraska. Areas west of Nebraska were to be split with Pennsylvania in future negotiations.
Carolina would receive the OTL northern half of Arkansas and most of Oklahoma to the border of Spanish America.
Georgia would get the OTL southern half of Arkansas and the state of Louisiana, and with it the port of New Orleans.
The concerned American countries as a whole had more than doubled their territory.
Separately they would tough out the Napoleonic Wars and profit where they could. A pattern of industrial development in the northern countries and agricultural in the south was developing.
By 1818 Britain and Pennsylvania have agreed on a border pretty much the same as OTL.
Spain had nothing but trouble during her second tenure of Florida. Spanish colonists as well as settlers from the newly formed American countries to the north came pouring in when the British evacuated Florida in 1783. Many of the new residents were lured by favorable Spanish terms for acquiring land grants. Others who came were escaped slaves, trying to reach a place where their American masters could not reach them. In 1812, a group of eastern Florida settlers rebelled and declared their independence from Spain, but the Spaniards suppressed the rebels. Instead of becoming more Spanish, Florida increasingly became more "American" and a big pain in the ass to administer. Finally in 1821 Spain agreed to sell Florida for a nominal sum to Georgia.
1821- Mexico declares its independence from Spain.
1823- Stephen F Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River.
1824- The Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. It failed, however, to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas.
1830- Relations between the Texans and Mexico reached a new low when Mexico forbids further emigration into Texas by settlers from the American countries.
1835- Texans met to consider options for more autonomous rule for Texas. A document known as the Organic Law outlined the organization and functions of a new Provisional Government.
1836- The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed. A temporary government was formed for the newly created Republic of Texas.
1836- Negotiations are favorably concluded with Virginia to give assistance, economically and with troops, to Texas in its war with Mexico. For their help Virginia is to receive Mexican lands to the north of the proposed boundaries of Texas.
1836- Texans under Col. Travis are over whelmed by the Mexican army after a two-week siege at the Battle of the Alamo.
1836- Texans are joined by Virginian volunteers and under Sam Houston rout the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas independence was won.
1837- Mexico formally surrenders and grants Texas independence. The outcome of the war fixed Texas' southern boundary at the Rio Grande River.
1838- The Texas Congress first meets in Austin. Among their first orders of business is to formally deed lands north of the Republic of Texas to Virginia for its support during the war with Mexico.
In this ATL Texas looks very similar to the OTL.
Virginia acquired the OTL panhandle of Oklahoma for its trouble effectively shutting Carolina off from future westward expansion. This does not please Carolina and causes a falling out with the other country. Virginia also gobbles up the balance of OTL Kansas and most of Colorado.
By 1838 Pennsylvania and Virginia have divvied up the rest of the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase. Pennsylvania receives the northern half of OTL Montana. Virginia gets south Montana and Wyoming.
Oregon Country- 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition organized by Virginian President Jefferson has reached the Pacific. British, Russian, and Spanish trappers and traders had been working the area despite hostile Indians for some time.
By the 1840s parts of the Oregon Country were being claimed by Britain, Russia, Spain, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The issue of ownership was settled by power, no other claimant could match the force that Britain’s Royal Navy could bring to bear in the area. In 1841 what are the now OTL states of Washington and Oregon became British territory.
OTL Idaho was split north and south by Pennsylvania and Virginia. They had wanted those Pacific ports, but even together they could not stand up to British pressure and had to give in.
In 1847 the first Mormon settlers begin to arrive in Utah.
In 1847 Pennsylvania and Virginia mutually agree to establish, on land of both countries, an Indian territory. The territory would take up much of OTL South Dakota.
Many Americans had been migrating into northern Mexico. In 1848 gold is discovered in California and the migration becomes a flood.
1849 California declares its independence. Virginia and Texas then attack Mexico jointly, ostensibly in support of Californian independence. Greed is a strong motivator and both countries are involved in a shameless land grab.
Several battles were fought around the border between Texas and Mexico, and Mexico loses most of them.
In 1850 Mexico acknowledges Californian independence. It also cedes the eastern half of OTL New Mexico to the Rio Grande River, to Texas. Virginia acquires on a line across, almost all of OTL Utah and Nevada.
In 1852 Mexico, California, Virginia, and Texas sign the Southwestern Americas Treaty that guarantees the present borders as permanent.
In the next few years several major gold and silver strikes occur over the American west, including The Comstock Load near Carson City Nevada in 1860.
In 1867 the Hudson Bay Co. sells its holdings to Canada. Later that same year Russia also sells Alaska to Canada.
At this point the basic boundaries of North America are set. The pressure to expand westward has created some odd looking east to west linear countries.
Pennsylvania stretches from Philadelphia across the northern tier of OTL USA all the way to the Washington Border.
Virginia, all the way west until it reaches California.
Carolina extends from the Atlantic to the border of the Texas panhandle.
Georgia encompasses almost all of OTL Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida. It also contains large parts of OTL Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The eastern half of OTL New Mexico enlarges Texas.
California as a Republic is pretty much the same in this ATL.
Canada has added the USA states of Washington, Oregon, and
Mexico has fared better this ATL, it is has retained the western half of New Mexico, some southern parts of Nevada and Utah, and all of Arizona.
So we’ll stop at 1867. Just wanted to set the stage.
This ATL… no War of 1812…no American Civil War…no USA!
End Part 1