Emperor Norton the Peacemaker
by Alison Brooks
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During the ACW, Emperor Norton felt it his duty to try and bring North and South to a peaceful resolution.
Let us assume, for the sake of this hypothesis, that, because of the presence of so many of the military officers in California, both Lincoln and Davis feel that they need to listen to this man, if just for the look of the thing. Perhaps we can arm wave a situation whereby the Good Emperor manages to persuade the officers in the US Army to wait to hear the results of the discussions before deciding whether to go to fight for the North, South or to sit this one out.
Emperor Norton presides over a meeting of Lincoln and Davis, and manages to resolve the dispute. Given Norton's rather unique view on life, we can assume that his solution will be a bizarre one. For example, the Confederate States are to form a separate nation (called the CSA) which is to be forever allied to the USA, and the two have combined military and foreign policies. In short, the CSA and the USA are both separate and combined. The slavery issue is resolved (temporarily at least) by the suggestion that slavery can continue if states agree to it, but that slaves have certain inalienable rights in law - good living conditions, good working conditions, security of family, the right to education. Since the South had been presenting slavery as a positive good for the slave, they accept this as slavery is now enshrined (and breaches of employment law were as common then as they are today); the North can accept it as being a move in the right direction. To be sure, this is not a solution, it is just a temporising fudge - but all we need to get Norton to power is to put off the question, not to solve it.
Peace breaks out; war is averted, and Norton is a hero.
Then there is an election in the North, and the Democrats ask Norton to run for them. Norton beats Lincoln in a landslide. Interestingly, the Democratic Party of the CSA had also invited Norton to stand in the South after Davis' term of office. They try to pull out when Norton is elected President of the USA, but find it impossible for a complex series of reasons that are too improbable to go into. Norton is voted President of the CSA as well as President of the USA.
President Norton then writes his well-known letter proposing marriage to the recently widowed Queen Victoria.
She reads the letter, and suggests to the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston that something might be made of this. Pam says "No", with words to the effect of "Over my dead body". On leaving Balmoral, a grouse hunting party returns at the same time Pam is leaving, and a tragic accident follows. In the confusion following Pam's death, the Queen is able to prevail upon Parliament to accept the marriage proposal, and plans are put forward for the marriage.
By now, Norton (who is having a miraculously extended life as a result of his successes) has to decide whether to come to Britain for the wedding, or force the Queen to come to the USA or the CSA. Compromise is the stuff of this timeline, so the solution put forward is to have the marriage in mid-Atlantic. Accordingly, a mighty and luxurious ship is built, making use of the best of British, American and Confederate skills. Companies attempt to outdo each other on quality and etc.
Eventually, the Marriage is held on board HMS United and Confederated States of America (which is the only ship to have two official names, also being known as American Vessel Britannia.
The USA, CSA and Britain have been united.
Then Emperor Norton dies, and the slavery issue blows up again. Britain leaves the American Experiment, while North and South fight, kill and die.