|In this scenario the Battle of Antietam never takes place|
Throughout the Civil War Napoleon III expressed interest in invading to aid the Confederates so he could have a free reign in Mexico but only wanted to intervene if the British did so. Britain in fact almost did declare war on the Union in 1861 during the Trent Affair when US Captain Charles Wilkes intercepted HMS Trent which was carrying Confederate diplomats. Only through the actions of Lincoln was war averted. With Confederate gains it would be easy for another set of diplomats to be intercepted en route by a Union ship and with Lincoln distracted by the Confederates on his doorstep Britain belatedly declares war on the Union. After the Emancipation Proclamation many in Britain thought the US was doing the right thing as Lincoln ensured that the war was about slavery so British abolitionists would be up in arms. Nevertheless Britain invades New England from Canada and Napoleon III quickly declares war on the Union. Under the tutelage of Britain and France the South's railroads and telegraph poles are improved allowing better communication and supply distribution. With the blockades destroyed by an Anglo-French navy bombardment and the Northern armies falling under the two European powers invading the North only sees victories under guerrilla style tactics from General Grant. In 1864 the Confederates enter Washington and Lincoln capitulates. The CSA then received official independence.
|A new nation in the Americas|
Around the world and 1867- In Mexico meanwhile Napoleon III sends troops to put down the rebellion led by Benito Juarez and to prop up the French backed Mexican Empire under Maximilian I. Maximilian is properly restored to his restored throne, something which did not happen in our timeline when US President Andrew Johnson told the French to leave in 1865 and Juarez executed Maximilian. When Napoleon is overthrown in 1871 by the invading Germans Maximilian has no choice but to enact land reforms and make a constitutional monarchy that lasts today but Mexico's legacy of liberal and occasional socialist fighters that captured the hearts of many Western fans never comes into being thanks to this. Wanting extra money Maximilian also allows Confederates to fund the construction of a railroad but that will come later. In India famines cause marginally less damage as the British trading with the CSA stops Britain turning land in India into cotton farms so there would be slightly more land for crops. In 1867 Davis would step down from being President.In the CSA Presidents would serve for one term which would last for seven years. Robert Lee would be made the new CSA President with Alexander Stephens, Davis' Vice President, acting as Lee's Vice President. Lee would have almost won a land slide victory if not for one thing: a new party being formed. Fire-eaters, (Southern politicians vocally in favor of seceding from the Union), under Robert Rhett would run against Lee as Lee was surprisingly not in full favor of slavery. Lee joined the CSA not because he wanted to keep slavery but because of patriotism to his state, Virginia. This letter to his wife dated December 27th, 1856 expressed his views:
... In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.From this Lee must have disagreed with slavery but was not for abolishing it; seeing it as a necessary evil. Nevertheless Lee's legacy of a war hero would allow him to rise to the position of President of the Confederate States of America.
1870s onward- During the 1870s the US would build a Trans-Continental Railroad stretching from New York, through Illinois, through Nevada and into California. The CSA combats this by making their own going from Richmond, (the CSA Capital), through Texas and after negotiations with Emperor Maximilian going through Chihuahua and Sonora. The US one becomes much more successful however with gold being found in California starting a Gold Rush and the US Gilded Era. Confederates try and emigrate to the US West but come into conflict with US, (or Yankee), workers. Riots would break out between the two groups as old conflicts rear their ugly head. As US federal troops are sent to put down Confederate, (or Dixie), rioters the CSA calls out against this. Eventually any Dixies in the West are forced into slums or have to return home. Civil rights grow in the North as slaves escape to the more industrialized areas where they slowly start to become more accepted into society although segregation and occasional race riots come though this which do not abate until the 1920s. The CSA economy falls though. There was an international ban of the overseas slave trade so the CSA had to resort to selling slaves born in its border, the South in the 1850s and 1860s also saw this problem. The rising cost in slaves makes cotton and tobacco farmers come into conflict with each other and the last of raw materials like iron make the agricultural South a less appealing trading partner compared to the North. Boll weevils take massive tolls on the Southern crops. Abolitionists in Europe also stops powers like Britain, France and Germany from trading with the CSA. When word travels South of movements like the Harlem Renaissance slaver uprisings put the fragile economy on edge and the CSA has to abandon the gold standard. The North however is still down some area. Reduced US influence stops the Alaska Purchase and Alaska remains a Russian colony in the Americas and Hawaii becomes a British protectorate, (similar to in our timeline during the 1840s).
The end of the CSA- In one futile attempt to remain in power the CSA in the 1890s goes to war against Spain after a Confederate ship is destroyed in Guantanamo. The Confederate-Spanish War reaches a stalemate and ends in 1895 with Cuba and Puerto Rico declaring independence under the watchful eye of Britain and the USA under McKinely. With a failing economy the CSA has not choice but to abandon slavery in 1896. This causes the rise of many white supremacist groups to ensure that the Freedmen are kept down. After McKinely's assassination President Theodore Roosevelt offers the CSA a chance to join the USA. After years of debate in 1905 a referendum is held and two years later the CSA joins the USA.
Aftermath- Great divisions appear in the USA with polarization between the economies and policies of the North and South which are greater than the ones seen today. The election of Southern Democrat Woodrow Wilson helps reduce some of this and the First World War helps bond together the new united nation. The unification of the USA causes an exodus of African-Americans North which causes widespread race riots and segregation while in the South Jim Crow Laws prop up. With civil rights leaders including Booker T. Washington and Ida B Wells born into slavery they cannot help progress the civil rights movement setting it back years and the NAACP is never formed. Lincoln is remembered as either a bumbler in the North or a despot in the South and his face is replaced on Mount Rushmore with another President such as Andrew Jackson while Roosevelt is seen as the man who reunited the nation. The USA would also be heavily more decentralized with people identifying themselves with their individual states instead of the government. Finally the Jim Crow Laws would remain well into the 1980s with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X being seen as the people who started the civil rights movement, (where William du Bois and Booker T. Washington are seen in this role on our timeline), instead of the ones who got civil rights and D.W.Griffiths The Birth of a Nation would not be a film glorifying the KKK but one glorifying the life of Jefferson Davis who would be still seen in the South as a hero.