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Decades of Darkness #23b: Historians and Dreamers

Selected Important Dates in North American History: 1820-1825

Taken from “The Compleat Textbook Series: Early American History”

By J. Edward Fowler (Principal Author)

Sydney, Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1948 Eagle Publishing Company: Sydney. Used with permission


First American settlers (400 families) arrive in Texas. [1]


First public high school opened in Boston, Massachusetts, New England.

New York abandons property qualifications for voting; similar motions have been defeated earlier in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


Sporadic Indian raids begin into Ohio, Indiana, and other parts of the U.S. Northwest. U.S. President’s Wilkinson’s protests to Britain led to curtailing but not cession of these raids.

After protracted negotiations, the United States is granted Spanish Florida in exchange for nullification of Spanish debts. General Andrew Jackson is named military governor, and commences operations against the Semnioles and other tribes within the new East Florida Territory.

Failed slave revolt in Charleston, South Carolina. Denmark Vesey and several of his co-conspirators are hung. This leads to calls for harsher treatment of free blacks, who are held to inspire slaves to rebel. Plans are made for more freed slaves to be shipped to the colonies which later became Liberia, while others call for re-enslavement.


Samuel Whittlesey Dana (Connecticut) inaugurated as 4th President of New England. Nathan Sanford (New York) inaugurated as Vice-President; the first non-Federalist to hold that office.


U.S. President Wilkinson dies in office (12 March). James Monroe becomes the 6th President of the United States.

The U.S. election of 1824 is the most heavily contested since Madison was re-elected in 1812. All serious candidates are members of the Democratic-Republican party. Incumbent President Monroe seeks re-election, but Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, William H. Crawford and John C. Calhoun are also candidates.

N.E. President Dana issues a protest over French invasions of Mexico and Argentina; the protests are ignored.


The previous year’s election having produced no candidate with a clear majority; the U.S. Presidential election is sent to the House of Representatives. Andrew Jackson received the greatest number of electoral votes, but John C. Calhoun is elected the 7th President of the United States. James Monroe is returned as Vice-President.

President Calhoun declares that the ongoing French intervention in the New World is ‘contrary to American interests’. The British issue similar declarations, backed up by New England. This leads to the beginning of the Anglo-American rivalry for influence in Latin America. Initially, the British have much greater influence, except in Brazil and Cuba.

Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis appointed to Wilkinson Military Academy, Virginia. [2]

Ratification of Eighteenth Amendment, to go into force the following year. The Amendment makes slavery legal in all Territories of the United States, and includes rights of transit provisions for slaves being transported through free-soil states, but confirms the rights of individual states to legislate against slaves becoming permanent residents.

United States Navy establishes a naval base at Ballington, East Florida Territory [Miami].


Extracts from “Slaves, Serfs and Peons: Indenture in the Industrial Age”

By Michelle Davies

Hobson University

Eden [3], Kingdom of Australia.

(c) 1947 Eagle Publishing Company: Eden. Used with permission

The United States during the 1820s appeared increasingly schizophrenic toward the issue of chattel slavery. In the Northern states (Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware), opinions were commonly expressed that slavery was an evil which should, in time, be abolished. (Hard though this is to believe today!) Indeed, in the Upper North, principally Pennsylvania, there were even some calls for forcible abolition, with appropriate compensation for slaveowners. This brief flowering of liberty produced the Liberian settlement, which trickled on until the great flood of free blacks who fled the United States during the late 1840s and 1850s. Those fortunate few were able to plant the seed of liberty on harsh soil, but which would in time grow a valuable crop. For those who were left behind, and the other peoples of the New World, the seeds which were planted there would yield a much more bitter harvest.

For not all of the voices in the United States called for the limitation of slavery. Many others called for its expansion. Some of these advocates were also in the Northern states – the nearly incomprehensible adherents of the diffusion theory being the most notable examples – but most were in the Southern states. Here, the schizophrenic nature of the United States become increasingly apparent during the 1820s. These states included many people who started to describe slavery as the proper way to run a society. They were pushed on by their own views on race, that of a struggle between races, which anticipated the later view of Matthism. [4] Mostly, however, the motivation was economic. It was, not coincidentally, in the then-frontier states such as West Florida, Louisiana and Missouri – states that were filling up fast as the United States expanded away from British influence, and also the states where plantation slavery was most profitable – that the loudest voices were raised for the maintenance and extension of slavery. Indeed, in some of these frontier states there were renewed calls for the legalisation of the slave trade. Most of these voices fell silent once the slaveowners realised how much more profit their own slaves brought once importation was illegal, but not all, by any means. In West Florida and Missouri, the calls for re-opening were the loudest. For now, however, they mostly went unheeded. The increasingly schizophrenic U.S. attitude toward slavery continued to simmer throughout the later 1820s, and indeed afterward, but after the election of President Calhoun, the questions became harder to answer as the internal dispute became linked to foreign affairs, with slavery becoming an increasingly vexatious issue between relations with Great Britain and New England...


[1] This settlement is both earlier and more numerous than the first settlers who entered Texas in OTL, due to the axis of settlement being much more southwest than west in TTL.

[2] This is the replacement for West Point, which is now a New England military academy. It was not named Wilkinson Military Academy until after the President’s death.

[3] OTL Auckland, New Zealand.

[4] Similar, but more racist, equivalent to OTL Social Darwinism.


Decades of Darkness #24: On The Road to War

Extracts from “The Seventh President: A Calhoun of Contradictions”

By Malcolm Davis III [1]

Baton Rogue, West Florida

United States of America

(c) 1949 Conrad Publishing Company: Baton Rogue. Used with permission.

The presidency of John C. Calhoun embodies the confused spirit of the late 1820s. The nation was confused in its direction, riven by internal disputes between the states, over the nature of central authority, of questions of property ownership, and of political struggle. This was the era of the breakup of the Republican Party, which had dominated U.S. politics for a generation, but which could not survive its own internal struggles. Indeed, the rise of Jackson’s political fortunes turned the last two years of Calhoun’s presidency into a lame-duck session.

Calhoun’s initial election was more by luck than by any particular genius of his own. Monroe disliked him, by all reports, but preferred to have a South Carolinian than a Westerner in the White House. Quite what Henry Clay thought of Calhoun was hard to fathom – as, indeed, it was hard to fathom what Clay thought of anyone or anything – but on one thing they agreed: American honour needed to be restored. Clay evidently preferred to have a fellow War Hawk in power than the uncertainties of an uncouth barbarian from the frontier.

Calhoun’s internal political often seemed contradictory. He was a staunch advocate of the need for internal improvements, yet he often opposed their construction. He supported the necessity for internal trade improvements, and the need for a central bank, yet he often suppressed measures that would have paid for them. For Calhoun was above all a South Carolinian first, and while he stood up for the United States on issues that would also strengthen Carolina, he would often support South Carolina first. Thus, he usually denied the establishment of protective tariffs that would support local industry, since such measures inevitably depressed cotton prices. The northern states were even then beginning to turn toward manufacture, but cotton was still king in South Carolina.

On the issue of property ownership, however, Calhoun was clearly a man ahead of his time. He saw slavery not only as necessary but as right and proper. Thus he welcomed the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, which he had steered through the South Carolina Legislature as the first state to ratify it. At this time, many people in Virginia still thought that slavery was incompatible with republicanism – odd though that seems in comparison to today’s Virginia – and of course, the border states all opposed slavery. Calhoun’s emphatic support for the extension of slavery was one factor which led to the coalition of interests against him, since the northern states now looked, improbably, to Andrew Jackson as their saviour.

On the issue of expansionism, Calhoun was also a man ahead of his time. Although he did not use the phrase himself, his comments about the United States’ fitness for growth would have fitted in well even to-day. But Calhoun, alas, had little true opportunity for expansionism. For while the flood of population had been west and south, most of the people of the United States still kept their heads turned north. Their concerns were with the Indian Confederation, New England, but above all with the British Empire. Conquest of them was not usually the goal: enthusiasm for that had diminished considerably after the War of 1811. But the restoration of American honour was their primary goal. They viewed Britain as the implacable enemy, the New Englanders as their tame hounds. The relatively difficult-to-acquire lands of the north were still their main focus, despite the clear signs even in those times that there was land for the taking in the southwest. It should have been clear that the American race could sweep aside the savages and the other lesser races who had claimed those territories, but for the most part they did not recognise it. Even in the great state of Georgia, which had led the way in forcing the Indians to make way for a greater race – the Creeks were gone before Calhoun’s term expired, and the Cherokee had started their flight – more people thought about the British than anyone else. Even the prominent Georgian Senator John Macpherson Berrien, a noted War Tortoise, remarked in 1827 that, “America can never stand before the world if she crouches before the British”. [2]

Calhoun did, however, did have one notable accomplishment: the admission of a new state. During the Wilkinson presidency, calls to form new states had been resisted, on the grounds that there were too few people in them. Calhoun, however, detached the more northerly parts of Arkansaw Territory – the most heavily populated ones, since they were settled from rapidly-expanding Missouri – into the new State of Washington. He stated that the choice of that name was to honour America’s greatest hero, but he no doubt also hoped to set a precedent for naming states after past presidents, and thus that in time his own name would be similarly honoured.


Excerpt from “The New Oxford Historical Dictionary”

(c) 1949 New Oxford University,

Liverpool, [2] Kingdom of Australia

Used with permission.

“War Tortoise”: A term used mostly by their opponents for those members of the United States government who advocated the continued slow build-up of the U.S. armed forces, as had been established by Presidents Madison and Wilkinson, and which became a major subject of dispute during the Calhoun and Jackson eras. The phrase originated in a speech by New Englander President Sanford during his Reconciliation Speech, where Sanford argued for closer ties with the United States, that “our nations be bound together in commerce and in peace”. The context of the phrase was: “It is our hope that the United States and New England can stand beside each other as friends. For our part, New England stands ready to welcome them. But, just as before the war the United States had its “War Hawks” who urged their nation into a quick war, so now they have their “War Tortoises” who urge their nation slowly into war. It is our hope that these War Tortoises will be so slow that they stop.”


Extracts from “United States Foreign Policy 1789-1833: The Northern Obsession”

(c) 1947 William S. Richards

University of New England,

Hartford, Connecticut, New England.

University of New England Press.

Used with permission.

Chapter 8: Return to Hatred

The election of John C. Calhoun as 7th President of the United States brought an abrupt end to the thaw in Anglo-American relations that had started under the Wilkinson presidency and which sputtered on during Monroe’s brief tenure in that office. Not only was Calhoun himself obsessed with the restoration of American “honour” – so much so that he might be called the first American samurai – but he received a Congress with many militant members. Calhoun himself was firmly anti-British, and the expansion of the army and navy continued even further under Calhoun than it had under Wilkinson.

More fundamentally, however, too many issues remained unresolved for the United States to stand alongside Britain, or even New England. In their hearts, most Americans had still not accepted that New England deserved to be a sovereign nation. Although friendship with New England continued somewhat longer than with Britain, since the first Republican President, Nathan Sanford, advocated reconciliation with the United States, but even that came to an end with Sanford’s departure from office in 1831.

But, although the United States disliked New England, they were unlikely to start a war without a causus belli. No New England President allowed them to have such a cause, and thus, war was always most likely to begin with the British Empire. For the British most certainly did have the willingness to undertake a war, since there were issues they deemed worth fighting for. And with Calhoun in the White House, the relationship with Britain quickly deteriorated.

Many factors contributed to this deterioration. First, as always, was the American desire for revenge. They had never forgotten the Second American Revolution, or the British support which assured its success. But there were other factors present, too. The intermittent Indian raids into Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, which Tecumseh was unwilling or unable to stop, were a significant source of friction. The British were blamed for creating the Confederation originally, and for their continued support for it, particularly their sales of muskets and gunpowder at nominal prices. Worse, the Americans were angered by the influx of New Englanders and pre-Canadians into the lands of the Confederation, which the United States still then thought of as “their” lands, which were only temporarily occupied by Indians. In foreign policy, whatever reconciliation sentiments which Calhoun may have had were cast aside by struggle for influence throughout Latin America, which seemed to be much more pro-British, except for Brazil. The ongoing dispute over the northern border also caused considerable ire, despite the relatively small areas of land under dispute.

One issue, however, was far more dominant than all these considerations: slavery. The United States remained almost completely committed to chattel slavery. Only four states held it to be illegal, and even in two of those states, Indiana and Illinois, the downstate areas settled from Virginia and Kentucky looked favourably on slavery. And despite the plans of some of the northern states to abolish slavery “in time”, few of their residents looked favourably on the British pressure for total abolition. Indeed, the ongoing British insistence on abolition made it more difficult for anyone inside the United States to espouse similar views without being condemned as a British sympathiser. Worse, the British adopted the well-intentioned but misguided policy of seizing any suspected slave-carrying ships. This included a large proportion of U.S.-flag ships carrying slaves to Brazil and Cuba. From the British perspective, the U.S. government was guilty of allowing its citizens to carry out illegal activities, particularly the smuggling of slaves into the mainland United States, which was still unlawful at that time. From the American perspective, the British were violating their sovereignty and freedom of commerce by seizing slaving ships carrying out the still-legal slave trade to Brazil and Cuba, despite the compensation offered.

The ongoing acrimony between these nations grew steadily worse throughout the 1820s, thanks to all of these issues. The British Government expressed several protests against the United States’ tendency to turn a blind eye to smuggling slaves into its own territory. The government rarely tried to enforce the Anti-Slave Importation Act – since the level of smuggling was too low to have much impact on slave prices – and even when Monroe made some brief efforts to enforce the act, juries usually refused to convict anyone accused of smuggling slaves. The U.S. Government expressed its own protests over the handful of fugitive slaves who escaped into the Canadas and New England. While these cases were relatively few, they were well-publicised and raised considerable anger within the United States. The firm British refusal to do anything about them was understandable, given the staunchly anti-slavery stance of their own electorate, but it strained the already poor relations with the United States. Relations with New England were marginally better – President Sanford did agree to provide compensation to slaveowners, despite refusing to return any slaves – but by the time of the 1828 presidential elections, war-lust was high. And when the intensely militaristic and expansionistic Andrew Jackson was elected President, it seemed that the United States was only waiting for an excuse to declare war...


[1] Readers are warned that Malcolm Davis III, like his famous grandfather, had a tendency to prefer controversy to veracity.

[2] OTL Melbourne, Australia


Decades of Darkness #25: Days of Infamy

22 March 1833

Prophet’s Town, [near junction of Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers, Indiana]

Indian Confederation

Maywathekeha [1] had seen many harsh winters throughout his life. The hunting life of the Shawnee was what he preferred, despite the preferences of more and more of his compatriots who had taken up the lifestyle of the pale-faced Canadians and New Englanders who dwelt within the Indian Confederation lands. Some of them had been particularly bad, such as the one sixteen winters ago, which had seen snow fall in what should have been the height of summer. [2] Compared to that, the winter just past had been mild. But still, he thought it would be recognised as the bitterest winter of all.

Tecumseh lay dying, confined to his sickbed.

Tecumseh, Great Chief of the Indian Confederation, whose leadership had won the Shawnee protection from the hated Americans, was about to depart this world and join the spirits.

Maywathekeha had looked upon Tecumseh’s haggard face, and been sorely troubled. The Great Chief would not live to see summer. He was sure of that.

He heard faint movement behind him. Without turning around, he knew that this was his wife, Nenexsa, who had been at his side for too long. Now, she too watched Tecumseh die. The paleface doctors had been kept away – Tecumseh had little trust in those butchers.

“How is he?”

Nenexsa said, “He is preparing his final words. We will hear them soon.”

Maywathekeha nodded. Of themselves, his eyes turned to the southeast. A direction he had gone many times over the years, in raids into the American lands. And one where the American warriors had come from in their own raids several times, during the troubling years of the Great War, and more recently since the Great White Father Jackson ruled the Americans.

“They will be coming for us, won’t they?” Nenexsa said.

“And we for them,” Maywathekeha said. The Americans, like all palefaces, made poor warriors. Their muskets were fine weapons, but no American knew how to follow a trail, or lay an ambush. “But there are so many of them.”

“The other palefaces will help us,” Nenexsa said.

“I hope so,” Maywathekeha said. But the Canadians and New Englanders fought for their own reasons, not those of the Shawnee. If they chose, they could also seize the lands of the Indian Confederation. They had already moved into them in large numbers; their settlers grew more numerous each year. Raids on those palefaces had been few – Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa had ensured that – but that could change, too.

Wordlessly, Nenexsa reached out to clutch his hand. Maywathekeha squeezed it, finding some comfort there for a moment. If only it would last for longer.


25 April 1833

The White House

Washington, District of Columbia,

United States of America

Jackson signed the last of the orders with a flourish, then put his pen down.

John Eaton, Secretary of War, collected the orders, and smiled. “It’s past time we did this, sir.”

Jackson nodded. “We’ve waited too long. Let the British and their New England geldings feel the strength of American arms.”

Secretary of State Henry Clay coughed. After Jackson nodded, Clay said, “Sir, I agree that the British need to be taught a lesson – their demands on our internal affairs are unconscionable – but is this the right way to achieve it?”

Jackson said, “We’ve heard your view before, Mr Clay. The army marches now. The navy sets sail.”

Clay said, “Congress has not yet made a declaration of war.”

Jackson said, “They meet in camera now. I expect a declaration will be forthcoming.” It certainly should be, with majorities of both houses for his Democratic Party. Even some of the Patriots should back it. “Even if they refuse it, we can always recall the soldiers. A messenger travels faster than an army.”

“A surprise attack is dangerous,” Clay insisted. “It will make them more determined to fight on and on. We want a victory over the British to secure our northern frontier and to regain the lands of the Indian Confederation, not a war which drags on for years.”

Jackson drummed his fingers on his desk. Clay did raise a valid point. At least he had abandoned his old line about how such an attack would needlessly bring many enemies into the war. The British and New Englanders would both fight anyway. The Treaty of Halifax had ensured that, and their willingness to undertake continued action against American maritime commerce [3] proved it.

After some thought, Jackson said, “The danger is small. Our armies and navy will not attack before the appointed day. And our minister to Britain will deliver the declaration of war the day before, simultaneously with our minister to New England. One day’s notice will be sufficient.”

Eaton said, “Our ministers will cry havoc, and then we let slip the dogs of war.”


9 May 1833

Outside New York Harbour,

New York City,

Republic of New England

Commodore Lewis Warrington held up the blackberry wine in a toast. “To the United States Navy, and to victory!” His fellow officers followed the toast. Some of them were normally teetotal, but none of them could refuse a toast like that. Not with the smoke still rising from New York Harbour, or with the six captured vessels that were accompanying the U.S. naval squadron back to American waters. The attack had been a brilliant success; with the New Englanders caught completely by surprise. The forts would have made a raid like this one suicidal if they had been fully-manned. But they hadn’t been. The war was only a day old, but the United States had already gained an important victory.


10 May 1833

Prophet’s Town,

Indian Confederation,

U.S. Occupied

First Lieutenant Jefferson Davis spat into the flames rising from the wooden building. It did nothing to dampen the flames. “Good riddance to the savages,” he muttered. Only a few of the Indians remained in the town, all of them U.S. captives. A few others had died. Most had fled; the Indians were too good at hiding in the wilderness. But they would be tracked down soon enough. The U.S. Army had re-entered the Indian Confederation. And this time, they would avenge the defeats of a generation ago. The militia and volunteers would be gathering within the United States, and soon they would come here.

“The United States will triumph,” Davis announced.


[1] A historical figure, if a relatively minor one, born around 1780.

[2] The winter of 1816-1817, which was notoriously cold and had snow falling in June in North America. It was caused by the eruption of Mt Tambora.

[3] i.e. slave-trading.


Decades of Darkness #26: The Stars and Strikes

9 May 1833

Number Ten Downing Street

London, England

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland, and First Lord of the Treasury, felt badly strained. The meeting which his private secretary had scheduled in his diary had been to discuss nothing more serious than the recent discovery of gold in New South Wales. Now, he had the Foreign Secretary, Lord Aberdeen, and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Anglesey, about to enter his office to discuss a war which seemed to have broken out of nowhere. Relations with the United States had been cool ever since Jackson’s election, but both sides had averted the crises which had threatened war. This time, there had been no brewing crises, only a brief note delivered by the American minister. On the same day that news came of open uprising in Ireland.

Worse, both of them would be berating him for not acting to emancipate the Catholics earlier. Anglesey had warned of the danger of revolt in Ireland, and events had now proven him right. [1]

When Aberdeen and Anglesey were ushered in, Peel made sure he kept the discussion on a subject which was less personally threatening to him. “This American treachery has already been responded to. Their minister has been expelled. All their diplomats will soon be gone. We can accept them back in time, but this declaration of war is unconscionable.”

“They’ll already be attacking our North American possessions,” Anglesey said. Foreign affairs were not strictly his bailiwick, but that had never stopped him before.

“New England will stand with us,” Aberdeen said, his voice full of calm assurance.

Anglesey said, “If the Americans haven’t attacked them already.”

“They probably have,” Aberdeen said. “The Americans have long been planning this. The First Nations will be destroyed. Tecumseh was a great man, but his legacy will not survive his death.”

“And can we defeat the United States?” Peel said.

“You should be asking our generals that, not myself,” Aberdeen said. “But the Americans have been preparing for a fight for years. They will be difficult to defeat.”

“Especially with the small matter of our troops being busy in Ireland,” Anglesey said. “We have to reconsider our position on Catholics.”

Peel said, “I would be prepared to consider that only after we defeat the uprising. We cannot allow the Irish to think that they can dictate terms to our government.” He didn’t bother adding that many of the Irish revolutionaries were surely demanding many more things besides emancipation.

“Wars on both sides of the Atlantic?” Anglesey said. “The Royal Navy can probably find the ships it needs, but can we raise that many men?”

Aberdeen said, “It could get worse. Charles X is still smarting after we chased him out of Argentina and Mexico. The French remain friendly with the United States. If they join the war, things could become... more difficult.”

“God preserve us,” Peel said. This situation looked grimmer the more he learned about it.


21 May 1833

Hartford, Connecticut

Republic of New England

Until the event, President Horatio Seymour had never thought he would be glad to see war return to New England. Standing alone, New England could never hope to gain more than a draw against the United States. The Continental Army and militias could probably hope to hold the fortifications along the Lowell-Gallatin line.

But they might still lose. Only if they had secure relations with Great Britain could New England feel secure in its borders. And relations with the United Kingdom had been strained of late. The Republican tenure in office had been brief, but their demands for commercial concessions, pro-Catholicism and friendship with the United States had made the British uneasy. And Seymour himself was glad to see Federalism restored, which meant that the Republicans’ agitation against property qualifications, immigration restrictions and constitutional amendments had also been defeated. He devoutly hoped that Vice-President Thomas Oakley would follow him, not one of the New York or New Hampshire Republicans.

But the United States’ blatant declaration of war had ensured that the British and New England would stand together. And that the British would go to whatever lengths they needed to defeat the Americans, despite the loss of their Indian allies. Privately, Seymour welcomed the Indians’ fate – they had always made uncertain allies, as their raids had always angered the Americans, and they occupied land which would be much better in New England. The initial embarrassments of the U.S. naval raids would soon be forgotten once the Royal Navy joined their New England counterparts. Of that, Seymour remained certain.


24 May 1833

Detroit, Michigan Country

U.S. Occupied

General Winfield Scott had seen many battles in his life, during the unfortunate last war, and in his later campaigns against the Indians. But none of them had given him the same satisfaction as the one he had just won. Detroit should have always belonged to the United States. It had been wrongfully stolen during the Great Rebellion, and it now had more people of Yankee descent than anywhere else. But now it had been returned to the country where it belonged.

A passing officer caught Scott’s eye, and saluted. “Yes, First Lieutenant Lee?” Scott said. He did not know the names of all his officers, but this young officer was one to watch.

“The British prisoners of war have been gathered,” Lee reported.

“Excellent,” Scott said, as the officer walked away again. He was glad for all the prisoners they had captured. The U.S. Army had made spectacular gains initially, but they could not be sustained alone. Scott had overseen the development of the Army into a substantial force, but there were still relatively few regulars. They would need to rely on the deployment of militia and volunteers to strengthen their numbers, and that would take time. All the prisoners they captured would gain them valuable time to follow up their initial success.

“And may we have much success elsewhere,” Scott murmured. It would be needed. The Indian Confederation was broken, by all reports, with only a few French and Yankee fortified trading posts still holding out, but there were many other frontiers. The more distant Northwest Territories, where the British retained contact with the Indian tribes even outside of the Confederation. Along the New England border, where the majority of the U.S. Army was gathered. And, of course, on the high seas. Scott devoutly hoped that the United States had gained the same victories there as they had in the west.


[1] Wellington’s defeat at Waterloo means that he never rose to a prominent position, and thus never became Prime Minister. This has delayed the push for Catholic Emancipation, and the process of parliamentary reform in the UK.


Decades of Darkness #27: Around The World in Eighty Names

This is the results of the first “Where are they now?” call in the Decades of Darkness TL. It mostly follows people up until the outbreak of the War of 1833, with a few exceptions.


John Quincy ADAMS: The US minister to the Russian Empire during the War of 1811, he was involved in the peace negotiations that followed. Adams returned reluctantly to Massachusetts, where he retired from public life for a number of years. He returned to public life during 1817, when he was one of the founders of the Republican Party. He was an unsuccessful candidate in the 1818 and 1822 presidential elections. However, his proposals for improved highways and canals were largely adopted by the successful President Dana in 1823. He was appointed Secretary of State under President Sanford in 1827, but removed from office with the election of President Seymour in 1831. Adams remains an influential elder statesman within the Republicans.

James Gillespie BIRNEY:Birney finished his education in New Jersey in 1810, just as the spectre of war was forming. His study of law as interrupted by the war, and he moved to Alabama and opened a cotton plantation. He remains there at the outbreak of the War of 1833.

Chief BLACK HAWK: One of the leading chiefs in the Indian Confederation; the Sauk lands stretch on both sides of the Mississippi. Black Hawk and his warriors were responsible for some of the raids during 1829-1830 which brought the United States and Britain to the brink of war, and it took considerable effort by Tecumseh to force Black Hawk to stop. As of 1833, Black Hawk and the Sauk were reported to be near the Mississippi, in the former Illinois Territory.

Simon BOLIVAR (South American general and statesman): Bolivar was one of the envoys sent in the unsuccessful diplomatic mission to Britain in 1811. On his return, he became a spectacularly successful general, despite occasional reversals. He was proclaimed President of the Republic of Colombia [Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador], and assisted in the liberation of Peru. Colombia was spared from the worst of the European counter-revolutions, and Bolivar was able to defeat most of the attacks even before the French withdrew. The European invasions proved a distraction from the brewing civil wars within Colombia. In 1833, Bolivar still faces the attempts to break up Colombia.

Sir Isaac BROCK (British-Canadian general): In 1811, General Brock was defeated outside Amherstburg by the Union forces under General Pinckney. He was injured and then taken prisoner during the battle, and sat out the rest of the war as a prisoner. He died in obscurity.

Aaron BURR: Famous for the intrigues of his earlier career, and the murder of Alexander Hamilton, Burr continued his chequered career after the outbreak of the War of 1811. He is often suspected of arranging the murder of Rufus King, although without any hard evidence. He is, however, credited with arranging for De Witt Clinton to bring New York into the Republic of New England. Clinton briefly appointed Burr as minister to the United States (in 1815), but Burr was expelled after a U.S. protest. In 1823, Burr was lucky to escape with his life after attempting to arrange an expedition from Detroit to annex large parts of the Indian Confederation to New England. He currently has links to the Velvet Circle and other pro-secession groups within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

John BROWN: Often called a Yankee caught on the wrong side of the border, John Brown’s father was a wandering New Englander who led his son through much of New England, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio before the outbreak of the War of 1811. He herded cattle for General Pinckney’s army during the war, and ended up at the burning of York (later Toronto). Brown returned to Pennsylvania, where he tried to run several businesses, but failed. By the late 1820s, Brown had become part of the “Velvet Circle” in Pennsylvania, who issued tracts and speeches against the extension of slavery, calling for its gradual abolition. By 1833, John Brown was being accused of extremism even within the Velvet Circle, and had been associating with other prominent Pennsylvanians who advocated secession from the United States in favour of joining free-soil New England.

David CROCKETT: Born in East Tennessee in 1786, Crockett first rose to prominence during the War of 1811, when he served under General Wilkinson in the Indian Wars, including the Creek War. He served three terms in the Tennessee legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1825, and re-elected in 1827, 1829, 1831 and 1833. A charismatic if uneducated speaker, Crockett was originally a supporter of President Calhoun, but later transferred his support to President Andrew Jackson. Crockett was one of the influential voices behind the 1833 declaration of war against Great Britain and New England.

Jefferson DAVIS: Appointed to Wilkinson Military Academy in 1825. After graduation, he became a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1833, he was a First Lieutenant and took part in the initial raid on Prophet’s Town, Indian Confederation, which was one of the opening blows in the War of 1833.

Francisco DE GOYA (1746-1828) (Spanish artist): Served as court painter to the French during the Napoleonic invasions of Spain. His frighteningly realistic etchings in “The Disasters of War”, which would be published after his death, depicted the horrors of war. After the defeat of Napoleon, De Goya was pardoned for his service for the French but ordered into exile. He was briefly a court painter to the King of Sardinia, but moved first to France then to Mexico. His depictions of the French invasion of Mexico City are considered amongst his finest works. He died in Mexico City on 15 June 1828.

Agustin DE ITURBIDE: One of the key figures in the Mexican War of Independence, De Iturbide was successful in serving on both sides, until he finally had himself proclaimed Emperor of Mexico in 1822. His grip on the throne looked shaky, but the French invasions helped to unite Mexicans behind him, allowing him to act as the figurehead of resistance. He was also fortunate that one of his main rivals, Vicente Guerrero, died during the invasion. De Iturbide maintains a shaky grip on the throne at the outbreak of the War of 1833.

DINGANE: [Largely as per OTL]. Dingane became King of the Zulus after assassinating his brother Shaka. He continues to oversee the expansion of the Zulu Empire.

Thomas Wilson DORR: Prominent Rhode Island lawyer (practicing since 1827) and member of the “Young Republicans” arm of the Republican Party of New England. His are some of the most effective arguments for reforming the New England Constitution provisions against foreign-born residents holding office. He has also been campaigning against the still-extant property qualifications for voting, the religious tests for office, and the immigration restrictions.

William Lloyd GARRISON (1805-1824): William’s father deserted his family in 1808 due to crippling debt; one of many New England merchants affected by the Embargo Act. Garrison’s early life was one of hard work and determination, working through failed apprenticeships. Unable to gain suitable employment anywhere on land, Garrison enlisted in the New England Navy, where he served on the NES Swan, and later transferred to the Argus under Commander Perry. During the boarding of a suspected slaving ship, Garrison was shot and later died of his wounds. He was buried at sea on 7 July 1824.

Robert Young HAYNE: Prominent South Carolinian Senator, then Governor from 1826. A staunch opponent of Jackson, and founding member of the Patriot Party which formed after the break-up of the Republican Party. Hayne has become outspoken in his opposition to the centralisation which is taking place under Jackson, despite his support of the general principles of expansionism and slavery extension. Hayne was particularly famous for pardoning several people convicted of importing slaves into South Carolina during 1827-1828.

Sam HOUSTON: Enrolled in the army after the outbreak of the War of 1811. Badly wounded four times during the war. Remained in the army afterwards, until his resignation in 1819. Studied law in Tennessee, admitted to the bar. Unsuccessfully stood for election to U.S. Congress in 1823. After the break-up of his marriage shortly thereafter, Houston migrated to Texas. He soon rose to prominence in Texan affairs, being nominated for several military commands, and attending the Conventions of 1830 and 1831. He was one of the signatories to the Texan Declaration of Independence on 12 January 1833, and shortly after was elected general.

Edgar Allan POE: Orphaned early in his life, Poe was fostered by a series of merchant families. Poe graduated from West Point in 1829 and was admitted to the Continental Army. By 1833, he had attained the rank of captain and was stationed in a fort near the New-York Pennsylvania border. Poe has repeatedly been reprimanded by his superiors for writing poetry and other fiction when he should be commanding his men.

George PREVOST (1767-1812): Prevost served as the overall commander of military forces in British North America during the first part of the War of 1811. He led a wing of the invasion forces into New Jersey during 1812, and was killed in the Battle of New Brunswick in that year.

Lt. Col. Charles-Michel DE SALABERRY: Military commander during the War of 1811. He had a number of victories over Union forces, including some successful raids into upstate New York around Buffalo.

Antonio Lopez de SANTA ANNA: One of the main figures in the Mexican War of Independence, and renowned as a national hero for helping to repel the French from Mexico City. Santa Anna is currently reported to be chafing under the rule of Emperor De Iturbide, but his plans for a revolution were put on hold by the recent Texan declaration of independence.

Henry Rowe SCHOOLCRAFT: (1793-1821). Explorer, ethnologist and victim, Schoolcraft took part in an ill-fated expedition to find the source of the Mississippi. He died at the hands of hostile Indians somewhere along the northwestern borders of the Indian Confederation, according to the panicked accounts of survivors of the expedition.

William Barret TRAVIS: Born in South Carolina, Travis had a brief career as an attorney before his marriage in 1828. When his wife died in childbirth the following year, Travis left South Carolina and moved to Arkansaw Territory. Disappointed with the prospects there, he moved onto Texas in 1830. He arrived to find Texas a hotbed of unrest, with the growing calls for independence from Mexico, and volunteered to join in the militia there. With the declaration of independence in 1833, Travis assumed command of a detachment of militia, and is currently preparing to fight against the Mexicans.

Martin VAN BUREN: After the chaos of the War of 1811, Van Buren rose to prominence in New York. He was a moderate Federalist at first, but abandoned that party for the Republicans after the Federalists continued to oppose the elimination of property qualifications for voting. He was elected as a New York Senator in 1823, and became one of the leading Republicans in that state. He was a staunch supporter of President Sanford during the latter’s election, but had a rift after he was passed over as Secretary of State in favour of John Quincy Adams. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the New England Senate in 1832, and remains an influential member of that body.

Cornelius VANDERBILT: Prominent New York capitalist, his steamboat empire expanded dramatically with the construction of canals was given federal approval by President Dana in 1823. His growing commercial empire includes strong trading links with the Canadas and the United States. Vanderbilt has been an opponent of the establishment of tariffs in New England, and has lent his considerable financial support to the most pro-United States wing of the Republican Party.

Hugh Lawson WHITE: Prominent Senator from Tennessee. First elected in 1823, re-elected in 1829. Serves as President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. Widely regarded as Jackson’s heir apparent to the Presidency, although there are also rumours that Jackson will seek a third term in office. [Note: not to be confused with Hugh White, a relatively obscure New York Congressman in both OTL and TTL.]

William WIRT: Eminent author and lawyer, William Wirt became a long-standing Attorney General, serving from 1816-1832. He retired on the grounds of ill-health, and died two years later.


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