What happens to the Union capital in a Confederate victory?

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wausaubob

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I doubt losing a war was going to change things very much. Those 1860 Republicans were willing to divide a state, make soldiers out of freedmen, and then ruin careers to build a transcontinental railroad. The forces at work, in the railroad, iron and coal industries were powerful. Backed by the conservative banks of the east coast financial centers, and with the navy generally thinking of making the US a competitive world power, I see plenty of evidence that the US was capable of rationalizing defeat and renewing the war.
 

wausaubob

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The Confederates were surprised to find out: the US army commanders were as ruthless as anyone. I suppose that if one changes enough tactical results in the eastern theater, its possible to create a change of mind in the US. But I don't see it. The Confederate economy was destroyed and the Indians were ruthlessly pushed into marginal territory.
 

Saphroneth

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I doubt losing a war was going to change things very much.
Then surely we must differ on this matter, because I feel the analogy of 1783 Britain is quite applicable here. Why bother with an expensive campaign of armament to reconquer people who are manifestly going to resist it, when you can just concentrate on a less expensive campaign of defensive works?
 
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wausaubob

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Then surely we must differ on this matter, because I feel the analogy of 1783 Britain is quite applicable here. Why bother with an expensive campaign of armament to reconquer people who are manifestly going to resist it, when you can just concentrate on a less expensive campaign of defensive works?
Your analogy to the American Revolution leads to consideration of the other mechanism available. If fighting was expensive, simply buying out the southern economy as another way to enlarge the imbalance between the two sections.
As the economic imbalance grows, eventually the US eliminates the Confederacy as a competitor. A good deal of what happened in the west is evidence that the US intended to control the west and bury the south.
 

wausaubob

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Proposing greater military success in one theater of the US Civil War, might mean a temporary relocation of the US capital. But the world textile market was becoming a mature industry, while railroads, steel and coal and were moving from experimental to youthful.
 

steve59p

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Once the US had Missouri and West Virginia under control, and a wire out to Sacramento, I think they could have created an armistice. The railroad connections were strong enough.
The Confederacy won some very bloody battles and that only made them look more threatening.
This seems strange as it was the north than insisted on war to prevent the south leaving - albeit the south helped by actions that played into Lincoln's hands. The north could have had an armistice if it had been willing to accept one as it was the south that wanted a 'limited' victory, i.e. acceptance of its independence and it was the north that was insistent on total victory. Note I'm not questioning the morale status of the north's stance but simply that it was the one that was insistent on war to the end.

Also if the north is defeated badly enough that Washington is questionable as its continued capital then, depending on the circumstances and also the post-war reaction in the north, its going to delay, possibly for quite a while, the point at which the north could have the resources to conquer the south, or even be able to buy it out as you suggest in a later post.

By that I mean that, especially if the north blunders into a war with Britain as well as the south then its going to be hurt badly economically and fiscally even in the sort of short war being suggested in Saphroneth's TL. If its a longer war its going to be a lot worse. If you quickly get an open revanchist government in the north it would further hinder union recovery, possibly badly so. [Because of the larger military expense when the economy is in a mess and the resultant problems in terms of obtaining investment and internal worries over economic stability.
 
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Saphroneth

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A good deal of what happened in the west is evidence that the US intended to control the west and bury the south.
This actually sounds like a Southern conspiracy theory more than anything.

If you quickly get an open revanchist government in the north it would further hinder union recovery, possibly badly so
The funny thing about revanchism is that it doesn't always actually become a consuming political imperative. The originators of the word (the French) talked about wanting Alsasce-Lorraine back a lot, and they were hardly friends to the Germans after 1871, but when push came to shove in 1914 and a war was about to kick off the French weren't the ones to declare war first - the Germans were - and as far as I'm aware there was no evidence that the French were ever going to go to war with the primary reason being "to get Alsasce-Lorraine back".

If there is a Revanchist culture then it might be a lot like this, or the Bolivian national intent around recovering a coastline, or the widespread US desire for Canada throughout the first ~century after US independence. It's not enough of a reason to go to war by itself, and it's usually not enough of a reason to outright invent other reasons for war; it quickly becomes a rallying cry if another reason to war is presented, but by itself it just leads to a lot of grumbling (and possibly the inhabitants of the tiny bit of Virginia north of the Mason-Dixon line getting all the Electoral Votes that used to be had by the whole of Virginia, in a similar way to the Bolivian Department of the Litoral still having beauty pageants.)
 

steve59p

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This actually sounds like a Southern conspiracy theory more than anything.


The funny thing about revanchism is that it doesn't always actually become a consuming political imperative. The originators of the word (the French) talked about wanting Alsasce-Lorraine back a lot, and they were hardly friends to the Germans after 1871, but when push came to shove in 1914 and a war was about to kick off the French weren't the ones to declare war first - the Germans were - and as far as I'm aware there was no evidence that the French were ever going to go to war with the primary reason being "to get Alsasce-Lorraine back".

If there is a Revanchist culture then it might be a lot like this, or the Bolivian national intent around recovering a coastline, or the widespread US desire for Canada throughout the first ~century after US independence. It's not enough of a reason to go to war by itself, and it's usually not enough of a reason to outright invent other reasons for war; it quickly becomes a rallying cry if another reason to war is presented, but by itself it just leads to a lot of grumbling (and possibly the inhabitants of the tiny bit of Virginia north of the Mason-Dixon line getting all the Electoral Votes that used to be had by the whole of Virginia, in a similar way to the Bolivian Department of the Litoral still having beauty pageants.)
Saphroneth

What I meant is if there is a large [or possibly simply very vocal] element in the post-war US that has been heavily defeated calling for 'revenge' and re-fighting the lost war then its going to cause both tension with neighbours, which will make getting foreign funding markedly more difficult. That will be a issue in a US seeking to rebuild after a devastating defeat, let alone expand economically afterwards. If their influential enough to cause concern and/or look like influencing policy it could prompt an arms/military race that further impairs recovery as well as deterring both investment and immigration for instance.

Steve
 

Saphroneth

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What I meant is if there is a large [or possibly simply very vocal] element in the post-war US that has been heavily defeated calling for 'revenge' and re-fighting the lost war then its going to cause both tension with neighbours, which will make getting foreign funding markedly more difficult. That will be a issue in a US seeking to rebuild after a devastating defeat, let alone expand economically afterwards. If their influential enough to cause concern and/or look like influencing policy it could prompt an arms/military race that further impairs recovery as well as deterring both investment and immigration for instance.
This is true, and it's also worth thinking about what it's going to do to politics - if one party is the "Let's go and invade the CSA" party, then inevitably the other party is going to be the "Let's keep the military to the size it needs to be to be defensive and not bother".
 
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wausaubob

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I suppose our British friend is thinking of a much bigger defeat that I can imagine. While I am thinking of a US with an undamaged industrial base and all out arms and industrialization race leading to steel naval vessels and modern artillery, very quickly. Democracy falls as just an obstacle to militarization, in the US.
 

Saphroneth

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I suppose our British friend is thinking of a much bigger defeat that I can imagine. While I am thinking of a US with an undamaged industrial base and all out arms and industrialization race leading to steel naval vessels and modern artillery, very quickly. Democracy falls as just an obstacle to militarization, in the US.
Er, no, I'm not thinking of a "much bigger defeat". I'm thinking of a more convincing defeat, but I'm not thinking of "make a desert and call it peace" - the combat casualties would probably be considerably lower than in our timeline.

But more importantly, I'm not convinced by the idea that democracy falls as an obstacle to militarization, because the US has institutions and a democratic tradition - and because, um, again, look at France post-1871. France in 1870 was an empire; in 1871 France lost Alsasce-Lorraine, and it was a democracy for quite a long time after that. I'm not sure they've stopped; I've not looked in the last few days.


As for
all out arms and industrialization race leading to steel naval vessels and modern artillery, very quickly.
This is a fantasy. The first steel naval vessel anywhere in the world was laid down 1873 (launched 1876) and was French; the first Royal Navy all steel vessel was Iris (LD 1875 launched 1877). "Very quickly" would thus have to mean "more than a decade after the war" if the US Navy is procuring their first all-steel ships in a comparable timeframe to the MN and RN instead of doing so many years later as historically, and there is no reason to assume that all the inventions would happen to be made earlier in the US just because the US was more determined; it is much more parlous to assume the US roughly keeps up with world technology on this issue if they're willing to spend the (considerable) funds to keep up.
I'm not sure what you mean by "modern artillery" (I hope this doesn't mean artillery with hydro recuperators!) but it seems unwise to assume the US can produce artillery significantly more modern than that which the CSA could buy overseas, since they would be able to draw on Armstrong and Krupp and Whitworth as many nations did (and suffer the delay of being in an order queue) while the US here is attempting to construct a modern artillery company able to compete with the established industry of Krupp and Armstrong and to do so from scratch (and suffer the delay of all the learning involved in training up an assembly line). It would (at considerable cost) result in the ability to construct domestic artillery on par with world standard, but either the US Army makes substantial orders on an ongoing basis or the arms manufacturer has to become an arms exporter simply to keep up with the cost of maintaining capability.
 
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Saphroneth

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Somebody speculating about a Confederate victory accuses me of a fantasy. Who says there isn't fun on the internet!
The same would be said if you asserted that after a defeat in WW1 Britain would "very quickly" acquire drone aircraft, nuclear weapons or jet engines.
 

steve59p

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This is true, and it's also worth thinking about what it's going to do to politics - if one party is the "Let's go and invade the CSA" party, then inevitably the other party is going to be the "Let's keep the military to the size it needs to be to be defensive and not bother".
Definitely. The dividing line in domestic politics could well be on that issue, for quite a while. Especially if the fire-eaters aren't distinguishing between revenge on the CSA only but also possibly on the UK as well. [Been talking here about a conflict developing from the Trent war as the most likely way the union could be defeated heavily enough that CSA is likely to gain control of Washington, or simply be secure in its basic boundaries].

For every idiot who calls for a new war or for massive expenditure to prepare for one, there is likely to be someone else who's saying something like "the economics in a mess, our maritime industry is pretty much destroyed, fiscally we're bankrupt and getting new loans is difficult and expensive, our major trading partner is now viewing use very cautiously and we're suffered huge manpower losses. We need peace and stability to secure a decent living for our people and an economic recovery and shouting for massive military spending for a new war is the last thing we need!"

Of course the nasty thing is if the war party is strong/loud enough this could cause a lasting and damaging divide. Especially if it obtains a sectarian elements. The war hawks are likely to be looking for scapegoats and that is likely to include both migrants from Britain [including Irish] and Canada and probably other recent immigrant groups as their going to be less likely to be interested in a ruinous new war. Coupled with the fact migration from Europe will have been largely cut off during the conflict with Britain this could significantly impair future migration as well as investment.

More likely there could be some sea-sawing on policy for a decade or two as the US oscillates between seeking to rebuild a stable and wealthy economy and mend relations, especially with Britain and calling for surges of military spending and threatening guestues towards at least the CSA which will cause economic strain and fiscal insecurity.
 
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steve59p

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I suppose our British friend is thinking of a much bigger defeat that I can imagine. While I am thinking of a US with an undamaged industrial base and all out arms and industrialization race leading to steel naval vessels and modern artillery, very quickly. Democracy falls as just an obstacle to militarization, in the US.
Which British friend are you referring to, Saphroneth or me? :wink: I'm talking about a possible longer war that Saphroneth has comtemptated in his TL, which would be a lot more damaging to the US economy and territory as well as possibly their society.

However Saphroneth's proposed short war is going to cause a serious kink at least in OTL US development and deny it of a lot of resources. If the rump union then reacts badly with a lot of people calling for a new war that could cause far worse lasting damage to US development in the following decades.

The US, baring serious internal problems and/or another disastrous war [which might just include a costly defeat of the CSA as well as another defeat] is going to become a major economic power and no doubt as a result eventually a military one. However even under Saphroneth's scenario this is going to be delayed somewhat compared to OTL and is likely to be a significantly weaker power than we have seen the last ~80 years or so.
 

steve59p

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Er, no, I'm not thinking of a "much bigger defeat". I'm thinking of a more convincing defeat, but I'm not thinking of "make a desert and call it peace" - the combat casualties would probably be considerably lower than in our timeline.

But more importantly, I'm not convinced by the idea that democracy falls as an obstacle to militarization, because the US has institutions and a democratic tradition - and because, um, again, look at France post-1871. France in 1870 was an empire; in 1871 France lost Alsasce-Lorraine, and it was a democracy for quite a long time after that. I'm not sure they've stopped; I've not looked in the last few days.


As for

This is a fantasy. The first steel naval vessel anywhere in the world was laid down 1873 (launched 1876) and was French; the first Royal Navy all steel vessel was Iris (LD 1875 launched 1877). "Very quickly" would thus have to mean "more than a decade after the war" if the US Navy is procuring their first all-steel ships in a comparable timeframe to the MN and RN instead of doing so many years later as historically, and there is no reason to assume that all the inventions would happen to be made earlier in the US just because the US was more determined; it is much more parlous to assume the US roughly keeps up with world technology on this issue if they're willing to spend the (considerable) funds to keep up.
I'm not sure what you mean by "modern artillery" (I hope this doesn't mean artillery with hydro recuperators!) but it seems unwise to assume the US can produce artillery significantly more modern than that which the CSA could buy overseas, since they would be able to draw on Armstrong and Krupp and Whitworth as many nations did (and suffer the delay of being in an order queue) while the US here is attempting to construct a modern artillery company able to compete with the established industry of Krupp and Armstrong and to do so from scratch (and suffer the delay of all the learning involved in training up an assembly line). It would (at considerable cost) result in the ability to construct domestic artillery on par with world standard, but either the US Army makes substantial orders on an ongoing basis or the arms manufacturer has to become an arms exporter simply to keep up with the cost of maintaining capability.
Would agree. Under your scenario - which I've read the complete earlier version of on the AH site - the US suffers markedly less material and human damage but its fiscally going to be something of a mess and the fact the loss of the south, especially of the size your proposing will mean a lot less revenue and manpower and further economic problems. OTL much of the US's growth was reliant on a miniscure military spending and plentiful inflows of migrants and cash. Simply the existence of the CSA, let alone a conflict with Britain will mean much higher defence spending, even without any prominence by war hawks calling for new conflict while both migrants and cash are likely to be in shorter supply, although after a while they should recover.

There's no real scope for the US to suddenly produce and even worse maintain, a large and modern military comparible with European standards. It would be hugely expensive and is likely to scare off a lot of investors and migrants. Plus some aspects, such as a large establishment of defensive fortifications along the coasts, which is likely to be demanded by many, are likely to be quickly obsolescent.
 

steve59p

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To the victor goes the spoils with a confederate victory the area of confederate states and border states including Washington DC along with the southwest goes to the south with the new northern capital going to Philadelphia
Possibly although in Saphroneth's scenario, if the union realises its mistake earlier it could avoid a lot of that by coming to terms with Britain quickly. Even then however a short - say 6 month - conflict with Britain is going to cause a lot of disruption to the union war effort and give the south important boosts so actually totally defeating the south - unless the latter wastes their advantage totally - is going to be a lot more costly than OTL and may be beyond the will of the north.
 
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Saphroneth

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There's no real scope for the US to suddenly produce and even worse maintain, a large and modern military comparible with European standards. It would be hugely expensive and is likely to scare off a lot of investors and migrants. Plus some aspects, such as a large establishment of defensive fortifications along the coasts, which is likely to be demanded by many, are likely to be quickly obsolescent.
It is interesting to consider what a post-war US army would look like if there was an actual present threat.

My offhand calculation would be that they'd end up with something larger than the British Army's home force in the mid-century nadir (pre Crimea) but not much larger (unless the CSA's one is bigger than they'd have under that scheme).
 
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