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Old 03-23-2018, 06:48 PM   #3231
Apollonian
 
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Given that until the 1970'S Britain seriously feared the USA, because the ruling elites of Britain feared that Democracy could only lead to chaos, it seems to me that conflict between the USA and Britain is simply underused as a seed of alternate histories. Centrum has the same ideas about democracy that the 19th century British elites had. They fear it as a door to chaos and a mask for tyranny. It seems to me that in any parallel were the ACW is occurring Centrum would bend all its efforts toward starting a war between the USA and Britain.

The main problems would be these, first, Prussia's king hates the CSA, second, no one trusts Louie Napoleon, third, Russia wants to embarrass Britain and the Czar wants the Slaves freed, and sees Lincoln as the only man to do it. The Prussian King hates political revolt to begin with. That the CSA is revolting for the right to own slaves makes the king sick to his stomach. I kid you not, he is recorded as actually vomiting at the thought of the CSA! Louie Napoleon is a con man and a risk taker. He is tricky as a matter of policy and pride. The Brits know this and keep their distance. The Tsar wants to do two things, A) promote an end to slavery, the South's defeat looks good to him, and b) steal a march on Britain. The Russian Navy is basically hiding in American ports in this period. This achieves two ends. First the Brits can't blockade them in Russian ports nor can the winter. Second, Britain can't bombard US ports without starting a major European diplomatic incident.

So how do you get Centrum it's shot?
The best (read: most interesting) way I can see this happening is if Centrum engineers a Norther secession. They need to start early, of course, but if they can tip things so that the slave power gets stronger instead of weaker during the middle of the century, they might be able to push several of the northern states into breaking off - especially if a really intolerable slavery supporter becomes president. This works nicely for a clear-cut adventure in that it puts the Centrum in the position of supporting slavers - perfect for Infinity cops to oppose.
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Old 03-24-2018, 12:37 PM   #3232
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The best (read: most interesting) way I can see this happening is if Centrum engineers a Norther secession. They need to start early, of course, but if they can tip things so that the slave power gets stronger instead of weaker during the middle of the century, they might be able to push several of the northern states into breaking off - especially if a really intolerable slavery supporter becomes president. This works nicely for a clear-cut adventure in that it puts the Centrum in the position of supporting slavers - perfect for Infinity cops to oppose.
In Britannia-6 (or 7, I can't remember - the one with its own GURPS supplement; Princess Charlotte survives and births a whole brood of royals), New England (including New York State) secedes.

Though, in this case, slavery and slave-holding USA decline. But there isn't a Civil War, so slavery does still exist into the 1870s (or whenever the present day was on that world).
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Old 03-24-2018, 03:50 PM   #3233
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In Britannia-6 (or 7, I can't remember - the one with its own GURPS supplement; Princess Charlotte survives and births a whole brood of royals), New England (including New York State) secedes.

Though, in this case, slavery and slave-holding USA decline. But there isn't a Civil War, so slavery does still exist into the 1870s (or whenever the present day was on that world).
That would be odd without the ACW. Slavery was uniquely profitable in the USA. Far from being a fading institution that would fade away, Southern US slavery was as vital as it was evil. Slavery required killing.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:07 PM   #3234
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That would be odd without the ACW. Slavery was uniquely profitable in the USA. Far from being a fading institution that would fade away, Southern US slavery was as vital as it was evil. Slavery required killing.
The current year is 1887 as of the supplement so that's 20 years for the economics to shift. Not really enough time in my opinion, though. I'd buy if it was 1927
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:00 AM   #3235
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That would be odd without the ACW. Slavery was uniquely profitable in the USA. Far from being a fading institution that would fade away, Southern US slavery was as vital as it was evil. Slavery required killing.
Debatable. The thing that allowed slavery to really boom in the US is that the industrial revolution drove a boom in demand for cotton (and to an extent other agricultural products as it generated urban populations who could afford to buy and ship them from far away) but hadn't yet mechanized agricultural *production*. Britannica-6 is a tech heavy world-line though, it's doubtless filled with all kinds of (admittedly not very standardized) agricultural machinery that will do who knows what to the economics of cotton plantations.
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:13 AM   #3236
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Debatable. The thing that allowed slavery to really boom in the US is that the industrial revolution drove a boom in demand for cotton (and to an extent other agricultural products as it generated urban populations who could afford to buy and ship them from far away) but hadn't yet mechanized agricultural *production*. Britannica-6 is a tech heavy world-line though, it's doubtless filled with all kinds of (admittedly not very standardized) agricultural machinery that will do who knows what to the economics of cotton plantations.
The "standard" Britannica hasn't yet begun to apply their advanced tech to such mundane purposes.
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:53 AM   #3237
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Debatable. The thing that allowed slavery to really boom in the US is that the industrial revolution drove a boom in demand for cotton (and to an extent other agricultural products as it generated urban populations who could afford to buy and ship them from far away) but hadn't yet mechanized agricultural *production*. Britannica-6 is a tech heavy world-line though, it's doubtless filled with all kinds of (admittedly not very standardized) agricultural machinery that will do who knows what to the economics of cotton plantations.
At the end of the Civil War, slavery just shifted to a different name and slightly different structure. Rather than outright legal ownership of other human beings who had no rights whatsoever, the southern planters shifted to a system of sharecropping, in which rights were never respected and black labor was kept in line by informal pressure that included "company stores," systemic debt, and lack of education, as well as terror and murder.

The fact is, cotton remained a labor intensive crop throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and that meant the planters used any means necessary to keep labor cheap. If the institution of slavery hadn't been destroyed through violence, it would have persisted until the labor was no longer required.

That took place at the end of WWII, with the development by International Harvester of a mechanical cotton harvester that cut labor needs by more than 75 percent. That freed up lots of black labor who, no longer needed or wanted in the rural south, began to migrate in large numbers to northern cities -- especially the feed yards and meat-packing plants of southern Chicago.

So, the key thing is the presence of mechanical harvesting of a labor-intensive, highly valuable, cash crop. If that exists, then the economic incentive for slavery ends -- but until that ends, slavery will exist in some form.
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Old 03-25-2018, 05:13 PM   #3238
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At the end of the Civil War, slavery just shifted to a different name and slightly different structure. Rather than outright legal ownership of other human beings who had no rights whatsoever, the southern planters shifted to a system of sharecropping, in which rights were never respected and black labor was kept in line by informal pressure that included "company stores," systemic debt, and lack of education, as well as terror and murder.

The fact is, cotton remained a labor intensive crop throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and that meant the planters used any means necessary to keep labor cheap. If the institution of slavery hadn't been destroyed through violence, it would have persisted until the labor was no longer required.

That took place at the end of WWII, with the development by International Harvester of a mechanical cotton harvester that cut labor needs by more than 75 percent. That freed up lots of black labor who, no longer needed or wanted in the rural south, began to migrate in large numbers to northern cities -- especially the feed yards and meat-packing plants of southern Chicago.

So, the key thing is the presence of mechanical harvesting of a labor-intensive, highly valuable, cash crop. If that exists, then the economic incentive for slavery ends -- but until that ends, slavery will exist in some form.
In a way sharecropping achieved some of the goals of the planter class. Before the ACW Southern whites who weren't part of the planter class began to speak about how slavery burdened them. Those Southern whites not in the planter class began to see the planters not as their patrons but their competitors. Planters began to talk about how slavery couldn't remain stable if it was restricted only to black folks. Sharecropping both allowed an extension of slavery to include poor whites and others as well as black folks, while pacifying middle class whites by cutting them in to the profits of oppression in ways slavery never could.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:41 PM   #3239
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That would be odd without the ACW. Slavery was uniquely profitable in the USA. Far from being a fading institution that would fade away, Southern US slavery was as vital as it was evil. Slavery required killing.
In the world, slavery is still existent in the USA, but the USA itself isn't as powerful as in real life at that point in time. Losing New England & New York is a major blow, especially back then. It also hasn't fully secured the West - I believe Texas is part of the Union, but not sure about a Mexican-American War. British Canada seems more advanced in pushing west than USA.

Certainly doesn't have full control over California, where there are also Mexicans, Russians, and Canadians. There apparently was no California Gold Rush to populate the area - there is even a hint that the Russian fort on San Francisco Bay is going cock-a-hoop over something, "Like they've discovered gold or something..."


Without the industry of New England, the USA probably is more reliant on the cotton exports into the even more powerful British Empire. Though the British have more options, and are anti-slavery (though more in a 'find it distasteful' way). But British and Yankee (New England) industrial imports likely swamp native USA industry.


I don't think that the supplement said whether slavery had been abolished in Brazil, but would seem likely, as its monarchy is self-consciously 'modern' like the Europeans, aping the 'Bloods' of the British monarchy, and so likely would have pushed for abolition (as I believe the Emperor did in real history).
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:50 AM   #3240
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I recently finished reading Safe Passage. While I have some issues with this book, it's mainly a fairly solid piece of work. Two interesting alternate histories came to mind while I read the book. A) They mentioned that Britain was more harmed by bad strategic thinking after the Washington Naval Treaty than by the treaty itself. B) Churchill worked to join the UK and the USA together so closely that full citizenship in both nations for all citizens was seriously being worked on. The simple fact that the USA rejected Empire and imperialism caused the idea to be shelved.

The first idea fits any "Lion Alone" scenario for WWII nicely. British admirals totally rejected giving aircraft carriers and submarines a central role in the British Navy. Battleships were becoming obsolete in many ways, especially if your navy lacked submarines and aircraft carriers to defend your battleships, and by overspending on battleships at the expense of other types of ships the navy seriously weakened Britain. If you find a way to bring Churchill, always a technology enthusiast, back as Lord of the Admiralty, then a more modern and flexible British Navy would alter several early battles.

Added bonus points, when FDR offered ahead of WWII to give Britain funds to fortify its Pacific base, it might had been wise for Britain to take the money. Had Singapore been properly fortified, it would have held out far longer. Yes the Washington Navy Treaty (see above) forbade fortifications, but the Japanese repudiated the Treaty long before FDR offered the money.

Centrum would certainly not like Churchill or FDR but a better WWII might keep the British Empire for a longer time.

Neither Churchill nor modern European Leftists ever get the simple fact that once the American people tried Imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they found they didn't like it. Churchill's government and the USA were all for joining the USA and the UK as one nation, at least in many ways. But the USA just wouldn't accept the British Empire. The price for America joining up with Britain was that most of the Empire would become independent nations and the rest would become full equal parts of either Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the USA. Basically America was willing to join a federated British union, but they wouldn't be imperialists.

Churchill always blamed Irish-Americans and racist Southern Whites for the refusal as he always saw the British Empire as a force for justice and especially racial justice. The European Left would simply reject the idea that any of this was serious if they'd even allow that it happened. Britain simply invested to much of its self-image in the Empire.

Centrum, faced with nut job Nazis and Stalinists, might still prefer a Union of the English Speaking Peoples. Getting around America's rejection of imperialism would be a major task.
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