From a Certain Perspective
Martin had been having a very bad year. Just when the culmination of his life’s work was within reach, vultures appeared to steal it from him. He’d faced many setbacks…damn William, damn Hugh, damn Daniel, damn Willie and above all…damn, damn, damn Andrew. This was all his fault. If he hadn’t….well, Martin would know for sure today. He’d woken up early and come to his office, for where better to hear the news?
Jesus…Andrew needed him. Martin stood up, and walked into the next room.
“Yes, Mr. President?”
Andrew waved that away he always did.
“Marty, I think we’ve got them by the balls, all you need is New York…and you’ve got New York in your back pocket. It shouldn’t even be this close…bastards are cheating. This is Clay’s doing…ever since he screwed me in 24, he’s been looking to do this again. Why I…”
As Andrew began another rant on everyone who was to blame, forgetting himself of course, Martin though back on what got him here. It all started New Year’s Day…
“…it looks like Taney and Barbour are going to be confirmed, with some light opposition from the Whigs. And, they’re promising to get expand the court to get you a 9th justice,” said Martin.
Andrew was sitting with his feet up on his desk, and his hands behind his back. He began, “ That’s great, Marty, just great, we’ll get a bunch of judges that will really do some good for the people.”
Martin tried not to snicker at that assertion. The only person that Roger Taney will do any good for, is Roger Taney…and maybe Andrew Jackson if he has some time.
“Oh, Marty…I’ve had this idea, and I think you’re going to like, “ Jackson said before pausing.
This is going to be bad.
“What did you have in mind sir?”
“Well, this war in Texas, it’s been giving me some thoughts. Those territories that Texas has claimed….Sequoyah and Colorado…it would be good for us to grab them while there’s some chaos. It’ll be like when I rode into Florida back in the day. What do you think?”
Martin barely suppressed the horror he was feeling. This barbaric display was exactly the kind of thing that would stir up the people…and just before an election. It would definitely complicate his plans. That wouldn’t do, Andrew’s exuberance wouldn’t cost him the Presidency. Maybe he could turn him around.
“Sir, perhaps we should let the Mexicans and Texans just sort out their business, and not…” Andrew was frowning, getting ready to speak. Damn, he’d already made up his mind. “….maybe we could be more subtle in our approach.” The frown was gone, Andrew was now looking thoughtful. “Perhaps we could buy the land in Sequoyah as a sign of good will. And send those troops in wearing Texan uniforms. We’ll have an understanding with Texas that they give us the land once it’s in “Texan” hands.”
Andrew stood up, and began pacing. Martin waited quietly for his word. After a few minutes, Andrew turned to Martin. “Marty, I’m not sure I like this…it feels sneaky. But, it’s also not a bad idea. We wouldn’t want a war just before you become President, so we’ll keep this quiet. Let’s put General Scott in charge of this, he’s a shrewd man. He’ll follow orders.”
Martin breathed an internal sigh of relief. Maybe this will stay under wraps, and he’ll still be President. Sure, things will be difficult with the Whigs running a Northern and Southern ticket, but Martin could count on Andrew’s popularity.
The next few months passed rather quietly. The purchase of Sequoyahan territory was hailed by the Democrats, and condemned by the Whigs. The few remnants held over from Clay’s American System were repealed. All the European powers, sans Austria, signed the London treaty. The Courts upheld the Spanish land grant in Florida. Congress followed through on its promise, and expanded the Supreme Court. Taney and Barbour would be confirmed. And oh so quietly, General Scott lead 20 thousand men into Colorado.
On June 14th, a story was in the paper declaring that Texas was giving Colorado to the United States. In the next few days, papers began to circulate rumors that American soldiers had gone into those territories. Martin read this in exasperation, he would have to hope that the Whigs would do nothing. The Whigs, of course, would jump on this story with both feet.
The next few months would be spent campaigning on the Colorado acquisition. White declared this wonderful, and that the United States should directly intervene in Texan affairs. This idea was bolstered by the Senate confirming a defensive alliance with Texas, much to Martin’s chagrin. Harrison instead campaigned against the acquisition, saying that this could spark a war with Mexico. This left Martin in the middle, non-intervention in Texas, but pro Colorado.
In early fall, the United States was looking Northward to Canada, where the stirrings of rebellion were on the rise. Martin insisted that Andrew stick to the neutrality line, for fear of fighting a war with Britain. Many Americans, wanting to help out their brothers to the north, were none too happy with this. And then, Election Day came.
It would be a month before all the ballots were counted. As of the day before Pennsylvania and New York were counted, Democrats would keep the House, but the Whigs would take the Senate, by a margin of one. White had managed to nab most of the South, and Harrison was poised to take the middle part of the country. Martin needed New York, which would send the election to Congress. If Harrison got Pennsylvania and New York, he'd win outright. There was the possibility that the Whigs would get Granger in as VP, but that could be dealt with. And, now, just when John Carton was looking to be confirmed, the Whigs have started dragging their feet in Congress, clearly waiting to see who the next President would be.
“Sirs, can I come in?”
Martin was snapped out of his reverie by Andrew’s personal secretary. Andrew spoke, “Yes, of course, come in. Have they finished the count?”
“Yes, sir…Harrison has won both New York and Pennsylvania, he's won outright. ”
And with that, Martin Van Buren’s world came crashing down.
This is the start of the story for a game I'm 20 years into. I actually have the map and electoral college numbers. If you don't like the way this is presented, I could do the history book format, I thought I'd give it a chance. Even give a slight bait and switch...let you think Van Buren was going to win, maybe, up till the end.