• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Italianajt

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For a long time I had wanted to play Victoria 2 mostly because of the amazing AAR's on this forum. The first was the modded Cascadia AAR by @Dadarian and more recently the Manhattan Commune AAR by @Totally_American and the Han(n)over AAR by @Athalcor

This AAR will not be a traditional AAR nor a traditional Let's Play. Hopefully, I will be able to bring to you the Let's Play videos, along with a brief roleplay of the prominent individuals involved in my playthrough. You can follow my blog to see a list of prominent individuals who may or may not be featured in the story (depending on how things go).

So let us transport ourselves back to the United States of America in 1836. America is beginning to realize that slavery may have to be contained or abolished. However, the path to the final answer will be long and rocky. Can the men who lead America avoid a military conflict? How will such political machinations look and feel? Follow me, and we'll find out together!
___________________________________________________________________________
Disclaimer: I am very green with Victoria 2 so please be kind with critiques of what I say in the videos as they may not always be accurate.
____________________________________________________________________________

This story is meant to be a base-level introduction to Victoria 2 for new players and should hopefully be entertaining to seasoned Victoria 2 players. In each episode I'll try my best to offer tips and explanations for the various workings of the game.

Feel free to watch my Basic Tutorial video to get a taste of my style and gameplay.
Victoria 2 - Learn the Basics Tutorial
 

Athalcor

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Wow, thanks for the mention! You even included the abbreviation 'AAR' in my thread's title so that the accidental reader will know that the thread is actually meant to be one. I do the same in my signature.

Turning to this project of yours, I can only wish you good luck! Overall, I am not much of a fan of LPs or narratives so I will probably not follow but again, good luck and have fun ;).
 

Italianajt

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Wow, thanks for the mention! You even included the abbreviation 'AAR' in my thread's title so that the accidental reader will know that the thread is actually meant to be one. I do the same in my signature.

Turning to this project of yours, I can only wish you good luck! Overall, I am not much of a fan of LPs or narratives so I will probably not follow but again, good luck and have fun ;).
No problem Athalcor, but remember, I am also trying to have an AAR supplementing the LP's...so you'll still have some juicy roleplay to read ;)
 

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No problem Athalcor, but remember, I am also trying to have an AAR supplementing the LP's...so you'll still have some juicy roleplay to read ;)
And that's the reason why I have subscribed to this thread ;).
 

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I always love a good American AAR. And this concept intrigues me. I'll be following.
 

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*cough*
This looks good!
I know, I know. But the episode was already recorded and graphics created. Should I put a disclaimer: *This is not the OTHER A House United* ??
 

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Episode 1
February 1836 - Colorado Frontier

The journey was long and arduous, moving West from the Kansas Territory. Natives were the biggest threat as the plains made travel easy. This government expedition was not the only one of it’s kind. No, President Jackson had looked West in these later years of his presidency and saw that democracy had to expand, lest the Mexicans take too much territory as their own. He had ordered expeditions to the Oregon Territory, to the Oklahoma Territory north of the Republic of Texas, and this mission. So Major John C. Fremont led his expedition team into the Coloradan frontier. There were 12 men in all, plus some Kiowa scouts. Fremont longed for this adventure. On his own, free from the monotony of regimented military life. He believed that his oak leaves and blue blouse gave him the authority to act as the government, now he had finally been given the chance.

One of the scouts had already reported a recent campsite up ahead. Mexicans and about the same size as the American group. However, it appeared to the scout, as relayed to Fremont, who did not speak the Kiowa language, that the Mexicans turned South again towards their Nueva Mexico lands. Fremont had been given charge to reconnoiter a suitable colony location. He felt that they had better press on closer to the looming mountains and survey a location there, hopefully near a mountain pass so they could control trade and transit through the mountains.


March 1836 - Washington, D.C.

“We must, as a common people, work with Great Britain to bring an end to suspiciousness and aloofness along the fluid and undocumented border with their possession in Canada. Our great states in the North have too much to worry about in regards to unemployed workers than to worry long about what the new queen will do to take more of our land from us. The President should open negotiations with Queen Victoria to bring about peace.”

Senator Daniel Webster sat down, ceding the floor to another ally in this war of words regarding Anglo-American relations. John Tyler, a fellow Whig from Virginia leaned over as Henry Clay took up the Whig platform of bringing the two countries closer together.

“I must say, well put Mr. Webster. Though I support this idea we must continue to pressure the British and their Queen for reparations from their impressment of our sailors into their navies.”

Webster was taken aback. “My dear Mr. Tyler, we had a war to resolve such an infraction!” he answered in hushed astonishment so as not to upset Clay’s speech.

“But was it? The reason our diplomatic relationship is so bad is because they refuse to leave us alone. They refuse to leave our country grow as we see fit and where we see fit. Our forefathers had it right when they rebelled, let us not give in to any demand.”

“Your forefathers, I am a child of the War of Independence. What we need to convey to the British is that we are from the same people with common history. We should inhabit this continent as brothers, not enemies. I do believe they will listen to reason. Additionally, we have many goods they want. Cotton, foremost, but with these expeditions out West who knows what other goods we will find? They may yet find minerals of value in their Canadian territories as well. It is best we reconcile and grow as brothers than to fight yet again over petty things.”

Their conversation was cut off when Senator John Calhoun stood up, and in his fiery Southern drawl, lambasted any attempt by the “Anglo-loving Whig faction” to appease the British. He then listed off a number of unresolved grievances some which were sensible but others that were only marginally believable. This continued for forty minutes.


March 10 1836 - Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory

Fremont waited for over an hour for William Clark, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, to conclude his meeting. Clark was negotiating the transfer of tribal lands to the Federal Government in neighboring Missouri. But Fremont needed Clark’s signature on his final orders to bring a great convoy out to their little surveyed location in Colorado, which his expedition named St. John in a somewhat acknowledgement to his leadership but also to give praise for their safe passage.[1] Fremont was about to leave when Clark’s office door opened.

A few individuals shuffled out. Fremont took a pull on his cigar before walking into the room to speak with Clark. “Mr. Clark, this intrusion could not wait. My expedition must leave soon to set up the town of St. John and stake claim to the Coloradan land before the Mexicans say they have the preferential claim.” The words came out as a force of nature but Clark simply sat behind his desk with a tired look.

“Major Fremont that was quite a delivery. I will have to assume that your brusque tone comes from a long wait? I will sign your papers now but I must warn you that those savages, the Arapahoe, may not leave you alone. But we will deal with that in time. I dare say, good luck, major.”


July 23, 1836 - St. John, Colorado Territory

Fremont paced back and forth in his little office. There was to be a detachment arriving today to establish an outpost further south along the mountain range so the military could better protect St. John and future towns from a potential Mexican attack. Fremont had helped St. John grow into a successful little colony town mostly through his direction of almost every work. He had begun to feel that he should make a bold move for the entirety of Colorado, for the sake of the country, of course. Perhaps a raid on the Mexican town of Jimenez?

He was lost in thought when his assistant, Corporal Heller, came into the room with a sharp salute and word that the outpost garrison officer had arrived and wished to see him. Fremont returned the salute and, when the corporal left, straightened his coat and his cravat. He was next greeted by a most austere and commanding young lieutenant, an engineer by his piping colors. The officer saluted.

“First Lieutenant Lee, sir.”

Fremont returned the salute. “Good morning lieutenant,” was his reply. He looked at the door and waited as Lee said nothing nor moved to relax himself. “Where is your commanding officer, Lee?”

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

“Where is the officer in charge of the garrison? Is he attending to other matters?”

“My apologies, major, I am the officer in charge of the garrison.”

“A lieutenant?”

“I have already surveyed the Michigan-Ohio border and worked alongside the general staff of engineers in Washington. I was handpicked for this duty by General Gratiot himself. Have you an issue, major?”

“Not at all lieutenant. And, we may drop the formality out here in St. John. What is your first name so that I may speak with you plainly about what I can offer in directions and support?”

“Robert, Major. Robert Edward Lee.” [2]
-------------------------
[1] The most notable divergence (other than Fremont leading this expedition to Colorado) so far. Instead of St. Charles, which in 1858 was reclaimed by a prospector as Denver City during the Gold Rush.

[2] So yes, Robert E. Lee was older than Fremont by ten years. But this is my alternate history and maybe Fremont had some subterfuge to get to the oak leaves before Lee?
 

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Episode 2

October 1836 - Washington, D.C. - Joint Session of Congress

“...prospectors and settlers have come in droves and the necessary military matters have been established. It is, therefore, my recommendation that Congress recognize, in full and as prescribed by our laws, that we shall organize the Oklahoma Territory on those lands currently situated between the Republic of Texas and our own Kansas Territory extending to a terminus near the disputed border of Nueva Mexico and those lands known as ‘Colorado.’ This Territory shall be governed by a man well-respected for levelheadedness and preparedness to deal with Indian incursions, Mexican incursions, and all matters of sinful life such hardship may bring. I wish to also thank the members of Army who helped bring about the surveying and guarding of these said lands. America shall continue to grow, as is our right on this land.”

With his speech ended, the members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate gave James Polk a sound applause. The Speaker of the House politely thanked his congressmen and took his seat at the podium. He thought he would soon be making a speech regarding the Oregon Territory north of California as well.

The applause died down and Polk stood up to the lectern again to call for any new business. Senator Henry Clay rose from his seat and asked the one unspoken question from Polk’s speech:
“Many thanks indeed, Speaker. However, the matter conspicuously absent from your speech was the most pressing of my constituents of this day. Oklahoma is here, so be it. Doth slavery appear as well in these new lands?”

Shouts came down from members of both branches of government. There were voices giving a hearty “harummph” in support, while far more vocal, and almost vulgar, were those congressmen denouncing Clay and the institution of slavery.

Clay rose to the challenge. “The government is clearly divided. How do the people of Oklahoma respond? There are none here presently; we should not forget to give their ideals the floor as well. The President has previously stated slavery should remain untouched and we like-minded gentlemen would like assurances that this body will uphold the laws of each state and territory to determine if slavery should be allowed within their borders.”

Clay continued on for 20 more minutes describing the rights of sovereignty and past precedents regarding slavery. Finally he sat to a roaring applause from the Pro-Slavery men in Congress.

Representative John Bell, from Tennessee, rose next and offered his thoughts on the matter, declaring the Constitution granted each state the right to choose those laws specifically not given to the sovereignty of the federal government.

And so it went for three hours, with men standing and offering support or disagreement with the lawfulness of extending slavery.


November 16, 1836 - Plattsburgh Republican Headlines


WISCONSIN RATIFIES STATE CONSTITUTION!
Declares itself a FREE STATE for ALL MEN!


JACKSON AND CONGRESS RAISES TAXES ON SKILLED MEN!
“Small Increase” says the Hero of New Orleans


WAR FOR TEXAN INDEPENDENCE SLOWING!
Armies trade territories; General Houston yet to win a Battle




January 30, 1837 - Fountain Springs, Colorado Territory [1]

The fire crackled in the hearth as orderlies were finally bringing the meal for tonight’s dinner to the table. Elk was the main dish and its aroma soon filled the small room. At the table sat two officers of the US Army who had, in recent months grown to be good acquaintances. Though ten years apart, the younger outranked the elder, something that had not been an issue during their times of interaction. Their lives could also not have been more different. One was a bastard and resented those who shamed him for such unfortunate circumstances. The other was the son of a Revolutionary War Hero and brought up in the genteel ways of the landed Southern elite. Yet here, on the frontier and away from their usual cadre of friends, they were quickly bridging the societal gaps between them.

“Robert how has the work been?” asked the young Major.

“It goes as it always has. I am growing increasingly frustrated at the time spent away from Arlington however. My wife was just recovering from a spell of ill health when I was ordered out here. These months apart have tested our resolve.”

“Nothing drastic I hope? She isn’t throwing accusations of abandonment towards you?”

“I should hope not John. It is more emotional stress. Virginia is our home. These rugged lands are beautiful but nothing so much as staring out from the steps of Arlington towards the Potomac as the sun rises.”

“Such homely talk will bring you madness out here.”

“That is why I am glad I will be going back to Washington once the thaw begins. What about yourself John? Still waging your own personal war with your superiors?”

“They believe I should be brought back to St. Louis for reassignment. I, however, might just resign if they make enough noise about such matters. Colorado is away from everything. I have heard that the Mexicans established a large town near Durango but there are reports they are withdrawing men back South to fight the Texans. If so, we should be able to rightfully claim this entire land for ourselves.”

“And you hope to stay on as governor?”

“You know me too well Robert. And what for you when you get back to Washington? Staying with the army or are you to strike out as all do in your life and work the darkies to death on your plantation?”

Lee gently laid his fork back on his plate and took stock of what Fremont had just said. “John, we have rarely spoken of slavery. Why bring it up now?”

“Because we have rarely spoken about it.”

“My family has slaves, John. But we treat them as fairly as we can.” He took a sip of the wine in front of him. “However, I will say no more on the matter.”

“This is what I don’t understand Robert. All of the Southern politicians speak so highly about the need to maintain slavery in their states yet as soon as someone asks a personal question, not one damn Southern will talk about it! Are you ashamed or aren’t you?”

“John, I believe we are heading down a dangerous path. There are some things which we do not speak about in Virginia. They are slaves, John. Simply that. They are a part of our society and a part of Virginian culture. What would they do without our guidance?”

“There seem to be plenty of freedmen in the North who know how to live their lives without the help of an overseer’s whip.”

“That’s enough, John. For the sake of--”

“So this is what occurs? You run and hide like a rabbit when the talk touches too close to you personally?”

The lieutenant stood up abruptly and motioned to an orderly for his kepi and greatcoat. “Major, I am sorry, but continuing down this path may make this friendship, so as it is, untenable. The slaves are slaves. There is no reason to bring up their ideas or wishes in genteel conversation.”

“Robert, you have never known me to be genteel.”

“Unfortunately not...Major. Goodnight and goodbye. I will return to my outpost at dawn.”


May 8th, 1837 - Washington, D.C. - Office of Senator Daniel Webster

“We have word that a great store of cotton said to be of the highest quality has just been harvested in Mississippi. The port official there has asked us to make overtures to our various European attaches for right of first refusal. While some of our populace may think Great Britain is the devil incarnate, I welcome a time where we may embrace each other as brothers.”

“Very well said, Senator. I believe that the crown will have good use of this fine cotton. I shall send word to some of the procurement agents for my government to take a look at this shipment and see if it is as high a quality as your man believes. This should do wonders for the relationship between our two nations.”

The ambassador from the United Kingdom rose and straightened his coat, Webster rose with him.

“We certainly have come a long way since 1812. Can you believe it? 25 years ago another war broke out on this continent. I am hopeful that the new president will be more open to Anglo-American relations, ambassador.”

“Yes, indeed. It would help out both of our countries. Still, this issue of slave labor…”

“I understand ambassador. We certainly mean to let it die it’s slow inevitable death. We must always keep in mind the agitators in the southern states, however. Good day.”

“Yes, quite. Good day indeed, Senator.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] OTL Colorado Springs, CO
 
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I like that you give a look onto the floor of Congress, especially during the "Golden Age of the Senate" which included some of the most well-spoken politicians in American history.
 
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I like that you give a look onto the floor of Congress, especially during the "Golden Age of the Senate" which included some of the most well-spoken politicians in American history.
Thank you! I can merely scratch the oratorical intellectual surface of these individuals. But yes, the was when politicians in America actually made sense, helmed the Ship of State, and genuinely wanted to do great good during their terms. Well, most of them. Some of them just wanted to cane other members to the brink of death for perceived slights (but that's in another decade).
 

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Episode 3

Late July 1837 - Astoria, Oregon Territory

The rudimentary docks were groaning under the strain of so many new settlers. Since the Oregon Territory was officially recognized as a region of colonization by the American government, city dwellers from the North and in the Northwestern States had been arriving, some by the costly and arduous voyage around South America, while others took the embryonic route some were calling the ‘Oregon Trail’ starting off in St. Louis, Missouri. [1] London and Washington had agreed to terms of setting this area as a “joint” authority of sorts until a more permanent border could be agreed upon. With so many American settlers, the local powerbrokers felt the border would be far north, maybe terminating at the cold Russian territory of Alaska.

Astoria was an established town at this point, having been laid out and settled with financing from the millionaire John Astor. Now it was becoming something of a boom town. As such, it took on the normal boom town atmosphere, lawlessness mixed with good people trying to start anew. There were a good bit of single men or married men on their own, looking to establish a prosperous life before sending for the rest of the family. However, there were those that just wanted to get away from their family altogether. So, as a matter of course, the “flesh trade” sprang up in multiple establishments throughout the town. Mostly above taverns, there was one dedicated brothel in the city, conveniently right by the docks.

Further inwards, towards the fort and “Old Town” (as a town settled 25 years before could be called old) sat the business area. Not so much trades like blacksmith’s and the like, but professional services: a lawyer’s office, a bank, a barber, etc. At the town lawyer’s office, run by Mr. Rudolph Jacobs, a group of men sat in an office with cigar smoke wafting to the roof. This was no ordinary gathering though, among the suits and cravats were two junior officers with the US Army.

Captain Henry Stephens and Captain Jebediah Sawes wore uniforms that were not quite ready for dress parade. Clean enough to pass muster, though. They had just arrived with the rest of the besuited men in the room aboard a merchant clipper, they were capitalists in a general term. Men who wished to see the States grow and grow to fill all of this wonderful continent. These men now met to determine exactly how to interpret President Jackson’s decision to settle the lands closer to Vancouver and British Canada.

Captain Sawes took a draw from his cigar. “I can’t help but hope for better financial support. There are Indians in these lands. We, meaning the army, need financing to keep supplies moving once we return word of our first outpost location. Such things will help us succeed in these lands.”

“Agreed, Captain. We are so far from Washington that adequate lines of communication with your superiors would seem impossible. They really have run you on a fool’s mission.”

Captain Stephens cleared his throat. “I would not call it a fool’s mission, this is for the good of the country. However, as Jeb and I have already stated, we are both far from our families. Extra incentives will be needed to maintain a vigilant guard in the forests so that goods will flow through Astoria’s port. It is in desperate need of repair and expansion. Mr. Jacobs I believe you represent men who would like to circumvent the nominal taxation your governor places on lumber?”

Mr. Jacobs nodded his agreement.

“Have we not reached an understanding of 5% for each of you when goods are traded? Everything is being handled here by Mr. Jacobs, he will see your incentive is kept safely and orderly when duty brings you back to Astoria.”

Sawes laughed and spat on the floor. “Money is good. I need women. For...cleaning...of course.” He finished with a wink and a laugh.

The men around him laughed as well. “There are plenty of whores around the town,” Mr. Jacobs replied.

“No. I need Indian women.”

The laughing subsided and some of the businessmen traded looks. “So specific. How will we get them from their tribes? And why not just take them from around your post?”

“Details gentlemen, details. If my men take them, then it’s the army stealing women, which I don’t think the local Indians nor the British will abide. However, I’m sure you’ll find a way to take the government out of the situation.” Sawes’ laugh progressed into a hacking cough.

“We will...see what...we can do.” This was the only assurance any of the businessmen were willing to make.


September 1837 - Washington, D.C.

The air was tense as Martin Van Buren ended his speech regarding the plan brought forth by President Jackson supporting the Republic of Texas in a most ambitious way, through direct war subsidies. Most knew this was a plan initiated at the insistence of Jackson’s Secretary of War, Joel Roberts Poinsett. Most knew Poinsett from his time spent in Mexico as the first ambassador to the Mexican Empire a decade earlier. The fact that he strove for American domination of Mexican business and politics was no secret. The plan seemed to be an extension of how far Poinsett wanted to dictate the Mexican-American border, all with Jackson's supposed blessing of course.

Representative John Bell stood up to deliver what many assumed would be the first rebuttal. They were not disappointed. “Members of Congress, while we thank the President and Secretary for their suggestions on the Texans war, I must remind those warmongers among us that this country has its own issues to worry about. We may be running a surplus but that does not mean we should spend the abundance on nations that may not make it through the end of the year! The Texans look increasingly to us for protection and direction, let us make use of that in a non-monetary way. Let us try to diplomatically impose peace between the two nations. Perhaps an autonomous region status for Texas within Mexico? We have our own issues, as I said, dealing with the Colorado Territory and the growing Mexican threat. We are in a race for settlement for those mountains. Let us deal with our Mexican issues first, before trying to prop up a flailing nation. What assurance have we that the Texan government will use the money properly? What assurances do we have of the favor being returned when needed? And...furthermore...what assurance do we have that this is not some gamble by slaveholders to expand their particular institution?”

Congressmen began to shout out, as always occurred during slavery debates. Bell’s speech lumbered on, despite the noise.

“Should we decide to instead keep Texas at arms length until we have, as a country, determined the future of the slave issue? I myself find the idea frustrating. There is a course ahead which is wrapped in darkness. We should focus on shining a light so that our country continues to prosper. We, as a government and as a people, need to resolve the question of the slave before taking major international measures of any sort!”

Senator Franklin Pierce from New Hampshire, whose views led many to call him a Copperhead, arose next to defend the Southern institution and somehow managed to steer the talk back to the topic at hand, the financial support of Texas.

“While we wait and bicker, a free, independent nation, much akin to our own original thirteen colonies, now asks for our help. Did not the French come to our father’s and grandfather’s aid when we needed them the most? Where is this spirit in America today? I see a congress who can make a lasting difference in this world. Where men who wish to live free from foreign rule can proclaim such intentions and achieve them. I say now is the time where we support the will of the people in Texas and help them, in any way we can.”

The light of dusk soon crept upon the congressional floor when the final speech was given. It had a been a rough day but the congressional leaders assured Van Buren the vote would pass. So Van Buren struck the gavel and called for a vote.

It was close, but the US agreed to subsidize the war in Texas. [2]


January 1838 - New York Herald Headlines

ARMY RESTATIONED IN OKLAHOMA
Gen Macomb Ordered to watch Texan Border

TALK OF SECESSION SPREADING!
Florida and Georgia Hold Meetings

COLORADO TERRITORY ORGANIZED!
Liberals seek Appointment of Fremont as Governor

GEN HOUSTON LOSES AGAIN!
Thousands massacred, Texans withdraw from Mexico



January 12, 1838 - Joint Session of Congress

President Andrew Jackson stood looking out at the congressmen. [3] His speech had already declared the valid points of his argument. The Texan army was being outmanned on the battlefield against Mexican regulars. The former representative now turned general, Sam Houston, appeared in over his head. The war subsidies provided to the Republic of Texan were not effective in helping the nascent state win their war. An expanded Mexico would mean lasting tension. The border had to be greatly reduced with Mexico. Raw materials awaited them in Mexican lands that should belong to America.

“Therefore, if must be shown that Texas cannot survive alone. We should not stand by as a free and independent nation is struck down in front of us. We should come to the Texans aid, just as France helped us, so shall we be a saving angel to Texas.” [4]

Jackson quietly folded his speech and walked out of the chamber. He was met by his Secretary of War, Joel Poinsett. “I trust everything went well?”

“Who can say? These men have not envisioned the trouble a strong Mexico will cause our nation.”

The cabinet official nodded in agreement. “But opening up the war against Mexico and our eventual victory, will lead to calls from Texas to annex them so as not to face reprisals from Mexico.”

“And I will instruct Van Buren to disregard such overtures from the Texan government.”

“So you mean not to run again?”

“I said I would not run when I was elected. I have chosen Martin as the best candidate, Buchanan agreed to get him elected and that man, despite his ways, will convince the other leaders to continue the grand ideals of what a democratic republic should look like.”

Poinsett only nodded his agreement as they men continued their walk back to the White House. After a time, President Jackson spoke.

“I am sorry Joel, declaring war seems to be just as strenuous as being the field general. Retire with me as we await the outcome of from Congress.”

“Of course, Mr. President.”
____________________

[1] Remember that, at this time, “Northwestern” still referred to Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Hence, present-day Northwestern University being located in Chicago, IL and not Seattle, Washington. (HISTORY ALERT)
[2] Such a debate for a mere £2 each day
[3] I don’t know why Vic2 doesn’t initiate the election on time, as Jackson was out of office in 1837 and Van Buren was the President. But, I didn’t receive a Presidential election event.
[4] Saving Angel? Watch the video.
 
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Senator Franklin Pierce from New Hampshire, whose views led many to call him a Copperhead
Interesting, what is a Copperhead ITTL? They appear to be Northern Jacksonians.
[3] I don’t know why Vic2 doesn’t initiate the election on time, as Jackson was out of office in 1837 and Van Buren was the President. But, I didn’t receive a Presidential election event.
What I do with my game is call elections about 6 months before a new president would take office i.e. I called the first election of the game in September of 1836 so that they would resolve when a new president takes office (March 1837). For the most part I ignore the election results the game gives me as they are usually ridiculous (For example, sometimes a party receives 100% of the vote). Or sometimes the results just don't fit the narrative of the aar.

Anyway, good update.
 

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Interesting, what is a Copperhead ITTL? They appear to be Northern Jacksonians.
Copperheads are still Northerners who support slavery ITTL. Nothing has changed regarding this.

What I do with my game is call elections about 6 months before a new president would take office i.e. I called the first election of the game in September of 1836 so that they would resolve when a new president takes office (March 1837). For the most part I ignore the election results the game gives me as they are usually ridiculous (For example, sometimes a party receives 100% of the vote). Or sometimes the results just don't fit the narrative of the aar.
Yeah, I realized I should have done that AFTER i recorded the next episodes. I've already planned out how to do this in an AAR though.

Anyway, good update.
Thanks Qwerty!
 

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Episode 4

March 1838 [1]

It was an amazing time to be a member of the Democratic Party. James Buchanan was glad to be at the helm of such a strong ship. He had just received word that Jackson had called the Democratic leaders for a special meeting on the eve of the Special Convention of 1838, to be held in two weeks. Apparently, Northern journalists began to question the validity of the congressional and presidential elections from 1833 until 1838. While many grumbled, Jackson saw this as his way out of office and acceded to set a precedent to show his political party was above reproach. But now Buchanan was a bit anxious about this meeting. Could he finally be asked to step forward as a different candidate apart from the vice president?

He dabbled a little perfume on his kerchief and made sure that he appeared immaculate before entering the meeting room. He was not the first to arrive, which he had planned, and made sure to enter before President Jackson. The men situated around the two tables were some of the most notable names in his party: Franklin Pierce, Martin Van Buren, John C. Calhoun, John Polk, Lewis Cass, Linn Boyd, and, much to Buchanan’s chagrin, George Mifflin Dallas. He gave a very affable smile to all except the upstart Dallas, his nemesis within the Pennsylvania and National Democratic Party. He carefully and elegantly sat down.

Some of the men smoke cigars, which prompted Buchanan to take out his perfumed kerchief and hold it to his nose. He looked across the room and saw Dallas, in conversation with Lewis Cass, give a slight smirk in his direction. Buchanan did nothing but stare. Finally the door opened and everyone stood up as the President arrived. Once Jackson had reached his seat he nodded for everyone to sit down.

“Gentlemen,” the president started gruffly, “I shall make this as brief as I can. This war in Mexico is progressing wonderfully but I worry about our ongoing actions in Haiti. I worry that we are being too cavalier. In fact, I believe our actions to drum up a justification for war will be discovered either by the Haitian government or one of the European powers. It is my unfortunate decision to therefore remain in office.”

There were some audible gasps, most loudly from the direction of Van Buren. Jackson held up his hand.

“I have not arrived at this decision lightly, especially going against my word before the last election. Martin I know you have proved a faithful ally but...I believe the Southern Democrats must see that we mean no harm to their institution of slavery.” To this point he looked at John Calhoun. “John, in this room, who is the most acceptable to your likeminded constituents?”

“President Jackson, I am sure you don’t need my opinion...but I shall give it to you. As Mr. Boyd and I seem to be the only Southerners worthy of these...fine...Northern leaders of the party, I must say that you mean to select a Northern man? If so, I believe that Mr. Pierce would be acceptable to most of the Southern states.”

“I dare say, Mr. President, that Mr. Pierce is outspoken at times and this may lead to attacks on his character by the Northern presses.” Buchanan was uncharacteristically bold but he felt his moment slipping away and had to press his chance, given this grand floor. “If I might, I would suggest a more moderate candidate for Vice President would suffice.”

“I have made my views clear enough to Congress and to the people. I believe myself to be moderate enough on the issue of slavery. Your concerns are noted James, thank you.”

They talked for over an hour and eventually Pierce’s name rose to the top. Dallas put it succinctly: “Put Franklin in the Vice Presidency, where he can only call the Senate to order and offer nothing else to the discussion unless we are deadlocked. His mouth will be shut, which is what the opposition loathes.”

“Very well gentlemen, I thank you for your understanding, you as well, Martin.” The President meant to go on but was interrupted by Van Buren.

“I am sorry Andrew, but while I am understanding of this decision, I still have my honor. I offer my resignation. If I am not seen as fit enough for a second term, why wait out the rest of this term?”

“Very well, accepted.” Jackson answered immediately. He looked at Buchanan. “James, make the delegates aware only at the convention that I will be running. Always surprise. That is what I learned during the war with Britain. We shall lead this party and this country to greatness.”


June 12, 1838 - Olympia, Washington Territory

The trek had been arduous but many had undertaken the journey for this momentous event. The location of Olympia, located at the mouth of an inlet which many said went all the way to the Pacific Ocean, was chosen since it was probably one of the oldest American settlement in the territory and had a large enough church to hold a meeting. [2] There were not very many houses or inns here so a tent village sprang up outside the town where the attendees planned to stay. This meeting was very special, since it was the first meeting of Territorial Legislature.

In attendance were American men, and some former British Canadians, who were selected by their local communities to represent this new territory. Also among the group was a very grizzled, and foul-smelling, army officer who smoked cigars near the entrance and kept to himself. The chairman, Isaac Ebey, arose and brought the meeting to order. Their first act was to draft a letter to Congress acknowledging the full landownership of most of nearby Bush’s Prairie (or New Market as some locals called it) by one George Washington Bush, an African-American/Irishman. Ebey, along with other local leaders, declared Bush’s contributions to the area and eventually the letter was approved to be drafted.

Sawes only snickered a little and then spat onto the church floor.

The business proceeded regarding the formation of a militia, dealings with local tribes, and future plans to bring in more settlers in the hopes of eventually declaring Statehood. Finally, Ebey called upon Captain Sawes for his own thoughts on how the army would assist the settlements.

“Goddamn to hell, men,” Sawes started, much to the chagrin of most of the delegates. “You all seem to have so much figured out. The army will still mainly be stationed along the Columbia River to the south. I can’t see much use for me and my boys up here unless you give us warning of issues with the savages. But, I tell you what. I’ll send my men up here to make sure you folks are doing just fine once a month. Of course they’ll need some provisions for the return journey, and a place to sleep, some more...warmth between the sheets,” he laughed at his own joke, “all this to make sure you feel right safe up here in the North. Possibly I’ll send the boys on a wide route to enforce America’s law to all the settlements in the North. Course, they’ll need to be provisioned just the same.”

Isaac Ebey arose at once. “Captain Sawes, while your offer seems generous, this request for debauchery and sinful pleasures is outside of our reach and uncouth to speak of. There are no women of ill-repute in Olympia or anywhere else in the North. We are close-knit settlements.”

“Horseshit.” Sawes started towards the front of the church. “Every man needs some relief from the pressures of life, and of his wife. And damn it to hell, when my men arrive, they’ll find their own women, of ill-repute or not.”

Delegates began to rise up to denounce the captain. Ebey pounded a gavel upon the pulpit. “Captain Sawes I find you out of order for this meeting and ask you to leave at once.”

“Alright. I’ll leave. But...I’ll be back. The Army runs this damn territory. Not no Indian, and not no bunch of settlers.”


July 1838 Headlines - Springfield Republican

HAITI DECRIES US AS IMPERIALISTIC BULLY!
Provocations and Lies states the Haitian Government


SECESSION CONVENTIONS SPREAD!
More Southern States hold meetings to Separate


TEXANS DENIED ANNEXATION!
President Sam Houston Dismayed



July 21, 1838 - Washington, D.C. (Senate Chambers)

“...have us believe that our military has been sending men, surreptitiously, to the Haitian capital and, from there, donning disguises and attempting to foment an incident to give us claim for war. I must say that I am inclined to believe this Haitian diplomatic party. We have been entirely too aggressive in our policies. First our heavy-handed and almost mutinous dealings in Colorado by Governor Fremont and then we helped the Republic of Texas bear arms against the Mexicans. I have spoken with the French ambassador and they take us for warmongering fools! We need a resolution to cease our activities in Haiti immediately and that we mean the Haitians no harm.”
James Buchanan sat down and felt drained. He had spoken for almost an hour. Most of it from the still boiling anger at having been passed over for the Vice Presidency from Jackson. The thought ate away at him every day, to know that he was so close and now may never get a chance to ascend to the executive branch.

William King (Alabama) rose in response. “Mr. Buchanan, your speech, as always, was eloquent, but seemed filled with rage brimming beneath the surface. Perhaps we should look at this in a level-headed manner? The refusal to allow the Texans a place amongst our stars has lead to a constriction on our institution. Many territories have become states since this administration began and not one of them has allowed the institution of slavery. Haiti, meanwhile, or even Cuba, would be perfect for this fair and balanced expansion. Many times have we worried in these chambers about slavery spreading West. Let us expand it South instead. So the Haitians are ex-slaves? Then perhaps we should institute a policy, for fairness, that those negroes already living in Haiti should be allowed to emigrate and resettle our new Western lands, or to go back from whence they came in Africa. That is why we established Liberia in the first place! Let the darkies live free on their own continent.”

Lewis Cass (Michigan) rose for a rebuttal. “Mr. Buchanan has a clear mind about this. Why all of the deception if we are trying to influence Haiti to look to us for support and not Spain, or France, or any other European government? Perhaps a diplomatic annexation would be best? One where perpetual servitude would not be impressed upon those living there. What you have failed to elaborate upon, Mr. King, is what would happen to those Haitians who refuse to leave your new little slavery paradise? Would you enact the laws of property upon those men, women, and children as well?
But what is the cost of a future war with Haiti? What is the point? We are creating territories now in land not settled by American citizens. There are still many lands to the Southwest that rightly belong to our nation as well, once the Mexicans realize this inevitability. The Haitian army is, by all accounts, vastly inferior to our own. The loss of life will be minimal. So the monetary cost of occupying Haitian provinces is of primary concern; the ongoing costs of administration will be the next concern. I believe they are primarily exporting and producing tobacco on the island? That may cover such costs and then provide a surplus for the Customs Department. Therefore, maybe we should also look at this war as a great economic boom to our economy?
In short, while I abhor the idea of another slave state: the population, the land, the location, and the product of Haiti, may mean that we need to think in broader terms than mere slavery.”

----------------------
[1] I ask you to suspend historical fact for the foreseeable future until 1841. I wanted to roleplay that Jackson stayed in office (since I forgot to Hold Elections in 1837 in the game) instead of leaving after one term in office. Thankfully for America, there would be no Presidency of Martin Van Buren.

[2] The inlet is the southernmost point of Puget Sound.
 
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Episode 5
December 1, 1838 - Turks & Caicos Sea, US 1st Fleet and 4th Squadron

The fleets were anchored off the coast of Cap Haitien. Captain Luke Sherman, commander of the 1st Fleet (transports) watched the end of the brief naval bombardment from the accompanying 4th Squadron’s frigates. When he was sure there would be little opposition, he gave the order to signal the entire fleet to begin moving towards the city to disembark the infantry. Sherman was hopefully they could unload both regiments by the end of tomorrow and be on his way back to Tampa Bay to transport the next regiments to Hispaniola. His ships were in need of repairs as well, but they were still seaworthy.

“Sir, Captain Biddle bids you good luck and godspeed.” The first officer rang out in his no-nonsense fashion.

“Good. Signal back we are under way.”

This was not a very exciting voyage. There was no Haitian fleet and even if there was, the entire island was blockaded by the American Navy. Sherman also knew the small Haitian army was still in Port-au-Prince, organizing themselves no doubt. This should be a quick war of annexation.


December 25, 1838 - Cap Haitien, US Army Headquarters

General Edmund Gaines was very happy. Gaines had never spent a Christmas outside of the country and now here he was, watching the waves lap up on the beach as he ate some of the local cuisine with his commanders. The War Department, amazingly, had sent them from St. Augustine with 20 live pigs. Those pigs were now slaughtered by the camp cooks and being eaten by his army for their Christmas feast. They had not seen the enemy and his forward units in the south reported sporadic troop movements, all towards Port-au-Prince.

“I know that General Jones and his force will not arrive until late next month, but I intend to attack the Haitians in Port-au-Prince. The company commanders keep sending reports back that groups of men are traveling to Port-au-Prince. So they are cobbling together an army. We need to strike while they are still disorganized.”

The regimental commanders all nodded in agreement. “Very good gentlemen we should be prepared to move soon after the New Year.”


February 25, 1838 - Hispaniola

The war was moving much slower than any American thought it would. Gaines had attacked the fledgling Haitian Army but managed to lose more than 2000 men during the attack. While the Haitian Army was still fairly unorganized, they had fled to the mountains of La Vega and the US Army was in no position to continue the attack. That was a month ago and some of the wounded were starting to return to their companies. Other reinforcements would have to wait until Sherman and Jones arrived.

At that time, unbeknownst to Gaines, his reinforcements were arriving in Cap Haitien. The US Dragoons, without the actual dragoon regiments, were disembarking into the city. Orders had been given to establish contact with Gaines and attack the Haitian Army, if practicable. Jones immediately sent a company south to Port-au-Prince to make contact with the other force and rested his forces. He had no artillery, any attack would have to wait.


June 10, 1838 - Cap Haitien

General Macomb and General Jones sat around a map of the island with their regimental commanders. They were certain an attack had to be made into the mountains, regardless of their progress in subjugating this province. Reports were coming in from Haitian informants that the army was still in disarray and concentrated around the town of La Vega.

Macomb and Jones were being helped by a man from the eastern part of the island named Juan Pablo Duarte. Duarte offered the services of his group, which he called ‘The Fraternity,’ to spy on the Haitian Army and scout trails for the Americans. [1] There was also a cattle rancher from Cibao who frequented camp offering his assistance in fielding an army of citizens named Pedro Santana. Yet the thought of arming non-white citizens so alarmed the generals they merely asked Santana for livestock and other supplies. [2]

On the thirteenth, General Macomb gave the order to march on La Vega. He placed Jones with his two regiments first in order of battle and interspersed his artillery regiment with Jones’ force. He followed with his lone infantry regiment as the rearguard. Macomb’s hope was that the Haitians would still be in total disorganization that an attack by some artillery would help disperse the army and make for an easy battle. He also needed to be move quickly as Duarte continued to insist the rainy season was coming.

June 15th saw the annihilation of the Haitian Army near La Vega. General Jones struck first and hard but the Haitians refused to leave the field of battle. With the addition of the artillery, the island army, made up mostly of cavalry, was decimated. The battle took no more than 25 minutes but seemed more of a massacre afterwards. Now all that was left was the occupation of the island and the end to Haitian rule.


SECESSION MEETINGS EXPAND! - The Liberator [3]
“Among the half a dozen men in Congress, the utterance of whose sentiments, in times of deep excitement, command the national attention, and exert in all sections of the country a strong influence over the public mind, for good or evil, Mr. Calhoun stands prominent. Yet he has no breadth of character, no greatness of spirit, no generosity of purpose, no comprehensiveness of view. No man was ever more sectional in his feelings and aims. In no aspect does he present an American front; he is a Southern man as against the North; the welfare of the South, not of the republic, is the object of his solicitude; the extension and perpetuity of slavery, not the enlargement and preservation of liberty, are the ends of his public labors. To be simply an American; to go, in the grandiloquent language of Mr. Webster, for our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country—or, in the profligate declaration of Mr. Winthrop, for our country, however bounded—is to present to the world a very small pattern of a man; but to be, in affection, interest, honor, absorbed by a fractional portion of the land of one’s nativity, to the utter unconsciousness of any other relations or duties, is a reduction to pigmean littleness. Intellectually, it is universally conceded that Mr. Calhoun is much above mediocrity; but a strong intellect, miserably perverted, is neither an object of admiration, nor creditable to its possessor; certainly, it is a calamity to the race. The real dimensions of a man are to be known by the size of his heart, rather than by the volume of his brain. But where or what is the heart of John C. Calhoun? Who has felt its warmth? who can testify to its pulsation? who perceives in it any vitality? There is no blood in him; he is as cold as a corpse. He is made of iron, not flesh; he is hybridous, not natural. There never has been his match or parallel on earth, in his consecration as a public man to the hideous system of chattel slavery—its safety, advancement, perpetuation. His statesmanship is nothing better, nothing less, than demonship. He is demonized by a principle or passion that destroys all human affinity, and saps the foundation of all morality. He believes, and acts in accordance with that belief, that it is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Damnation suits his taste and temperament, he being uppermost among the damned, invested with full powers of mastery. Where there are no chains, no torments, no enforced degradation, no contempt of moral obligation, he could not, and would not dwell at ease. Universal peace, equality, purity, happiness, would be to him an intolerable state of society.

For three centuries, chattel slavery has had its advocates and defenders; but rather as a temporary expedient than as a permanent system. Few persons, of any note, have been so lost to shame as to vindicate it as in itself right, and worthy of perpetuity. Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, all the distinguished men of the South identified with the times that tried men’s souls, invariably deplored its existence as an evil, and contemplated its gradual but certain extirpation. But Mr. Calhoun—in utter disregard for testimonies like these, in absolute contempt of the self-evident truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence, in bold defiance of the sentiments of a world still low in its estimate of human liberty, in violence of all the instincts of his nature—asserts it to be a blessing, the noblest of all institutions, the source of national prosperity, the corner-stone of the temple of republican freedom!! Living, he contends for it as though existence without it would be insupportable; and dying, he is resolved to bequeath it to posterity as the richest legacy that can be given! Is this unadulterated wickedness or downright insanity? If he is a sane man, on this subject; if his brain is not diseased to an extent that destroys accountability; then he is among the wickedest of men—of his father, the devil, whose work he delights to do. His conscience is seared as with a hot iron. In point of cruelty, he is more to be abhorred than Caligula; on the score of tyranny, he is worse than Pharaoh. His villanies are innumerable and stupendous. He commits atrocities on a gigantic scale. He is not merely an adulterer, a thief, a barbarian, an oppressor, a man-stealer, in an individual sense, on a private scale, but comprehensively, multitudinously, by wholesale. He is not to be judged by the number of slaves actually on his plantation, under his special treatment. As the shameless robber of their rights, the remorseless foe to their emancipation and improvement, he is to be ranked as a criminal of no ordinary dye. But he goes for the enslavement of millions of his race, and their posterity to the end of time; and whatever that bondage requires—or whips, or chains, or instruments of torture, or bloodhounds, or merciless penal laws,—for its unimpaired exercise, he is ready to advocate and enforce. He is destitute of virtue; for he denies to these millions the marriage institution, and enforces universal prostitution. He is without natural affection; for his is in favor of a wholesale and retail traffic in human flesh, and sells the babes of mothers as readily as the progeny of swine. He is fraudulent to the last degree; keeping back the hire of the laborers who reap down his fields, and plundering them of every possession. His impiety cannot be transcended; for to his miserable victims he says,—I am God, and beside me there is none else—and to the command to let the oppressed go free, he says, in the language of the Egyptian tyrant, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice, to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.

If, on the other hand, Mr. Calhoun is diseased on this subject to an insane degree, and so is not to be held accountable for his sayings and doings, then his proper place is in an Insane Asylum, and not in the Senate of the United States,—though it is true, since the addition of Foote and Clemens to that body, the Senate has partaken largely of the characteristics of Bedlam. But this excuse is not to be gravely urged, and therefore Mr. Calhoun, in a right moral estimate, is deserving the condemnation we have bestowed upon him.

On our first page, we have given a large portion of the speech of Mr. Calhoun, (and next week we shall publish the remainder,) which, in consequence of his feeble state of health, was read in the Senate, at his request, on the 4th instant. If we had time, we would not room to notice it at length in our present number; but its sum and substance are easily stated in a few words.

He bitterly complains, (and here he seems to give plausible evidence of insanity,) that while the North and the South, at the adoption of the Constitution, had almost an equal population, and an equal division of the States, the North has since been rapidly distancing the South, in point of numbers, political strength, prosperity, &c. &c., so that the equilibrium is lost, on which alone the Union can be maintained!! This striking disparity between the two sections he perversely declares to be owing to the preponderance of Northern influence in the management of the government; whereas, it is merely the difference between free labor and slave labor; and, moreover, it is notorious that the government has been wholly controlled by the Slave Power for the last fifty years.

How can the Union be preserved? Only by stopping the anti-slavery agitation, and keeping Liberty within the dimensions of the Procrustean bedstead of Slavery!! What can be more rational than this? what more easily effected? It is a demand for a repeal of the law of gravitation, and the extinction of the human mind!”

It is abhorrent and detrimental to this Union these traitorous meetings and talks progress as sanctioned and intellectual meetings. The governments of the Slave States must come to terms that there should be no society so bent on the subjugation of one race over another. That is not godly! That his not just! Let us speak to our government and tell them such actions should not stand and should be terminated!
-----------------------
[1] Duarte OTL was one of the fathers of the Dominican nation. He formed a secret society with two other men called La Trinitaria.
[2] Santana was the main commander of the Dominican forces that helped overthrow Haitian rule. However, he either exiled or killed his political opponents and became a de facto dictator. He believed that only by having a European parent could the Dominican Republic survive, and so asked for re-colonization by Spain, which was accepted by Queen Isabella in 1861. (He is not considered a national hero in the Dominican Republic today)
[3] The entire text contained within the quotation marks (all except the last paragraph) was written by William Lloyd Garrison in The Liberator, March 15, 1850, Vol. 43. Text used as “fair use.”