A sillier scenario based partially on Hnau’s take on an Andrew Jackson assassination TL: [link]
Richard Lawrence’s second pistol, one he brought with him to ensure that he manages to kill the man he blames for all of his problems, fires true. Andrew Jackson, survivor of many duels and battles and President of the United States, is struck down by an assassin’s bullet. While he does not die instantly, the botched attempt to save him manages to do more damage than the bullet itself, and Old Hickory dies of blood loss. He is the first President of the United States to be assassinated.
Jackson’s vice president, Martin van Buren, is sworn in as the eighth President of the United States. Policy-wise, he is very similar to the fallen president, and he manages to win on his own in 1836. But the Depression of 1838 put an end to the Democrats’ dominance and in the election of 1840, the Whig Henry Clay became the ninth President of the United States. In an attempt to stymie the effects of the depression, President Clay puts into effect a public works program which builds up the infrastructure of the West and the South, and a Third Bank of the United States is just barely established. The depression ends in 1843, and Clay’s “American System” is credited with the healed economy. Running against van Buren, Clay manages to win the presidency again in 1844. However, Clay set aside his original running mate, John Tyler, and chose instead Theodore Frelinghuysen of New York.
Clay’s second term brings up the issue of Texan annexation. The Republic of Texas, which had broken away from Mexico, desired union with the United States. Although the Democrats wanted to bring Texas into the Union, Clay and the ruling Whigs disagree with this, and Texas’ independence is guaranteed after European diplomats manage to ease the situation in 1846. The small Manifest Destiny Party, made up of Americans who were strongly for annexation, break off from the Democrats and manage to siphon votes off them for some time. However, Clay does expand America’s borders westward in Oregon, working out the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and British Canada.
Meanwhile, Mexico is in chaos after the loss of Texas and the new 1849 Constitution, which attacked the power of the Catholic Church and other conservative elements in Mexico. The Reform War tears Mexico apart between the Liberales and the Conservadores, a war which allows tens of thousands of gold-seeking prospectors to pour into California in 1851. Weakened by the civil war, the Mexican government is incapable of maintaining control of the region, and California manages to break off to form its own independent republic alongside Texas.
1848 saw the election of the “Christian Statesman,” Theodore Frelinghuysen. Frelinghuysen’s victory was due to the admission Wisconsin, a free state which upset the balance of free and slave states in Congress. The Democrats were split, with pro-slavery and moderate Democrats sticking with the party nominee, Lewis Cass, and abolitionist Democrats voting for former president Martin van Buren, who ran under the Free Soil Party. A great moralist, Frelinghuysen wanted to fix all of the problems he saw in both the Union and the world. One of the great problems was slavery, an institution which he sought to destroy, to the ire of southerners. Frelinghuysen fought the idea of popular sovereignty, which he saw as a conspiracy to spread slavery to the West above the Missouri Compromise line, and also supported the colonization of Liberia. Boldly, Frelinghuysen also lent limited support to the liberal revolutionaries in Europe, causing a brief crisis with the French over American warships supporting the new Roman Republic. However, the American people rejected Frelinghuysen as too extreme in the election of 1852, and Democrat Lewis Cass becomes president. Frelinghuysen did not take defeat lightly, and believing his mission to save the world was still ongoing, he founded the new Salvation Party of the United States. Based on Christian principles, the Salvation Party advocated a strong, moral government to forge a moral people and right the many wrongs of a broken world in the name of God.
Although a compromiser, Cass is unable to keep the Union together, and in 1860, the election of the anti-slavery Whig John C. Fremont saw the secession of nine Southern states. The American Civil War would prove to be the most devastating in North American history. Although both sides expected a quick end to the fighting, in truth both sides had prospered since the age of Jackson and the South was only somewhat weaker than her northern foe and was prepared for a long, defensive war. The war would last until 1867, and yet Southern forces would continue a bloody guerrilla war which would last for three more years and claim the life of the great Union general, Robert E. Lee.
It was during the carnage of the American Civil War that the Salvation Party became popular and became more than just a minor political party. The Salvationists responded to the horrors of war by claiming that it was God’s punishment for a nation which had tolerated slavery for so long. But the Salvationists also worked as an aid organization, helping wounded or needy Union soldiers and civilians. The Salvationist movement also fed off the religious fervor of the Third Great Awakening, which had started at the time, and by the end of the Civil War the two were inseparable. The rise of industrialism saw the Salvationists denounce the horrid working conditions that many had to face, and the Salvationists became the face of American progressivism in the face of the pro-bank and pro-business Whigs. Many of the country’s new preachers openly supported the Salvation Party, and by the election of 1872 they had replaced the Democrats as the country’s second dominant party.
The Great War of 1888 would shake the world to its core. The Austrian Empire, weakened from its defeat alongside its Russian ally in the Crimean War, crumbled after the assassination of Emperor Franz I. The great powers of Europe all took sides against one another: the British, French, and Italian empires fought against the “Holy Alliance” of Russia, Austria and the new North German Federation. There was also fighting between the Japanese, Chinese and Russian empires in the east. The war would drag on until 1896, when the Russian and Austrian empires collapsed entirely, and Prussia’s ambition to unite all of Germany under its North German Federation would fail with the formation of the South German Confederation, an Austrian project which was taken over by the French.
The Great War would be followed by the destitution of the Great Depression, which only ended in 1913. The Depression saw the rise of many extremist governments throughout the world. The Russian Empire, torn apart in civil war after the Great War, came under the control of the Oprochniki, Slavic nationalists who used the Tsar as a figurehead for their dream to turn Russia into the world’s greatest power and have brought back the worst horrors of Ivan the Terrible. Aiding them is the German Fatherland Party and their various affiliates in the former Austrian Empire. These parties wanted to form Germany and reform the old Austrian Empire, to challenge the new French system under Napoleon IV.
But while nationalism is strong, religion is stronger still. During the chaos of the Great War, the Qing Empire collapsed and was replaced with the so-called “Heavenly Kingdom,” ruled by a Confucian scholar turned mystic who claimed to have a divine connection to the Christian God. Both the United States and the United Kingdom came under the control of Salvationist parties, each wanting to start the great crusade which would cleanse the world of sin, hate and want. These powers form the Salvationist Circle, and with the might of their blessed armies, the Lord will rule on earth as He does in heaven.