A Destiny Made Manifest - Part 1: In Jackson's Shadow

Published: 2017-02-23

Part of the campaign:

A Destiny Made Manifest

The United States of America - The Year of Our Lord, 1836
In 1836, a scant sixty years after their declaration of independence, the American people’s proud nation stretches from the Atlantic to the deep heart of Indian Country. Claims to the Oregon Territory have been made by the American government as well, but as of now, Pacific ambitions are not to be realized.
The Age of Jackson
A behemoth of a president and man, “Old Hickory” himself, is the most important man in the republic. Andrew Jackson is entering his eighth and last year in office as President. The man revolutionized the Presidency, making frequent use of his veto and expanding executive. The powerful Democratic Party is at his back, and his vice president and heir, Martin Van Buren, looks ready to take over after Jackson’s second term.

The Democrats are a generally conservative party, believing in Jefferson's agrarian republic. They support an import tariff, but not one nearly as high their opposition does. While the party is warlike in its western ambitions, they support partial citizenship for immigrants and general religious freedom.
A Response to Old Hickory
The Whigs, a party of Anti-Jacksonians that took their name from the American patriots who opposed British tyranny, are desperate to wrench power away from the Democrats and further modernize the country. A coalition of influential politicians from Henry Clay to Daniel Webster to war hero William Harrison formed the base of the party, and look poised to put together their first presidential campaign.

They are generally united in the idea of "Fuck Andrew Jackson," but from their, divisions appear. Some Whigs, like Daniel Webster, are unabashed elitists and industrialists, who see industry as America's way forward. Some are westerners like Henry Clay, who support the party due to fears of the large Jacksonian government. They support a higher tariff (as it would greatly improve American competitiveness in manufacturing) and have a somewhat more religious stance than the Democrats.
Southern Ideals
John C. Calhoun leads a coalition of ultra-conservative Southern Democrats, in REACTION (coughs) to the Nullification Crisis. Despite their many disagreements with Jackson, they usually fall in line with the rest of the party as a whole.
The American Economy
The import tariff - one of the most hotly debated issues of the time - sits at 20%. The Whigs find this number far too small, and wish to boost it in the name of economic protectionism and the stimulation of Northern industry.
American Industry
While the controlling Democrats generally don't favor industrial expansion, they are powerless to oppose the actions of capitalists. In the North, factories begin to spring up. The South and West stay mostly agrarian.
American Medicine
While American technology is impressive in Naval and Commercial fields, they are lagging behind in medicine. The earliest American doctors and surgeons begin to practice and experiment with medicine.
The American Military
Despite the large land area and population of the republic, the army is small and spread out. Alexander Macomb commands the US Army stationed in Washington, D.C. Other prominent generals include Winfield "Old Fuss and Feathers" Scott and his fellow War of 1812 veteran, Zachary Taylor.
The War of Texan Independence
Due to the abundance of cheap land available in Mexico and an increasingly bleak financial situation for the government there, many Americans were allowed to settle in the Mexican province of Coahuila y Tejas. Soon, white slave-holding Anglos outnumbered the Mexican Tejanos. Using the seizure of the central government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Texians revolted in late 1835.

Jackson, feeling a sense of kinship for the Texian rebels, felt obligated to provide assistance.
"Don't Worry About This, Santa Anna,"
- Andrew Jackson, presumably, and probably sipping on Tennessee whiskey.
Look the other way, Mexico
The various armies of the republic are redeployed along the Texan border. In correspondence with the Mexican dictator, Jackson assured him it was to protect American interests against possible Texian bandits.

Santa Anna wasn't so convinced.
Texian Offensive
In a surprising strategic move, Sam Houston leads his meager force to lay siege to the town of El Paso in land that the Republic of Texas claims.
The Battle of El Paso
Despite engaging the rebel army with an army of 18,000 men, the Mexicans are humiliated in a serious defeat. "Remember El Paso!" cry Texian patriots.
...that could have gone better
Houston, committing to his siege of El Paso, allows the Mexicans to regroup and begin to attack the homeland. The aged Jackson admonished Stephen F. Austin in a telegraph, calling him "spineless" and a few other words that ought not be transcribed.
The Second Great Awakening
A wave of religious zeal sweeps the United States in 1836. Preachers all across the country spread new ideas about the Christian religion, causing many new sects of the Protestant face to form. In places like the Burned Over District in Western New York, the revival is vigorous and all-encompassing. It's from this movement that true evangelical Christianity is formed, as well as the formation of the Morman church.

In a time when religious fervor in Europe was decreasing, it stayed ever strong in the New World.
The Election of 1836 - Martin Van Buren
The incumbent vice president, Martin Van Buren, easily received the Democratic nomination. A descendant of Dutch immigrants and born in Kinderhook, New York, he spoke English as a second language. A Jacksonian through and through, Van Buren acquired many nicknames. Among them are, in descending order from best to worst on this author's assessment:

1) The Red Fox of Kinderhook
2) The Little Magician
3) Martin Van Ruin (this is just sloppy, Whigs)

OKAY QUICK ASIDE HERE:
Van Buren's vice presidential nominee, Richard M. Johnson, was incredibly unpopular, chiefly due to the fact that he married his slaves. His slogan for this campaign was:

"Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh."

And he did! This guy killed fucking Tecumseh! And he was hated so much that the electoral college refused to elect him as vice president - the Senate had to let him in.
The Election of 1836 - The Whigs
The Whigs, looking to stage their first presidential campaign decided on an... unorthodox strategy, that had not before been tried in American history. They ran four candidates.

War hero William Henry Harrison ran in the North, while Hugh Lawson White ran in the south. In Massachusetts, Daniel Webster was on the ticket; in South Carolina, Willie P. Mangum was on the ticket.

The idea was that no majority in the electoral college would be reached, and the Whigs believed they would win enough seats in Congress to ensure that the House picked one of the Whig candidates.
nah
The Whig strategy didn't work. Martin Van Buren was sworn in as the Eighth President in United States history.
MEANWHILE, IN MEXICO
As Van Buren assumes power, the Texians have bungled their war. The Mexican armies chase them up into the Rocky Mountains, and they are crushed in the Battle of Pueblo.
The Slavery Debate
Early on in the presidency of Van Buren, it becomes clear to the Little Magician that the issue of slavery would dominate the future of his nation. Northern and Southern states are deadlocked in the amount of slave states and free states, thus bottling up chances for westward admission of new states. That "Great Triumvirate" in the Senate - Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun - have managed to keep a tenuous peace through a series of compromises.

Van Buren, by the way, abhorred slavery on moral ground, but did not support its abolition.
American Intervention
While Andrew Jackson and his heir had hoped that the Texians would be capable of winning independence themselves, it is clear that Santa Anna will occupy and reintegrate Texas unless American action is taken. Van Buren also sees this is as an option to distract the nation from the topic of slavery, and gets a declaration of war from Congress on Janurary 6, 1837.
Reconquest of Texas
Alexander Macomb and Winfield Scott lead the expedition into Texas. They are told by Van Buren to avoid open combat if they can; the hope is that Santa Anna will see the American threat and surrender.
American soil
The Mexicans decide to strike against the new American colony in Oklahoma. Scott marches his army north after Dallas is retaken to see off the Mexicans.
A Mexican Retreat
Thankfully, Santa Anna realizes that an escalation of the conflict would be a bad idea. As the rest of Texas is liberated, diplomats begin discussions.
The Treaty of El Paso, 1837
The Americans treat with Santa Anna directly, who begrudgingly accepts Texian independence. However, the small republic is not given the full extent of its claim, which is far greater than its de facto territory. Despite protests from Texian president Sam Houston, Secretary of State John Forsyth agrees to the terms. April 10th is celebrated as Texian Independence Day in the new republic.
A Brotherly Relationship
Leaning on his new relationship with Houston, Van Buren leverages it into a generous trading deal. The new republic is taken under the Eagle's wing.
Texan military precense
Despite protests from Santa Anna, the US Army continues to be stationed near Mexico. Santa Anna fears that the country will come for more of his land. Van Buren assures him this is a foolish notion, while probably consulting with Winfield Scott about his battle plans.
American Rails
The invention of the railroad helps to ensure speedy travel across the vast lands of the American Republic. This will allow the eagle to truly spread its wings.
The American Anti-Slavery Society
Across the north, an abolitionist fervor is beginning to take place. Thanks in part to resurgent religion from the Second Great Awakening, many now support the abolition of slavery, believing it to be a sin. The organization is given the right to organize.
The Knights of the Golden Circle
In response to the abolitionists, a new surge of pro-slavery sentiment courses through the South. The Knights of the Golden Circle, a group of wealthy Southern landowners, had dreams of conquering Mexico, the Caribbean, and parts of South America, in order to ensure the future of American slavery.

Just like the American Anti-Slavery Society, the organization is given free reign to operate.
shit we've got Liberia
Martin Van Buren, as smart as he was, erm, forgot the small colony set up by the American Colonization Society as a place for freed slaves to emigrate to if they pleased. John Forsyth kindly reminded him.

(I forgot to integrate this in earlier, so I stuck it here)
Unitarianism
Throughout the northeast, a new sect of Protestantism promoting reason in theology begins to rise. It's popular amongst young liberals and abolitionists.
The Benevolent Empire
A rare sense of community and "we" sweeps over the United States. This is entirely irregular.
The Caroline Affair
In 1837, William Lyon Mackenzie and several other Canadian rebels who supported increased autonomy for the colony fled to an American held island in the Niagara River, commanding the ship Caroline. Nearby Americans helped out the rebels, providing them with supplies and encouragement. The British finally cracked down on this insurrection, crossed into American water, seized the Caroline, killed an American citizen, and then cast the boat over Niagara Falls while it was on fire.

While the British captain defended his actions as "metal as fuck," a diplomatic crisis was on the hands of Van Buren. John Forsyth was called on yet again to negotiate a peace, and struck a deal with the local British governors.
The Trail of Tears
Van Buren, ever the ardent Jacksonian, continued his mentor's work. He forced the relocation of several southeastern tribes, driving them into the Oklahoma colony with brutality. Many Native Americans did not survive the trip.

The Indian Territory was set up. Van Buren made promises that the territory would be a permanent home for the indigenous people.
Romanticism
American writers and poets begin to embrace the Romanticist movement of Europe. This is characterized largely by some dudes living in a forest, writing poetry, wishing they were having more sex.
Industrial Expansion
While Van Buren did not support industry, courageous capitalists began to expand their factories into the south and west.
Secessionist Sentiments!
All across the south, there is talk of secession from the Union over the question of slavery. Van Buren is eager to keep the country together, but he is not entirely sure of what he can do to enforce this.
The Conference of Austin
A humiliated Santa Anna met with Texian president Sam Houston and Martin Van Buren in order to smooth over continuing tension. No real progress is made.
lets see whats up with mom and dad
europe boring as fuck nvm
The Death of Macomb
An American hero, Alexander Macomb, has tragically died. He led armies in the War of Texian Independence, and received a great funeral.
General Taylor
While Winfield Scott is promoted to the head general of the Army, Zachary Taylor is put in command of the other main force.
Christmas Tax Cut, 1838
A diligent Congress, meeting the day after a national holiday, passed a tax break for the lower and middle classes. Families wished this happened before they sold half the dang farm for Johnny's Christmas present, but whatever.
The American Methodist Episcopal Church
Free negroes in Pennsylvania begin to form communities around the Methodist church, slowly spreading to the south and raising the desire for abolition.
Midterm Elections, 1838
The Democrats won a smashing victory in the midterms, with a huge majority in the Senate. This doesn't show well for the Whigs in the Presidential election in 1840.
Holy Site Disturbed
In the Wisconsin Territory, a holy site is disturbed, but whoooooooo cares
House Gag Rule
As the debate over slavery begins to heat up again, Congress passes a gag rule to prevent the topic from being addressed in the House. This way, the Triumvirate of Clay, Calhoun, and Webster can continue to compromise in the Senate.
The Opium War
Curiously, our former oppressors in Britain are fighting the Orientals in a war over trading rights. We wonder what this could mean for the future.
Forsythian Diplomacy
John Forsyth is once again sent to negotiate with the British. Van Buren fears future conflict with the British over the borders of Maine and the Oregon Territory, and so wishes to avoid war preemptively.
Colombian Influence
American diplomats are dispatched to the South American nation of Colombia. We are interested in their trade goods and are fearful of a foreign power attempting to seize Panama, so Van Buren tries to influence the Colombian government.
The Election of 1840 - Van Buren and Polk
In the grand American tradition, the last year of Van Buren's term will be cannibalized by his campaign for reelection. He drops Richard M. Johnson from his ticket, and agrees with his mentor Andrew Jackson in the selection of James K. Polk, Governor of Tennessee, as his new running mate.
The Election of 1840 - Daniel Webster
The Whig Party nominates longtime Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts as its sole candidate, learning from the Election of '36. Aged war hero William Henry Harrison is tacked on as his running mate.

Webster, a notorious and mirthful elitist, hopes that Harrison will win him the western vote.
BUT FIRST
horace mann needs to do a school thing
AND ALSO TO BUILD THE SUSPENSE
American scholars get better at doing an industry
Trade Policy
In New York, a local argument about trade policy swings hard in favor of the Whigs - towards economic protectionism. Unfortunately for Webster, New York is so solidly Democrat that this doesn't make much of a dent.
The Republic of Rio Grande
Another state has broken away from the tyranny of Santa Anna's Mexico! While the rebels are not American, Van Buren immediately sets up diplomatic ties with the republic and sells it weaponry and other supplies.
Pennsylvanian Immigration
In a debate with Van Buren, Webster fails to distinguish himself on the policy of immigration. This will be a theme in his campaign.
Beating up Calhoun
The Southern Democrats do not field a candidate in this election, but both parties take the time to bash reactionary views just 'cause.
Swing State Economics
In the swing state of North Carolina, Webster once again fails to make an impression. His elitism and industriousness is not welcome here.
Webster sucks at debating
He once again cannot make any points
Webster...
The Solidly Democrat state of Virginia is not swayed.
At Least he has Ohio
yaaaaaaay
Protectionism in New York
Once again, arguments for a high tariff are well-received in New York. Public opinion is starting to shift, but not quickly enough.
Webster on the Military
Daniel Webster is given a chance to preach his firm-but-fair foreign policy in his home state of Massachusetts at the last second.
THE ELECTION OF 1840 - RESULTS
Despite the popularity of William Henry Harrison in the West, it is not nearly enough to save the election for the Whigs. Daniel Webster is soundly defeated in the presidential election, and Martin Van Buren begins his second term with gusto.
THANK YOU FOR READING PART 1
In Part 2, America is in uncharted waters - under a second term of Van Buren. Let's see how this thing goes.

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A Destiny Made Manifest - Part 2: Van Buren (1840-1844)

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