Alternate History

Imperial States of America

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First Empire

In which the United States, after the Spanish-American war, embarks on a wave of expansion; establishing the world's most powerful empire, the Imperial States of America, whose short lived reign recalled the days of ancient Rome.

1890's-1914-Birth of an Empire

1890- The U.S Census demonstrates no areas on the continental United States to be uncolonized. The Western frontier has come to an end. With the Battle of Wounded Knee, the U.S has won the battle for continental domination, and looks to the South for further expansion.

1893- In his book the " Frontier Thesis", Frederick Jackson Turner declares the frontier to be closed. What had given America its character through western expansions has ended. Many Americans are distraught, and begin advocating for overseas expansion. When the government of Hawaii is overthrown by American businessmen, it is viewed as the perfect opportunity for American expansion. However, President Grover Cleveland's objection to annexation means Hawaii remains independent- for now.

1895- An insurrection in Cuba is harshly crushed by the Spanish, resulting in popular support for the revolt in the United States.

1896- William McKinley is elected President on an expansionist platform.

1898- With tensions over Cuba rising between the United States and Spain, the sinking of the American ship the Maine is blamed on the Spanish, resulting in war. American forces storm Cuba, and win a major victory at the battle of San Juan Hill. Spain sends a large fleet to the Caribbean, which is crushed at the battle of Puerto Rico. The American navy then captures Spanish held Manila with the aid of Filipino rebels, nsuring control over the Philippines. Spain cedes control of its remaining colonial empire in the new world in the Treaty of Paris. The holdings seceded include Guam, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and all of the Spanish East Indies. The Spanish government collapses after the treaty's ratification. And with the annexation of Hawaii, 1898 is hailed as the year the Spanish Empire died, and the American one was born.

1899- Resistance to the Americans in the Philippines breaks out into war, lasting until 1902. Citing the "savageness" of the natives and the need to "civilize" them, the occupying American forces claim it is the white man's burden to occupy "savage" nations.

1900- The Boxer Rebellion erupts in China, threatening foreign investors. The world powers, including the United States, send troops to crush the rebellion.  The United States gains control of Hainan. Russia gains Mongolia, France gains Guangxi, and Germany gains control of Nanking, with Japan gaining holdings in Manchuria.  

1901- President William McKinley is shot to death by an anarchist. Theodore Roosevelt, a progressive yet imperialist thinker, becomes President. Roosevelt has grand ambitions for the American Empire. He begins by annexing the Philippines, since much of the resistance has by this point subsided. However, limited resistance continues for much of the decade.

1903- The United States temporarily sends troops to Honduras. Roosevelt warns a second occupation may be permanent. To pay for America's expanded role abroad, the Military Preparation Act is passed, increasing the military budget by twenty five percent.

1904- After Colombia refuses to allow the United States to build a canal in Panama, Theodore Roosevelt invades Colombia to aid Panama separatists in order to build a canal. Panama is successfully conquered, and given official independence, though with a protectorate over the nation, the United States is the real power behind the Panamanian government. The Roosevelt Corollary is stated to justify the invasion, stating the United States had the right to intervene in the affairs of any nation that couldn't govern themselves, and that the United States had the right to govern for them. It is thus used as the basis of American Imperialism, and a warning to nations such as Germany to back off the American "sphere of influence".

1905- Construction on the Panama Canal begins. The Wright Brothers succeed in persuading the government to buy their aerial designs, leading to the establishment of the United States Army Air Corps in 1906, including lighter-then-air Zeppelins.

1906- After the lease on Cuba expires, the United States formally annexes the island, sparking the second Cuban revolt, which is crushed with little coverage from American newspapers. Roosevelt negotiates an end to the Russo-Japanese war. A revolt also occurs against Guatemalan president Manuel Cabrera. The United States briefly occupies the nation to reinstate Cabrera and protect their interests.

1907- The United States occupies Honduras for a second time, boosting the pro-American government. U.S military bases are built in the area in order to support American fruit companies.

1908- William Taft is elected president of the United States. He continues the imperialist policies of Roosevelt.

1911- The Supreme Court rules that the Standard Oil Company's existence is legal. The Company continues its near monopoly over the nation's oil.

1912- American troops occupy Nicaragua in order to end a rebellion against a Pro-American government. Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Panama are placed under the Central American Zone of operations, in which the U.S had total control over security in the area. It effectively serves as an American territory. Meanwhile, New York mayor William Randolph Hearst is elected president.

1913- Emilio Zapata becomes the leader of Mexico, threatening American interests.

World at War- Adulthood for the First Empire 1915-30

1914- After the heir to the Austrian throne is assassinated, tensions in Europe simmer to the boiling point, resulting in World War I. Hearst declares U.S neutrality in order to focus on problems closer to home. Mexican aggression is becoming increasingly dangerous. Many U.S businesses in Mexico are subject to high taxes, and often violence. Some businesses are even nationalized by the Zapata government. Tension with Mexico increases due to the "yellow journalism" of Hearst controlled newspapers, since Hearst's personal property in Northern Mexico was seized by the Zapata government. Hearst prepares to deal with Mexico militarily if necessary, expanding the U.S navy while spreading inflammatory rhetoric about Mexicans.

1915- After a military dictator takes control in Haiti, Hearst sends in the Marines. The marines overthrow him and occupy the country. Mexico feels threatened by this military move and declares war on the U.S after Mexican ships are attacked in the Alabama affair. Accepting a treaty of alliance with Germany, Mexican soldiers cross the Rio Grande on October 12th. Soon, German submarines begin attacking American shipping. Congress declares war on both of these nations. Hearst sends troops under the command of Lieutenant General John Pershing into Texas, crushing the invading forces at the Battle of Corpus Christi. Pershing heads south, capturing the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon. Meanwhile, American troops occupy Veracruz, and attack the Yucatan. However, the Germans lead a surprise assault on Miami, and land a relief squad in Mexico. These attacks, and the workings of German diplomats, lead to another revolution in Guatemala. The revolutionaries join the war, allying themselves with Mexico to prevent total American encirclement. Colombia, taking advantage of the distractions, lands troops in Panama, attempting to take over its former territory and the recently completed canal. It is defeated at the battle of Panama City. With limited German attacks on American holdings in the Caribbean, and uprisings in Nicaragua and Honduras, soon all of Central America is engaged in war. This leads to the solidification of Anglo-American relations, with Britain allowing the United States access to its bases in Belize and the Caribbean.

1916- As battles rage across Mexico and Central America, British and American troops repel Guatemalan raids, and in early February, invade the country. The takeover is complete by April. Also in February Pershing captures Monterrey and Durango, and Baja falls in March. The war is proceeding well for the United States, but a German-backed coup in the Dominican Republic leads the U.S diverting troops there to prevent German occupation. German interference in the Americas and British pressure, leads Hearst to deploy troops to Europe to aid British and French troops despite his reluctance to commit to the Entente. Eventually, this and the German navy's defeat at the Battle of Barbados leads to the Germans withdrawing nearly entirely from the Americas. American troops continue to press into Mexico and Columbia, despite heavy guerrilla resistance across Central America. The military begins to feel overextended. Mexico City falls in late October, but it comes too late for Hearst, for the long war has cost his reelection, losing to Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.

1917- Unlike Hearst, President Lodge supports a strong alliance with Britain and France. Lodge is also an imperialist who envisions an American Empire stretching across all of the Caribbean and Central America. During his presidency, several nations are annexed, and the U.S truly becomes an American Empire. Guatemala is the first, shortly annexed after his inauguration. While fighting against Mexican resistance soldiers, Lodge orders an invasion of Colombia, and the United States slowly proceeds south to Bogota. As the navy sinks German ships in the Atlantic, Lodge steps up the pressure on Germany by sending a significantly more troops to France. And slowly but surely, the Central Powers are being squeezed. Bogota falls in August, and the remaining sections of the Mexican army fall at Nayarit the next month. Lodge builds military bases across the newly conquered lands, and further solidifies American holdings.

1918- As the allies slowly converge on Germany, on August 9th, the Kaiser calls for a ceasefire. With the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires collapsing, the Kaiser is deposed. A ceasefire is agreed upon on August 12th. American troops are called home to manage Central America. The region is stabilizing, so Lodge begins withdrawing troops from the area, though several thousand troops remain. Mexico is annexed. Pancho Villa leads a rebellion against occupying American forces that becomes a pain to manage.

1919- The Allies negotiate and sign the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. The treaty imposes harsh terms on Germany, splitting much of its territories to the allies. Due to Lodge's imperialist ambitions, Secretary of State Charles Fairbanks secures British backed mandates for Armenia and the Hejaz. Armenia is placed under direct administration, while the Hejaz is established as a puppet state under the Emir of Mecca. No American troops enter the Holy City. Soon, Allied troops stationed in the Caucasus aid White Russian troops in the Russian civil war. Border disputes with Azerbaijan leads to Azerbaijan being assimilated into American Armenia. Soon, White Russian troops use it as a base against the Socialist government. Eventually, the Treaty of Stockholm leads to a power sharing deal between the Socialist revolutionaries and the Conservatives, ending the war, and creating a temporary peace.

1920- In the Treaty of Montreal, Britain cedes its remaining territories in the Caribbean to the U.S. The U.S congress annexes British Honduras, Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. It also formalizes the Anglo-American alliance, stating that both sides will aid each other in times of war. The United States agrees to forgive some British war debts in exchange for the territory. In Asia, Allied forces partition Anatolia, with American Armenia gaining a coast on the Black Sea, and Greece receiving Istanbul and much of Turkey. Italy, France and Britain gain territories in Southern Anatolia. In Mexico, Pancho Villa is captured, heavily damaging the Mexican rebellion.

1921-29- The Roaring Twenties- A time of great prosperity for the U.S, reaping the harvests from its colonial empire.

1921- The Dominican Republic is annexed, along with Columbia. Meanwhile, the Republic of Georgia invades Armenia over a border dispute. American troops stationed there invade and conquer Georgia, which brings them into tension with Russia. Lodge signs a treaty with Greece allowing easier access to Armenia, and allying itself with Greece. Britain also aids U.S efforts in the Caucasus.

1922- Haiti is annexed by the U.S. and American troops stationed in the Hejaz repel Ghazi holy warriors with British help. France, seeking to repay war debts, cedes the island of Martinique to the U.S.

1923- Nicaragua is annexed by the U.S.

1924- Costa Rica, surrounded by the U.S and its territories, applies to become an American protectorate. In the treaty of Panama City, Costa Rica allows free access to the Americans, but retains sovereignty. Later this year, General Leonard Wood is elected President over Al Smith. Honduras is annexed. More Ghazi warriors are repelled.

1925- Workers in Panama strike, leading to a small revolution. This revolt is crushed by the U.S with little effort.

1926- An anti-American military government takes power in Ecuador. Fearing an invasion of Colombia, or the government otherwise threatening U.S interests, the U.S army crushes the Ecuadorian army, and Wood orders occupation of the nation. Imperialists who have been clamoring for expansion southward gain more support. Wood does not extend the occupation, but does not appear averse to the Imperialists within his party.

1927- More Ghazi warriors attempting to take Mecca are killed with British aid. Leonard Wood dies, resulting in Charles Dawes becoming president. Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett become the first pilots to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

1928- Frederick Jackson Turner proclaims the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny. Secretary of State Henry Stimson, while visiting Argentina, is assassinated by anarchists led by Severino Di Giovanni, straining U.S-Argentinian relations. Dawes is re-elected president.

1929- Stocks plunge, leading to the beginning of the Great Depression.

  Onwards to   Imperial States of America(Part 2)

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