Alternate History

President Fisher Ames

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US President Fisher Ames

"Whether, however, the good sense of Bonaparte might not see the course predicted to be necessary & unavoidable, even before a war should be imminent, was a chance which we thought it our duty to try; but the immediate prospect of rupture brought the case to immediate decision. The denoument has been happy; and I confess I look to this duplication of area for the extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness which is to ensue. Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power". ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1803

19th September, 1902

On this day the Atlantic Confederacy joined Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy in the Quadruple Alliance that accidental military partnership which would a decade later smash the British, French and Russian Empires at the bloody climax of the Great War.

Anger over the allies' imperial past on the American continent featured large in the minds of the eastern seaboard politicians. Of course the undemocratic systems of government in the treaty powers was a consideration hard to ignore, but ultimately expedience and American liberty won out over liberty in its purest sense. Put simply, British, French and Russian America had created immense practical difficulties for the Atlantic Confederacy.

But it was the diplomatic quarrel with the French Government that had ultimately forced the issue. And the cause of that quarrel was a pivotal decision taken in the infancy of republic.

At that time in 1803, the British and French were still locked in their centuries-long struggle for supremacy. Napoleon reluctantly decided to sell the Louisiana Territory in order to focus on building a continental empire in Europe. Thomas Jefferson dreamt of an "Empire of Liberty" but President Fisher Ames (pictured) saw a nightmare. As a New England Federalist he feared that a continental American superstate would diminish the influence of eastern seaboarders in controlling their own destiny.

Of course both Ames and Jefferson wanted the French out and so an odd compromise emerged. Using funds borrowed from British banks, they signed a ninety-nine year lease and formed a Mississippi Confederacy with Jefferson as the head of state. They confidently expected the routine renewal of such a lease at a future time when the Federal Government would have stronger financials. But it didn't quite work out like that, incredibly Britain was still the master of Canada and the French now wanted their own real estate property back. Big time.

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