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Point of Divergence
On July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton engaged in a duel in New Jersey. However, in OTL, Burr shot Alexander Hamilton, causing him to die the next day. Hamilton had wasted his shot, which was meant to show that the opponent was not worth a shot. In this timeline, however, Burr misses Hamilton, while Hamilton still wastes his shot.
Early Years (1804-1817)
Immediate Effects of the Duel
When Hamilton wasted his shot, and Burr missed, Burr was humiliated, and no extra rounds occurred in the duel. In a newspaper statement, a witness described what occurred, and the news of Burr's humiliation quickly spread. Soon after, Burr meats with Anthony Merry, the British Minister to the United States. Burr was interested in creating an independent nation in the Louisiana Territory which he would conquer. The British, hearing of Burr's failure, immediately decline, instead of considering it.
Meanwhile, Jefferson was in an election. Jefferson was running along with George Clinton and the Federalists nominated Charles Pinckney, with Rufus King as his running mate. Jefferson won a major victory. However, Burr's embarrassment had caused a small bounceback in the Federalist Party, and the formerly declining party gained in the House and Senate. This would increase when accusations began to arise about Aaron Burr. After being turned down in a plot to break off from the government, the rumors of the plot accumulated, and he was charged with treason.
Burr was not convicted of treason because of a lack of evidence. However, as the suspicions grew and following his humiliation in his duel with Alexander Hamilton, Burr was distrusted, and lost his favor in New York and nationwide. Furthermore, the Democratic-Republicans had multiple scandals in Jefferson's second term. First, in late 1804 to 1805, Jefferson led a movement to impeach Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase for being too partisan. Hamilton, a great lawyer, defended Chase, and championed his acquittal. People did not like Jefferson's grab for power, and Jefferson began to lose popularity. Jefferson also tried to buy Florida from Napoleon after the success of the Louisiana Purchase, but the negotiations failed and many disliked Jefferson's proposed methods of payment. Finally, he was unable to be strong in dealing with Britain, and embargoed Britain instead of going to war. In the midterm elections, the Federalists continued to make gains, though they were minor. Public opinion was turning against the the Democratic-Republicans.
Hamilton's First Term, War of 1810
With the election of 1808 approaching, the nominations occurred by congress. The Federalists nominated Alexander Hamilton for President, and Charles C. Pinckney for Vice President. The Democratic-Republicans nominated James Madison for President, and incumbent Vice President George Clinton for Vice President. However, the Democratic-Republicans in New York supported Clinton. In the election, Hamilton would win all New England states, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and New Jersey, in addition to four electoral votes in North Carolina and 15 of the 19 electoral votes in New York, the other 4 of which would go to George Clinton. Hamilton narrowly earned enough electoral votes to become President, one vote higher than the minimum.
With Hamilton as President but a Democratic-Republican congress, Hamilton may have faced difficulty, but in his inaugural address he promised to cancel the Embargo Act. He managed to repeal the Embargo Act due to some support for the repeal from the Democratic-Republicans. America's merchant fleet returned to the seas, and Hamilton, with his military background, grew the navy. Barent Gardenier, his Secretary of State, sent a letter to Britain that if American merchant ships continued to be seized, then it would be cause for war. When two ships where raided, Hamilton received the support of Congress to declare war on Britain and invade Canada, declaring war in mid 1810.
Hamilton made sure that the army was well trained federally, by setting up 11 training bases. This allowed him to make the army federal, instead of the OTL state-controlled and unorganized militias. The revamped navy allowed some resistance to the British blockade, including a brief period early in the war where there was no blockade. This allowed the Americans to make quick and crucial gains at the beginning of the war, and Secretary of War Stephen van Rensselaer called for an invasion primarily to capture Montreal, but also to hold Detroit and capture the city of York (now Toronto) in Canada. Hamilton authorized to focus on the Niagara front early, and once he was pleased with the result, he would authorize an invasion towards Montreal.
In the Niagara campaign, the American forces captured Fort Erie and Fort George in August and September of 1810, but were forced to call off all advancements until the end of winter. However, while this occurred, the British launched an invasion of Michigan. They captured Fort Detroit in the winter, and would capture Fort Wayne in late January, 1811 and Fort Dearborn in February. With their capture of the land from Lake Erie to Lake Michigan, the British caused the Americans to be unable to invade Ontario from the West and surround York. However, Michigan had not been cut off yet, as they were still trading with the Louisiana territory through Mackinac Island. The British attacked Fort Mackinac, but suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat, a key victory championed by Zebulon Pike, who had been put in charge of the forces in the Michigan front. His victory allowed him to attack Detroit, recapturing it, and causing some British forces to be surrounded by American forces. From Detroit, Pike launched an invasion of Western Ontario, while William Henry Harrison recaptured Fort Dearborn, Fort Wayne, and defeated Tecumseh's Confederacy. At the Battle of Brant's Ford, the Iroquois and British forces were unable to defeat Zebulon Pike's forces, and the diversion allowed Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott to break though, and the two groups of American forces met up at Cooksville (OTL Mississauga), and proceeded to siege York, conquering it in August 1811, suffering Zebulon Pike as a loss in the battle.
When the city of York was captured, the British immediately invaded Northeastern New York and Vermont. With the Americans done with their invasions for the winter, the British believed that it could gain an advantage by winning in the actual states, not just in the territories. The British split their invading forces in two, sending one towards Boston and the other towards Albany. They believed that if either campaign was successful, then they could win the war. Due to directions from President Hamilton, the Americans were told to put all of their fortifications in New York at Albany, with only a small force fighting the British as they invaded. This caused some battles at Burlington, Saratoga, and Ticonderoga, but they were all British victories. However, the British suffered heavy casualties from disease, starvation, and hypothermia in the winter, while the American in the Albany Front were based in the city of Albany. When the invading force reached Albany, they were un-energetic and had suffered major casualties, and lost a major defeat at the Battle of Albany in January 1812.
In the Boston Campaign, the route that the British would take was less clear, and Hamilton authorized a small force in the cities of Burlington, Concord, Manchester, and Lowell, while he put a major force in Boston. While this seemed to have a similar effect as on the Albany Front, the longer distance and bigger forces along the way caused further British damage on the way. They attacked Manchester in March of 1812, and the Americans managed to hold off the British for two days. When the news arrived, a large portion of the forces in Boston came to Manchester, and overwhelmed the British. The British invasion was now a failure after the battles at Albany and Manchester.
With the Americans successfully fending off three invasions, they now invaded Quebec with great results. The Battle of Chateauguay was a decisive victory for the Americans under general Henry Dearborn, with guidance from President Hamilton. The victory at Chateauguay allowed them to cross the St. Lawrence River, and land on Montreal. The Americans were unable to defeat the British in Montreal, and were forced off of the island. However, after another victory, this time at Morrisville, the Colonists crossed the river, landing directly in the city instead of on the side where they could be flanked onto Mount Royal, and they marched through the streets of Montreal in July 1812, defeating the British.
Peace Negotiations and Election of 1812
After the Second Battle of Montreal, the British and Americans met in New York City. New York was one of the only cities at that point which the American Navy had been able to defend, However, the United States now controlled Montreal and York, two of the main three cities in British Canada. Alexander Hamilton championed the treaty, which restricted Britain from raiding American ships and solved border issues. The northern border between American Louisiana and British Canada was set at the 49th parallel, with a section of Rupert's Land being ceded to the United States. Furthermore, the United States would gain the land in Western Ontario, with a line drawn from Lake Huron to Lake Ontario through Lake Simcoe. Finally, all land in Upper Canada South of the St. Lawrence River would be ceded to the United States. The British were happy to keep a good portion of their colonies, and were more focused on defeating Napoleon.
The treaty barely passed the Democratic-Republican favored senate, receiving 14 votes when 12 was the requirement, out of 34. However, with the Presidential elections approaching, the Federalists seemed to be gaining favor, mainly because of the success of the war. Hamilton had successfully solved the issue of British seizure of merchant ships, and had resumed trade with Britain. He had also brought in more land to the country, gaining Western Ontario. Hamilton ran for re-election, and Chief Justice John Marshall was the candidate for Vice President. The Democratic-Republicans decided to nominate Henry Dearborn, a war hero and possible lurer of the North, for President, and nominated James Madison for Vice President. Dearborn was able to defeat Hamilton in the Federalist state of Massachusetts, but lost Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The result was a second term for Alexaner Hamilton, and another small congressional boost for the Federalists.
Hamilton now had a goal, which was to increase the power of the federal government. He proposed a constitutional amendment which would allow the federal government to split up states, mainly focused on Virginia. However, this obviously failed to get a super majority in either house. But another conflict was brewing. The Spanish government in Florida was arming natives and fugitive slaves, and was trying to expand florida to include part of the gulf coast of modern Mississippi and Alabama. Furthermore, Americans were settling in Florida, and Americans especially disliked the ease at which slaves could escape. Hamilton sent a message to Spain, stating the annexation of Florida because of a lack of organization, the idea that it was included in the Louisiana Purchase, and citing a rebellion which was occurring led by the white population of American settlers. The Spanish didn't recognize the annexation, but didn't fight it. Hamilton sent a large force in to fight the Natives, mainly Seminoles, and to ensure that the Spanish did not attack. Hamilton now controlled a substantially larger amount of land than when he began.
Hamilton next focused on improving the services given to Americans. He was sure that the military training camps he set up remained, though the main army facility was at West Point and the main Naval facility at Annapolis. These training facilities were accessible to more people, allowing better trained militias and more professional soldiers. He also advocated for an industrial America, favoring the construction of public schools, canals and patent protection. This rush for industrialization was liked in the Northern cities, but disliked in the South, where he began to lose support. Hamilton had also spoken out in favor of a gradual freedom of slaves, which infuriated the Southerners. The Federalist Party, though installing successful military tactics and progressive ideas, began to decline again.
With the presidential election upcoming, Hamilton disregarded the two term precedent and did not decline nomination for president from the Federalists. The Federalists also nominated promising candidate Rufus King, who was Hamilton's Secretary of State, and Vice President John Marshall. Hamilton was nominated for a third term, and Rufus King was nominated for Vice President (Hamilton hoped to put John Marshall back in the Supreme Court). The Democratic-Republicans, though, had an array of candidates to choose from. The primary nominated candidates included James Monroe, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, Henry Dearborn, and Andrew Jackson. This caused a break in the Democratic-Republican Party, which pitted the "Jeffersonian Republicans", The quids, and a third faction lead by John Quincy Adams. The Jeffersonian Republican faction nominated James Monroe for President, and voted in favor of James Madison for Vice President. The Quids nominated John Randolph for President, and favored Nathaniel Macon for Vice President. The "Adams Men" voted for John Quincy Adams for President and Henry Clay for Vice President. This beginning of factions did not yet cause an actual split in the parties, but began to show the split. In the end, after many ballots, the Democratic-Republicans eventually nominated the Jeffersonian Democrats, but in the process promised cabinet jobs to several other candidates (assuming they would win), including Secretary of State for John Quincy Adams, Minister to France for Randolph, and Secretary of War for Andrew Jackson. The Madison-Monroe Ticket would defeat the Hamilton-Marshall ticket, and return the power to the Federalists.
Madison Years (1817-1825)
Madison's First Term
Madison was forced to have a cabinet which consisted of people from many different factions, some of which he disagreed with. John Quincy Adams was given the job of Secretary of State, John Randolph became the Minister to France. Andrew Jackson became the Seretary of War. Nathaniel Macon became the Postmaster General. William H. Crawford became his Secretary of the Treasury, while William Henry Harrison was his Minister to the United Kingdom.
Madison was met with difficult issues as the United States transitioned to Laissez-faire capitalism. This caused a major divide in the Democratic-Republican Party. What occurred was a recession, and Madison was forced to agree with the Federalists and New Republicans, who favored a policy of tariffs, preservation of the American Bank, development of roads and canals, and federal revenue from land. This recession allowed the Federalist Party to not be seen as very different from the New Republicans, a faction of the Democratic-Republican Party. John Sergeant championed the bills which were eventually passed by Madison.
The Spanish government still hadn't recognized the American annexation of Florida. The United States had occupied it under orders from President Hamilton, and Americans had begun to settle there. With the recession, it seemed difficult to officially buy Florida. Meanwhile, most of the American colonies of Portugal and Spain had revolted and declared independence at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Monroe, Madison's Vice President, suggested that he tell Europe that any recolonization would be war. John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State, instead advised Madison to tell Spain that they wouldn't pay for Florida unless Spain recognized the independence of its Southern American colonies. Madison combined the two, and gave the Madison Doctrine, stating that Europe may not intervene in the Americas, no further colonialism would be accepted in the Americas, and that any violation would be considered an act of war. Because Madison didn't heed Quincy Adams' advice, Adams began to further factionalism in the Party.
The Federalist Party was losing all of its power, especially when Alexander Hamilton died in 1818. It lost a third of the few seats it had in congress in the midterm elections in 1818, and seemed more and more likely to collapse. However, as Adams and his men began to break from the party, the Federalists began to align with Adams, especially because he himself had once been a Federalist, as had his father. The "Adams Men" joined forces with the Federalists in 1819, to form the National Party. The Party favored the American System for the economy, and enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine. It also favored a gradual end to slavery, beginning with ending the internal slave trade as Alexander Hamilton had proposed.
The slavery issue had become heated, with Missouri's application for statehood. Henry Clay, a National, championed a compromise in which Missouri would be accepted to the Union as a slave state, along with the free state of Maine. Also, a line was set for the western territories regarding slavery, at 36 degrees and 30 minutes. This would become known as the Missouri Compromise.
In the 1820 election, with Madison now the only major candidate of the Democratic-Republican Party, he was supported by the whole party. Madison kept the same ticket. Quincy Adams was the National Party's nominee for President, and they chose Henry Clay for Vice President. Adams appealed to New England, New York, Ohio, and Kentucky, but Madison won the rest of the country, allowing him to become President for a second term.
Madison's Second Term
Madison, without needing the support of other factions to win his second term, was able to nominate his own men to his cabinet. William H. Crawford remained his Treasury Secretary, William Henry Harrison became his Secretary of State, and John C. Calhoun was his Secretary of War. This allowed Madison to have his own policies better enforced, though his own policies were not perfect. Executively, he had his men in power now, heading different departments, but legislatively, the Nationals were gaining, and Henry Clay had become an important leader in the House of Representatives. In 1822, the death of a Massachusetts senator allowed Quincy Adams to be nominated, where he would lead the opposition.
As the American System, the main economic system of the Nationals, continued to see success, so did the Nationals. Madison tried to get a bill changing away from the system, but the success of the American System caused the bill to not pass the Senate. Madison did pass a less forceful bill reducing taxes, which essentially led to a collapse of the American system. With the system in place, funds set to make roads could not be payed, and instead were forced to be payed to veterans' pensions. Without these roads, commerce slowed, as did the American economy. Furthermore, the roads did not adequately provide access to the territories and Northwestern states, causing less income through federal sale of land in those territories. Finally, the construction of the Erie Canal slowed, leading to outrage in the North, especially New York.
Madison's new economic system, for those reasons, began to fail. A cycle occurred where investors became increasingly scared of the situation of the economy. Furthermore, investments were being made in Latin America, following independence of new countries, as opposed to the USA or Europe. What resulted was the Panic of 1823, which caused widespread bank closures, unemployment, and economic decline. Out of all of this, Madison was blamed by the Nationals for denying the American System for the economy, simply because of it giving too much power to the federal government, when it had been successful. Madison lost much approval, and was forced to pass a bill returning to the American System for the rest of his term.
Facing political defeats and a collapsed economy, Madison now focused on settlement of territories, especially the northern ones acquired from the British from the war. New Canada, which was the land in Western Ontario, had grown in population, developing the old city of York into a new city, Alexandria, so named after Alexander Hamilton. Similarly, in New Quebec, a town on the St. Lawrence River named Dearborn, formerly Chateauguay, becomes a minor financial center for shipping between the two cities. Finally, Fort Detroit begins to see development in its New Canada counterpart, Windsor, begins to see some growth, while New Canada began to gain population from several farmers.
In 1824, an election was upcoming. Madison did not even think of running for a third term, partially to show his opposition to Hamilton's ideas and partially because he knew that he wouldn't have a chance due to economic failures. The National Party nominated John Quincy Adams for President again, and settled on Henry Clay as Vice President again. The Democratic-Republicans, though, had difficulty deciding between three candidates, elitist William H. Crawford, State's rights activist John C. Calhoun, and peoples' man Andrew Jackson. The elitist Southerners settled on Crawford for President and Calhoun for Vice President. This was the elected ticket, but a large portion of Democratic-Republicans preferred Andrew Jackson. Jackson, therefore, ran also as a Democratic-Republican, and he let Calhoun also be his running mate.
The three sided election left John Quincy Adams with the most electoral votes, but no candidate gaining a majority. However, Calhoun had already become Vice President because the two tickets he was on amounted to a majority. In the House of Representatives, a split occurred in the Democratic-Republican Party, between the elitists and the Jacksonians. This divide led to John Quincy Adams becoming President.
Partisan Years (1825-1833)
John Quincy Adams' First Term
Quincy Adams was forced to deal with Calhoun as his Vice President, though they were from different parties. Adams, though nominated Henry Clay as his Secretary of State, Richard Rush as his Secretary of the Treasury, and William Henry Harrison as his Secretary of War.
Quincy Adams saw success of the "American System". He passed a bill extending the system until the end of the Presidential term. He imposed a high tariff. Next, he began to favor a nationalized transportation system, where the government would profit from the railroad they build and reinvest the profits back into the system, which included roads, railroads, and most importantly, canals. Furthermore, Quincy Adams promoted the construction of the Erie Canal, which was completed in 1826. He also approved the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, meant to make coal shipping easier. What resulted from the plan was further industrialization. This was seen as a way for the rich to become richer, and was not appealing to the common man.
This caused Andrew Jackson, a military hero from the War of 1810, and now a senator, to become the leader of the Democratic-Republican opposition to the Nationals. However, he seemed to stand for the common man, while most of the Democratic-Republicans stood for the Southern rich man. The Party would soon see a split. This split allowed the Nationals to become effectively completely in power, because one of the two factions would side with the Nationals.
What both factions disagreed with was the Nationals' major Tariff of 1828, which would lower Southern profits from natural resources. The tariff did not pass congress, and became a main point of contention in the Election of 1828. But also, the Greek War of Independence was another issue, with Adams not supporting intervention in European affairs, and his Secretary of State, Henry Clay, supporting it. This was another point of contention.
The Democratic-Republicans, often referred to simply as the "republicans", broke from the Democrats. This was a result of John C. Calhoun, the Republican, and Andrew Jackson, the Democrat, being the nominee after receiving a slight majority in the Democratic-Republican nomination. Jackson's running mate was New York Senator Martin Van Buren, Calhoun's was William Crawford, and Quincy Adams' running mate was Speaker of the House John W. Taylor. In the election, no side gained enough electoral votes, but Jackson won the most. With the election going to the House of Representatives, they once again chose John Quincy Adams as President, and Taylor became Vice President.
John Quincy Adams' Second Term
The new congress, with a National plurality, followed by the Democrats, followed by the Republicans, caused Quincy Adams to propose another tariff in 1829. This tariff would narrowly pass the house and senate, coming down to a tie in the senate broken by Taylor, and winning by just three votes in the house.
The southern states were outraged by the massive tariff, which they felt was meant to protect northerners. Calhoun, in his plantation, wrote an essay called "South Carolina Exposition and Protest", not revealing his name, though it was known that he wrote it. In the essay, he called for the right of states to nullify acts of congress that the states deemed unconstitutional. The result was a rise of political debate about power. The Republicans, led by Calhoun (and Robert Y. Hayne in the Senate, and George McDuffie in the House), argued that power should predominantly rest with the states, especially the plantation owner. The Democrats, led by Andrew Jackson, believed that power should rest with the common man. The Nationals believed that power should be held by the Federal government, and that the government should be led by the rich.
South Carolina, at a convention led by governor Stephen Miller and Calhoun, passed an ordinance nullifying the tariff. Andrew Jackson then authored the Force Bill, which allowed congress to use the military to enforce Federal Laws, which was passed under support of both the Democrats and the Nationals. When South Carolina nullified the Force Bill, Quincy Adams believed that it was his chance to show the abilities of the Federal government. South Carolina seemed to be threatening secession, and John Quincy Adams was considering charging Calhoun with treason. South Carolina appointed Hayne governor, and replaced him in the Senate with Calhoun.
Adams and Jackson were in a sort of political alliance on the issue. Adams had stated that he would not run for President in the upcoming 1832 election, and Jackson seemed the most likely to win. Adams sent two warships to Charleston's harbor, blockading it. He sent troops to protect the Federal fortresses. Before anything occurred, however, the election came first.
In the election, the Republicans nominated Calhoun, with Hayne as his running mate. The Democrats nominated the same Jackson-Van Buren ticket. The Nationals nominated Henry Clay for President, and John Sergeant as his running mate. The Republicans were met with only one state's vote: South Carolina. The Democrats would go on to win the election by a large margin of electoral votes, and the Republicans lost the majority of their seats in Congress.
Faced with a declining party, a lost election, and wavering support, Calhoun was forced to fold. He agreed to negotiate, and Henry Clay wrote a compromise tariff, which passed. Quincy Adams agreed to pardon Calhoun of any possible charges of treason, and South Carolina repealed their nullifications.
Jacksonian-Clay Era (1833-1841)
Jackson had a very unique Presidency. His first order of business was Indian Removal, passing an Indian Removal Act, waging war with certain tribes, and freeing lands for the purposes of gold mining in Georgia. He waged several wars with tribes, which were supported by the Nationals. Just months into his Presidency, the Republican Party dissolved, causing just the Democratic and National parties to remain.
Jackson increased universal white male suffrage, which became more and more common under his Presidency. Jackson was vehement about improving the rights of the common man. The Democrats were now in control of Congress, and Jackson proposed an amendment which got rid of the electoral college and replaced it with the popular vote. The amendments got two thirds of the votes in the House of Representatives, but failed to do so in the Senate.
Jackson believed in rotating political workers, as he believed that this combated the spoils system. He also believed that the National bank of the United States needed to be broken up so that it would no longer have a banking monopoly, and disliked banks in general because he thought they cheated the common man. However, all attempts to end the National Bank failed, as the Nationals controlled the Senate.
Jackson combated the National Party's American System, based on tariffs, by making trade agreements with several foreign nations, including Great Britain, Turkey, Russia, Denmark, Spain, and Siam. Trade with foreign nations increased, and the Southern landowners got richer. Industrialization slowed, though, and merchants and northern industrial workers became unsatisfied with the administration. Without the income from the tariffs, the federal government, and national bank, began to lose money. What resulted was an economic panic in 1837, which caused further unsatisfaction with Jackson. Clay proposed a re-installation of the American System, as he claimed that every time someone tried to stop it, the economy collapsed.
In 1836, the election was occurring, and there were just two parties fielding a ticket. First, the Democrats kept the same ticket of Jackson and Van Buren. The Nationals changed the ticket to be Henry Clay but with William Henry Harrison as his running mate. The northern and mid-Atlantic states voted for the Nationals, the Southern States voted for the Democrats, and the Western states were split. This resulted in a National victory, and a Presidency for Clay.
Clay's First Term
Clay chose Daniel Webster as his Secretary of State, and other Nationals for cabinet positions. He extended the charter of the National Bank, and immediately tried to reinstall the American System. This saw some difficulties passing in the House of Representatives, which was controlled by the Democrats, though it easily passed the Senate. This would pass only when the economic crisis in 1837 seemed close to causing a major decline in the satisfaction with the Democratic Party, and yet again, the American system was enforced. The construction of government funded canals and roads heightened, public schooling began to grow, and a tariff was imposed. This angered multiple nations which Jackson had made trade deals with, especially Great Britain.
Relations with Britain continued to deteriorate when the New Canada Territory applied for statehood. Clay made a deal between the northerners and southerners, similar to the Missouri Compromise, whereas New Canada would be admitted along with Arkansas to balance the slave and free states. Clay favored this method when regarding slavery. Scared of the possibilities of war with Britain amidst deteriorating relations, a fort was built in the St. Lawrence territory just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City. To compensate, the British built a fortress near the border with New Canada in Oshawa.
Further issues arose in the west. The Oregon Territory had been controlled by both the United States and Britain originally. However, with the escalation of tensions with Britain, American missionary settlement in the Oregon Territory, and increased nationalism, especially regarding Oregon Country, there were calls to negotiate a treaty with Britain regarding the border, or even annex Oregon completely. The Democrats and Nationals both were generally in favor of compromise, though a large, nationalistic ideology began to grow, especially as tensions were also growing with Mexico.
Meanwhile, in 1839, a Spanish slave ship named the Amistad was the sight of a slave report, before it was captured near New York. In a court case, the government ruled in favor of the freedom of those slaves. This became a key case for abolitionists. But Clay with his American System seeing success and more pressing issues, Clay was more concerned with the foreign policy. Texas had won independence from Mexico, and was now considering joining the Union as a slave state. Clay did not allow Texas to be accepted, nor promote war with Mexico, because he did not want the issue of slavery to need to be negotiated.
These were the main issues going into the 1840 election. In the Democratic Convention, three main candidates ran. Thomas Hart Benton was seen as a strong voice regarding manifest destiny, and a nationalist. Martin Van Buren ran for nomination again. Finally, Lewis Cass was seen as a more moderate person who could bring in votes from the western states. In the end, Lewis Cass was nominated, and conceded to Thomas Hart Benton as the Vice Presidential nominee.
The Nationalist Party experienced a rift, too. John Tyler provided a nationalist branch of the party. Clay ran for renomination, but was soon considered more suitable for the Senate, and replaced with William Henry Harrison from his faction focused on the American System and stopping the Spoils System as much as possible, though Harrison also wanted to spare the veto and provided a flare of military experience. Daniel Webster was seen as another party leader along with Clay, and also ran for the nomination. William Henry Harrison won the nomination, with the Vice Presidential spot going to Daniel Webster.
In the election, Henry Harrison won by a large margin. The notion that Cass could win was false with a northwestern opponent in Henry Harrison. Webster managed to carry all of the New England states, and Henry Harrison won a lot of northern and western states. Of course, Harrison gave a three hour inauguration speech in the Cold, and died 33 days into office of pneumonia. Daniel Webster Became the 10th President of the United States.
Manifest Destiny (1841-1853)
With Webster sworn in, he had to nominate a cabinet. Thomas Ewing was his Secretary of the Treasury, and John Bell as his Secretary of War. Both parties, though, began to see a real divide over Manifest Destiny, and whether to go to war with Britain, Mexico, neither, or Both. A group of expansionists, including James K. Polk, Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas W. Gilmer, and John Tyler, threatened to filibuster if Webster did not support expansion. Webster, hoping to not lose his popularity, agreed to negotiate a deal with Britain, and nominated Polk to be his Secretary of State in exchange for incorporation of the Manifest Destiny Lobby into the National Party. Polk negotiated a treaty regarding Oregon very similar to the one in OTL, but the boundary was the Haro Strait, giving more islands and room to the US in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
But the expansionist faction of the party still continued to influence Webster to do what he and Clay didn't want (Clay had been reinstated as a senator after the resignation of another). The faction continued to state their disapproval for the American System and vehemently favored annexation of Texas. Clay attempted a compromise over Texas, but negotiations failed. Webster, fed up with the faction and more focused on being a good President, vetoed another bill to annex Texas (and one to continue to build up fortifications on border with Canada), the faction split off from the Nationals, rejoining with the Democrats. The Democrats, now more focused on opposing the Nationals, agreed to favor annexation of Texas. A third bill for Texas passed congress, but was vetoed by Webster. The Democratic Party began to morph into a pro-slavery, pro-expansion, states' rights party.
With a hostile congress, Webster began to veto a good majority of the bills given to him. Expansions of the American System were blocked by congress, while expansionist bills were blocked by Webster. The vetoing became much more common than considered usual, and an abuse of power. The Democrats considered impeachment of Webster, but gained a super majority in the Senate beforehand. Now, with the chance of overriding vetoes, they dropped the impeachment, at least temporarily. However, they were unable to override, as they could not get the support of the whole party. An assassination attempt occurred in 1844, but failed. It caused Webster to not seek re-election, along with refusal to appoint a supreme court justice appointed by Webster.
The Democrats held a convention, this time even more grueling than the last. There was a notion of the ticket needing to have at least some expansionist aspect. Candidates for the President included John C. Calhoun, James K. Polk, and William L. Marcy. In the end, Polk got the nomination, but Marcy was promised Secretary of the Navy, and Calhoun was promised Secretary of War. George M. Dallas was seen as a strong Vice-Presidential candidate, because of his views in favor of manifest destiny, but also in favor of a strong central government, allowing Nationals to be drawn to vote for the ticket, and he was nominated for Vice President.
The National Party seemed to lack an obvious candidate. Henry Clay was considered the likely nominee, as he had experience, was a strong leader and compromiser, and opposed manifest destiny. However, Millard Fillmore, who was not considered bad to Southerners, John Davis, who was considered a less polarizing alternative to Clay, and John McLean, who would've brought in the abolitionist vote were all nominated as well. Massachusetts governor John Davis seemed most likely for the nomination, but a speech by President Webster at the convention caused him to lose support. What resulted was Millard Fillmore being chosen for President, and Theodore Frelinghuysen for Vice President. Fillmore was easily beaten by the expansionist Polk, who became President.
Polk began his Presidency by making two bold moves. First, Polk vetoed a bill expanding the American System, called the Commercial Production Act. This bill received support from most of the congress, but congress barely failed to overrule the veto. Instead, a bill was passed that Re-established the Independent Treasury System, but failed to have a tariff reduction pass congress.
Polk's second bold move was to accept Texas to the Union as a slave state. Texas quickly accepted, and Polk next focused on purchasing New Mexico and California. Polk sent a diplomat to Mexico to try to buy the territory, but he was not received when it was realized that he was trying to buy California instead of negotiate compensation for Texas. In response, Polk sent an army under Winfield Scott into an area claimed by both the US and Mexico, in between the Nueces and Rio Grande. Scott crossed the Rio Grande and took control of Matamoros, while Polk tried to get congress to approve a declaration of war. Soon, he announced that Mexican troops had crossed the Rio Grande and had killed 14 US soldiers. Congress approved war in early 1846, strongly opposed by Abraham Lincoln and most notably opposed by John C. Calhoun and John Quincy Adams.
Mexico began a siege of Fort Texas, and in response, Polk sent a large army led by Zachary Taylor. Mexico sent a force North and fought Zachary Taylor's army at Palo Alto, eventually forced to retreat. While retreating, the forces besieging Fort Texas were called to join them, and they engaged Taylor's forces again at Resaca de la Palma, losing a major battle and being forced to retreat back over the Rio Grande.
Meanwhile, troops led by John Fremont in California had begun to support the Bear Flag Revolt, which led to the creation of the California Republic. John Drake Sloat, in charge of the American Pacific Fleet, commanded three ships and 225 soldiers to the port of Monterrey, which was the capital of Alta California, taking the city unopposed. The US, now in control of much of the coat of Alta California and all of the land north of Monterrey, also had troops in much of southern California. Though mostly unopposed, in Los Angeles, a Mexican uprising occurred, eventually suppressed but requiring extra support from Fremont.
With the suppression of the rebellion, the main force in California moved south, taking Santa Barbara, reoccupying Los Angeles, and taking San Diego in a final battle with Mexican troops in Alta California.