Alternate History

War of 1803

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In 1802 Napoleon sent an Army of 20,000 to enforce slavery on the island of Saint-Domingue and arrest the Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture. But what if Napoleon had realized the opportunity he had been given? Toussaint Louverture was loyal to France and ruled Haiti in the name of the French government. He and his army could have easily been used to secure Napoleon's dream of a self sustaining empire in the Americas. What effect would this have had on the United States? On January 20th French General Charles Leclerc arrived on the island of Saint-Dominique with 1,000 solders while the rest of his 20,000 man force continued to New Orleans. Leclerc informed General Louverture that he had been named governor of Saint-Dominique by First Council Napoleon with Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur named Lt.Governor. When news of the force reaches the United States, President Jefferson’s reaction is described as a mixture of extreme rage and disgust, he berated the French ambassador for over an hour, he apparently considered having him deported. Reactions across America to the news of the French troops varied greatly. Some newspapers panicked calling for a preemptive attack on the French others felt that America should ally with France and attack the British. Most editorials agreed that the U.S. should build up its military in case the Napoleonic Wars did come to North America. Jefferson, his cabinet, and Congress now had to decide how to deal with the fact that over 8 times as many French troops in New Orleans than the entire US army. A bill was passed on the 22nd of March that authorized the army's strength to be quadrupled and the order went out for 6 ships of the line, many of the parts for these ships would come from the 6 that been authorized to fight the Qausi War. The French did not predict such a strong reaction from America, most of Napoleon's advisors believed the U.S. would welcome a French presence to keep the British off guard or that America would be indifferent. Leclerc asked Paris on how to deal with the American reaction and awaited a response; he had another issue to deal with that being the Spanish and their holdings in The Americas. Leclerc was able to negotiate the right to move French troops through Spanish territories but not to establish garrisons, this right would be essential if war broke out with any of the powers in North America. Napoleon. Louverture on San-Dominique organized many of the veteran Haitian troops into formal regiments and had received flags, weapons, and uniforms ordered from France. He also had managed to restart the sugar industry by organizing the islands plantations into plots of land to given to civilians who agreed to grow sugar for France.

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