The Kingdom of American States had a tumultuous early history. Having won their independence from Britain in the dying years of the 18th century the thirteen colonies joined in a loose coalition of states. Unfortunately their coalition was flawed; the states fought constantly, both in the political arenas of federal government and, occasionally, on the battlefield. Their overlapping claims to territory, disputes over slavery and the disagreement about how the federal government should be organised caused constant friction.
This enmity existed between the states themselves as well as between the state governments and the federal government in Philadelphia - it was rare for Virginia to listen to the decisions made by the Continental Congress less than 250 kilometres away, and the rest of the states wavered between obedience and outright defiance.
It was decided something must be done. Either the United States remained strong together, or divided and became weak. In Europe Kings and nobility laughed at the Americans - "Their 'Republican Experiment' has failed!" they cried, "No common, elected man could rule a country!". In America, many people agreed.
An absolute monarchy was out of the question, so America must have a monarch tempered by elected bodies and meritocratic institutions. But even after the Americans had decided on the constitution, who would be King?
Virginia and its southern allies championed George Washington - their hero of the revolutionary war! The northern states disagree - Virginia had too much power as it was without their statesmen sitting on the throne! Again the nation was split, until one man stepped forward.
Christian Friedrich Karl Alexander of the German noble house of Hohenzollern was not an unknown to the American people. In the last few years of the revolution Prussia had thrown in its lot with America, hoping to damage the powerful Britain and, with a little luck, gain a new ally. Their contribution to the war was small, but significant. A handful of men under the command of a low-ranking nobleman, Christian Friedrich.
Though late on the scene, Christian Friedrich's contribution to the war was disproportionately large. He took command of a small force of volunteers and was fundamental to the American victory in the Florida campaign. He wasn't the greatest hero of the war, but he wasn't from any state in particular and was liked by statesmen across the nation. He spoke English and French with no real accent from his native German, and his Spanish was passable - though he could have only spoken Chinese for all the Spanish-speaking Floridians cared.
The states were in agreement. They had a central government strong enough to decisively solve disputes between the states; they had a modern, centralised military to protect the nation; and they had a King.
The hardships were not over for the Americans, though. In the mid 1840s, as Europe was wracked by revolutions calling for more reasonable government and greater democracy, so too did the people of America call for action.
In the north many stood with the King - known as the Imperialists they favoured a strong, federal government headed by a powerful monarch. They believed in the American state and the power of a nation over the rights of the people. In the south there were the plantation owners and those who were pro-slavery - many called for the preservation of states' rights, some even believed it.
At first it looked like the states were to be locked in a political stalemate. Then the people called for some else, a sentiment much more powerful than thinly-veiled support for slavery. They called for a republic.
It wasn't just the south that rose, but the west too. The Oregon territory was home to some of America's greatest republican thinkers, and their people rose up in support of their ideals of reasonable government and freedom from tyranny.
The fighting was brutal and bloody. Brother fought brother, fathers fought their sons. Thousands died to move the line a mere inch, and fields and cities were burnt down and laid bare. Both sides took their share of the casualties until, one by one, everything the south had going for it started to fall apart.
Mexico, which had covertly supplied the revolutionaries with funding and arms, had to withdraw its support in the face of domestic rebels. Britain, who had remained staunchly neutral, threw its weighty opinion behind the Imperialists - it did little to help the war in the field, but it did much to sway opinion. The people of East Florida, who had not joined the revolution but had it imposed upon them, rose up against the republicans. In the West the republican armies were destroyed by Maj. Gen. Thomas Williamson's Army of Montana, and the Army of Virginia under Maj. Gen. Josias "Buffalo" Krieger routed the republican forces and captured Richmond. It took less than a year for the Imperialist forces to push their way down the Mississippi and force the republicans to surrender.
Britain's official backing of the imperialists during the war was a surprise. America had revolted from under British rule and they had remained rivals throughout America's history. Cynics claimed that the British merely supported the Imperialists in order to get in their good books, hoping for something in return once the war was over. Others claimed the British merely wanted to prevent the republicans from winning, fearing a similar revolution in Britain itself. Both of these reasons are true, but there were other factors that contributed towards Britain's decision. Many British politicians were staunchly abolitionist and had been appalled that the Kingdom of American States had not outlawed slavery entirely - seeing that one side of the war supported slavery, they supported the other. In addition to this more pragmatic British politicians observed America's local dominance of North America and saw that they could not hope to regain control of the region. Seeing the American States' as the "natural leader of North America" they hoped they could exert more influence over the world, as well as expand their trade empire, if America were their friend and ally.
In the latter half of the 19th century Britain truly came into its own as a world power. The dominance of the British empire over the globe was so effective and absolute that contemporary historians came to refer to the era as "the Glorious Peace" and the diplomatic system that allowed for this peace as "the Glorious Regime". In effect Britain had, through their advantages in trade and cunning diplomacy, created a system whereby they ruled the world through trade and could use concessions and sanctions as sticks and carrots to get the rest of the world to do what they want.
Britain was also willing to sacrifice their interest in favour of their allies in hopes of engendering an unwavering loyalty to the system. Portugal was promised line of territory running from the east coast of Africa in the Congo to the west coast in Mocambique and the Netherlands had Sri Lanka, Austronesia and various trade outposts handed over for a reasonable sum. In order to cement America's place in the Glorious Regime Britain made an offer of much of British North America, excluding the more populated east. America accepted and gave up a tidy sum in return for the confirmation of their position as the natural great power of the Americas. Following this purchase the Americans sought to broadcast to the rest of the world that they had come into their own, that they were a great power not to be messed with, and they did this with a simple name change. The Kingdom of American States had become an Empire.
In bringing America into the Regime Britain also paved the way for the Cape Verde purchase, whereby Portugal sold the Cape Verde islands to America as an outlying naval base in return for a decent sum and trade concessions, helping to bolster their dying economy and give the Portuguese King much needed support when republican revolutionaries looked to overthrow the outdated monarchy.
When Haiti revolted and called for annexation to the EAS Britain co-ordinated a diplomatic effort with Prussia to have France back down and concede the colony to the Empire. And when the Spanish-American War broke out Britain threw its support behind America, harassing Spanish shipping in Europe and imposing a blockade that allowed America to overrun its American and Pacific colonies unimpeded.
Now it is 1900 and America enters the 20th century as a great power united with Britain in an alliance that rules the world. But, as always, the struggle is never truly over.
This took a couple of weeks to make and finish, and it took me another week or two to get around to writing the description and actually posting it. Sorry it's so late, but I hope you enjoy it!
The title comes from a quote from Stephen Decatur ([link]
"Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!"