It had been a good day. Jan. 1, 1856. John W________ again sat on his porch in the evening on his farm in the north Alabama hills, thinking back over the last few years. John was 30 now. His two older children, Bianca, five, and William, three, played on the porch. Virginia sat beside John holding their youngest, Isaac, one. And Virginia was pregnant again. It was nice to have sons, to have a big and growing family.
John's farm prospered, though the price of cotton fluctuated. The store he ran with his father Isaac also prospered, and in 1854 John had been named postmaster for the post office run from the store. He had inherited the position from his father, though in America people did not supposedly inherit government positions. But it made sense. The post office was in the store, and the daily operation of the store and the post office had been slowly passing from father to son. (1)
John thought back over the last few eventual years. America had continued to grow, faster than John could have imagined. In his region of Northern Alabama there was now a mineral mine and a railroad connection. Things were good. The economy was booming. Only two questions seemed to hang over the nation. First was the settlement of the West and the Indian question. Second was the ever-present question of slavery.
The most eventful thing for 1852 had been the unexpected election of General Winnfield Scott as president. Everyone had expected Democrat Franklin Pierce to win. But Scott, running for the Whig Party, had won instead. Everyone had expected the deeply divided Whigs to fall apart after election, but now everything had changed. (2)
The year 1853 was more eventful. Scott was inaugurated in March. The US government policy was to concentrate heavily on colonial actions in Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington. Minnesota was designated as American national territory in 1853. (3) Additionally, the US took an interest in Hawaii and annexed Hawaii after a series of colonial actions leading up to 1853. Hawaii became a US colony. (4) Likewise, Puget Sound, the westernmost region of Washington, was designated a non-national territory. (5)
And for the first time, despite a policy of peaceful assimilation, the US came into conflict with the Plains Indians of the West. It started when the Apaches burned a fort being built by the US in the Sierra Nevada region of California, which was under Apache military control. The US declared war on the Apaches, and the first and only battle was a decisive win for the US, when a brigade of cavalry and a mixed brigade annihilated a force of 1000 Apaches, leaving no survivors. This did not deter Apache Chief Geronimo from taking the war to the the US, as he raided into northern Missouri. Meanwhile their Nez Perce allies raided into Oregon. Several forces attempted to corner Geronimo and bring him to battle but failed. In the end the US sued for peace under terms of a white peace. Meanwhile a large body of neutral but friendly Sioux Indians had settled in northern Missouri after Geronimo excaped. They seemed peaceful, but certainly something would have to be done with them sooner or later. (6)
Meanwhile, President Scott aggressively sent Commodore Perry and his "black ships" to Japan. The result was the opening of Japan to trade with the US. (7)
John was interested in all this but wondered what business the US had with Hawaii and Japan.
In 1854 the Republican Party, opposed to the spread of slavery, was formed. Additionally, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, as a compromise over the issue of slavery. Those two territories could decide by popular vote what to do about slavery. More and more people were taking strong sides on the slavery issue. More and more people in the South were talking about secession. John wondered how the nation would settle this issue. (8)
The nation also experienced a brief economic panic. There was a sudden shortage of capital, a surge in loans, and inflation reached a record 1%. But things quickly settled down as sober economists and politicians worked to control the issue. It took a couple of years for private capital holdings to become strong again. (9)
In 1855 the voters in Kansas voted Kansas a slave territory. This led to open conflict between pro- and anti-slavery factions within the territory. People were now killing each other over the issue of slavery. The newspapers called it "Bleeding Kansas." John became even more concerned about how the nation could possibly settle the slavery issue. (10)
In December American mercenaries took over the government of Nicauragua. John wondered how President Scott and Congress would react, since America had strong economic interests in Panama. (11)
John didn't know how the slavery issue would end, but he thought he could see how the Indian problem would end. The US was acting strongly to develop Washington and Oregon and was pouring colonial actions into Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Progress and development were slowly squeezing the Indians. More troops were also ringing the Indian-controlled regions. At the same time, the US was actively seeking better relations with the Apaches and Dakotas. The plan was to win them over as the US had done with the Cherokees, despite occasional conflicts, but to be ready with overwhelming force if another war developed. In the brief Apache War, Cherokee military elements under the US flag had tried to bring Geronimo to battle. One way or another it would happen. The Indians would be assimilated or defeated.
Meanwhile the entire world seemed to be at war, according to the London Times. Mexico and Guatamela remained locked in a low-key conflict. China and Taiping had been at war for years. Russia was at war with the Ottomans now, having ended their war with Sweden. Prussia was at war with Belgium and Netherlands. And there was a confusing web of wars involving Austria, Parma, Tuscany, Piedmont, Bavaria, Baden, and Saxony. They all were at war, but instead of one big war, it seemed to be two or three separate wars.
As usual, John sat back as night fell and looked out at the stars, but the sky was mostly cloudy, and few stars were visible.
Early January 1856
3447 government funds
5164 private capital
5642 PP 3rd to Britain 10449 and France 6892. Passed Russia 5388
Good relations with Britain, Apaches, and Dakotas. Bad relations with no one. Some nations simply don't want to improve relations with me.
Overall population satisfaction 80%, though that varies greatly, with the South not highly satisfied but the North almost unanimously satisfied.
Inflation rate 1%
Overall value of good and resources 21,791
As for my overall strategy at this point, my colonization policy and policy in dealing with Native American tribes is explained in the narrative. I am playing very carefully with foreign relations and expansion. I took action in Hawaii because it was there and no one else was interested at the moment. It was an experiment in colonization that seems to be going well. All the other areas where I have positive SOI and objectives are now controlled by Spain. Historically the US eventually came into confict with Spain and took what it wanted. But that was much later. So I am in no hurry. I am trying to improve relations with Mexico, but Mexico doesn't like me for some reason. Maybe it is the recent war in which American annexed the Southwest from Mexico, just before the game starts. And I am interested in Panama, though I am not sure what to do. I am continuing to develop industrially, more carefully after my one mistake. I am keeping an eye on research and waiting to see when it starts affecting things. Playing America right now involves running the game and checking messages and then doing economic adjustments and colonial actions about every three months. I could be more aggressive in pursuing the Indians militarily, but I don't want to do that. For now I am quite happy checking messages and spreadsheets. I am just happy I have the economy running without any major problems that aren't self-inflicted and happy that I am making progress in the colonial game. And it if seems like I have a handle on things, I probably don't, even if I'm writing like I know exactly what I'm doing. I'm just waiting on my next mistake like the private capital mistake, or the next conflict or crisis, and of course the Civil War.
(1) John is based on my great-great-grandfather. The basic facts I present about his life are accurate, though I'm making up what he thought about politics and slavery and other things, especially at this point in his life, though I have a vague but supportable idea of how he might have thought about things later in life.
(2) Pierce actually won the election of 1852 handily. The Whig Party fell apart, and one of the parties that came to power in the aftermath was the anti-slavery Republican Party. So we are in alternative history here.
(3) I worked hard on colonial actions there, and all the regions were given a 101 CP when the capital region his 101 and Minnesota was given "American national territory" designation. I don't know what exactly that means. I don't think it is statehood. But for all practical purposes Minnesota is acting like an integral part of the US. Colonial decisions are no longer in effect. So will there be a statehood even or will Minnesota simply stay at 101 for the rest of the game?
(4) I just decided to see what would happen with Hawaii, and it proceeded easily and peacefully. This is not historical. The historical annexation took place much later and was resisted to some extent by native Hawaiians. I expected some resistance, but there is none so far. Maybe there is a later scripted rebellion.
(5) I found this interesting. Puget Sound reached 101 CP and got a non-national territory designation. The other two regions did not get that designation, unlike Minnesota, where the other two regions suddenly jumped to 101 when the capital region did. They remain colonial regions with CPs in the 60s.
(6) I perhaps should have fought the war to the end, but I decided to end it . And I started building more forces in the Northwest, California, and the Midwest for a future war, but I also don't want to be involved in an Indian war when the South secedes. I was surprised when Geronimo showed up in Missouri with his own force and accompanied by a Sioux force. But the Sioux force was apparently neutral.
(7) I decided to see what would happen with Japan, and I got an event that triggered when Perry's fleet entered Japanese waters, granting a commercial agreement with Japan. This is pretty much historical, which is why I sent the fleet, to see if it would trigger something.
(8) These two were scripted historical events which seemed to have no immediate effect.
(9) That was my fault. I carelessly let private capital fall too low to pay all the operating costs at the start of a month, even though I knew I wasn't supposed to do that. I just wasn't paying attention. I learned a lesson. I had to be very patient afterwards and it seems to take a long time to get private capital rising again, but once it did start rising it began to rise quickly.
(10) This was a historical event. I thought there might be a small in-game rebellion, but nothing has happened on the map, at least so far.
(11) This was another pop-up historical event. I don't know what if any effect it will have. At this point Panama was part of Nicaragua. I am going to attempt to gain closer relations with Nicaragua and see what happens, though I know what happened historically. I took over customs in Panama fairly early and am wondering how this coup might benefit me or if taking over customs has any significant impact at all.