It's been a while! Sorry I have been MIA for all this time. Work and personal issues kept me busy. I did try to write out a chapter, but I was unsatisfied every time I was halfway through it and scrapped three drafts in the process. I decided to stick with what I do best and write out an informative chapter instead of writing out a long passage from Bonapart's autobiography (which was much more difficult than I expected).
My writing did get a bit rusty, so please don't judge me too harshly.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy it!
1836 United States Presidential Elections
(Voters' Turnout: 76%)
359 Electoral Votes in total, 180 to win
289 House Seats
70 Senate Seats
Democratic-Front: Gabriel You/Thomas Morris
Republican: Daniel Webster/Samuel McKean
Liberal-Union: Nathaniel Bonapart/John Adams II
Excerpt from "The Rise of the Corsican: Bonapart's Path to the White House"
Published by Professor Mary Hawkins of the University of Montreal, July 30th of 2003.
"To believe that complex problems can be solved by simply doing nothing is comedic, if not tragic. A bird can not fly without flapping its wings; change in the United States can not happen without the voice of the American people. For the sake of our nation, both present and future, vote."
-A passage from a New York election pamphlet before the 1836 Presidential Elections, written by Writer Samuel Irving.
To put it simply, the 1836 Presidential Election was a chaotic affair. The United States was still reeling from its war with Great Britain and its allies during the Anglo-American War. Congress was deadlocked between the parties as they could not come to a majority agreement for the Reconstruction of the United States. Nearly two years had passed since the end of the most destructive war in American history, and the lack of decisive action from the federal government had rocked the people's faith in their elected officials. Riots and protests were commonplace in the immediate aftermath of the Anglo-American War, as the feelings of anxiety and exhaustion quickly replaced that of jubilation and relief. The economic crisis that nearly imploded the American economy, along with the rise of nationalist agitators and religious extremists across the United States, only exacerbated the situation. Even worse, President Peters was much more reclusive after the end of the Anglo-American War, as the war took a severe toll on his mental and physical health. Due to this, the American government was paralyzed, which only worsened the economic crisis and civil unrest. This indecisive government was a sharp contrast to the pre-war federal government, which had been quick and responsive to the American populace and supported an unprecedented era of economic, societal, cultural, and population growth. Perhaps this was why the American people were struck with uncertainty and fear; not even the older generations experienced a period where the American government failed to deliver for its citizens. Now, it was failing them when the people needed them the most.
During this time, Nathaniel Bonapart rose to prominence on the national stage and promised radical "revitalization" programs to a weary populace. It was possibly the best time for Bonapart to campaign for the presidency despite his affiliation with the small Liberal Party. The people wanted the government to act and supported the expansion of the government if it could fix the problems created by the Anglo-American War. Though support for the federal government wavered after the Anglo-American War, many Americans pinned the blame on the Republican Party and President Peters. They had seen the inaction of the federal government firsthand and witnessed the worsening situation across the country due to it. Entering the 1836 Presidential Elections, the public believed that a strong leader with a clear and loaded agenda could snap the government back into action. To many, that leader was Bonapart, a man who had an unshakeable vision of a better America and the drive to turn that vision into reality.
Nathaniel had not been an unknown figure before the 1836 Presidential Elections. His first step into the national spotlight was through the Anglo-American War. His brilliance in warfare and his impeccable military victories won him the admiration of thousands of civilians and soldiers alike. He gained political experience as a House Representative for his home state of New York, writing progressive legislation and joining the Liberal Party on behalf of his wife's mother, Abigail Adams. His family was wealthy and 'elite,' with many of his siblings running successful business ventures or prestigious positions in the government. Yet, his presidential campaign and his actions during the campaign won him the public's adoration and, subsequently, the presidency.
In July of 1835, the General of the Army greeted the veterans protesting their delayed pay and benefits on Capitol Hill and promised to fulfill their much-deserved rewards with his own wealth. His actions resulted in him being tossed up in the air several times by the grateful protesters and won him the adoration of all veterans in a single stroke. Furthermore, he electrified the rowdy crowd by announcing his presidential bid in the upcoming elections and handing out printed versions of his campaign agenda. This marked the beginning of his legendary campaign that would shake the very foundations of the United States and the federal government's role in American society.
The plan that Bonapart had drafted was lengthy yet detailed and comprehensive. Following the precedent set by previous presidential candidates, Nathaniel had enlisted over a hundred experts and professionals to craft a feasible plan to implement his 'radical' vision and improve the United States 'one giant leap at a time.' The final draft of his 'the American Rescue and Reconstruction Plan' (or ARRP) consisted of:
- A National Healthcare Service to provide inexpensive medical aid to the hundreds of thousands of injured and disabled Americans, a byproduct of the Anglo-American War. The NHS would primarily focus on urban areas, while government-funded clinics and 'roaming doctors' would aid rural areas.
- A reconstruction and expansion of infrastructure across the United States, particularly in the coastal cities and the South.
- A Public Housing Act to provide federal housing to those that lost their homes during the Anglo-American War.
- A 'Government Issue' Bill to provide more pensions, education, and employment opportunities for veterans, especially as urban veterans found themselves unemployed due to the influx of women into factories during the war.
- An 'Industrial Revitalization' project to retool America's industry to peacetime and reconstruct factories and manufactures damaged or destroyed during the Anglo-American War.
- A restructuring of the American military to ensure that an invasion of the United States can never occur again, which called for a rapid buildup of ironclads and other advanced weaponry.
- An 'Integration Act' to fully integrate newly acquired territories and provide additional aid and investments to prevent a total economic and societal collapse, as domains such as Jamaica were suffering from the harsh aftermath of the Anglo-American War. This Act would also be extended to America's ailing allies, especially Argentina and Haiti.
- An 'American Relief Administration' to oversee these programs and ensure the success of their implementation across the nation, from San Francisco to Arrecife in the Canary Islands.
Nathaniel was well aware that many people would doubt the federal government's ability to finance all of these programs at once. The estimated cost for all these programs combined was a staggering $3 billion (approximately $55 billion today). Several of these programs were to be permanent, which meant that over $1.5 billion would be added to the yearly budget. Comparatively, the cost of the Anglo-American War for the United States was estimated to be around $5 billion. Human capital 'value' lost during the war accounted for $1.3 billion, while physical destruction accounted for an additional $1.1 billion. Finally, the remaining $2.5 billion was the federal government's expenditures throughout the war, including the military and research budgets, subsidies, and infrastructure projects. In 1834, the American government's revenue was $1.08 billion, primarily through ARPA, bonds, and notes. Nathaniel needed a budget that was three times the size of the government's budget at the height of the war, which was no simple feat.
(A breakdown of the ARRP is listed here:
-$1.6 billion for the National Healthcare Service
-$400 million for infrastructure construction
-$200 million for the Public Housing Act
-$350 million for the Industrial Revitalization Project
-$120 million for the military
-$415 million for the Integration Act
-$55 million for the American Relief Administration)
Thus, he and his advisors crafted a comprehensive plan to boost government revenue and to cover the costs of his ambitious project:
- The federal government established the first income tax during the Anglo-American War to finance the war effort, with a 5% flat tax on individuals earning more than $10,000. Under Nathaniel's proposal, the income tax would expand further, with individuals making more than $6,000 paying a 10% tax on their income.
- Tariff rates would be increased from 20% to a staggering 40% (with LAN members being exempt from this increase due to their economic treaties with the United States). This increase was to prevent imports from worsening America's recession and allowing America's industries to retool and rebuild.
- The government would sell bonds to deal with spending obligations, with a generous 8% interest rate. Unlike the war bonds the federal government raised during the Anglo-American War, these bonds would be explicitly marketed towards the general public. A large marketing campaign was planned if Nathaniel were elected into office to increase awareness about the government bonds and appeal to the American people the importance of the bonds and the programs the funding would provide.
- An excise tax on alcohol and tobacco, which the federal government had previously avoided. The excise tax proposal came into being because America's agricultural sector had sufficiently moved past the need to distill grain into liquor for profit, along with a decline in tobacco production in the United States following the Anglo-American War.
- Loans from Holland, along with loans from Mexico and the FRCA (the other two major members of LAN that were relatively unaffected by the war).
- Selling advanced technology to other nations through ARPA. Though, some technology such as the ironclads would remain a classified secret to allow America to maintain its edge.
- Direct taxes on land and property across the United States. Nathaniel himself was worried about a backlash for this proposal, but he believed it was crucial to the federal government's revenue and the funding of his programs. Western territories would be exempt from land taxes to encourage settlers and immigrants.
- The printing of $3 billion worth of 'Bucks' to offset the monetary shortages in the United States and provide the government a temporary breathing room. There was heavy speculation of hyperinflation, but Nathaniel's team believed that if America recovered economically, the bucks' worth would stabilize and maintain their purchasing power.
Even with the rise of government revenue, the government was expected to enter a significant deficit for the first few years after implementing ARRP. The federal government had never entered a period of deficit spending during its entire existence, except for the short and financially exhaustive Anglo-American War. Yet, in Bonapart's eyes, drastic times called for drastic measures, which was why he adamantly defended his agenda throughout his presidential campaign. In a speech in front of thousands of supporters in Baltimore, the Corsican-American declared, "I have a vision, a vision for a grander and more promising America, rebuilt from the ruins of the War. This plan will bring about that vision: a bold and risky plan for an uncharted enemy." Of course, that enemy was the potential downfall of the United States...
At first, the Union Party sought to capitalize on Bonapart's popularity and eventually convince him to caucus as a Union Party member. The Union Party's leadership believed that they could persuade Nathaniel to trim his ARRP to be more 'manageable' and appeal to the party's more conservative wing. Thus, the Union Party dragged on its presidential primaries to give the popular Liberal Party candidate an 'exit plan,' which they believed he would take since the Liberal Party was the smallest of the major parties (holding only two Senate and fourteen House seats). However, this notion quickly fell apart as Bonapart's plan took the nation by storm and turned the political landscape upside down. With Bonapart gaining popularity as fast as Lafayette during the French Revolution, the Union Party was forced to compromise in a less favorable position. Realizing that the only way to influence the White House's plan was to ally with the Corsican, the Union Party supported Bonapart's bid for the White House in exchange for the vice-presidency and a few Cabinet positions. Thus John Adams II, a relatively moderate Unionist from Massachusetts and Nathaniel's nephew, was selected to be his running mate.
At the time, no one would guess that John Adams II would become the first one-term president in American history and one of the most unpopular presidents. His ascension to the presidency after Nathaniel's sudden death in 1841 would lead to the Nineteenth Amendment (also referred to as the Emergency Presidential Election Amendment).
After the Anglo-American War, the Republican Party was the 'outcast' of America's political parties. The old saying "winning the war, but losing the peace" fitted the Republican Party perfectly, and its supporters were unmotivated and bitter. As the dust after the war settled and the nation entered a period of economic turmoil, the public blamed President Peters and the Republican Party. Vocal journalists and officers criticized the president's conduct during the war, especially the massive intelligence leak and the Alliance feint that led to the invasion of the southern states. The Republican Party's refusal to take extreme measures and its agenda of compromise was seen as weak and ineffectual during a national crisis. Thus, when Daniel Webster and Samuel McKean were nominated as the Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the election, they received little attention from the public. Both were outstanding Congressmen (Webster was from Massachusetts while McKean was from Pennsylvania), but neither candidates were appealing or bombastic enough to grab the public's attention. Additionally, Webster's Reconstruction Plan was rather lackluster and continued the status quo, which appalled many voters. Thus, they received a total of 21 Electoral Votes, the lowest ever recorded by the Republican Party...
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party and Frontier Party joined together to seize the White House and enact their plan for the United States (laissez-faire economics with supportive government programs to push the economy back on track). The two parties were directly affected by the war, as the southern states primarily swung towards the Democratic and the Frontier Parties. Thus, the Democratic-Front agreed that government relief programs, which included infrastructure projects and substantial government aid, should be focused on the southern states and the newly acquired territories abroad. A massive overhaul like Bonapart's proposal was out of the question for the two parties, who were mortified by the sheer cost of Nathaniel's ARRP. Gabriel You, the former Attorney General of Florida and an artillery officer during the Anglo-American War, was selected as the presidential candidate for the ticket (representing the Democratic Party). The Frontier Party pushed forth Thomas Morris, an experienced Senator from Ohio who was due to hit his term limit in the upcoming elections. It should be noted that You was the second non-white presidential candidate of a major political party after President Peters for the Republicans during the 1828 Presidential Elections. You's father was a privateer from Haiti that settled in Florida after hunting down slave ships for the American government. However, compared to Bonapart's dominating presence, this formidable ticket faltered and received just 46 Electoral Votes...
The success of ARRP inadvertently led to a more energized and invigorated south and the establishment of the 'National Unity Party.' The NUP would become a dominant regional party aligning with the Democrats but with a nationalistic, anti-British agenda. This party would be a small, yet vocal minority in Congress that would subtly influence American politics until the end of the Great War...
Before the 1836 Elections, the federal government completed an emergency census to account for population displacement and deaths across the nation following the Anglo-American War. Hundreds of thousands of Americans fled their home states during the initial stages of the invasion, and only a few opted to return to the ruins of their former homes after the war ended. Thus, the southern states saw significant depopulation even a year after the Treaty of Reykjavik and the Treaty of Havana were signed. Thankfully, enough people returned to Jefferson after the war, preventing its population from falling below the statehood requirement (84,000 people), despite nearly 40% of the state perishing and thousands fleeing during the Anglo-American War. This is attributed to the hardy and preserving nature of the people of Jefferson. They had survived numerous hardships throughout their history and consistently remained loyal to both their state and the Union…
Between the end of the War and the 1836 Elections, California and Lakota both petitioned for statehood. Congress accepted Lakota's petition without any spectacles, but California's petition led to a lengthy discussion in the Capitol. The southern parts of the California Territory sought to form its own state and rejected the proposed border of the 'State of California' with great vigor. There was a significant cultural difference between northern and southern California, as European and Asian immigrants dominated the north while Hispanic immigrants commanded the south (with Native Americans making up a significant minority throughout the state). Northern California's economy primarily consisted of mining and trade with Asia, while southern California revolved around farming (along with a blossoming oil extraction industry). The distance between the northern and southern ends of the giant territory was also an issue, as south California often ignored San Francisco and passed its own laws in Los Angeles. Reviewing these facts, Congress rejected California's original proposal and urged the two sides to 'peacefully separate.' This led to Alta California being admitted as a state in early 1836, while Baja California was admitted a few years later...
The 1836 Census showed that the population of the United States was 24,144,531, not accounting for the various territories and protectorates the nation held. Congress agreed to expand the House of Representatives due to the 'extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Census.' Thus, 289 House seats were contested in the 1836 Elections, along with a handful of the 70 Senate seats. Bonapart wasted no efforts to help Liberal Party candidates for the Congressional elections, hoping to secure a coalition majority to pass his plans. His persistence and popularity boosted the Liberal Party, allowing it to double in size in a span of a single election and cement its status as a major party...
On Election Day, millions of Americans voted in support of Nathaniel, who received an astounding 292 Electoral Votes and a staggering 64% of the popular vote. Bonapart's victory was a triumphant victory for liberalism and the 'welfare-state' in the United States, which would lead to the rapid rise of the quality of life in America during the 19th and 20th centuries. Within his first one hundred days in office, the former general would bring about sweeping reforms and change that would serve as an example for other countries to emulate for centuries...
While Bonapart's plan did pull America out of its recession and placed it back on the international stage as the strongest major power, it is essential to note that Bonapart was not a selfless man driven just by his desire to save the United States. Indeed, his autobiography and journals revealed a man driven by his ambition to spread his name and leave a recognizable mark in the history books. His desire for personal glory tempered through the years, but it never faded. His five years in the White House proved this, as President Bonapart was considered 'dictatorial' by some of his contemporaries. He strong-armed Congress into passing his ARRP and his stubbornness in foreign affairs led to the American Intervention in the Peru-Bolivia and Ecuadorian Border War and the Yucatan Civil War. Yet his desire to save the United States and transform the republic was genuine, and his efforts are still visible to this day...
The United States of America (35 states):
- Nova Scotia
- Iroquois (Haudenosaunee)
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Alta California