Saturday, April 5, 2008

Someone else cares about alternate history!

For once, alternate history goes mainstream and isn't about the Civil War or WWII. This time, the Nazis don't win, the Confederates don't win. Mexico wins:
(Courtesy of poor targeted advertising)

Sure, it's an ad for vodka, but it's also got a map, and I love maps. Now I know next to nothing about the Mexican-American war, where the US gained the land that makes up its current boundaries. I can't point to some specific thing that could have been changed in 1848 to tip the balance in favor of Mexico.

There's only one thing that I do know. Within the US, the Democratic party of the time supported the jingoistic war with Mexico and the opposition Whigs, generally more anti-slave, were split over support. When the US won, anti-war Whigs fell out of favor. Among these were Abraham Lincoln and many members of his cabinet. If the US had outright lost, the Democratic party would have taken a huge hit in popularity at the same time the Whigs were in deepest crisis. Instead of breaking up as they did - into pro-slave elements that largely joined the democrats and anti-slave coalitions that swept up other constituencies into the anti-slave Republican party - the Whigs might have been able to go though an election without a real opposition. In power for at least four years, they might have been able to coalesce into a united party again. Thus, the slave issue would not be sorted out by political parties.

In addition, a western politician like Lincoln who opposed the war vocally and from the start would have been especially viable as a candidate. Combine that with Lincoln's double-talk on slavery and you might have a powerful candidate. So maybe Lincoln would have been president anyway; the Democrats certainly would not have held the office for a couple terms.

Thank you, Absolut, for caring about alternate history in a creepily ethno-nationalist way! I'm sure your ad will go over well with all dozen serious supporters of an 'American Reconquista.'


richgelb said...

Comparing Alternate History to DC Comics Superman's "Bizarro World" runs chills down my spine. However, I will keep that to myself.

Carlos said...

How about this as a turning point. Texas NEVER gains it's independence from Mexico because the Mexican General Santa Anna does not tell his troops to rest in San Jacinto before the fight with Sam Houston, because Houston's forces attacked when mexican soldiers were resting and most of them sleeping and thus won the battle very easily in only 18 minutes, Santa Anna was later captured (he was also the president of Mexico at the time) and thern forced to recognize the independence of Texas (1836, 10 years before de Mexican-American War) and to seize the attack and send all remaining mexican troops back to Mexico (there was this mexican general called URREA who never lost a battle and he had a force of several thousand men heading toward San Jacinto when he was told he had to retreat, much to his dismay). So, maybe that would be a good starting poing. Or URREA doesn't listen and he goes and attack anyway and Wins, damn, how would that change history?, because, if Texas was never lost, then how would the US-Mexican war have started? Interesting isn't it?