FICTIONAL USA – an alternative history and future
The premise – imagine if the USA did not abandon the republican form of government, in 1820s, did not embrace the indirect democratic form, did not suffer the rise of partisan politics and corruption, and thus did not succumb to the Progressives / Collectivists nor the usurers, who toppled the government in 1933, and installed the precursor to the current People’s Democratic Socialist Republic of America.
1. 97% of Americans are not citizens, but nationals / inhabitants / sovereigns. Only 3% have volunteered to be subject citizens, accepted the burdens of civic duty, serve in the militia, and pay the bulk of taxes. The chief executive officer most come in contact with is the county sheriff.
2. The Federal government, as servant to the States united, is a modest institution, where the president is the highest ranking public servant, one step down in status from the lowest non-subject American. He rides the subway to work.
3. Since the majority of Americans are well – armed, there is very little crime. If the need arises, the local sheriff assembles a posse of volunteers to hunt down fugitives and outlaws. If the situation warrants even more, the sheriff may petition the governor to activate the state militia. In addition, politeness and pleasant manners are the norm. Rude and crude behavior is not tolerated.
4. The united States of America, and the United States, in Congress assembled, do not have standing armies and navies such as are found in Europe and Asia. However, no other nation has overtly or covertly attempted mischief. Due to the widespread and fully armed population, it would be folly to invade. And as the uSA does not interfere in the squabbles of the other nations, they are not dragged into such altercations (think of them as a giant neutral Switzerland).
5. Due to the small amount of obligated militiamen, there is no incentive to foment wars or military misadventures. Frankly, the government servants are overworked, underpaid, and have the demeanor of warrior monks, true servants of all Americans. There are tales that when fugitives try to escape the jurisdiction, sworn bands of volunteer bounty hunters have hunted them down and brought them to justice – or a Christian burial.
6. Though the original Constitution had flaws that benefited usurers (restriction to gold / silver coin -and- bankruptcy), it was soon amended, and private mediums of exchange were recognized as lawful money, denominated in the goods and services of the issuing parties. In addition, no court shall enforce contracts for usury (interest). Those two changes basically ended any chance for usurers to take over the government or its economy via money madness.
7. Limited liability was abolished, and no individual or groups of people could thus escape responsibility for injuries inflicted in the pursuit of gain. This eliminated the need for regulations and other prior restraints on liberty. Nothing harmless was forbidden nor any evil permitted by legislative fiat. And only when there was an injured party, would the wheels of justice spin. (The Encyclopedia of Federal Law is a single volume, 120 pages in length.)
8. Without national socialism, the primary social unit is the extended family, whose members build prosperity by production, trade and enjoyment of surplus usable goods and services. Many large scale industries represent the interlocking cooperation of such clans. Many clans operate polyclinics and small hospitals for their members as well as offer services to the public. Private charitable institutions offer aid and support for those who are no longer productive and lack the support of family and friends. These are operated by various religious and philanthropic groups, who have wise administrators, and do not pander to pretenders and parasites.
9. Though the uSA did not engage in wars of conquest or expansion under the aegis of manifest destiny, the obvious benefits of individual sovereignty triggered the various revolutions and admission of territories west of the Mississippi. Many Amerindian tribes joined the Union as affiliated sovereign nation / states, were thus able to secure their property rights from predation by rival tribes, and embraced the sovereignty of the individual, under the republican form of government. Thus the borders of these western lands represent the amalgam of tribal states, reservations of unaffiliated tribes, and non-tribal states.
10. The Mormons succeeded in establishing Deseret state. Though it is tacitly a theocracy, the servant government embraces the republican form of government, where securing the rights of all the people are the responsibility of the government. Since service is a privilege, no one objects to the prerequisite of the higher standard of behavior of servants in government. Non-Mormons may be socially “shunned” but they’re secure in the exercise of all rights and liberties.
11. The lack of democratic excesses prevented the initiation of a Civil War. By 1845, the institution of slavery was almost completely abolished, by virtue of the fact that the between 1820 and 1840, the industrial revolution removed the economic benefits of enslavement. Various charitable and philosophical societies raised funds to pay the slave owners. The manumitted slaves were offered a choice of either free passage back to west Africa (or where their ancestral people were) or to accept status as American nationals, waiving all claims to further damages. Over 2/3rds accepted the offer of return passage.
12. The uniquely American republican form of government and its relatively tiny servant government (organized as an indirect democratic form), meant that the government did not rule the nation, nor marshal vast sums of monies to “do” anything beyond dealing with interstate squabbles and operating the coast guard fleet.
13. This had some repercussions, such as not purchasing Alaska from the Czar of Russia, when offered. However, the local tribes did eventually revolt and joined the Union as the States of Denali, Bering, and Inuit.
14. The west coast states of Columbia, Yukon and Kootenay were wrested by their peoples from the English Crown. Due to the incessant warfare in Europe, the various European powers were weakened and many gave up claims to colonies in the north American continent. However, eastern British Canada did not wish to unite with its southern neighbor, but kept friendly relations none the less. The same was true for French Quebec.
15. The emperor of France relinquished his claims to Louisiana and the Mississippi river, without much adieu. This was a boon to the expansion of the Midwest, as well as the dike builders in the coastal wetlands. They constructed hydraulic wonders to rival the Netherlands, and recovered much land for farming and settlement. The mouth of the Mississippi is called the Venice of the West, with its extensive network of canals in and around the cities near New Orleans, and the coast. Though many areas are below the water level, the levees and dikes have created islands immune to the periodic storms and floods. This also explains why the area features suspended monorail service instead of ground based electric rail. Suspended monorails can operate in conditions that would shut down the rails at grade.
16. The emperor of Mexico lost his possessions along the southwest, again, as the local people rebelled and sought the blessings of the republican form of government. No direct wars were ever fought with the Kingdom of Mexico, and friendly relations have been in place ever since.
17. The relatively cash poor governments never had the means to “purchase” national or state parks, nor create “protected” areas. But the majority of the people embraced the long view, and thought to the needs of the seventh generation to come. They preserved as much pristine landscape as they deemed reasonable, and often tunneled below the surface or erected faux landscapes obscuring what infrastructure was necessary.
18. The uniquely American bison remains the major herbivore, prized for its meat, fur, and other byproducts. Bison roam the prairies, and in some places, rail tracks were relocated underground or upon trestles to avoid delays caused by massive herds. Some European cattle is raised, mostly for milk, but a few breeds are raised for niche markets. For the most part, America is self reliant in food production, and that has been the hallmark of the American experience. No one goes hungry if one can work.
19. When the electric trolley car made its debut in the 1890s, America embraced it. Every town or city had its own local urban system, and interurbans linked outlying suburbs and cities. The “heavy” rail, mostly steam powered, was originally a competitor, but the Accord of 1912 ended the contention. As part of the Accord, track gauges were to be standard gauge (except where engineering deemed otherwise), and all tracks were to be electrified, eventually. In addition, all private rights of way were pooled into the American Rail Conservatory, where any private enterprise or party could use the tracks, paying a pro-rata share of the costs. This eliminated the destructive practice of competing parallel lines, and thus consolidated traffic and boosted efficiency on major corridors. This also enabled the fad of privately owned personal rolling desmesne – excursion hotels – that provided all the comforts while traveling afar. Many a solitary spur has become a campsite and vacation spot for the “high rollers.”
20. The united rail way system underwent several expansions to the point that it was folly to not use the cheaper and more efficient form of land transport. The rail network also established express routes, limited to light weight freight and passenger trains, that provided 120 mph (193 kph) service as early as 1928. This was increased to 180 mph (290 kph ) in the 1970s. It was a five hour train trip from New York City to Chicago (second class ticket was $9 or parity in private notes). And the express trains did the San Francisco to New York City route in 16 hours. (Due, in part, to the great rail tunnels through the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.)
21. The advent of the automobile did not trigger the abandonment of the electric traction rail systems. Nor did any private enterprise have the leverage nor opportunity to use government as a means to destroy competition. Since the infrastructure of roads and bridges was private, there was not that much invested in paving roads in areas already served by rail, especially when high speed service was far faster than any automobile. Due to the poor roads in most of the non-urban areas of America, automobile and truck suspensions implemented the hydropneumatic suspension licensed from Citroen. This allowed speeds of up to 45 mph except on the worst roads.
22. Cities, towns, and villages featured high density development, clustered together, without any need for sprawl, and to have optimal access to electric rail service in all its forms – subway, surface, funicular, cogwheel and suspended monorail. In addition to rail, the canals built in the 1800s were still in service, providing cheap but slow freight service, as well as offering recreational opportunities to the locals.
23. Though geologists discovered that America had many reservoirs of petroleum, production never did take off. The smelly gasoline and diesel engines were unwelcome in comparison to the clean electric motors that powered the nation’s transport and industrial machinery. Even with the innovation of polymers, there was little incentive to drill and use it all up. America was still a predominantly rural organized society. Correction, the social organization was to form pockets of civilization, surrounded by farmland, prairie, or wilderness.
24. Europe narrowly missed entering into war in 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The various powers had no stomach for more war, lacked the finances, and no expectation of intervention from the Americas was forthcoming, peaceful relations were quickly re-established between the various kingdoms. The later agitation by the left wing collectivists were squelched by the rising middle class who successfully fought them off.
25. The American canal network was greatly augmented by the engineering of the various rivers to end flooding, provide hydroelectric power, and enable shoreline preservation as well as provide navigable waterways. The Susquehanna, Tennessee, Missouri and other rivers, were rebuilt into wonders, that fueled economic activity and prosperity. Dams and locks created placid lakes, and were paralleled by fish friendly canals, runs and habitats, that allowed spawning in traditional upstream areas. The picturesque waterfronts of America became a byword among nations. Canal boats and colorful houseboats, tied up at anchor, lined the shores. Riverfront parks separated the shore from the riverside mansions and homes that dotted the landscape.
26. There were occasional scandals and whiffs of covert actions to topple the American governments, but its people were too stubborn and too well armed to be at risk from foreign interlopers and democratic agitators. The world wide socialist democratic movement died out around 1985. As of 2014, the uSA had enjoyed 200 years of peace and prosperity. The population is in excess of 400 million, distributed across the broad land. The modern marvel of aviation has produced aeroplanes that can travel 200 mph but still cannot pass the newest 300 mph (483 kph) passenger rail cars. You can cross the continent in less than 10 hours. Cities and towns are visually stunning, and pleasant to dwell within. Ultra lightweight urban rail cars (nickel fare) silently glide along the welded tracks, efficiently moving passengers and cargo. Goods and services are readily available, small scale manufacturers and factories are widely distributed, ensuring the most efficient service at minimal delay and lowest cost. City parks and fields are filled with families, children playing and folks socializing. Close your eyes and listen to the music wafting in the air. Could be a band playing in the open air gazebo. Life is less hectic than some other worldly cities but good nonetheless.
27. Education is not publicly funded. But the government does operate a public access credential bank, where test scores and educational achievements may be recorded. Most gain skills via apprenticeship, self study, or hiring tutors. Various societies offer examinations that grant credentials to successful persons. There are institutions of higher learning and research, but they are not affiliated with any government body.
[Here ends part one of the archaeological report]