The Star Spangled Empire: The Japanese-American War of 1853 and Beyond

God help the CSA if this fixes the Union’s issues and further ramps up their industrialization. I’m sure the southern states will benefit a bit as well but there’s a big difference in expanding existing industrial areas versus developing new ones.
I feel like a war in the 1850's would lead the Union to improve its military organization. The Civil War will probably end up being shorter ITTL, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how short it is. If it's too short, abolition might not become a war goal.
 
I wonder too if the US expanding their naval capabilities (as seems inevitable) will affect things in Mexico? IOTL, Benito Juarez and his government offered to sell the US rights to build a canal through Tehuantepec as a way to alleviate Mexican debts to Europe. Seems like the US would be very likely to make that deal here, which would likely butterfly away the Second French Intervention.
 
I doubt that Sakhalin or even the Ryukyus would be the goal- your classic treaty port has to be close enough to the actual market that you can use it as a base. Nagasaki, perhaps?

I agree that the treaty port wouldn’t be on either the Ryukyus or Sakhalin. I imagine those are taken/targeted in the name of punishing the Japanese for killing Perry and “empire”. The Americans are embarrassed so I think they want to be as harsh as they can be come peace time, regardless of the intelligence behind that decision.


I feel like a war in the 1850's would lead the Union to improve its military organization. The Civil War will probably end up being shorter ITTL, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how short it is. If it's too short, abolition might not become a war goal.

Considering how any civil war is likely to have slavery as the main driver behind the split I think that the union would eventually enforce the abolition of slavery. If it’s quicker though we could see a much different different Reconstruction. It could be lighter on the south, but it could also be harsher if Radical Republican can persuade voters that the quick victory shows how easy it would be to reshape the south as they see fit.
 
Also ryuku was independent at this time. And a vassal of China. Unless the US navy wants the Chinese navy on their tails, which during this time was a powerful regional fleet in its own right and up to date with European technological developments, the us will not attack Ryuku.
 
Also ryuku was independent at this time. And a vassal of China. Unless the US navy wants the Chinese navy on their tails, which during this time was a powerful regional fleet in its own right and up to date with European technological developments, the us will not attack Ryuku.
Technically it was a tributary of China and a vassal of Satsuma clan m. So the vassalage might change hands. You are correct in that it was semi independent though, and I don’t imagine that the Americans would take direct control of the islands.
 
I’m more interested in American Sakhalin either way, would be interesting to see what America does in the 1850s to build a colony that is functionally a world away
 
Would the US bother becoming half-vassals of the Ryukyu? What would the point be?
Two reasons. One would be so Japan didn’t have it. This war is likely to be about “regaining honor” and showing that losing Perry was a fluke. So embarrassing the Japanese in return is a likely goal.

The second and more important goal is that by being a Chinese Tributary it’s a back door into Chinese markets. The Japanese took advantage of this and I expect that was the reason Perry tried to open up the ryukyu’s earlier in the update. So it would give them a way in and skip their participation in the second opium war entirely. Or it might be in addition too depending on how much eastern imperialism catches on in the US.
 
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I’ve literally never seen anyone explore this idea before so I’m excited to see it. Watched
 
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I wonder will these experience lead to a more succesfull union naval tactics in the civil war?
 
I feel like we will be seeing a very different civil war. The author mentioned Perry being on the level of General Washington and Lee. I’m assuming Lee fights for the Union in this "Japanese-American War". Could his expieriences in this Japan change what side he takes when the civil war breaks out?
 
I feel like we will be seeing a very different civil war. The author mentioned Perry being on the level of General Washington and Lee. I’m assuming Lee fights for the Union in this "Japanese-American War". Could his expieriences in this Japan change what side he takes when the civil war breaks out?

Depending on when the US actually launches the armada ( Going by the Harriet Lane case in Paraguay it could take a couple years) meaning the civil war and Japanese war could overlap. If Lee's already fighting in Japan he could end up sitting out the ACW.
 
This Japanese War could also do sort of what the Civil War did, according to historian Eric Foner: turn the country from the United States into the United States. It could get some people, including Lee, to ultimately side with country over state in the inevitable sectional crisis to come.
 
Another effect is the fact that military leaders from the Civil War from both sides are very likely to be killed or discredited in this conflict. While I wouldn’t shed a tear if Forrest or Jackson meet their end, it could equally happen to Reynolds or Sherman if they’re present.

To shift focus to Japan though, this is a terrible time for the shogunate. Massive internal strife was brewing and Perry’s arrival OTL ripped it over the boiling point leading to the Boshin War. There could be a unifying factor here but if the US attacks the southern areas, who generally hated the shogunate due to their designation as tozama daimyos, then the government may not be quite as quick to show up in force. It’ll be interesting to see how the author plans to navigate this.

I can’t see the shogunate surviving this, the question becomes will it happen during the war or immediately after?
 
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Preparations for War Part 1 - The Americas
Part Two - Preparations for War: The Americas
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(Excerpts taken from ‘Disaster in the East - America’s War with Japan’ by Daniel Douglas, Philadelphia International Publishing, 1991)

After the vote on July 9th, both congress and the private sector rushed to begin securing funding and making the necessary preparations for launching a war thousands of miles from the American homeland. Almost immediately, the issue of projecting America’s force so far was a massive hurdle that would be a gargantuan expense to clear. Providing transportation, supplies, wages, medicine and payments to governments to allow for transit racked up into the millions of dollars. As a result of this, President Pierce addressed both the Department of War and Congress to try and secure funding.

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(Portrait of President Franklin Pierce (1804-1871))

Despite the overwhelming support for war against the Japanese, Congress suddenly became divided on the issue of funding. Among the arguments were those in favor of implementing wartime taxes on the wealthy and a short period of hiked tariffs, while others supported a mixture of federal spending and private contracts as a means of relieving pressure on direct spending by the government. Though supportive of the war effort like most, Senator from Massachusetts Charles Sumner’s proposal to raise taxes as a means of funding the war, Sumner was immediately attacked by his opponents. Sumner’s vehement anti-slavery positions were used as a criticism by pro-slavery southern Democrats, who believed Sumner’s proposal was “specifically made to target the businessmen and industrialists of the American south” and “seeks to strip the wealth of the South first and foremost”. Sumner and his allies were outnumbered, and his tax plan was shot down before it could even be properly heard.

Meanwhile, Senator from Illinois Stephen Douglas met with several other Democratic leaders, and gave his own proposal. Quickly given the name the “Wartime Investment Act”, this proposal gave private citizens the ability to directly contribute or participate in the war effort as “Authorized Non-Combatant Assistance”. This act served two purposes, first to prevent “atrocious and unnecessary” overspending by the government, while also allowing for those outside of the military to assist the US military. Several amendments were immediately made to the bill as it was hotly debated on the floors of congress. The Wartime Investment Act promised an up front payment of 25% of the worth of any cargo being carried by private vessels, with another 25% being given upon the vessel’s return. Privateers were contracted and levied, and restrictions on arming privately held ships were relaxed.

The bill passed after a lengthy session of debates and filibusters by its opponents. With a vote of 38-24 in the Senate, President Pierce signed the Wartime Investment Act into law, and with its signing, immediately began seeking out investors and volunteers. With the spending issue “handled”, at least for the time being, the other preparations were being made. The first issue at hand was procuring reliable transport for the men and supplies that would be needed not only for the journey, but for the possibility of a prolonged war against Japan. The population of the United States was, at the time of the 1850 census, 23 million people. In comparison, the total population of Japan was roughly 25 million. The efforts required to project America’s power overseas and maintain any sort of advantage would be enormous, as the sheer size of Japan would be an “unconquerable morass”, as said by then Colonel Robert E. Lee.

Knowing the dangers full well, the Department of War looked to gather the largest naval force possible that would allow for an overwhelming thrust into Japanese waters. Commodore Perry’s expedition had roughly a dozen ships in total. The planned naval force, made up of several different squadrons, including armed merchantmen and privateers, numbered nearly 30. Within this force was the formidable USS Cumberland, armed with thirty 32pdr guns, as well as a refit with new cannons built to fire explosive shells, which was quickly made the flagship of the newly designated “Pacific Fleet”. The privateers were numerous, consisting of either armed merchant ships, or supply ships with armed guards.

Finally, the fleet had seven privately held and hired ships quickly refitted to carry a total of 800 United States Marines, under the command of Brigadier General Archibald Henderson, Commandant of the Marine Corps, specially reassigned to oversee the mission in Japan. After three months of bickering in congress and frantically meeting with business heads and private interests, the United States had prepared the Pacific Fleet for war. The journey would prove to be harsh, and the war even moreso. Regardless, on October 27th, 1853, the Pacific Fleet set sail from Virginia to head down the same path taken by the late Commodore Perry.

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A shorter update than the OP. Sorry, been swamped with work and family
 

dcharleos

Donor
Meanwhile, Senator from Illinois Stephen Douglas met with several other Democratic leaders, and gave his own proposal. Quickly given the name the “Wartime Investment Act”, this proposal gave private citizens the ability to directly contribute or participate in the war effort as “Authorized Non-Combatant Assistance”. This act served two purposes, first to prevent “atrocious and unnecessary” overspending by the government, while also allowing for those outside of the military to assist the US military. Several amendments were immediately made to the bill as it was hotly debated on the floors of congress. The Wartime Investment Act promised an up front payment of 25% of the worth of any cargo being carried by private vessels, with another 25% being given upon the vessel’s return. Privateers were contracted and levied, and restrictions on arming privately held ships were relaxed.

Can you explain how this works a little bit more?

I'm not exactly understanding how it relates to funding, procurement, or logistics, and I don't really understand how it even saves anyone money.
 
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