~ Chapter 16: The Columbian Consolidation ~
What historians often dubbed as the Second American Revolution only lasted for a couple of months in 1797 between the secession of New Hampshire on March 9 and the signing of the truce between New York and the New England Coalition in September. The feared war between the states only applied to three of them and was very brief, yet its effects were notable to the economy of the states that now had to build their own paths either as sovereign nations or as much reduced unions.
Arguably, Virginia was the state that came in the best shape after the breakup. It had not gone to war with any of its neighbours and demonstrated its influence when Maryland agreed to a shared control of the Potomac, thus renouncing their claims, while Virginia did not legally do so, albeit the matter would be buried never to surface again. Prior to the breakup, Virginia had a population of almost 750,000, the highest number in the Union followed by Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Massachusetts, with almost one out of every five Americans being Virginian. Virginia also had a slave population of around 290,000 people (almost 40% of the population), but even if those were discounted Virginia was still the most populous state of the United States of America. The population was more rural than in other states, with Virginia’s largest city (Richmond) being the 22nd largest in terms of population at the moment of the breakup . Virginia extended from the Delmarva Peninsula all the way to the Mississippi river, but had scarce control over the lands west of the Appalachians. The government, that feared an uprising in Kentucky backed by either the leftovers of the US, the Spanish or the British, approved in 1793 a territorial reform of the country, dividing Virginia into three departments , with Kentucky occupying the lands west of the Appalachians and south of the Ohio, Westsylvania covering the Appalachian mountains and the Shenandoah Valley, and finally Vetustia  which covered the rest of the country.
This model of departments would later be copied by other southern states, but during the first decades of their independence the basic administrative division was the county, with new ones forming west of the Mississippi, gradually displacing the natives, albeit conflicts with the natives in the south would not intensify until the 1810’s, battles and skirmishes took place from Kentucky to Florida. The Virginians, yet again, were the swiftest at dealing with the natives, having secured the entirety of eastern Kentucky by 1784 after the Battle of Blue Licks , and from there would proceed to clean the rest of Kentucky out of Indian resistance, having fully pacified the region by 1793. Part of the reason for Kentucky’s easy colonisation was geographical, as Virginia controlled the Cumberland Gap and a series of minor mountain passes that allowed for an easy crossing of the Appalachians. Virginia also pioneered the Post-US militaries with the creation of a proper force by licensing the state militia and turning it into a proper national army, as well as creating the Virginia Military Institute in 1794 . The rest of southern states struggled more with their new independence, specially South Carolina, as the great harbour of Charleston now found itself lacking products to export, being reduced from the southern port of the US to simply the port of South Carolina.
The Virginia Military Institute
For the northern states, the period of Columbian history referred to as the “Consolidation” (1787 - 1812) was more difficult. The main reason being that both the UAS and New England were unions of several states, thus the creation of a constitution was needed for the governments to operate properly, while their southern neighbours employed slightly altered versions of their state constitutions. The Union States of America, or more concretely, the four states that remained a part of the Union, continued to operate under the Articles of Confederation until 1789, when a Constitutional Convention was called. This new constitution formally established the Union of Atlantic States in 1790, composed of the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Ohio. This new constitution forbade any of the member states from pursuing their own foreign policy, not even in trade and tariffs, with interstate and international commerce regulated by the Federal Government of the Union, however states could regulate their own intrastate commerce and could pass their own taxes and regulations regarding their internal trade organisation, as long as those did not interfere with the federal regulations.
The form of government consisted in a bicameral parliament, with a House of Representatives acting as a Congress, and a Senate . Both chambers are elected by direct suffrage of all free males above 25, and the five states that composed the Union (Ohio entered in a rush and without meeting the requirements) would have a representation on the House of Representatives equal to the proportion of their population in the grand total of the Union, to be divided between the 100 representatives. The states with the highest populations (Pennsylvania and New York) were the ones that had the most power in the House of Representatives, and thus if they aligned they could easily overwhelm the rest of states put together (something prevented by the Senate, composed of 15 members, 3 per state), however New York and Pennsylvania often chose opposing presidential candidates. The New York-Pennsylvania dispute also extended to the seat of government, with Pennsylvania proposing that the capital be established in Philadelphia, while New York proposed New York City. Ultimately, New Jersey and Delaware backed the option of Philadelphia, however the New York delegation pressured for the creation of a “Federal District” in the city of Philadelphia, so the state of Pennsylvania could not legislate over the federal capital, thus creating a capital that was not controlled by any state.
Philadelphia F.D., capital of the Union of Atlantic States
The situation was different in New England. For starters, there was a feeling of a common identity among the states, which made the process of granting powers to a new federal government easier. The New Englander constitution was the first one in the Americas to abolish slavery in all of its member states, despite opposition from some landowners in Rhode Island and Connecticut. New England saw political parties organising quickly in its territory, with the Federalist party taking the lead, inspired by the nationalist factions in the ex-US, arguing for a strong central government and pursuing policies aimed at a focus on trade and protecting the local industry. The power of the states was more imbalanced, as out of a total population of over a million inhabitants , Massachusetts had 475,000, almost half of the population of the Commonwealth. A system of election based on states and population was feared by the smaller states, as they could get swamped if Massachusetts population grew more, and with Boston acting as the national capital that was a given. Massachusetts agreed to concede the District of Maine to the government of the Commonwealth for it to become a state later, but Massachusetts was still home to a third of New England’s population.
Ultimately, the outcome of how elections were to be realised was changed, as now elections would not be decided by representatives at a state level, but by representatives at county level, which was slightly more favourable for the smaller states, albeit it created the problem of how to deal with different populations in each county, and this was solved by the New England Census of 1791 which established the population of the Commonwealth, the population of each state, and the population of each county. Then, out of a Congress of 400 representatives, counties would be given a representation according to the percentage of the population they had, with a minimum of 2 for each county. This electoral system helped with disestablishing the primacy of state identities over the New Englander identity and reinforced the Commonwealth’s cohesion, albeit it would lead to a couple of electoral scandals later.
The town of Boston in 1790
New England recovered the fastest from the collapse of the US thanks to centralised economic policies and the creation of a Commonwealth Bank in 1793, as well as enjoying a positive trade balance for years to come, as New England signed the Adams Treaty with the United Kingdom in 1794, making Britain New England’s major economic partner and forging a strong relationship with the former metropole. The implications of the Columbian nations in international politics started after Louis XVI was executed. The southern nations, while initially favourable to the developments in France, were shocked by the downfall of the aristocratic Ancien Régime and their sympathies quickly shifted to the émigrés, offering them lands and seeing the exiled French aristocracy as brothers expelled by a radical revolution. Meanwhile, in the UAS the republican regime of France was seen as a natural ally against the encroaching redcoats in the Northwestern Territory and their Indian Allies. While the 1778 Treaty of Alliance technically did not apply as the United States did not exist anymore, Philadelphia opted to renew the alliance with the French Republic in 1795, with a purely defensive cause, stating that the Union would only join their allies if they were attacked. Which is exactly what happened some years down the line.
 - The numbers come from the 1790 US Census, with the numbers lowered down a bit to make up for the 3 years of difference.
 - Name inspired from the French departments.
 - Vetustia comes from the Latin, and means “old”, referring to it being the first area settled permanently by the colonists.
 - That happened in 1782 IOTL.
 - OTL established in 1839, now that Virginia is its own sovereign nation it needs a good military as soon as possible.
 - Both operating in very much a similar way to their OTL US equivalents.
 - Based on the 1790 US Census. For Nova Scotia I used a population figure from 1806, adding the numbers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and reducing them by 30%.
Had this infobox ready for a while but forgot to post it