America Divided and the British Regicide Edit
The Aftermath of Collapse
Napoleon constructed embassies in all the North American countries except West Florida and Vermont. Virginia and Maryland were quite friendly, but it was Georgia that fell in love with the French emperor. The tightening relationship between the two countries improved Georgia's relationship with Spain, since the Spanish were an ally of France. Georgia began to realize that by joining Napoleon's alliance, if even unofficially, it could possibly become the dominate independent country in North America. Prime Minister Bulloch thought that sounded great. In the few years since the destruction of the US, the various new countries had started to disdain each other far more, and if he could stick it to "the Northern buzzards" (which now included the Confederation of the Carolinas and Virginia to a lesser extent), then it would be an awesome day in his book. So, in 1806, Georgia began patterning itself after France. French uniforms, French music, French food, French everything. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that suited Georgia's right-wing militarists just fine.
Meanwhile, in the Republican Union, a new form of government took power: the Consulate, which patterned itself somewhat after Napoleon's France (before he had been crowned Caesar, of course). Instead of three consuls, like in France, however, there were two for each state (titled Consuls of the Republic), elected every four years. There was no president, but two consuls each year were elected as "Chief Consuls of the Republic". At the capital city, the Republican Consuls would meet and discuss national policy in fair and open debates, debates which often turned ugly or hostile.
A new constitution was being written as early as a week after the Treason Trials, but was not completed until 1805, following a grueling "convention" in Philadelphia that lasted three years. Democratic-Republicans insisted that freedom be guaranteed by the government and pushed for the abolition of slavery. The new party, the Centrist Party, largely made up of politicians from the smaller or less-populous states, demanded a strong government be created that did not base itself within the borders of any existing state. A new capital should be created. They also pushed for a large army to be raised to defend the country from Britain, Spain, and its southern neighbors.
The long-lasting hatred that the North would have for the South was not quite in full swing. The Southerners disdained the north and blamed the horrific failure of the United States on them. The North was more concerned in its own problems and was content for the moment to push their "hillbilly cousins" onto the back burner... for now. Slavery was a rather touchy subject, though, and any suggestions by consuls for closer relationships with the Southern republics were usually shot down by fire-and-brimstone New England abolitionists (or those pretending abolitionists to score political points). Many present historians now claim that without slavery-or if the North had had many slaves themselves-the USA might have recovered after the Treason Trials. But the increasingly foreign cultures developing between the former British colonies was largely unavoidable. Given a few decades at most, and the USA would have likely sank into civil war. The withdrawal of the South had come at just the right time to avoid entering that likely self-destructive conflict.There were some Union citizens, though, that began thinking of the Southern republics as "rightful Union land." The captain of this philosophical ship was Aaron Burr, the middle-aged Consul of New York. He served with Willard Crawford as the first two Chief Consuls, and during that time made his revanchist feelings known. While military force was not taken seriously at this point to force the Southerners back under the North's wing, Burr's way of thinking set the stage for further problems.
Back in Europe, 1807 was an utter disaster for Britain's efforts against Napoleon. King George IV had become so hopelessly insane that he was frequently beaten into unconsciousness by palace guards. He cooked an entire cat alive in the royal stove after chasing out the chefs and maids from the kitchen. It was an expensive breed belonging to his brother Frederick. It was also William's favorite palace pet. This did not bode well with Fred or Wills. From that point on, they both went into attack mode, constantly begging the government for permission to rip away their crazed brother's crown.
This, of course, did not bode well with Georgy. Not at all. He went into a deep depression, where he locked himself in his room for hours, weeping bitterly. When servants would unlock the door, he'd beat them off with a fireplace poker. Then, he finally lost every trace of sanity on December 21, 1807.
It started like every other terrible day in wartime London, and George had locked himself away again. The servants were told to ignore him, for something big was supposed to happen later in the afternoon.
That big thing was very big. Frederick was to become Regent. Stability would be returned. The Corsican Ogre would be beaten back. The Americans would be kept in check. The British Empire "would return to glory and march onward to future triumphs, the likes of which the world has never seen," said William.
On that day, at 10 AM, ten palace guards, a group of servants, and Frederick and William marched to George's room to evict him and put him in a "safe room," much like the one that had held his father. When they opened the door and delivered the news, George was uncommonly quiet and at peace. He said there would be "no need for a guarded escort."
Frederick smiled sadly and asked, "You'll cooperate, then? That is most admirable of you, my brother. This is not something we wish to have happened, but it's necessary for the Empire."
To which George responded: "No. There will be no need for an escort, because it ends now. This is my castle! My donjon! My château! My citadel of Merlin! And you shall not take it from me, damn you! You're all going to die!"
Present historians say what followed was one of the most gruesome setbacks in English history. George pulled out two flintlock pistols from his large red coat. He then shot Frederick directly in the chest, killing him almost instantly. He fired the other and struck William in the side, sending blood spurting everywhere and William crashing backward over a dresser, giving him a terrible concussion. George then pulled a decorative sword from the wall of the room, raised it to his own neck, and then fell forward, committing suicide.
The guards and servants stood in horror at the bloodbath for a few seconds before going to work trying to revive Frederick. It was no use. He was as dead as George, and the prince's body lay in a pool of his own blood. William, meanwhile, was put on a stretcher and raced to another room where a veritable army of doctors raced to remove the bullet from his lower ribcage. He was losing a lot of blood, and for several hours the entire palace stood on edge, waiting to see if three rightful monarchs would die in one day. Fortunately, William survived.
The British propaganda industry had its work cut out for itself. There was simply no way of getting around what had happened. George IV, King of Great Britain, had murdered one of his own brothers and shot the other before taking his own life. What was there to lie about? What was there to fictionalize for the sake of national morale?
Britain's stock market crumbled and the nation was rocked by a devastating combination of mourning and economic depression. As if that wasn't bad enough, Russia and France signed a formal alliance against Great Britain and launched a worldwide propaganda campaign ridiculing the English aristocracy with zingers like "King George was ill-bred and he was touched in the head. King George filled his brothers with lead, before he cut off his own head. His head! His head! His head!" This rhyme grew so popular that the French Grand Army sang it to the tun of "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre." It later became even more widespread among the Russians, who sang it to various folk tunes. It eventually made its way to North America, where the southern countries adapted it to the tune of We are a Band of Brothers.
This is widely considered the turning point in the Napoleonic Wars that sealed France's fate as a world power.