For the past few months, it’s felt that everyone in the United States is out to get each other: Liberals vs Consevatives, the cities vs the rural regions, the coast vs the continent. We’re all messed up, but at the end of the day we’re all still technically in one country: The United States. But that’s just it, “United States”. States that are united. And for us Americans this is the normality. The States, while autonomous in many aspects, all answer to the same higher government in Washington D.C. They send Representatives, they pay Federal Taxes, and States are subject to federal law. No matter what we’re all legally in the same nation. This has been the process that has been evolving since the inception of the Constitution. But Harry Turtledove imagined a different America. One where the Articles of Confederation was the only federal document ever signed to govern the country. And the United States completely collapsed. The states went their separate ways. In his imagined alternate timeline, states aren’t simply borders on a map, but are their own individual nations. And each of these new republics has an entirely independent, unique history which shape the culture and society inside their borders. This was explored in his novel, “The Disunited States of America”. Since alternate history at its core is a branch of science fiction novels I felt it was time to bring some attention to this ever-growing genre. I’m not going into any spoilers. just summarizing the scenario Turtledove crafted. Did the scenario have to be entirely realistic? No, it’s fiction. It’s just for a story. In this alternate timeline the Articles of Confederation is the only unifying Constitution the United colonies ever signed after winning their independence. For those who don’t know the articles were a general mess as a federal government was useless and states were far more independent. In this alternate world, the articles are kept and the Constitution is not. Over the next couple decades instability grows. By the turn of the 19th century states already begin breaking off one by one in many rebellions for multiple reasons. By 1806, the USA is officially dissolved. Swept into the trash bin of history as a failed experiment. What’s left in its place is many nations with their own militias economies and form of government within the next few years the more powerful states begin gobbling up the smaller ones. New York annexes Connecticut and New Jersey. Virginia never loses West Virginia and remains one large unified state. I’ll discuss this later. In the Appalachians a new state is formed called Boone which is somewhere in Kentucky. Florida is divided between Georgia and Cuba. In terms of relationships the American Republics trade and fight with and against one another. These are not friendships between states, but foreign relations. For example Georgia may be friends with Virginia but hate Alabama and vice versa. Over decades in an ever-increasing web of American relations begin to form as Republi’s compete over resources. Throughout the 19th century, for unspecified reasons, colonists still branch out and new states are formed across the continent. Pretty much like in our timeline, similar states are born like Texas and California. The way that the colonists got there, however, is far different. Instead of California being settled by Americans, it’s settled by British colonists from Oregon. The evidence for this is pretty striking as California is one of the only Republics which has a parliament and a prime minister as well as celebrate certain events like the queen’s birthday. By 2090, the time the book is set, it has been centuries since the United States was formed and The Union is simply a distant memory after the conflicts of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. As the states became more independent, so too did their culture and their lives. Lack of communication allows for different dialects to become distinct between states. In many cases its difficult for people from two different states to communicate simply because of societal differences from centuries of separation. Society changes for every republic on the continent. There is a disconnect between the highly urbanized coast and the rural communities inland. Technology still exist like cars, planes and modern weaponry. In many aspects it’s very similar to our own timeline, however because of the deep history between the Republics, people hardly travel outside their own state. For some this isn’t so bad. California is almost like the USA of the non-existent USA. It has the largest population and is entirely self-sufficient. The military of California has involved itself in interstate wars for centuries. Sound familiar? other states are not so lucky and are subject to absolute poverty especially in the deep south in Great Plains. What shaped this was war. Skirmishes happen all the time between numerous states for different reasons. I don’t want to go through every single war but there are prominent ones. Without the federal government in Civil War, slavery isn’t ended in an instant. Instead, black slaves revolted on multiple occasions and won their freedom through violence. This was the black insurrections in the deep south. Mississippi switched the roles as a black majority oppressed the white minority. In this alternate timeline, race is very much a predominant factor, even in 2090. There is very little interaction between different races, apart from common courtesy. The severity of this racism depends on just what state you’re in. Since states can make their own independent laws, some race laws may be more severe than others. They can have their own foreign relations with other countries as well. During the Great War, which still occurs, (and there wasn’t a second) the states with more German immigrants in the Midwest actually fought with the central powers against the English descended rest of the country. Labels, blood and where you’re from as a whole is the largest recurring theme in this alternate timeline. Even between states with bad blood there is hatred. Hatred between states who would never be enemies in our own timeline. There is no larger hatred than between Ohio and Virginia. Remember when I sai d West Virginia doesn’t exist? Well that means Virginia borders the Ohio River and the Appalachians. Over the last two centuries conflict has arose time and time again over the resources and this region, like coal. Conspiracies are frequently abound as both sides are paranoid of the other instigating rebellion among their black populations Is this the most accurate scenario? Perhaps not but that’s not the point. The great thing about alternate history is that it provides an excellent conduit with its scenario to tell a fascinating story The lore is simply a slight difference in an already existing place and that is why it’s an ever-growing genre. Speaking of genre in books, this video was sponsored by Audible. An online service which has a countless selection of audiobooks from all of your favorite books. Their catalog allows you to access audio recordings from practically every genre instantaneously over the internet. It’s not just general topics either. There are a wide selection of alternate history audio books including many Harry Turtledove novels. So if you like alternate history but don’t like reading, I highly recommend it. Audible even includes alternate history classics like “The Guns of the South”. Another Turtledove novel where the South gains AK-47s from time travelers to help the Confederates win the war. You can even continue to listen to the audio books anywhere: phone, computer, or tablet, regardless of whether you continue with Audible or not. You can sign up for a 30-day trial with Audible and get an audio book of your choice, doesn’t even have to be altered history, absolutely free. And for regular price books, get thirty percent off for a limited time. Just click on this link provided in the description below Audible.com/althistory. This is Cody of Alternate History Hub.