The North American Confederacy is an alternate history series of novels created by L. Neil Smith. The series includes the novel The Probability Broach and its sequels and takes place in a country of the same name.
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The ostensible point of divergence leading to the North American Confederacy (NAC) is the addition of a single word in the preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence, where in it states that governments "derive their just power from the unanimous consent of the governed". Inspired by this wording, Albert Gallatin intercedes in the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 to the benefit of the farmers, rather than the fledgling United States government as he does in real life. This results in the rebellion to become a Second American Revolution. This eventually leads to the overthrowing and execution of George Washington by firing squad for treason later that year, the United States Constitution being declared null and void and Gallatin being proclaimed the second President. In 1795, a new caretaker government is established and a revised version of the Articles of Confederation is ratified in 1797, but with a much greater emphasis on individual and economic freedom.
Over the ensuing century, the remnants of central government dissipate. The government can no longer create money, only individual people can, being backed by gold, silver, wheat, corn, iron and even whisky.
Thomas Jefferson successfully leads an abolitionist movement that leads to a peaceful end to slavery in 1820. Jefferson is also responsible for developing new systems of weights and measures (metric inches and pounds, among others) in 1800. He also devised a new calendar system in to honor the birth of liberty as the old year 1776 becomes Year Zero, Anno Liberatis (Latin for Year of Liberation). When Jefferson first proposed the new calendar system in 1796, he originally marked it to Gallatin's ascension to the presidency. However, Gallatin protested that the real revolution was in 1776 and that the Federalist period should be regarded as an aberration and that commemorating even by implication the overthrowing and execution of George Washington might set a hideous precedent (as Gallatin insisted that historians should still count Washington as the first President). Jefferson and Gallatin compromised and utilized 1776 as the new Year Zero.
The absence of government interference creates a libertarian utopia where science and medicine advance at a significantly greater pace than in our baseline history. As Elisha Gray had already invented the telephone in 1867 (91 A.L.), Alexander Graham Bell instead develops a voder technology which allows chimpanzees, gorillas and other simians to communicate and prove they are sentient and the greater primates are granted citizenship rights equivalent to all races of humans. Later on in history, dolphins, porpoises and orcas reveal their sentience and join the land civilizations. In 1888 (102 A.L.), Thomas Edison invents electrically heated streets. In 1947 (171 A.L.), colored television is invented. In 1993 (217 A.L.), mastodons are cloned back to life with frozen tissue.
In 1893 (117 A.L.), almost all North American Nations and territories (Alaska, California, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Newfoundland and Texas, among others) join together to form the NAC, a new nation whose government has very little power and which allows its citizenry to do as it pleases so long as they do not violate anyone else's rights. The NAC is not involved in any major wars as a country, but a massive cohort of volunteers arises to fight whenever Federalist and Federalist sympathizers disturb the peace, most notably in Prussia in 1914 (138 A.L.) and against the Tsar of Russia in Antarctica in 1957 (181 A.L.), where the naval action is led by the NAC version of Robert A. Heinlein.
Other famous people named in the series include NAC President Ayn Rand (who visits the Moon in the 1950s) and earlier NAC President H. L. Mencken (who was killed by his Vice President's mother after killing his Vice President in a duel). A west coast university is named after historical San Francisco eccentric Emperor Norton.
By the start of the series in 1986, the NAC spans the entire continent of North America as well as Greenland, though Panama appears to still be part of Colombia. The capital city of the NAC is Gallatinopolis, which is located in the geographical center of the North American continent while Washington, D.C. does not exist. The NAC also has independent settlements on the Moon which were established in 1949 (173 A.L.), Mars and on major asteroids. The government is an utterly powerless entity, with the presidency a largely honorary role preserved only as a coordinator of actions in national emergencies. Along the way, the libertarian philosophies of the Gallatin Party in the NAC remain in conflict with the remnants of Federalist Party (sometimes referred to as Hamiltonians, after the man considered the real villain in the old United States, Alexander Hamilton) which continues to promote strong central government.
The Probability Broach includes a timeline for the history of the United States which includes a listing of those who followed Washington and Gallatin as the Presidents. In this history, the United States merged with several other North American nations to form the North American Confederacy in 1893. From that point, the individuals listed here are considered Presidents of the NAC. Many of these individuals are prominent in the history of either anarchism or libertarianism and are the following:
The North American Confederacy is much more advanced in science and technology and much wealthier than our Earth, implying the author's view that libertarianism is a superior political order. Smith states that his novels are written with the purpose of promoting libertarianism.
The Probability Broach won the 1982 Prometheus Award, an award created by Smith himself and given by the Libertarian Futurist Society.The Nagasaki Vector, Tom Paine Maru, The Gallatin Divergence and The American Zone were all Prometheus Award finalists.