THE NATIONS OF FOR WANT OF A NAIL

Robert Sobel's celebrated venture into alternate history postulated a British victory at the Battle of Saratoga (1777) and the subsequent collapse of the American bid for independence. Instead the colonies were reorganized into a Confederation of North America with substantial autonomy. Somewhat like Canada in reality, the CNA gradually developed into a fully independent nation while retaining its link to the Crown. Meanwhile, disaffected partisans of the lost Patriot cause quit British North America and trekked west, eventually to settle in the region we know as Texas and that they named Jefferson. This remote settlement became the kernel of another great nation: the United States of Mexico. For Want of a Nail chronicles the birth and development of the CNA and the USM and the long-running conflict between them.

Images Added May 2017

CNA Viceroy's Flag Since 1801    CNA Governor-General's Flag Since 1906



THE CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA

Sobel neglects to describe the flags of the CNA and the USM, though the dust jacket of a recent edition of the book shows the Continental Colors or Grand Union Flag as the CNA flag. This assumption, however, seems dubious. First, the Grand Union Flag was a flag of rebellion under which the rebels had fought the forces of the Crown. Second, its design (thirteen red and white stripes with the Union Flag as a canton) did not correspond to the political organization of the CNA. Under its founding charter, the Britannic Design, the CNA consisted of five confederations. The Thirteen Colonies constituted the Northern and Southern Confederations; the other three were Quebec, Indiana (roughly, the Northwest Territory of our history) and Manitoba (real-world Canada excluding Quebec and British Columbia). I postulate that the initial national flag of the CNA was simply the pre-1801 Union Flag and that its first distinctive flag was a variant of the British Red Ensign with a circle of five white stars symbolizing the five confederations: a civil ensign for the use of merchant ships registered in the CNA. (When Spanish Louisiana was annexed and organized as the Confederation of Vandalia, a sixth star was added.) For the Viceroy of the CNA, a Union Flag defaced with a shield bearing a royal crown was introduced. After 1800 these flags incorporated the current version of the Union Flag. At that time, the Viceroy's flag was modified to display the crown within a garland, and this pattern was eventually became standard for viceregal flags of British colonies and self-governing dominions.

Only in 1842, when the Britannic Design was amended and the CNA became fully independent, did the country acquire a national flag: the Union Flag with six white stars. The office of Viceroy was retained as the Crown's representative but the chief executive officer and head of government was now the Governor-General. The former's flag remained unchanged and a new one was introduced for the latter: dark blue with six white stars surrounding a royal crown. With the passage of time, sentiment grew in favor of a "pure" national flag, free of associations with the colonial past. In 1905 the government invited proposals for such a flag and in 1906 the design selected by a joint legislative committee was officially adopted. Green and gold (yellow) had long been the CNA's unofficial colors; red recalled the country's first distinctive flag, the 1782 civil ensign. The Governor-General's flag was also changed to incorporate the new national colors.

For government departments and authorities a badge could be added to both the 1842 and 1906 flags. Usually this was placed at the intersection of the cross.

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA     THE UNION FLAG    1782-1801

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
CIVIL ENSIGN    1782-1801

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
VICEREGAL FLAG    1782-1801

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
NATIONAL FLAG    1842-1906

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S FLAG    1842-1906

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA    VICEREGAL FLAG SINCE 1801

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
NATIONAL FLAG SINCE 1906

 

CONFEDERATION OF NORTH AMERICA
GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S FLAG SINCE 1906

 

ROYAL CONFEDERATION POLICE  SERVICE FLAG SINCE 1906

 

THE UNITED STATES OF MEXICO

For the flags of the USM I've postulated as follows. In its early years Jefferson had no formal national flag. Technically the state was a territory of the Spanish crown, though various flags of the American Rebellion were unofficially flown. The Constitution of 1793, however, made provision for a flag and the design chosen was based on the short-lived flag of the United States of America that had been adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777. The colors red, white and blue were retained, with blue at the hoist and three horizontal stripes of red, white and red. On the vertical blue hoist stripe was placed a single white star. The white star on blue was said to symbolized the Constitution's status as the supreme law of the land, while the three horizontal stripes symbolized the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. When Jefferson became a constituent state of the United States of Mexico, the Star and Bars as it was nicknamed became a subnational state flag.

The flag adopted in 1820 for the USM was again based on the flag of the defunct United States of America. The green canton with white star symbolized the unity of the country and the six stripes of red and white symbolized the new nation's six constituent states. During the Mexican Civil War the army of the former Republic of Mexico, controlled by the secular Federalist Party, had worn green uniforms with red facings, while the flags of the rebel Clerical Party were predominantly white. These colors were incorporated into the USM flag as a symbol of reconciliation. Despite the political vicissitudes of the USM, the 1820 national flag was not changed until 1923. In that year Alaska and Hawaii were incorporated into the USM to make a total of eight states. The revised national flag was initially to have eight stripes, four red and four white, but a ninth red stripe was added to balance the design. This additional stripe was justified by the need to symbolize the various non-state territories of the USM, such as Martinique and the Mexican Virgin Islands in the West Indies. A new presidential flag was adopted at the same time, displaying the emblem of the Office of the President of the USM on a field of nine stripes.

 

 

STATE OF JEFFERSON    NATIONAL FLAG  1793-1820

 

 

UNITED STATES OF MEXICO    NATIONAL FLAG    1820-1923

 

UNITED STATES OF MEXICO    NATIONAL FLAG  SINCE 1923
 

 

UNITED STATES OF MEXICO    PRESIDENTIAL FLAG  SINCE 1923
 



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