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The Confederation of Vandalia, 1799-1877.

Vandalia was the sixth confederation to become part of the Confederation of North America. It was formed out of the northern region of the Spanish colony of Louisiana after being conquered by the C.N.A. during the Trans-Oceanic War of 1795 - 1799. Its capital was Galloway, and its largest city was St. Louis. The chief executive of the confederation was the Governor of Vandalia, and the legislature was the Vandalia Council.

Vandalia was bounded on the east by the Mississippi River, on the south by the Arkansas River, on the north by the Confederation of Manitoba, and on the west by the Rocky Mountains, although the specific border between Vandalia and the United States of Mexico was undefined and disputed. As indicated by the map in For Want of a Nail ..., Vandalia also included the area between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan. This area was presumably transferred to Vandalia from Indiana at some point, perhaps at the time the confederation was established in 1799.

Although troops from the Southern Confederation played a major role in the conquest of Louisiana, Sobel does not say whether slavery was legal in Vandalia; if it was, it was presumably abolished at the same time as in the S.C. The white population of Vandalia was only 2000 in 1810, some ten years after the confederation was organized. Thirty-five years later, the population had risen to almost 80,000.

When the Second Britannic Design was drafted at the Burgoyne Conference of June to August 1842, Vandalia was allotted nine seats in the revamped Grand Council, in spite of having a population under 80,000. This may have been an effort by Liberal Party leader Winfield Scott to encourage settlement there, by assuring potential settlers of an outsized voice in the new national government. In the 1843 Grand Council elections, seven of the nine seats were won by Scott's Unified Liberals.

The discovery of silver along the poorly-defined border between Vandalia and the Mexican state of Mexico del Norte early in 1844 brought twenty thousand prospectors to the area from the Northern Confederation, the Southern Confederation, and Indiana. Fighting broke out between North Americans and Mexicans in 1845 in the disputed Broken Arrow region, which marked the beginning of the Rocky Mountain War. By 1850, the confederation's population had grown to 500,000 (some of which was due to the annexation of sections of Mexico del Norte); by 1870, it had reached 4.5 million; and at the time of the confederation's division in 1877, it was estimated at 6.8 million.

Vandalia's domination by the Liberals increased during the war. In the 1853 Grand Council elections, all nine of the confederation's seats were won by Liberal candidates. As the population of Vandalia continued to grow after the war, the Conservative Party was able to make up the lost ground, winning two seats in 1858. However, Governor-General Kenneth Parkes was able to use the power of his office to arrange for large slices of Vandalia to be given as "gifts" to his wealthy backers, allowing him to use their financial power to regain control of the two Conservative-held seats in the 1863 Grand Council elections.

In spite of (or possibly because of) the vast areas under the control of Parkes' backers, Conservative candidate Herbert Clemens was able to end the Liberal domination of Vandalian politics, winning (or buying) control of seven of the confederations's nine Grand Council seats in the 1868 Grand Council elections. Clemens instituted a set of electoral reforms that expanded the franchise and reapportioned Grand Council seats, increasing the size of Vandalia's delegation from nine seats to twenty-one. However, the electoral districts were drawn to maximize the number of Conservative-leaning districts, and in the 1873 Grand Council elections, the Conservatives won twelve of the seats.

Growing conflicts between settlers arriving from the Southern Confederation, a majority of them Negroes, and those from Indiana and the Northern Confederation, virtually all of them white, led to the decision to divide Vandalia into two confederations in 1877, called Northern Vandalia and Southern Vandalia. Governor Hiram Potter favored the division, and afterwards he, along with the capital city of Galloway, wound up in the new confederation of Northern Vandalia, along with the mines, many foreign-born settlers, and Vandalia's wheatfields. Southern Vandalia had almost all of the settlers from the Southern Confederation, the richest farmlands, and the largest proportion of the C.N.A.'s Negroes.

Sobel's source for the Confederation of Vandalia is David Lea's Vandalia in the C.N.A.: A History (Galloway, 1946). His source for the division of Vandalia is Martin Kleberg's The Politics of Vandalian Separation (New York, 1957).

Confederations of the C.N.A.
Central ConfederationIndianaManitobaNorthern ConfederationNorthern VandaliaQuebecSouthern ConfederationSouthern VandaliaVandalia