The Great American Civil War was a domestic military conflict which occurred during the 2040s. Controversy erupted concerning the victor of the 2040 US Presidential election, ultimately leading to an armed uprising by private corporate entities. The result of the war was a severe global economic crisis known as the Vast Collapse.
During the two previous decades, revolutionary developments in drilling and refining technology allowed for the cheap extraction and processing of oil shale reserves. With the depletion of petroleum resources in the Middle East, much of the world depended upon these new North American fossil fuels. Infitech Shale Corp. quickly monopolized the growing industry, expanding to an enormous size. With 3.2 trillion USD in revenue and 1.8 trillion USD in net profits every year, the company became a titanic corporate power. During the end of the 2030s, Infitech started to assemble a private mercenary army, under the leadership of its founder and CEO Walter Hope. The original purpose of the paramilitary force was "to secure the safety of important trade routes in unstable areas, so that we can sell our products in the developing world", but the war machine quickly became a way to "discourage" nations from taxing Infitech's shale imports.
Growing concerns over climate change, spurred by global droughts, strange weather phenomena, and coastal flooding led US politicians to be critical of Infitech's oil Empire. Additionally, US Congress had enacted sweeping socialist reforms, creating a large "social safety net" (including universal single-payer medical care) and needed a large source of revenue to pay for these programs. Both of these factors led the US government to desire taxing Infitech, which had up to that point enjoyed a "Laissez-Faire" environment. In 2038, US congress passed the "Tax Reform Act", which included sweeping fees on the American shale industry. Ultimately, US President Al Sherman, a previous CFO of Infitech and close friend of the oil industry, vetoed the law.
Presidential Election and the Start of the War
The 2040 Presidential Election came down to Al Sherman (Rockefeller Party) and Sam Tyler (Democratic Party). Tyler wished to end the Laissez-Faire policies Sherman applied to the Shale industry and levy taxes on Infitech. The Tax Reform Act, if it had been enacted, would have been crushing to Infitech, greatly reducing the company's annual profits. Walter Hope voiced his support for the Incumbent President, warning that his failure in the coming election could mean the collapse of the American oil industry.
On November 5, 2040, the election essentially ended in a draw. The votes in Michigan, the key swing state, were so close that a recount was necessary. Ultimately, Tyler was determined to be the victor, but the result was open to much dispute. In the December Supreme Court Case Sherman vs. Tyler, it was ruled that the Democrat had won the election, despite numerous accounts of uncounted or incorrectly cast votes in Michigan. As a result, Walter Hope distributed a warning to federal authorities that "actions of force and consequence will be taken . . . if this government fails to instill Al Sherman as its rightful leader". The United States ignored the warning, and Tyler was inaugurated on January 22. The response of Infitech was to strike and bomb US military bases and strategic locations across the nation, causing hundreds of casualties, and repeat the request that Al Sherman be inaugurated as President. US Congress determined that "Tyler shall remain the rightful elected president", and issued an executive order for Tyler to attack Walter Hope's forces. Thus began the Civil War.
Early Phase of the War and Annexation of Texas
Infitech's strategy started with securing its oil wells and refining plants in the US and Canada, as well as occupying important freeways, rail lines and trade routes through the continent so that it could continue corporate operations. Foreign nations continued to purchase Infitech's oil during the war, but the US government placed a "trade embargo" on the company, preventing US customers from purchasing its oil. In the end, this caused a significant economic downturn and deprived American military forces of much fuel; but as many American vehicles were electric and nuclear power provided the chief energy supply, the embargo did not cause a catastrophe. The Battle for Lake Superior Sands Oil Reserve was a deadly confrontation between American and Infitech forces, ultimately causing some 3,457 casualties but allowing the corporation to secure a major oil well on January 30. In the months leading up to Tyler's inauguration, Walter Hope had built up his forces with an annual budget of 350 billion USD; compared to the American military budget of 400 billion USD, the armies were nearly even.
On February 8, 2040, Walter Hope invaded Texas. Texas was a major source of shale, and its economy depended immensely upon Infitech; thus, its police and national guard were already quite sympathetic to Hope's agenda. After bombarding major military bases with his Air Force, as well as bombing major cities and civilian areas, Hope led ground troops from the Gulf into Houston, securing the city on February 10. Pushing north, Major battles at Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas led to the retreat of US forces and the annexation of the State by Corporates on February 15. With the support of local authorities, Infitech started a draft of the local population, building up to an army of 2 million soldiers by March.
Conclusion of the War and Overview
Through 2040, 2041, and 2042, Hope managed to push through the Southwestern states, ultimately occupying an area stretching from Western California to North Carolina. In the process, his bombardment of civilian areas and major cities by automated drones and Air Force caused much collateral damage and non-military deaths. The new battle technology available, using precision automation, allowed for significantly more destruction.
In 2043, US forces captured Houston following a thirty-day siege. Control of the city led American forces to recapture Texas by May. In 2044 and 2045, US forces occupied much of the previous corporate territory, leading Walter Hope to surrender at the Treaty of Washington on January 9.
Use of automated, precision equipment like drones and battle robots caused much more destruction than there would have been previously. Often, some 30 percent or more of soldiers involved in a battle perished. Additionally, bombardment of cities by Infitech and then by US Air Force during the reoccupation phase caused many civilian deaths. Ultimately, Infitech caused 230,000 military deaths and about 650,000 civilian deaths. The US military caused 340,000 military deaths and approximately 900,000 civilian deaths.
The US government forced Infitech to pay war reparations, causing its bankruptcy. This led to an economic collapse in the United States and across the world, as well as global oil shortages. This was known as the Vast Collapse.