The things I’m taking into consideration are the following: -Access to military hardware stationed within a state-Access to oil and oil refineries-Access to ports on defensible waterways for supplies coming from abroad (I’m assuming the lack of foreign intervention is limited to military action, trade is still constant, as in previous US domestic wars)-Domestic agriculture and water supplies-Natural barriers After all of this, a matter of prime importance I take from Alexander Hamilton is the ability to borrow money. Credit is of prime importance to a war effort. Fiat currency would collapse overnight, and the ability to establish new capital and monetary markets to get lending moving again would be of major importance. I’ll start from my own home state of WA. The first thing to do would be for WA to hit AK. They're the only state in position to do so, and they would need to get a hold of the oil resources to remain standing. WA is home to three supercarriers, while CA only has one now. So taking Alaska would be fairly straight forward, especially given the reliance of Alaska on shipping to survive and the high proportion of the population near the coasts. This would put WA in position to quickly seize HI and its naval resources--an onslaught that HI could not resist--and thus put WA in position to gain control of all naval assets in the Pacific, including the supercarrier George Washington based in Japan. Controlling Oregon would only be valuable insofar as it was necessary to take control of the Columbia River, but Idaho is a second consideration after the short-term goal of domination of naval fleets. Idaho expands arable land, and covers a border with a major population center on it. California's biggest first concern would be controlling its water supply, so the bulk of its immediate effort in the outset should be directed to the Colorado river, with strategic interest in taking nuclear and petrochemical resources in NV, UT, and CO, with Arizona subdued to protect the Colorado River access. The big power that I feel is underestimated is Virginia. It has massive naval resources, including the best shipyards and the Pentagon with all of its resources. Their navy would very quickly subdue the massive coastal exposure of MD, and WV would be an obvious and relatively easy way to secure coal--those would both go quickly. It would then turn its attention to control of the Delaware river, where it would easily put the squeeze on Philly. Taking PA would be a good access of manpower, agriculture, industrial capacity, and natural gas. All would be important. Expansion to the south includes the tough nuts of NC and SC (with Fort Bragg, Camp Lejune, and the Naval Weapons Station). Fighting inland means trying to trek across the Appalachian Mtns. But most significantly, no VA military would choose to fight southerners over shooting Yankees. So north it is. Meanwhile, NY, for all its strengths, is very, very vulnerable. NYC is a huge indefensible liability. Their interest would rapidly turn to two thinks: taking the low-hanging fruit of Vermont to secure the Hudson/Lake Champlain before Mass does, and getting the oil refineries of New Jersey. They may cross with MA a bit taking CT and RI to make sure Long Island is less exposed, but they'd win if Mass tried. MA may be better off taking the short-term gains of NH and ME (ME was once a part of MA, after all). But NY could not defend the shipping lanes to NJ very long. VA would move up the Delaware and perhaps the Susquehanna, and with PA secure, would put the squeeze on NJ by first striking the Capitol on the Delaware. NY would hit NJ from across the sound. NY would start sending children and seniors upstate out of NYC, and use its massive manpower for a land strike against VA by invading PA from the north. NY would also be able to use its massive gold deposits for collateral to get international financing. At about this point, VA would start sending its navy up the coast and begin a blockade of NY Harbor. NY would not last long. Further inland, Kentucky has two great resources (Ft Campbell and Ft Knox) but two huge liabilities (low population and landlocked). First they’d sucker-punch Tennessee to swell their ranks, then they’d go after Ohio to get access to shipping and lending from abroad. It would be brutal, but when Kentucky won, they’d be ready to start hammering at Indiana and Michigan immediately. Texas would consolidate by first hitting NOLA (as described by others). Succeeding there, they’d use their air force and conventional army forces in a grand march north to pick up all of those square states that always go red. With oil and oil refineries and both a solid harbor and international border, when the US currency collapsed under the scenario (a guarantee), few would be able to get financing from abroad. Texas would be an early favorite and have solid credit. So they’d push all the way up, seeking to secure both grain and the grand prize of the northern plains: the Bakken formation of oil in the MT/ND region. Bakken would also be Colorado’s goal. With NORAD, air force strength, and mountain seclusion, oil would be one of its biggest concerns. TX wouldn’t strike straight into the Rockies, because it would be a waste of resource. So as Colorado succeeds in taking WY and UT (also having petroleum plus cattle and copper and coal), they’d try to hit MT and ND before TX could. That’d be hard, because TX would be surging up the plains. WA would hit California in its Achilles Heel, with control of the sea making an inability for CA to draw credit or protect its shipping lanes. Though they’d take NV and AZ fairly easily, and though they have some oil and many refineries, if WA took AK and HI, WA would be in the cat bird seat to secure US military resources in Japan and S. Korea, much of which they’d bring home. By putting pressure on CA, their oil would run dry and their military would come to a grinding halt. Knowing that trying to wait out a siege would waste valuable time while Texas was growing stronger and stronger, their resolve would wane. For the sake of avoiding a fall to Texas, CA would instead fall to WA. NM would be the no-man’s-land that everyone wouldn’t bother to touch. All liability, not much advantage. Given that we’re assuming a conventional war, the nuke resources wouldn’t be worth all that much. Illinois would strike first at Wisconsin and then at Indiana. They’d be at a point of fighting the Kentucky forces in the middle of Indiana when Texas would take them by storm—first securing MN, then taking WI from IL, and then moving low draft boats to Lake Michigan to start shelling Chicago. It wouldn’t take long for them to fall. Not yet mentioned is Florida, which is also far stronger than is properly appreciated: air force, lots of navy, open supply lines, ability to drill in the Gulf. They’d be the only ones in a position to try to strangle TX at NOLA, but there’d be no point in the early rounds. First they’d bypass Georgia and hit the Carolinas for their military capacities, then hit the boggy Mississippi and Alabama (more difficult for Texas than its worth this early), and Georgia would be crushed easily by encirclement. So consolidating: WA takes basically everything west of the Rockies, Texas takes the full plains and Mississippi river, CO has the northern Rockies with WY and UT with skirmishes against TX in MT and ND, KY takes OH, TN, IN, and MI, FL takes MI, AL, GE, NC, and SC, and Virginia subdues NY to take everything else. Texas now loses its main advantage by having borders exposed to all major players except VA. They fight WA for CO, WY, and MT, with WA quickly taking UT from CO once they begin to press inland. Texas also fights KY for control of the Ohio River Valley, and they’ve been drained by their first major fight in subduing IL. KY and FL strike a détente (because FL has all the strength and knows VA will take care of KY for them), and while KY puts pressure on IL (now controlled by TX), FL strikes at MO to cut the Mississippi and disrupt the flow of control, all while finally launching its blockade of NOLA. Now VA is ready to press inland, and they start in OH. KY is overextended already, and VA’s northern block presses east, quickly consuming the remnants of KY. TX briefly makes headway in Indiana, but can’t consolidate—FL and WA are increasing the pressure. At about the time that TX makes a major victory and secures most of CO, they lose NOLA to FL, and MO falls shortly afterward. It’s a devastating blow. But it isn’t long before VA antagonizes FL and draws them into a full naval confrontation. TX rapidly regains what it had, and starts the long overland push through the Deep South. WA has good consolidation, but can’t make inroads past the Rockies. TX makes headway in WY and MT, while dog fighting occurs over NM between the rival air forces of CA (controlled by WA) and TX. As VA manages supremacy over FL (the battle to take Florida becomes among the bloodiest and most devastating of any in the war), the remainder of the South quickly falls under its control. It now has the full eastern seaboard. Final result: VA. Both WA and VA hammer TX, and once weakened, only VA has the clear route to subdue TX completely and regain the states. After that, the WA Pacific theater is doomed. The East has control of more money, more forces, more oil, more everything. It’s a long and bitter war of attrition, but the peaceniks on the West Coast don’t have the fight in them. VA wins. And so ironically we see that the battle was won when Jefferson sat Hamilton and Madison down to dinner to negotiate an agreement to help resolve the impasse in Hamilton’s move to have the Federal government assume all Revolutionary War debt held by the states, with Hamilton agreeing to bargain the nation’s capital for the sake of the funding scheme. It was agreed that night that the capital should have a temporary home in Philadelphia for 10 years, then move to a permanent site on the Potomac. Madison would free up some votes to pass the assumption initiative. The Virginians had the goal that the southern sensibilities of the region should dominate the Federal government and shape its character—a stark reversal of what the nation seemed to be developing into under Hamilton’s vigorous administration in which he essentially assumed the role of a Prime Minister under the generally aloof Washington. And for the next half century and some change, the Federal Government did fall under the sway of the South. The Bank that Hamilton had founded did not see its charter renewed, and the Jackson Democrats became the major drivers of the early 19th century. But in time, the direction of influence reversed. Today, rather than VA imparting a Southern perspective on DC, DC asserts a Federal character and national sensibilities to the Old Dominion. It is now the natural seat of power for the nation.