Uh oh, the Colonials lost the war to the British! Now what?

So Mr. Washington and his rabble-rousing cohorts are defeated & rounded up and and hanged like common criminals. The Continental Army is annihilated & disbanded, and the remaining movers & shakers in the North American colonies see the wisdom of just being British.

What do things in North Amereica, and the rest of the world for that matter, look like 230 years later?


Australia and New Zealand might be other alternatives worth considering as well as Canada.

Slavery in the American Colonies goes away a lot earlier.

Hmm… I wonder if there’d be a second attempt at revolution, confined to the South and triggered by England’s declaration that slavery is abolished.

Close to the same as today. The US would have gotten independence eventually just as the rest of the British Empire eventually broke apart. We wouldn’t be using every supposed idea from some 200-years-dead guys as holy infallible gospel on how to run a nation so that might be nice.

Large parts of the United States would be territories controlled by France, Spain, and possibly Russia, for a lot longer, if not into today (you can’t really predict how far a knock-on effect will go through history). There would probably be more American Indians. One of the British policies disliked by Americans was the ban on westward expansion into the Ohio River valley. A British win over the Americans allows that policy to be enforced longer.

It would also depend on WHEN the Brits gain victory - before or after the Americans gained their alliance with France?

The possibility of an additional revolution when Britain outlaws slavery is there, but it would depend on how they did it. I am not very familiar with Britain’s legislation against slavery (beginning in 1809, I think). Total, instant abolition would definitely cause trouble. Banning the slave trade, and then transitioning to abolition gradually could probably have been managed. But since Britain and France were at war, it’s possible that Napoleon might have had agents/troops in North America causing trouble much earlier. There might have even been a little Napoleonic sideshow on this continent, given the presence of British, Spanish, and French interests. There’s the potential gain of the Louisiana Purchase (or even some of it) as terms in a peace deal in 1815.

Maybe Napoleon flees St. Helena for Louisiana and his 100 Days last a lot longer this time around…

I think it’s mainly because I’ve been reading some Mexican history lately, but I’m much less optimistic of a positive outcome. Even if all of the leaders were executed and every colony decided that they wanted to be loyal to the crown, you’ve just had a war in which many people in all levels of society have become radicalized. There’d be enough of those people that you’d probably see constant guerrilla warfare and all the horrors that that entails. When independence finally comes, it’ll be without a central government that had been created by rational men.

In my scenario, I think you’d be more likely to have slave uprisings. So maybe slavery ends faster than it did in reality. But I think it’s unlikely that the north and south would become a single country if they’re not fighting for independence together. With the south on its own as a slave-holding country, maybe slavery lasts into the 20th century.

1.) A lot of men Hang Separately

2.) The British strive to restrain westward push as long as possible, leaving Indian tribes as buffers with the French, as before the Revolution. With the leaders of the Westward Push dead, there is squatting, but no organized American movement. Pontiac’s war doesn’t happen, and maybe the tribes get a chance to position themselves better and get better deals. This sort of thing can’t go on forever, though. Eventually too many whites will establish themselves there and friction will develop. But it’ll take a very different form.

3.) No Louisiana Purchase, of course, but without a successful American Revolution, would Napoleon even come to power to set up the situation for it? The French Revolution, if it occurred, might have been completely different without the American Revolution preceding it. (If Napoleon hadn’t come into power, maybe Toussant l’Overture wouldn’t have gotten screwed. And he might have lead the very first successful revolt in the New World instead of the second, and stayed in office)

The united colonies of America would be limited to the original 13 and ruled by England. France, Spain, Russia, Mexico, and maybe Germany and Japan, would control the rest of the territory.

Hitler might decide that antagonizing Great Britain was a Bad Idea.

A super country consisting of Canada and the U.S., independan,t but a member of the Common wealth .

Canada was united as a single Dominion because it was felt individual provinces were more vulnerable to America. Without that threat, Britain had no reason to create a single country and it made more sense for them to keep their colonies small. So figure North America would be divided up into dozens of small Dominions.

With the successful American example, there would have been less of an independence movement in Latin America. Britain probably wouldn’t have wanted to see a bunch of independent countries being formed and would have supported the Spanish regimes. While Britain might have taken Louisiana from France after the Napoleonic Wars, it’s very unlikely they would have fought Spain for Mexico. So British North America would be smaller than the United States. Places like Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California would not be American.

They’d look at 2.8 million people chanting, “MY COLD DEAD HANDS!” and give it back, of course.

I think the British intent of dealing more fairly with the First Nations (which was, in part, why the colonists rebelled) would have completely changed the history of North America. The native nations would have been squeezed and compacted (and probably crapped on almost as much) but would have evolved into at least a few modern nations amid British and French colony/nations.

The other European powers in North America really didn’t seem to have the same drive to spread and really colonize the way the British did. France had the Louisiana territory but it wasn’t filling it with cities and homesteads and even Spain seemed more content with administering over the native populations than Britain’s “push them out and fill the place with white people” mentality. I think that most of the current United States area would be under British control soon enough, barring perhaps the captured Mexican states in the southwest. Anyway, British control already extended well beyond the Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Revolution.

I’ve always wondered about this. Obviously there’s a million other things that would have changed in the course of this history, but it seems to me that if the American colonies were kept as colonies into the 19th century, they’d have industrialized at a much slower rate, like Canada and Australia. The UK would have tried to keep some semblance of the mercantile system going, using America solely as raw material source and consumer market, and probably limiting the influx of Irish and European colonists dramatically. Add in the comments made above about the increased strength of Native American populations, as well as continuing French and Spanish (and probably Russian) claims to North America, and while the United Kingdom may well have been an even more dominant world power during the Victorian era, they might have found themselves in trouble come World War II without an industrialized US to rely on. If nothing else, they’d have to take care of all the Atlantic convoy duty by themselves, and probably end up relinquishing their Pacific possessions to either Japan or Russia.

I don’t think that was “intent” so much as necessity: being nice to the Indians kept them from allying with the French. Mostly.

Napoleon would still have had to give up French claims in the Americas, in all likelihood. Imagine how much harder it would have been for him to defeat a Britain that wasn’t weakened by the Revolutionary War - and that was able to conscript troops from the colonies.

I think the real question is (1) how much of the modern US would still be Spanish, and (2) what effect would British rule have had on the spread of “manifest destiny” as a philosophy?

Or the opposite. Since Britain could no longer outlaw slavery in the Empire while still buying cheap cotton produced by slavery from the American South, the abolishment of slavery in the Empire might well happen much later.

Anything would have been possible. Based on territory owned in, let’s say, 1785, England might have pushed more loyal Englishmen into the colonies to insure that no further revolutions would be possible. There would definitely be no 2nd Amendment. English, French, Spanish would be the predominate languages. King George III would still be nuts.

France and Spain hadn’t considered making a major investment in their territories - at that point in time - but Napoleon and King Charles III, or their replacements, might eventually want their share of the timber and minerals available. Enough that they might to go war to protect their interests. Germany first established a permanent settlement in Mexico around 1830. France attempted to take control of Mexico in the 1860’s. Russia might not ever have received an offer to sell Alaska.

The British would almost certainly have kicked out the French and taken their American possessions - I can’t imagine any scenario where it would not have happened.

Texas stays Spanish - its not worth the initial effort to take it and by the time it is, it is probably too late to try - there is the chance Texas becomes a nation state in its own right.

Philippines either stays Spanish, or gains independence.

Thing is, the only way that Britain does not lose the mid-American colonies is by significant changes to the way it governs, including taxes and devolved government - and during that period it just isn’t going to happen.

The US and French revolutions provide the impetus for suffrage in the UK, there was a very real fear that the status quo in Britain could not be maintained and some sort of reform was necessary. The major 1832 reform act might not have happened, perhaps there would then have been a peoples uprising, after all it is the English Civil war that demonstrated that rulers could be executed and that was not lost on the French.