What do the British (now) think of the American Reveloution?

What do the British (now) think of the American Reveloution?

Strictly from an English person’s stand point.

It happened. Nothing to be done about it.
Other territories have been lost since then.
You can only “What If” back so far without losing everything in the countries history i.e. “What if the romans never invaded?..” .
Besides Britons are so busy resistant to European culture we need to get our entertainment sources somewhere.

I think most British people only think about it in History class or when it’s mentioned by Americans (such as by your post). It always comes as a surprise to me how many Americans I meet expect it to be the first thing a British person would mention as if it’s on our minds the whole time.

The Roman invasion, William the Conqueror, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII, the Civil War, the American Revolution, the Battle of Waterloo etc. etc. - just events of long ago, not daily breakfast table conversation material.

I also suspect that British posters to this board are much more likely to mention it here than they would in real life.

I agree with everton. Just another colonial war that we were invariably going to lose one way or another.

If asked whether I feel as though it is a great loss, I would have to say not especially.

I think that the loss of India is far sadder. Their culture, religion, depth, art, architecture etc. is far more enviable and magnificent.

But that’s just my opinion.

I do recall hearing a local (California) news show reading a letter from an Englishman who blamed the American revolution for inspiring the eventual loss of all of England’s colonies. He wrote during the oil crisis of the 1970s, in response to Independence Day celebrations.; his argument was that, had England kept its middle eastern possessions, reasonable oil prices would come from Whitehall, so the whole thing was our fault.

Did he write it in crayon?

Monty Python’s John Cleese once said regarding this, "The French are our natural enemies…"

A few years back, right around the Fourth of July, the English actor Jeremy Irons was a guest on “The Tonight Show”. Leno asked him point blank about his feelings re. our Day of Independence.

Irons, nonplussed, stammered, “Well, what am I supposed to say? [and gesturing gaily with an index finger] ‘Hip, hip, hooray, we’ve lost The Colonies!’?” This earned a big laugh from the audience, and Leno collapsed in a fit of the giggles.

It was a brilliant moment.

“Oh well, the grapes were sour anyway.”

In Britain, progressives and radicals were supporting the colonies against the king who they despised as a despot.

Its a shame the American Revolution didnt become an English Revolution as well.

And bmerton - how much more splendid would India be if us (?) British hadnt screwed it over?

I was under the impression that Britain would have won the war if they’d had the will to put more men and resources into it.

As it was they gave up pretty easy really because they decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.

In fact, as colonial powers go, Britain was the best at giving up it’s colonies without too much bloodshed. I know there were battles in India and Africa and America but they were pretty small scale compared to, say, France in Algeria.

Once Britain got the idea they weren’t welcome in a colony, they put up a token fight but then withdrew soon after.

The exception to all this is Ireland, of course, but then Ireland is different being so close and all.

I’ve heard, in the UK, the 4th of July is occasionally known as “Good Riddance Day”.

It does seem a bit like asking how the British feel about losing the Angevin Empire, which they fought a war over for 100 years. The American War for Indepence must seem like a trifle, even if you consider the War of 1812, which, of course, was nothing compared to Napoleonic Wars raging on the Continent around the same time.

You must remember that Britain lost most of its colonies within living memory and, more remarkably, did so without any obvious long-term trauma to the national psyche. The British may be nostalgic about many things, but the Empire is not one of them, except perhaps in a very superficial this-season’s-look-is-the-Raj sort of way. For most people, including most of the older generation, Britain’s imperial past now seems utterly irrelevant. It could be said that the British have come to terms with that past by forgetting about it. The loss of a few colonies over two hundred years ago is even less of an issue.

If you didn’t have Mel Gibson on your side we would never have lost. (come to think of it, didn’t he save Scotland as well?)


The loss of the 13 Colonies in the Americas was before Britain started seriously Empire-building; Britain held relatively few territories back then. It has been argued that the loss of part of the Americas is what spurred Britain on to properly start the conquering process, ending up with the biggest Empire the world has ever known.

So, if Britain had got a kick up its pants, maybe France would have gone on to dominate the world - and just look how their ex-colonies have ended up…

Yeah, he’s doing India next.

Mel Gibson IS Ghandi!

But wait, they’ve already done a Ghandi movie! It’ll have to be a sequel… GHANDI II.

Oh wait, that’s been done too :smiley:

There are always Brits at the 4th of July celebrations in Oslo, by the way. Their comments on the meaning of the day? Mostly “They’re not sold out of pecan brownies yet, are they?” and “Say, what time are the hula girls on stage this year?” :wink:

Are the 4th of July celebrations big in Oslo?

It would instead probably have been screwed over by the French or the Russians (see The Great Game, Peter Hopkirk).

Mmmm, just think of the food fusion if Napoleon had conquered India!

I don’t, in fact I had never heard of it until you mentioned it. :wink:

Seriously though, It’s history, like my parents’ divorce.