What if England had won?

What if England had squashed that little rebellion in it’s American colonies in the late 1700s? And after that, having learned their lesson, knuckled down on them a bit further (maybe increased troop postings and decreased civil rights as a result). Let’s assume that this may have decreased the odds of other colonies seeking their independence, both British and other colonies.

How might this have affected the course of future human events?

I realise that this is entirely unknowable, but thought it might be a fun topic for speculation…

Hmm, good one. There is an excellent book about things like this called What If? with questions such as “What if Alexander the Great was killed in his first battle?” or “What if the Confederacy won?” The cool thing about the book is all of the what if’s were very close to happening (Alexander the Great was one swing away from death when he was saved by his best friend").

There is a chapter of the American revolution and the 13 ways America could and should have won. Unfortunately I do not have it with me and I can’t remember clearly what the historian thought would happen.

It seems that the American Revolution inspired the French Revolution. If American lost I think the reverse would be true. The French would still rebel and that would inspire the Americans. Same end, different means.

And of course by “American could and should have won” I mean lost.

Won what?
They might have been able to win the war, but they would have lost the peace.
Smuggling was running rampant before & during the war. That wouldn’t have stopped, so Crown revenues from the Colonies would have been abyssimal.
The shortage of specie (gold & silver coins, paper money) that helped start the war, would still be there, so a ruined Colonial economy would have been a sure & certain result. The ongoing demand that all taxes be paid in gold or silver only would have worsened the entire affair.

The Rebels would have avoided the new government simply by moving West, into the endless frontier of the North American wilderness. This was a problem before the Revolution, resulting in many unauthorised settlements. Assistance by & to the Indians would have resulted in endless bush wars.

My conclusion–France would have become the leading European power in North America, due to England’s military & economic quagmire.

I recently read A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! by Harry Harrison. It’s a light sci-fi novel, but part of the premise is that the British did squash the rebellion. It presents a very interesting picture of what might have been–not only politically and socially, but also technologically. I’d highly reccommend it to anyone interested in this question.

Try reading Robert Sobel’s For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne had won at Saratoga, which many regard as one of the great works of counterfactual historical fiction. To oversimplify a very complicated story, Sobel tells of the perennial rivalry between two nations - one a loose confederation on the east coast under nominal British rule and the other, the heirs of the incomplete Revolution, centred on Mexico and Texas. Most of the humour is probably too subtle for its own good, but you should find it a provocative read.

Interesting theory, how would this have played out in later French - English hostilities? (Example, no fledgling US government to sell “Louisiana” to in order to finance French war efforts…)

I was also wondering about later events. Would WWI still have occurred? Would the outcome still be the same? How about WWII then? And how would the British have reacted to the slave trade when it would then have had a much greater economic impact? If the slave trade died out earlier, how would this affect other things?

Plus one might assume that a lot of later sparring between the colonies and Spain wouldn’t happen.

We’d all be speaking English.

[sub]…wait a minute![/sub]

Another book on the subject is Harry Turtledove’s and Richard Dreyfus’s The Two Georges. In his book the colonies ended up extending themselves to the Pacific, the Civil War never happened (of course!) and Martin Luther King Jr. was a knight! However, technology suffered. The main character goes across the continent in an airship (like the Hindenburg).

Zev Steinhardt

:smiley: I thought the same thing when I read the title… LMAO

Anybody ever read “He Walked Around the Horses” by H. Beam Piper? It takes that incident mentioned by Charles Fort, about the British diplomat who disappeared in Germany, and “explains” what happened. Piper was good at alternate history, and this one addresses the issue of a failed American Revolution.

If you have read the story, don’t you thing the last line(the sginature) makes the letter as funny as hell?

Judging by how Canada and Australia have turned out, I expect that there would not have been much difference.

Well, we could have lost the Revolutionary War at many points. Almost every battle was lost. Washington’s brilliant strategy won it. He kept retreating skillfully, knowing that over time it would be too expensive for the British to continue. Virtually all the other generals who wanted his job talked about bold assaults and battles to defeat the British. Frankly, that would have ended the war rather quickly in favor of the British. The Founding Fathers would have been hung as traitors, and a lesser bunch (just about anybody would be a lesser bunch) would have eventually taken over and eventually edged the British out into a commonwealth type arrangement.

What if England had won?

Well the Scots in the British army would have wondered what the hell they had been fighting for.

If England had won the American War of Independence you’d never have had:
George W. Bush, President of Virginia
The Virginia Army
The Virginia Navy
The Virgina Air Force
The Virginia Post
The Virginia Civil War
The Virginia Olympic Team

The Virginian cities of New York and Los Angeles might not have become so important in world terms
Virginians might not have been the only men on the moon
Virginian English might not have been spoken from coast to coast
Virginian teams might not contest every year’s baseball world championship

Native Americans would have gotten a better shake, not GREAT but better. So too, probably, would African Slaves.

Britain would have not allowed settlement at the rate it happened across the Appalachians.

There would have been another Revolution within a generation, OR England would have started dealing out Parliamentary seats to the states OR some kind of 1/2 assed home rule bill passed.

There would be little distinction between the “U.S.” and “Canada”.

France and Spain would not have sold LA, FL, et al. to the 13 colonies.

Well, the states would’ve won their independence sometime later. Interestingly, perhaps, there might not be a Manifest Destiny, thus there would be Indian nations in the West possibly existing for a century or two longer. That would be interesting.

On a tangent, I’ve got a game going of Europa Universalis II where I’m England in 1778. The Yanks gave my British Army a run for their money…Until the Royal Navy and 50,000 reinforcements came over. That taught em. Washington was killed in battle and the US is three little provinces. The entire Eastern seaboard is under the King’s glorious rule. :slight_smile:

I liked this short story a lot…

And Europa Universalis I is amongst my prefered games. I still didn’t buy EU II, tough. But I’m thinking about it.

You would spell in a less appalling way.