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What if the American Revolution Never Happened?


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Today the United States will celebrate the 241 years since the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Indepenence and broke away from Great Britain. But what if it never happened? Forget for a moment all the reasons it did and consider an alternative timeline. How would the world be different? How would North America be different? How would history have changed?

 

Jusr some of my ideas:

 

  • North America would likely be many countries rather than 3. Canada would never exist. Quebec and Ontario would eventually be a single entity and would likely be the capital of a French speaking country that spans from north of the Great Lakes to New Orleans. This is assuming a successful Quebec independence bid, peaceful or otherwise. If that did not happen the French and Spanish (and later just the French) would still control the Mississippi.
  • A Canada like country would likely exist east of the Mississippi from Georgia to New Foundland.
  • The Westward Expansion would not have happened without a war with France. Maybe not even then.
  • Florida would likely be an independent nation (the collapse of the Spanish empire was going to happen no matter what. The Dutch had already broken away, there were Basque & Catalan rebellions in Spain, their economy was f----d, etc.). It would be under constant stress from Spanish speaking Catholics and English speaking Protestants filtering down from whatever the Colonies are called now. Civil war is probable.
  • California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas would likely have formed a Spanish speaking nation or two. For all the same reasons Texas  became an English speaking one. The government of Mexico was weak, unpopular, and far away. 
  • If one or two of the Indian Tribes had attained supremacy over the others (the Sioux were most likely because they had the means and the inclination) it possible a independent Indian nation could have formed with one or two more in the north western US & Canada.
  • Slavery would have ended in North America much sooner than it did. Except for Florida possibly.
  • Alaska may have stayed a Russian possession.
  • The French Revolution might never have happened. Now this is a big one. No French Revolution means no Napoleon. Total game changer.

Do you guys agree? Disagree? have other ideas? Let's hear them?

Edited by Guard Dog
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All the movements of colonial independence would have happened differently and later. The Enlightenment would have lost a lot of its sheen, and the western world would be more religious today. Republicanism would be in the minority among western countries, today. The First World War would have been a vastly different event.

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  • Florida would likely be an independent nation (the collapse of the Spanish empire was going to happen no matter what. The Dutch had already broken away, there were Basque & Catalan rebellions in Spain, their economy was f----d, etc.). It would be under constant stress from Spanish speaking Catholics and English speaking Protestants filtering down from whatever the Colonies are called now. Civil war is probable.

Actually, during the 18th century, Spain was undergoing something of a recovery from the disastrous previous century. It was mostly post-French Revolution events (especially the Peninsular War) that broke the back of the empire, this time for good. Without a French Revolution, it's possible that the empire might have lasted longer due to strong rule from metropolitan Spain preventing criollo subversives from successfully mounting independence movements.

 

That would have probably been bad, btw. Consider that the Spanish Inquisition wasn't dissolved until 1834... and Bourbon monarchs weren't known for their liberal tendencies. One of the most defining cultural currents of our history also arose chiefly in response to the defeat in the Spanish-American War which, without the US, wouldn't have happened.

 

It's also possible that if Spain hadn't been such a non-factor in the early 20th century, we might have been involved in WWI, which is also bad no matter how you look at it.

 

So yeah, go rebels.

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The space alien invaders would have never been defeated at Roswell and now we'd all be slaves of the Galactic Empire.

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o O (Grumble, When you hit delete to remove a word, but because you've moved the cursor just so it decides to backpage and  you lose everything you had written..)

 

I can agree on the French Revolution aspect.  It's always amused me, the French King sent money and arms to the Americans purely to serve as a poke in the eye to the English. He wasn't concerned with them winning or losing, just being irritating. But the success of the American Independence laid the framework for the French Revolution and his own downfall.

 

The Napoleonic Wars did change the face of Europe in a lot of ways, plus, the acceptance of the Napoleonic Code of law had a big effect. It's one of those things that's caused a lot of frustration between the UK and the rest of Europe over the last 50-70 years and one of the small things that troubled the EU.

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Just a note, the scnario I guess at in the first post only goes so far as the late 1800's. I'll give this some more thought today as to how that would evolve at the turn of the century and beyond. 

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o O (Grumble, When you hit delete to remove a word, but because you've moved the cursor just so it decides to backpage and  you lose everything you had written..)

Yeah, that actually happened to me while typing the post above. Don't know if you're aware of this, but the forum does save the stuff you write periodically. To recover it you need to go into full post mode, and under the post window you should have something along the lines of "view saved content", from which you can restore it. The save function could stand to work more often, though. I think it's once every 5 minutes or something.

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Without doing too much research, since I am on vacation, my gut reaction is that it was just a matter of time before the colonies found a way to break away. They were too wealthy and too independent to do otherwise.

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We'd see a vastly different geopolitical landscape and development of theory. It's 240 years of alt history which makes it signifigantly harder to describe what would happen if say Germany won WW1.

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Just a thought, if the American revolution never happened, which led to the French Revolution not happening then the Franco-Prussian War would not have happened. the result of that was a united German state that became the Germany of today. That is not to say Prussia, Baden, Wurttenburg, Bavaria and other smaller States might have united eventually. But a fractured Germany could have ended up controlled by Austria. Which changes the 20th Century for Europe completely.

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Just a thought, if the American revolution never happened, which led to the French Revolution not happening then the Franco-Prussian War would not have happened. the result of that was a united German state that became the Germany of today. That is not to say Prussia, Baden, Wurttenburg, Bavaria and other smaller States might have united eventually. But a fractured Germany could have ended up controlled by Austria. Which changes the 20th Century for Europe completely.

 

The various European nations would have found other reasons to fight their wars. The Industrial Revolution would still proceed, inevitably leading to mass warfare.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Just a thought, if the American revolution never happened, which led to the French Revolution not happening then the Franco-Prussian War would not have happened. the result of that was a united German state that became the Germany of today. That is not to say Prussia, Baden, Wurttenburg, Bavaria and other smaller States might have united eventually. But a fractured Germany could have ended up controlled by Austria. Which changes the 20th Century for Europe completely.

The various European nations would have found other reasons to fight their wars. The Industrial Revolution would still proceed, inevitably leading to mass warfare.

And also leading to the rise of socialism. There would've still likely been the Russian revolution (the tsar had it coming, and especially without the rise of western democracy as a prominent alternative there would be few competing ideologies); and with no united America the entire western power would seize to exist after Europe is done beating itself up, for a few decades at least... no American aid means a slow recovery, if at all. Without a strong west, there might have also no strong imperial power to support the whites in Russia, and thus no big or no civil war at all. The RSFSR would've likely come into existence, probably also the USSR, yet it is difficult to say how it would be structured. On one side there would've been far less need for the authoritarian regime since there is no enemy of the same strength as America would've been, on the other side the idea f democracy wouldn't have been as strong at the time. Furthermore, some sort of nationalism similar to fascism would've likely still come into existence in Europe (as it fed of the diminishing national pride in Germany, Spain, Italy; something similar would be likely to happen), or perhaps communism (looking at pre-Hitler's Germany's elections not all too unlikely). Which means we could've either seen some sort of communist alliance over Europe in a sort of "CEU" fashion, or there would've likely been a war between fascist Europe and communist Russia. Japan's development would also be interesting, though I don't know enough to say that.

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I'm of the opinion that its such a big change to events as we know it that it'd be almost impossible to truly categorize the fallout as it would change so many large and small things as it wouldn't just eliminate events but it'd change the way people thought.  That said, I can't resist a couple of "what-ifs":
 

  • North America would likely be many countries rather than 3. Canada would never exist. Quebec and Ontario would eventually be a single entity and would likely be the capital of a French speaking country that spans from north of the Great Lakes to New Orleans. This is assuming a successful Quebec independence bid, peaceful or otherwise. If that did not happen the French and Spanish (and later just the French) would still control the Mississippi.
  • A Canada like country would likely exist east of the Mississippi from Georgia to New Foundland.
  • French expansion led to the Natchez War which had left much of Mississippi and Alabama under Choktow and Chickasaw control (and maybe Creek?)
  • The desire of the State of Georgia to shore up its claim to the "Yazoo Lands" (even though the Natchez War had ended with the Yazoo tribe wiped out) was only really possible post-Revolution and possibly one motivation (the return of Florida to Spain post-US Revolution) would be removed.
  • Without the Yazoo Land Scandal, there would have been no call from Washington to control 'Indian affairs" and thus no Treaty of New York; as such there'd have been no need for the British to support William Bowles (a colonial loyalist) to form the 'state' of Muscogee unifying the Cherokee, upper and lower Creek, Chocktow, Chickasaw (covering most of North and Middle Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi) which challenged various land treaties, including those of the Treaty of New York
  • British controlled Florida doesn't go back to Spain; without the US, there is no Creek or Seminole Wars 

Which leads to the big question, given that the UK backed Muscogee and seemed to somewhat back the Seminoles (they denounced the Seminole Wars, IIRC) would Britain have negotiated (and kept) agreements that gave those two groups their own lands had there been no US Revolutionary War?

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Maybe we would get to the same destination but in different way. I mean, it wouldn't be the same but maybe we would still get to the result somehow. Similar but different - like Miyagi quoted.

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Which leads to the big question, given that the UK backed Muscogee and seemed to somewhat back the Seminoles (they denounced the Seminole Wars, IIRC) would Britain have negotiated (and kept) agreements that gave those two groups their own lands had there been no US Revolutionary War?

 

Given the rest of British history it seems unlikely the agreements would have been kept long term. In some places agreements tended to be broadly honoured as they needed the ruling elite to control the general populace (eg Raj statelets, Sokot Nigeria) but that seems unlikely to apply there, and when the majority population was not native the agreements tended to be ignored or significantly abrogated. Long term it seems unlikely that natives would have remained the majority in most of North America any more than they did in reality and we can only presume that many of the same drives that happened under the US or somewhere like New Zealand would happen under a British (eastern) North America.

 

There's also France to consider, with no US you're likely to get a continuation of significant wars every 50 years between Britain and France, and as soon as that happens you'll get troops, settlements, support infrastructure etc in native areas and any 'independent' states are likely to get 'protected' from France.

 

I'd also say that the French Revolution still happens even without a US one- it served as inspiration, but the underlying economic and social problems in France would never be fixed under Louis XVI so the effective bankrupcy, punitive specific taxations and the like still would have happened. You might not end up with a democratic France, but then Revolutionary France was actually democratic for approximately a long weekend anyway.

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