It's heading into the 4th of July Weekend, which means that it's time for a couple well meaning articles on the reasons why the United States is a terrible idea. Vox serves one up with an article listing three reasons why the author thinks a world in which the American Revolution never happened would have been a better place. His reasons are:
1) Abolition would have happened faster if the colonies were still controlled by Britain. (Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act in 1834.)
2) The American Indians would have been marginally better treated if the US had been like Canada. (This seems like a bit of a reach in that Canada was pretty rough on its native peoples when they were on land they actually wanted. I also was amused when he cited Mexico being less hard on the Comanches than the US was since sane people, including other Indian tribes, generally wanted to be hard on the Comanches. The Comanches were bad news.)
3) A British America would probably have been a parliamentary democracy, and the author thinks they are superior to republican forms of government because they are less prone to deadlock and less likely to descend into dictatorships.
That last one I'll leave alone as it's just another example of the odd fixation of the American left with the idea that if only we had a parliamentary for of government they'd get their own way. What I found tantalizing about the piece was, of course, the chance to think alternative history for a bit, which is always fun.
I think my favorite scenario for how his scenario would play out is:
The Southern Colonies stage successful a late American Revolution in the 1830s to protect slavery. Without the North to restrain them, the American Republic expands into Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America in a slave economy empire. Slavery is eventually abolished in name around 1900 in the American Republic, but it's replaced with a rigorous apartheid regime.
When the Great War breaks out, Britain is able to draw on the manpower reserves of the North American Dominions, which include the northern colonies, which remained loyal to the crown but are also less populated, less industrial, and less rich than the Northeast US in our timestream.
However, Imperial Germany allies with the American Republic in order to open up a second American front against Britain. While the Western Front descends into trench warfare, the massive American Front sees freewheeling warfare along the lines of the historical Eastern Front in WW1. The Allies and Central Powers fight to exhaustion and reach an armistice, but with both Europe and America decimated. Roll the dice to decide who gets socialist revolutions, and Japan becomes the major power in the Pacific even earlier with no American counterweight.
I suppose it shows Britain really has totally lost its imperial power cred now, if people are fantasizing about how giving the Empire more land, people, and resources would have made the world a kinder and gentler place. It's fun trying to imagine the reaction to this piece around 1900.
Learning Notes Week of Feb 20
32 minutes ago