What If…

by Dave Schuler on July 5, 2014

I can think of one immediate consequence of the colonies losing the Revolutionary War. Australia probably would have been settled much more slowly than it was.

Another: I’d probably have grown up speaking French.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy July 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

Not sure what would happen to me. My paternal ancestor came to America about 1650 and was in the Carolinas at the time of the revolution. I haven’t traced any other ancestors back that far yet.

mike shupp July 6, 2014 at 3:48 am

Maybe … my recollection is England came up with the idea of transporting convicts to Australia not too much after the place was found, and didn’t make any particular effort to send non-convict colonists there until the later 19th century. The Americas got a lot of indentured servants and some debtors, down in Georgia, but not much in the way of convicts. So the pattern of settlement might not have differed all that much, even if the US had remained a British colony.

As for the French speaking — you grew up in the Louisiana territories? I think you would have been reared as a Spanish speaker (or a Sioux).

Dave Schuler July 6, 2014 at 6:16 am

The first transportation of convicts to Australia was in 1788, expressly because the Georgia colony was no longer available for the purpose.

PD Shaw July 6, 2014 at 11:06 am

It would matter to me how the Colonies lose the war, and how the British win the peace? What did the French do, or not do?

For instance, I could see the Founder’s failing in the existing time-frame, the Glorious Cause being marginalized to reappear again a less than a generation later, or an “American” nation forming in inner-Continent. A later independence might not be so revolutionary, or at least not motivated by the same radical whig ideals.

For one thing, the cause of abolition would be set back, as the colonial emancipation movement set in motion by the Revolution would be reversed. Would the British still move towards the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, or would they now have more benefits from slavery in the colonies?

Dave Schuler July 6, 2014 at 11:11 am

Would the British still move towards the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, or would they now have more benefits from slavery in the colonies?

That was a question that occurred to me, too. I couldn’t answer it in a way that satisfied me so I just didn’t mention it.

Andy July 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

There’s probably some alternate history novels out there that explore these interesting questions. If not, then I expect Michael with give a credit to TGE when he writes one.

Mike,

My ancestor was a prisoner of war following the battle of Worchester and was sent to Mass. on the John and Sara. He made out a lot better than many of his compatriots.

http://www.americanancestors.org/scots-for-sale/

michael reynolds July 6, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Andy:

I’m already writing a sort of alternate history, but not quite. More of a parallel history. We don’t quite have a name for the genre yet. The closest parallel is Scott Westerfeld’s fascinating and cool LEVIATHAN. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan_(Westerfeld_novel) But not quite that, either.

Dave Schuler July 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Sounds a bit like Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy novels.

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