U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-17-2011, 12:46 PM
 
13,140 posts, read 36,001,283 times
Reputation: 12077

Advertisements

I've been pondering about this thread title scenario and that is in a basic nutshell i know that the american congress had declared war on great britain june 18, 1812 mostly due to the impressment of american manpower into the roral navy during the napoleonic wars however just ''what if'' we had lost that war and wound up suing for peace?

Without a doubt we know that GB would have continued consuming american manpower till napoleonic france had fallen however afterwards do you think that either George III or PM Lord Liverpool had any grandiose plans to recolonize it's once former colonial territories? Possibly allow the american south to had become it's own territory or even an sovereign country?

Last edited by Six Foot Three; 11-17-2011 at 12:56 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-17-2011, 01:19 PM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,552,424 times
Reputation: 14279
Well we kind of need to go back to the reasons both sides fought:

Americans - Wanted to end impressment of sailors and maintain their right to free trade. Canada is also seen as a general motivation for the Americans, more so than just a simple target to attack.

Britiain - Wanted to enforce their dominion on the seas and defend Canada.

In that context, no one really won the war. The British kept impressing sailors and maintaining their dominion of the seas. The Americans didn't get Canada, but the settlement removed British claims to American land around the Great Lakes and also shattered the Native American-British alliance, which helped pave the way for westward expansion since the British never got their idea of a Native "buffer zone" pushed through.

So, the question at hand is, what if the British won?

Based on their war aims and the situation in Europe, I doubt they would have attempted to annex the entire country. Chances are they would have simply looked to establish some sort of British control over all areas west of the Mississippi and establish an independent Native American nation in Ohio and Michigan, perhaps even covering northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

The ultimate result of this would have been no westward expansion. The US would have run from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, with a chunk taken out around Lake Michigan to serve as a permanent nation for the Native Americans.

On internal US politics, who knows. Perhaps the country would have fragmented, but a more likely scenario would have been a severe weakening of the perception and influence of the federal government. We may have simply been left as a confederation of independent states occupying roughly half of the land mass we currently do. Instead of Canada being our "hat", we would be their "stool".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-17-2011, 05:15 PM
 
13,140 posts, read 36,001,283 times
Reputation: 12077
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Well we kind of need to go back to the reasons both sides fought:

Canada is also seen as a general motivation for the Americans, more so than just a simple target to attack.

Britiain - Wanted to enforce their dominion on the seas and defend Canada.
NJ .... was Madison and the establishment making noises at the time about possibly attacking canada or eyeing after some of it's eastern seaboard ports with a defeated and weakened britain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post

So, the question at hand is, what if the British won?

Based on their war aims and the situation in Europe, I doubt they would have attempted to annex the entire country. Chances are they would have simply looked to establish some sort of British control over all areas west of the Mississippi and establish an independent Native American nation in Ohio and Michigan, perhaps even covering northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

The ultimate result of this would have been no westward expansion. The US would have run from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, with a chunk taken out around Lake Michigan to serve as a permanent nation for the Native Americans.
O.k. so then for example if we had lost the conflict in accordinance of your predictions then would there still had been an ''manifest destiny'' sentiment amongst the american elite going into the 1840's or was there just too many variables for us to make a surmising of ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Instead of Canada being our "hat", we would be their "stool".

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-17-2011, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,066 posts, read 17,469,167 times
Reputation: 16836
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The ultimate result of this would have been no westward expansion. The US would have run from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, with a chunk taken out around Lake Michigan to serve as a permanent nation for the Native Americans.

".
I'm in agreement that the greatest impact would have been on America's ability to expand, but in your hypothetical, you are not accounting for the fate of the Louisiana Territory. The British might have curbed expansion into the NW Great Lakes region (It was too late for them to do anything about Ohio), but there still could have been western expansion from Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, flowing into Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas Territories, Washington, Oregon, and portions of today's Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

I also think that any speculation would be subject to modification based on the size of the British victory. With but a year's interuption, Great Britain had been in a state of serial warfare with France for a decade and a half at that point. Under those circumstances, I would guess that their definition of an acceptable peace with America would not have been a highly ambitous one, nor would there have been a great deal of public enthusiasm for finally concluding the Napoleonic Wars, only to start in on some Quixotic reconquest of the lost colonies with no respite. The settlement which concluded the war was at bottom..."Okay, we stop fighting" with neither side having anything to show for it. That suggests that martial ardor was not dominating the situation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-18-2011, 11:24 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,552,424 times
Reputation: 14279
Quote:
NJ .... was Madison and the establishment making noises at the time about possibly attacking canada or eyeing after some of it's eastern seaboard ports with a defeated and weakened britain?
That whole point is still debated. Was capturing Canada a reason for the war, or simply a strategy of the war? There is recorded talks going back to 1807 that show the American "establishment" viewed Canada as a target for a couple reasons:

1. Canada had a large population of US immigrants from both before and after the revolution. It also had a large French population. Even Jefferson surmised that all the US had to do was march to Quebec and the inhabitants would welcome the liberators before the army marched onto Halifax to throw the British off the continent.

2. Madison and his supporters surmised that taking Canada would force the British to the table as it would cut off the food supply to the West Indies. This would give the US bargaining power to end impressment. This was all discussed in the years leading up to the war as a solution to the impressment question.

3. Settlers in and near the NW Territory (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin) were under constant pressure from the Indians in the area that they claimed were being supported by the British. They had spent years lobbying for the US to take Canada to end this support and promote settlement.

British and Canadian histories would lean toward saying that the capture of Canada was one of the primary reasons for the war. The US wanted the British out of North America and saw the capture of Canada as easy since Britain was occupied in Europe. The rest was just an excuse. US histories lean toward the capture of Canada as a goal of the war, but not a reason the US actually went to war.

Quote:
O.k. so then for example if we had lost the conflict in accordinance of your predictions then would there still had been an ''manifest destiny'' sentiment amongst the american elite going into the 1840's or was there just too many variables for us to make a surmising of ?
That I have no idea on, I think it is too hard to surmise, but does tie in to Grandstanders point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
I'm in agreement that the greatest impact would have been on America's ability to expand, but in your hypothetical, you are not accounting for the fate of the Louisiana Territory. The British might have curbed expansion into the NW Great Lakes region (It was too late for them to do anything about Ohio), but there still could have been western expansion from Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky, flowing into Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas Territories, Washington, Oregon, and portions of today's Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

I also think that any speculation would be subject to modification based on the size of the British victory. With but a year's interuption, Great Britain had been in a state of serial warfare with France for a decade and a half at that point. Under those circumstances, I would guess that their definition of an acceptable peace with America would not have been a highly ambitous one, nor would there have been a great deal of public enthusiasm for finally concluding the Napoleonic Wars, only to start in on some Quixotic reconquest of the lost colonies with no respite. The settlement which concluded the war was at bottom..."Okay, we stop fighting" with neither side having anything to show for it. That suggests that martial ardor was not dominating the situation.
I agree 100% that it comes down to the size of the victory. Any clear British victory would have meant the establishment of an Indian Nation in the NW Territories, so those areas would have most likely become off limits. However, the rest is all up in the air. If we are looking at a British victory that involved the capture of New Orleans and significant territory along the Mississippi, I could see them claiming everything west of the Mississippi as theres, maybe even compensating the US financially for it.

If the victory was lesser and they failed to hold much US territory and was more a case of, you recognize we won, but we don't want anything from you; then outside of the aforementioned NW Territory, I don't think much would have changed. It may even have accelerated westward expansion if the entire NW Territory suddenly became off limits.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-18-2011, 04:13 PM
 
19,905 posts, read 10,582,672 times
Reputation: 11208
I'll say this, a choice between GW Bush as President and the British as rulers, I would be hard pressed
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-18-2011, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,066 posts, read 17,469,167 times
Reputation: 16836
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
If we are looking at a British victory that involved the capture of New Orleans and significant territory along the Mississippi, I could see them claiming everything west of the Mississippi as theres, maybe even compensating the US financially for it.

.
Could Great Britain have backed up such a claim with an army of occupation large enough to police that immense territory? In 1815 there were still very few white people living in those areas. When they filled up, it was going to be with American immigrants. The Brits would have had situation akin to what happened in Texas....it filled up with foreigners from one particular nation, who continued to think of themselves as more American than Mexican. It would have been a nightmare trying to sustain hegemony over so large a territory.

It would have been more practical for them to concentrate on shoring up their gains around the Great Lakes, adding those lands to Canada as buffers against another attack from the United States.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-19-2011, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,279,037 times
Reputation: 6816
We'd now have single payer health insurance.

Seriously I don't think it would have had much impact on westward expansion through the Midwest as the settlers like my ancestors would have just done their thing under a different flag. They were already in the Midwest well before the war started (Western MO 1807). The Brits would have likely backed off their support of the Indians when the settlers switched allegiance. However, it could have prevented it into the parts of the West and Southwest we took later from Mexico. The British government may not have put as high a priority on that as President Polk.

Last edited by CAVA1990; 11-19-2011 at 07:14 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-21-2011, 09:25 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,552,424 times
Reputation: 14279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
Could Great Britain have backed up such a claim with an army of occupation large enough to police that immense territory? In 1815 there were still very few white people living in those areas. When they filled up, it was going to be with American immigrants. The Brits would have had situation akin to what happened in Texas....it filled up with foreigners from one particular nation, who continued to think of themselves as more American than Mexican. It would have been a nightmare trying to sustain hegemony over so large a territory.

It would have been more practical for them to concentrate on shoring up their gains around the Great Lakes, adding those lands to Canada as buffers against another attack from the United States.
The question would seem to rotate around what CAVA1990 was saying. Would the settlers have really cared which nations flag they were operating under? What settlers wanted most was security to live their lives. If the British, who had infinitely better relations with the Indians had been able to give the settlers that security, would the settlers have been really interested in taking the land for the US?

Another interesting offshoot of this is, if western expansion had been effectively capped, would there have been a Civil War? We all know that the issues of the Civil War primarily revolved around maintaining a balance of power in the federal government between slave and free states. It was the threat posed to this balance by the expansion into western territory and the question of whether these territories would be slave or free that fueled the tensions leading up to the war.

Then there is also the question of, if the people who did settle in a British west just happened to be slave owners, how would they have reacted to the 1833 Act abolishing slavery in the British Empire? Perhaps we would have seen a revolt of slave owners in a British west looking for support from and to join with the pro-slave US, or the formation of an entirely different nation.

Lot's of interesting what ifs could come out of a British victory in 1812, though the most realistic scenarios would probably have resulted in not much changing, other than the area around the Great Lakes becoming an Indian nation guaranteed by both the British and American governments.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-21-2011, 12:18 PM
 
2,227 posts, read 4,290,532 times
Reputation: 1019
Of course, they knew they could not won.
They were broke in 1812, not enough resources.
It was just a gesture to keep US out of Canada...
Anything else would have been irrealistic.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top