Sunday, November 06, 2011
The favourite alternates in alternate history are Hitler winning WW2, some different outcome to the American Civil War and some different outcome to their War of Independence. The civil war is of less importance i=to Britain since we had no dog in that fight.
Benjamin Franklin is clearly one of Steve Sailer's heroes, and mine, and he recently reported that it was Franklin's intervention at the end of the Seven Years War that persuaded Britain to keep Canada rather than exchange it for the, initially, better return from owning an extra Caribbean sugar producing island. This turns out to be the case.
Britain had kept Canada, as Franklin advised, in the treaty that ended the ... his advice that tipped the balance in favor of Canada over the sugar islandsClearly professional politicians weren't any smarter back then. No Canada in the British Empire, but we do get Martinique and Guadeloupe!
Which shows that it is not just the simple turning points that matter and that on any turning point there are still an infinite number of further branch points. So this is not my interpretation of what would have happened but of Franklin's ideal.
Franklin said that the worst peace was better than the best war and once petitioned King George that the US colonies were the single area most loyal to the House of Hanover so I do not believe he aimed at a separate USA. I think he would have preferred either something equivalent to the Dominion status of Canada or an English speaking confederacy whose centre and capital would inevitable move over time to some populous and fairly central American city - the obvious candidate being his own Philadelphia.
Franklin was certainly committed to the settling of North America being by people closely related to him - mainly the population of the US at the time with a limited number of immigrants from Britain and perhaps a few from "white" countries, though he defined French, Italians, most Germans, Russian and Swedes as coloured - indeed only the Dutch and closely adjoining Germans weren't coloured.
He. not incorrectly, saw immigration as leaving less territory for his own people.
A combined Britain and North America would indeed have been more powerful than Britain alone. Napoleon would have been beaten much faster and the British Empire in 1815 (Waterloo) would have been as dominant as the USA was after the fall of the USSR. However history doesn't stop there.
Without immigrants the US population growth would have been slower (even though the growth of the anglo genetic inheritance would have been faster). Without competition it would probably have been economically slower, as Britain's was in the last half of the 19thC. Probably because of its predominant world position, humanity's technological growth would have been slower.
By the 20thC the Empire would have been considerably weaker than, in our continuum, they together were, and possibly not much stronger than each individually. From there you can spin numerous WW1 and WW2 scenarios, many pf them rather nasty. We also get Britain ruled from Philadelphia which may not be much better than being ruled from Brussels is intended to become.
Since that was, in Franklin's opinion the optimum scenario for his future and our past (& certainly initially far better than any scenario where Britain had a military victory and an unhappy population) I think we may, on balance, be quite pleased with the real outcome.
The anarchy of individual competition works better than even the very best central command organised by even the smartest and best of men humanity has produced.