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The Fall of Canada

There have been several looks recently at the possibility of Canada being successfully invaded at the start of the American Revolution and the nation becoming an American state.  However, I see a number of different possibilities that have remained unmentioned, so here’s my take on the subject. 

First notes.  The American invasion of Canada was an invasion that should have succeeded.  The Americans had greater numbers, a better leader (Arnold) and a doctrine that should have appealed to Quebecois who had reason to be distrusting of the British.  It failed for a number of reasons, including a minor smallpox outbreak, American enlistment periods ending in the middle of the invasion and the neutrality (and sometimes open hostility) of the Quebecois, whom the Americans often mistreated. 

Change any of those factors – I choose to change the enlistment periods – and Canada’s major cities/towns fall to the Americans after a bitter battle.  Apart from Halifax, which is effectively impregnable, the British lose all power in the interior of Canada. 

Now, both Scott and others have written upon the fall of Canada being a sign to the French that the rebels can win battles and therefore push the date of French entry forwards.  I’m not convinced of that, as I demonstrated above, the Americans should have won that particular battle and therefore, if the odds are so badly in their favour, it’s not a sign that they can win victories.  I tend to see such a victory as loosely equivalent to an ATL Japanese victory at Midway, which in OTL they were defeated by luck and bad planning, but they had overwhelming advantages and should have won. 

Therefore the French court will be more careful than OTL, but they have one big incentive to get into the war – the chance to recover Canada.  The French therefore begin to mobilize and offer an alliance to Ben Franklin and his team in Paris – which is contingent upon Canada being returned to them. 

In my opinion, the chances of the Americans agreeing to such a deal are very slight.  Such a decision reinstates the ‘iron wall’ round the English colonies and blocks expansion, while leaving a powerful and possibly hostile nation within easy striking range of the thirteen colonies.  The Americans therefore refuse the alliance. 

This puts congress in a very bad position.  They need French supplies to keep their war effort going or the British will strangle them without much extra effort.  The British have enjoyed successes at New York and may be able to march to Philadelphia, although many British ships have gone to the west Indies and India, securing British dominance in those regions.  Congress therefore opens up peace talks with the British. 

After much argument – both sides wanted a solution that would be a durable as the settlement after the restoration – they come to an agreement.  American colonies get home rule, with their local institutions to be respected as such, with their own tax collecting staff.  Congress acts as a unifying influence – wither it becomes a talking shop or something important depends upon its members and the response to the peace.  British remove all irksome trade rules and Americans get the right to trade anywhere within the empire.

Congress does force several important concessions out of the British.  These include the effective repeal of the Quebec Act (allowing settlement in Quebec by Americans), the end to any attempt to enforce Indian protection laws and semi-official sanction to emigrate and settle in the parts of American that are still French or Spanish held, which will eventually make them American in a very short time.  The war is over. 

The French revolution still happens, even with a desperate attempt to promote the end of the war as American treachery (as it was), rather than the failings of the system.  The King has lost all his colonies in the West Indies and India, with nothing to show for it.  The people are not happy and the revolution begins.

A war loosely equivalent to the Napoleonic wars still happens, but with the addition of America (here a British dominion) to the war as part of allied grand strategy.  Spanish American territories, Cuba, Mexico, South America and Portuguese Brazil all fall to Britain, with massive American settlement across all of America.  When Russia joins ‘Napoleon’s’ side (some one will have the chance to take power like napoleon), the Americans annex Alaska as well.  All of America, East Asia, the Pacific lands and South Africa become part of the massive British Empire. 

Some analogue to the USCW probably still happens.  The British have less economic incentive to ban slavery until later, so we might see a very confused conflict happening, but foreign intervention would be far more impossible than OTL, as would buying supplies from abroad.  Britain, however, would probably handle reconstruction better, as well as inviting blacks to settle in South Africa and other places. 

In the long run, I see a world practically divided between the British Empire and the Russian empire.  France and Germany would have fewer places to colonise and would be unable to generate the power needed to take British or Russian territory.  Europe, united in some way, would probably be a third-rate power.  Russia might fall unless they fix the problems in their social structure. 

On the political side, resistance to an empire that covers half the world and rules the world’s oceans would be even more daunting to a Gandhi-analogue than OTL.  He’d be forced to work within the system and force it to slowly accept Indians and other races as equal within the empire.  Net result, a slow creation of an imperial federation. 

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