Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

   Headlines  |  Alternate Histories  |  International Edition

Home Page


Alternate Histories

International Edition

List of Updates

Want to join?

Join Writer Development Section

Writer Development Member Section

Join Club ChangerS


Chris Comments

Book Reviews


Letters To The Editor


Links Page

Terms and Conditions



Alternate Histories

International Edition

Alison Brooks



Other Stuff


If Baseball Integrated Early


Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog








The Second Albany Congress

The American Revolution was a comedy of errors from start to finish.  The British blundered into the war because the government did not understand America and had paper plans that took no account of the situation on the ground.  The British also suffered from having to fight the war at long distance – often, British negotiators had to refer to London, even though that took weeks at best.  The Americans did not understand that problem themselves and concluded that the British were trying to destroy American freedoms. 

There were, however, many possible avenues to avert the war or to alter its outcome.  I am supposing that the British government appoints a viceroy – a person with the authority to make decisions on the spot – to the American colonies.  This person – Amherst would be best for the role – would then summon a congress of American representatives to discuss the future of the continent. 

It should be noted that most of the American power structure did not want a break with Britain.  Their complaints were over taxes, the occasional corrupt royal governor, the ban on settlement of Quebec and the Indian lands and the stationing of British troops in the colonies.  More minor fears included the British toleration of Catholics in New France and British impressments of American sailors.  All of these complaints can be dealt with by a sensitive royal official.

I am presuming that Amherst makes the following decisions.  The British will grant America local government i.e. charging American officials with the collection of taxes.  The American colonies also undertake to raise a few crack units – ‘crack’ in the sense of being armed at trained to at least British standards – of troops to respond to any emergency in the area.  These troops can be used anywhere in the Empire.  The colonies can also raise militia, but those can’t serve outside their colony and receive little support from the government. 

The land issue is handled in a very under-the-table manner.  The British had claimed a high moral ground, but that was little good in practice.  Essentially, the British government will ignore illegal settlement on Indian lands, but will also provide no support unless the Indians attack the main colonies.  Settlers are on their own until the expanding colonies catch up with them.  Quebec will be kept free of American settlers, but will be restricted to the modern borders of the Quebec zone of Canada.  Anything beyond that is free land – apart from the Indians. 

Finally, the Americans assemble a parliament, on a similar line to the Irish or Scottish parliaments.  This body handles disputes between colonies and co-ordinates military actions and relations with the rest of the Empire.  Effectively, the American war of independence has been averted. 

What happens next probably depends upon how important you consider the American Revolution to have been.  The French will not have spent millions of whatever money they used then to finance the revolution and arm their forces.  The extra money might just make the French king able to heal his nation without a revolution.  On the other hand, the French system – a remnant of feudalism – was pretty much gummed up.  A revolution might well happen anyway.

One way that it might happen is a second war of Spanish Succession.  Spain’s grip on her colonies was weakening by the year.  I suspect that the colonies would have risen in revolt again by 1800 at the latest, aided, perhaps, by a flood of ‘illegal’ immigrants from America.  Spain will declare war on Britain and France will join her.  Another possible cause is the Anglo-French rivalry in India.  By 1777 the British were the clear winners, but the French had not quite worked that out yet. 

That war would see the British/Americans conquer all of the American continent and the Spanish/French colonies.  The American armies and the British navy would cut them off from the motherlands and pick them off one by one.  At first, they’d try to work with independence fighters in the colonies, but probably relations would sour at some point.  Brazil would probably be separated from Portugal when (if) Spain invaded, opening it up to Anglo-American conquest and commercial penetration.  Russian entry into the war would allow the Americans to complete the Empire by taking Alaska. 

The sheer mass of power available to the Empire would probably mean that the Empire would pick up most of the world.  South Africa, Australia, Japan, et al, would be British.  Eventually, they’d get governing systems similar to the American one that gave them membership in an imperial federation.  The only other power that would be able to compete would be Russia.  I suspect that the two powers would divide China and the Ottoman Empire up between them; perhaps coming to blows over vital points. 

A British Empire that dominates half the world would be a superpower right through to the modern age.  Technical advances would be faster, fewer wars would be fought if there were fewer Powers, Africa would be largely British instead of a hodgepodge of states, Germany would probably never appear on the world stage.  English ideals and language would be dominant. 


FeedBack Form

Hit Counter