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The American Nightmare

One of the little ironies about the first and last Anglo-American conflict (not counting the revolution) was that neither side was determined to fight to the finish; in fact, the war was quite half-hearted on both sides.  The Americans were unprepared for war and the British were concerned about Napoleon.  It was a war of spectacular actions, such as the burning of Washington, but there was no real outcome or a change it the status quo.

The war of 1812, however, was the last real chance the British had of reconquering their former American colony.  Not all the Americans would have been unhappy either, the state of New England, for example, seriously considered seceding.  After the government had started the war, they failed to provide any effective protection for the state in the front line. 

Im going to alter the British decision to keep the war on the back burner.  The British had the most competent commander in the north east of their continent; Major-General Brock was able, energetic and had the confidence of the Quebecois people.  He also had a good understanding of the region and the American state nearby.  Instead of a demonstration raid aimed at Washington, lets have the British launch an invasion of New England in 1814.  With British naval supremacy, an indifferent population and weak American army, its a walkover. 

The British move swiftly to consolidate their position.  They offer the Americans in the area full British citizenship and a resumption of trade under the British flag.  The economy of that area improves rapidly, giving the Americans some incentive to stay British.  The remains of the state government announce the succession from the US the British now have the northern states in their grasp. 

The defeats and the British build-up in the conquered area force the US president into making peace.  The loss of most of the northern states is recognised and they are all absorbed into the new Dominion of New England, composed of the states of New York, Maine, the smaller states in between and chunks of the states surrounding the Great Lakes.  The British also take over the US naval forces on those lakes.   British settlers flood in to the new territories. 

The balance of power in the American government what remains of it has been badly shifted towards the south and the slave states.  Assuming the British do not try to reverse the Louisiana Purchase (not a sure bet by any means), the slave states will hold a majority in congress, promoting the continued existence of slavery across the US.  A civil war might break out earlier, or the remaining non-slave states join the new British state instead. 

An interesting fact about the US was that most of the immigrants went to the North or West, not to the south.  The south tended to discourage immigrants who did not fit their preference for whites.  What that suggests is that British North America is likely to grow much faster than the rump US and probably expand through the west before the US can do so.  Texas may join the British instead of the remains of the US, although, if I recall correctly, Texas had a strong pro-slavery bent and the British were getting moralistic about such things. 

The USCW, as we know it, is unlikely to happen.  The remaining northern states wont be able to challenge the south in anyway, which would probably mean their secession (under British protection?) or them being overrun by slave owners.  One possibility is a general collapse of the south and British intervention, or a version of the Underground railway that lets slaves escape to British territory and the south declares war to recover them. 

The loss of some of its most important territories probably means that the US will not become a great power.  The British territories would be far stronger and economically more efficient.  The UK would start WW1 with thousands of extra men and fewer naval and food problems.  Without the American pressure, the UKs alliance with Japan would probably stand, which would mean that the death knell of the Empire might never happen up to our time.  The remains of the US would probably be unable to fight the Spanish-American war, which suggests that Spain keeps its remaining empire for longer. 

The downside is that slavery might continue longer and Japan probably annexes the Philippines and most of China. 

I would be interested in seeing a more detailed development of this idea.  Someone who knows more about US politics might be able to say how each state would vote. 

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