The First 911 Security Disaster - at
by Steve Payne
says: what if the British had triumphed at Lake Champlain in 1814?
Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily
reflect the views of the author(s).
11th September 1814: on
this day the American troops of Brigadier General Alexander Macomb
(pictured) abandoned Lake Champlain. It was a decisive victory for the
newly arrived British Army of Lieutenant General Sir George Prévost who
split the New England states from the rest of the Union.
Two years before, the US Congress had been falsely informed that America
was fighting the War of 1812 to secure her boundaries, namely
"freedom of the seas" and relief from the incitement of native
americans on its western frontier. Of course both war aims were
objectives that could only be achieved by a forceful expression of
In reality, James Madison had launched America's first war of expansion
with the unrealistic expectation of annexing Canada. Such a decisive
move would likely end the triangular security struggles in the
north-east by forcing the British to finally accept the United States as
a sovereign nation. Ironically, Benedict Arnold had come within a
whisker of conquering Canada in 1775 when he had almost defeated a
bigger British fleet to a standstill at the same location, on Lake
Champlain. But the war had taken longer than expected and Madison's
window of opportunity had been firmly closed now that America's
long-term allies the French had been utterly crushed at Waterloo. Not
only were the British surging with victory, they were able to release
fresh forces to secure British North America. In Washington, it was even
rumoured that none other than the victor of Waterloo, Duke of Wellington
himself would be appointed Supreme Commander.
Had the outcome of the Battle of Lake Champlain been reversed, it was
very possible that Great Britain might have finally accepted the United
States as a sovereign nation. The trouble for Madison was that the
British negotiators at Ghent could leverage Macomb's defeat to demand
territorial claims against the United States on the basis of Uti
possidetis by retaining territory they held at the end of
hostilities. The second War of Independence had left America isolated,
and at the mercy of a resurgent British Empire.
says, considerable amounts of source material have been repurposed
from the source articles Ian Bickerton and Kenneth J. Hagan, "The US
and the Unintended Consequences of War" published in History Today
Magazine, January 2008 Edition and also Wikipedia.
Editor of Today in
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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting