Alternate Reality: What If The UK Won The American Revolution?

United KingdomCan you imagine what life would be like if Britain had actually won the American Revolution?  They came close to it, as it was, but what would have been the outcome of the world if Britain actually defeated the Colonists and regained control over them?  This type of scenario is only speculative, obviously, but things might have been quite a bit different for Americans today had this outcome been different.  Here are five possible outcomes if history had changed. Are they for the better or worse?  Alternate time can only tell…


The British weren’t monsters.  They realized that the colonies were filled with British citizens and that not all of them were disloyal to the crown.  Certainly, the ringleaders of the Revolution would have been executed to make an example of them.  Other than that, there would have been a need to restore order.  Governors would have been set up in each colony with a group of soldiers (like there were prior to the war).  Taxes, which were largely responsible for the Revolution to begin with probably would have been placed into the hands of the colonists.  The colonies would have been responsible for paying Britain back for the cost of the war.



The British would have put constraints on how large the colonies could expand after the war.  First off, it is doubtful the Louisiana Purchase (1803) would have happened.  Britain wasn’t on very good terms with France and they wouldn’t have sold the lands to Great Britain.  Spain also wanted the territory and Napoleon, who was in charge of the French empire didn’t see a need for them to have the land, either.  It really was a “screw you” to Britain.  Napoleon Bonaparte, upon completion of the agreement, stated, “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.” Britain would probably would have given more territories to Canada.  Spain would have kept her holdings along the West Coast of the United States which would have prevented the Mexican-American War in 1846.


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America went to war in 1861 with itself.  One of the reasons for this was the issue for slavery.  Had the British won the American Revolution, this would have been a completely different story.  Britain abolished slavery in most of its territories in 1833 – almost thirty years since before the Civil War through use of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.  America would have been one of those colonies that would have been forced to abolish slavery.  The only exceptions to this were territories owned by the East India Company and the islands of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and St. Helena.  England had already abandoned slavery prior to the Revolutionary War (in 1772) and had made it illegal to transport slaves by 1803.  It is only safe to assume that slavery would have been outlawed had the war ended differently, making the economic stability of the southern states weaker.



Eventually, the American colonies would no longer actually be colonies.  As some British Colonies grew and developed their own internal legislatures they were awarded Dominion status from the early twentieth century. Essentially, this meant they were self ruling independent states within the British Empire although their foreign policy and armed forces were controlled from Britain.  The Parliament passed the Statute Of Westminster in 1931 which granted the Dominions equality with each other and with Britain and gave them full control of their foreign policy and military. Each Dominion became an independent country while still acknowledging the Monarch as the head of state. The Statute of Westminster had to be ratified by the Parliament of each Dominion, but this was largely a formality.



One of the things that would have happened if the colonies had lost to England would have been the need to help England fight its wars.  This would have put American forces into World War One  and Two much sooner than we actually did.  How would this have changed the wars?  America showed up late for both of these conflicts.  If they had been there since the beginning would the fight have been brought to our shores?  Would the lack of fresh troops in 1917 and 1943 have made a difference?  Would we have a form of government run healthcare?  Most likely, considering the rest of the old British empire does.  Would we even had a debate about such a thing?  These are all questions to consider…