What are the more obscure butterfly effects of a failed American Revolution?

The American Revolution is one of the most important events in modern history, and a timeline where the Patriots fail to defeat the British and remain as a colony of the Empire has many effects. Often, discussions are mostly focused on America and Britain itself, but there would be so many butterflies attached to this that you have to wonder what would happen in the more obscure areas.

For me, I think of how there would most likely be no Australia and New Zealand, as those were founded after Britain had set out to explore and conquer new land to make up for the loss of America. Instead, they would be more like Papa New Guinea if anything, than what we know them as today. Also, Canada would not exist as a separate entity, but instead would exist as part of a combined colony as it did before (though Quebec is a trickier matter for obvious reasons). This also might mean that France would be in less debt, thus no revolts, no rise of Napoleon (and all the butterflies that brings), which (among many other things), means that Germany and Italy wouldn't exist so... yeah. But I can't quite say that for sure, just that it sounds feasible.

Any thoughts on this?
 
The American Revolution is one of the most important events in modern history, and a timeline where the Patriots fail to defeat the British and remain as a colony of the Empire has many effects. Often, discussions are mostly focused on America and Britain itself, but there would be so many butterflies attached to this that you have to wonder what would happen in the more obscure areas...
"Knock-ons", not "butterflies". A "butterfly" is a change in from some unpredictable outcome of an event to some other unpredictable outcome caused by some minor alteration of previous conditions, due to some major event changing.

Obscure knock-on consequences of a failed American Revolution:

Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) does not leave America for Britain at the end of the ARW (he was a prominent Tory). OTL: In Britain, Thompson became an important scientist and inventor (the double boiler, an improved household fireplace, an improved lime furnace, and others). Later he moved to Bavaria (where he was made a count); he reorganized the army and introduced cultivation of potatoes. (This happened during the War of the Bavarian Succession, also known as the Kartoffelkrieg or "Potato War".)
 
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For me, I think of how there would most likely be no Australia and New Zealand, as those were founded after Britain had set out to explore and conquer new land to make up for the loss of America. Instead, they would be more like Papa New Guinea if anything, than what we know them as today. Also, Canada would not exist as a separate entity, but instead would exist as part of a combined colony as it did before (though Quebec is a trickier matter for obvious reasons). This also might mean that France would be in less debt, thus no revolts, no rise of Napoleon (and all the butterflies that brings), which (among many other things), means that Germany and Italy wouldn't exist so... yeah. But I can't quite say that for sure, just that it sounds feasible.
I think applying certainty to any of these events is the same as assuming they remain the same.

Even after the American Revolution New Zealand didn't hold much importance for the British in totality, but they went for it wholesale, even fighting bloody wars for it (the Maori Land Wars are fascinating to learn about, if anybody cares to know more about NZ's colonial history), because they were simply afraid that the French would get it first. When the French landed settlers in Akaroa the British really ramped up efforts. It's likely the same thing would occur in this ATL, if push came to shove; India is still hugely important for the British after all, even with America still in the fold, and thus controlling the seas to India in every direction becomes a priority.

Australia's colonisation would likely still go ahead, too. Cook claimed Eastern Australia in 1770, before the American Revolution occurred, perhaps before it was even conceived of. British sailors were exploring these territories long before the American Revolution occurred (remember, Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world in the 16th Century). To say that Britain only sought out these lands because they lost a bunch of colonies in America is just false.

Additionally, "Canada" wouldn't exist at all; like the 13 colonies, it wasn't a unified entity. "Canada" was several colonies with separate administration, only loosely fused in 1783 into "British North America" as a result of the American Revolution. It only became "Canada" in 1867.

I also tend to believe that the AR's impact on France's financial situation is at times overstated. While the following French Revolution is by no means guaranteed, societal change in France is likely to occur to some extent. I also don't believe for a moment that nationalism in general will be neutered to the extent that at least some of Germany and Italy don't unify; I think you're giving far too much importance to the United States of America if you're crediting it with the eventual unification of Germany and Italy. Nationalism as a concept has existed for centuries, in different forms. We can't know for certain what conflicts will arise in Europe and push the German and Italian states into coalescence.

Realistically, we can't say "this wouldn't have happened" or "this would have happened"; all we can say is "this might happen instead". For France specifically I've seen opinions range from "absolutism will last forevermore" to "the French monarchs will still be beheaded". I think that's the great thing about alternate history, though; there's no real consensus, nor should there be (except where Operation Sea Lion is concerned, I guess).
 

Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
  • without our French revolution, Malta is likely under the rule of the Knights of St. John.
  • the opening of Japan will be different without the US depending on which power first contacts it, and how (colonial invasion, a peaceful trade mission etc.)
  • Without the Napoleonic wars, no Boertrek will likely occur
  • Belgium may remain Austrian
  • effects on Latin American borders depending on how independence is achieved
  • the survival of the chiefdom of Kau'ai if Kamehaha the Great is unable to conquer the area
 
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This got me thinking again about the strength of the butterfly effect on history. Is it so strong that an American defeat at Saratoga in September 1777 would change the weather enough to avert the death of Captain Cook at the hands of the Hawaiians in February 1779?
 
The American colonies continue to drive on the left.
No webster dictionary so America follows British standard spelling and the same for British weight like stone etc
No written constitution.
British sports like rugby and soccer etc?
American lawyers wear wigs in court.
American high schools get British system uniforms
Possible greater movement of people with the British empire.
The American colonies could get a police force based on the RIC in Ireland.
Long term a union of the English speaking countries in the empire or at least an economic union or free trade area.
Irish revolution of 1798 might be nixed. Hard to say what would happen with the 1801 act of union?
Could it include some of the American colonies?
If the US and Ireland join the union in 1801 then Irish and American MPs might cooperate in the British parliament.
The population of the USA in 1801 was 5.3 million
The population of Ireland in 1801 was 5.5 million
Probably an early end to slavery with some kind of long term right for slaves to purchase their freedom.
Former slaves might become tenant farmers on the plantations was done on the great estates of the UK.
What happens to American Indian tribes is hard to say. They could be writing letters to the crown about their treatment by the settlers?
American colonies would continue to be used as a place to transport criminals and rebels too.
No statue of liberty in New york. I cannot see the French making a present of that one to the colonies.
There could be another war with France over the remaining French colonies in North America.
The rivalry between Britain and France lasts longer.
No probation of alcohol across the American colonies, but America might get pub opening hours like the UK.
The pledge of allegiance is not going to happen. An oath to the crown that might replace it.
California gold will be very useful to the British after 1849 along with gold from South Africa will mean the British have a lot of gold.
Fewer resources for Australia and New Zealand but the British take them anyway, if for no other reason than to stop the French from having them.
Alaska would not be sold to the British colonies, the British might take it anyway.

A lot depends on how the American Revolution failed.
if it is settled peacefully or if it is a failed rebellion.
 
This got me thinking again about the strength of the butterfly effect on history. Is it so strong that an American defeat at Saratoga in September 1777 would change the weather enough to avert the death of Captain Cook at the hands of the Hawaiians in February 1779?
There might be a physics answer to that, but for the purposes of most stories on this site I think that is more of a writing question. In which case, do whatever makes more sense for your story.
 
This got me thinking again about the strength of the butterfly effect on history. Is it so strong that an American defeat at Saratoga in September 1777 would change the weather enough to avert the death of Captain Cook at the hands of the Hawaiians in February 1779?
Is this metaphorically speaking? As in...a quickly failing rebellion changes the mood temperature in London, thus changing funding for Cook? Possible, but doubtful.

Physically speaking, the only way a failed rebellion changes weather is through climate change caused by changes in world policy. That isn't happening for a century or two. Absolutely not in 2 years.
 
Is this metaphorically speaking? As in...a quickly failing rebellion changes the mood temperature in London, thus changing funding for Cook? Possible, but doubtful.

Physically speaking, the only way a failed rebellion changes weather is through climate change caused by changes in world policy. That isn't happening for a century or two. Absolutely not in 2 years.
Cook already sailed by July 1776, so his third voyage is already happening.

I do like your thinking that the butterfly effect isn’t strong enough to make our favorite historical figures disappear too quickly. So seeing Cook meet his end in Hawaii is still likely. On the other hand, great persons are framed by their circumstances, which means we won’t see Abraham Lincoln as a prime minister four score and seven years later.
 
Thinking about how the U.S independence modelled the system of government of hundreds of countries. The constitution, the tripartite power, the elections, the parliament, the presidency, and all that stuff (the way they were put up in practice in the U.S) influenced almost all of Latin America and then Europe, Africa and Asia.

How would post-ARW revolutions happen and what governments would they produce? Would the world still be dominated by monarchs or would another alternative arise sometime, somewhere? How would we think the concepts of Republic, Democracy, Parliament, "Presidency" (it could be called other thing!), and so on. I think this might be one of the biggest effects long term
 

Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
Also, as of 1776, large parts of the world that were colonized by 1920 or even 1900 have not yet been colonized. This of course depends on butterflies from the French Revolution, European development etc.
 
Cook already sailed by July 1776, so his third voyage is already happening.

I do like your thinking that the butterfly effect isn’t strong enough to make our favorite historical figures disappear too quickly. So seeing Cook meet his end in Hawaii is still likely. On the other hand, great persons are framed by their circumstances, which means we won’t see Abraham Lincoln as a prime minister four score and seven years later.
I doubt Cook will die in Hawaii twice over, however Cook on his third voyage was in poor mental health (possibly from a bout of serious illness from food poisoning he received during his second voyage) and would’ve likely still died during the voyage (I doubt it would be Hawaii all over, chances of hitting a “small” island (and then dying on that), is very low). I thought that the James Cook TV miniseries from 1987 (which is on Youtube) covered this pretty in a pretty entertaining way, though I assume it was a dramatization.

Worse case scenario for his third voyage is that he sinks a ship and kills hundreds of his men before being detained by one of his surviving captains and then court-marshalled by the Admiralty due to the loss of one of his ships (even then today, we probably still celebrate him for his two grand Pacific voyages, with historians continently overlooking the third voyage). I don’t think Cook (or Royal Navy’s) leadership is incompetent enough to allow a mad guy like the 50 year old Cook to doom his entire voyage.
 
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For me, I think of how there would most likely be no Australia and New Zealand, as those were founded after Britain had set out to explore and conquer new land to make up for the loss of America. Instead, they would be more like Papa New Guinea if anything, than what we know them as today.
Convicts would still need a penal colony and FOMO combined with best navy mean they will most likely be taken.
Also, Canada would not exist as a separate entity, but instead would exist as part of a combined colony as it did before (though Quebec is a trickier matter for obvious reasons).
I'd imagine there wouldn't be large conglomerations of colonies, like Federal US, Confederation of Canada, Federal Australia and large unitary South Africa.
It would be more on the lines of Quebec, Newfoundland, New York, Virginia.
This also might mean that France would be in less debt, thus no revolts, no rise of Napoleon (and all the butterflies that brings),
I've read that France still really had bad debt, and the ARW delayed economic collapse. So I don't know what the consequence of an earlier financial breakdown would be, and if it would be less servere without context of funding ARW.
which (among many other things), means that Germany and Italy wouldn't exist so... yeah. But I can't quite say that for sure, just that it sounds feasible.
What would replace Germany and Italy? Austrian south and Prussian north? Multiple states in Italy?
Any thoughts on this?
  • Less funding and investment for EIC. Each year that goes by, the settler colonies grow massively, that will drain financial resouces from bailing out the EIC, and general interest.
  • Also unprofitable African colonialism is likely to be ignored in Britain, though European powers might settle for that prestige.
  • Weaker Global Abolitionism. Would Britain do anti-slavery patrols and interventions while retaining a slavocrat south? That could be deemed offensive to southerners.
  • Less New Worldism. If America, the premier developed colonial-based state, is still attached to it's European homeland, will it take up that identity of modernism? It replaced Nobles with Capital, Blood with Paper, Faith with State
  • Republicanism is less fashionable.
  • Federalism is less prevalent.
  • "Marines" wouldn't be worshipped. They would be a normal amphibious naval infantry branch.
Society would lack this "neutral" "modern" place. That attempts to appeal to everyone, rather than being own thing.
 
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Thinking about how the U.S independence modelled the system of government of hundreds of countries. The constitution, the tripartite power, the elections, the parliament, the presidency, and all that stuff (the way they were put up in practice in the U.S) influenced almost all of Latin America and then Europe, Africa and Asia.
The west minister model of parliamentary government is more common than the American one.
three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, are not common in governments.
The written constitution is probably the most common one copied for the American system.

How would post-ARW revolutions happen and what governments would they produce? Would the world still be dominated by monarchs or would another alternative arise sometime, somewhere? How would we think the concepts of Republic, Democracy, Parliament, "Presidency" (it could be called other thing!), and so on. I think this might be one of the biggest effects long term
Ideas like the Republic or democracy would still be around even without the U.S independence.
 
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The American Revolution is one of the most important events in modern history, and a timeline where the Patriots fail to defeat the British and remain as a colony of the Empire has many effects. Often, discussions are mostly focused on America and Britain itself, but there would be so many butterflies attached to this that you have to wonder what would happen in the more obscure areas.

For me, I think of how there would most likely be no Australia and New Zealand, as those were founded after Britain had set out to explore and conquer new land to make up for the loss of America. Instead, they would be more like Papa New Guinea if anything, than what we know them as today. Also, Canada would not exist as a separate entity, but instead would exist as part of a combined colony as it did before (though Quebec is a trickier matter for obvious reasons). This also might mean that France would be in less debt, thus no revolts, no rise of Napoleon (and all the butterflies that brings), which (among many other things), means that Germany and Italy wouldn't exist so... yeah. But I can't quite say that for sure, just that it sounds feasible.

Any thoughts on this?
I believe every separate colony would become a dominion, like New Jersey or Virginia Or Maryland being independent. They would continue to separate culturally during colonisation.
 
Convicts would still need a penal colony and FOMO combined with best navy mean they will most likely be taken.

I'd imagine there wouldn't be large conglomerations of colonies, like Federal US, Confederation of Canada, Federal Australia and large unitary South Africa.
It would be more on the lines of Quebec, Newfoundland, New York, Virginia.

I've read that France still really had bad debt, and the ARW delayed economic collapse. So I don't know what the consequence of an earlier financial breakdown would be, and if it would be less servere without context of funding ARW.

What would replace Germany and Italy? Austrian south and Prussian north? Multiple states in Italy?

  • Less funding and investment for EIC. Each year that goes by, the settler colonies grow massively, that will drain financial resouces from bailing out the EIC, and general interest.
  • Also unprofitable African colonialism is likely to be ignored in Britain, though European powers might settle for that prestige.
  • Weaker Global Abolitionism. Would Britain do anti-slavery patrols and interventions while retaining a slavocrat south? That could be deemed offensive to southerners.
  • Less New Worldism. If America, the premier developed colonial-based state, is still attached to it's European homeland, will it take up that identity of modernism? It replaced Nobles with Capital, Blood with Paper, Faith with State
  • Republicanism is less fashionable.
  • Federalism is less prevalent.
  • "Marines" wouldn't be worshipped. They would be a normal amphibious naval infantry branch.
Society would lack this "neutral" "modern" place. That attempts to appeal to everyone, rather than being own thing.
What is EIC?
 
It's pretty much impossible to separate the British colonization of Australia, and later New Zealand, from the ARW. James Cook claiming the eastern coast in 1770 is hardly relevant, everybody and their grandma had claimed the entirety or part of Australia by that point. And just like with all the other countries that claim didn't actually originate from or result in an interest to settle the place.

For starters the British decision to settle Australia in 1786 was the end result of over a decade of negotiations in the British government about the creation of new penal colonies. Those negotiations were themselves caused by the outbreak of the ARW, and Australia wasn't actually considered as an option until after that war had already ended. Until the winter of '84-'85 the only thing being seriously considered (and tested) were various locations in Africa. Secondly the reason why near the end of the negotiations Australia actually ended up on the list of possibilities (and was eventually chosen) was because of the American loyalist James Matra. James had the idea to resettle other American loyalists on Australia, managed to present this idea to the secretary of state himself, and got an amended version of his plan (now including convicts as well) delivered to the prime minister in late 1784.

Also it had nothing to do with trade, resources, or military interests. This should be more than obvious because the original settlers were explicitly banned from trading and weren't allowed to establish a shipyard either, which would make such an isolated settlement completely worthless as an economic or military asset. Also the reason why the British didn't want the French to colonize New Zealand in the 1840s was because it could be used as a base to attack nearby Australia, which was well established by then.

Considering all of that it's safe to say that without the ARW British colonization in Australia will (at the very least) be delayed, and not just by a couple of years. This along with all the other knock-on effects of a failed ARW also increase the chances that another country will actually settle there first. Louis XVI for example had a passion for the navy, geography, and sciences, and otl funded a bunch of scientific voyages. It's not hard to imagine him doing more of that when he doesn't have to fund a war in the USA as well. And since there's no British settlement yet ittl that leaves an opportunity for him to start a settlement instead.​
 
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Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
Considering all of that it's safe to say that without the ARW British colonization in Australia will (at the very least) be delayed, and not just by a couple of years. This along with all the other knock-on effects of a failed ARW also increase the chances that another country will actually settle there first. Louis XVI for example had a passion for the navy, geography, and sciences, and otl funded a bunch of scientific voyages. It's not hard to imagine him doing more of that when he doesn't have to fund a war in the USA as well. And since there's no British settlement yet ittl that leaves an opportunity for him to start a settlement instead.​
With Australia likely divided between multiple colonizers, is there a chance for a Maori state to form and possibly even industrialize?
 

Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
Also, Majorca in the Balearics will remain British as a sorta of Large Malta and irritant to Spain.
 
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