Mr. Toot probably wishes we were still a British colonyPosted: July 4, 2015
Actually the flatulent, corpulent, and unemployed loser probably wishes that we were part of the Islamic umma. Vox is a particularly nasty left-wing blog that Mr. Toot links to often.He probably wants them to buy up (it will only cost probably $20) Little Green Footballs and hope that they will pay him to write his drivel. This article is so absurd that I do not even know where to start – however it proves that the kerfuffle over the Confederate battle flag (note that it was the battle flag, not the country flag which resembled the Stars and Stripes) only masks a deeper hatred of the United States flag.
Back to the article – yeah America would have been better off if we did not break away from Britain. That way we could have been part of an imperialist, class driven society and empire, sent our sons off to die in places such as India, South Africa, Malaysia, and Ireland, and we would have had Socialism imposed upon us sooner. I tell you what Dylan Matthews and Mr. Toot – get the fuck out of America, relocate to the United Kingdom and never even dream about coming back! As for independence being bad for “Native Americans” – I suppose they would have been better off as a society that hunts and roams and had no idea about such foolish contraptions as the wheel or the horse. Stop romanticizng the American Indians! As for the joys of British rule I guess the Irish famine victims would beg to differ, if they were alive. As for a parliamentary system of government – contemplate this: Barack Hussein Obama would have been gone a long time ago so I guess there is some merit to that. However what Dylan Matthews really desires I suspect is a “People’s Republic” sort of government as they have in China, North Korea, Cuba, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Since you love monarchy so much then the Kim dynasty in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is right up your alley.
3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake
by Dylan Matthews
This July 4th, I’m celebrating by taking a plane from the US to the United Kingdom. The timing wasn’t intentional, but I embrace the symbolism. American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it.
Of course, evaluating the wisdom of the American Revolution means dealing with counterfactuals. As any historian would tell you, this is messy business. We obviously can’t be entirely sure how America would have fared if it had stayed in the British Empire longer, perhaps gaining independence a century or so later, along with Canada.
But I’m reasonably confident a world where the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: slavery would’ve been abolished earlier, American Indians would’ve faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government that makes policymaking easier and lessens the risk of democratic collapse.
The main reason the revolution was a mistake is that the British Empire, in all likelihood, would have abolished slavery earlier than the US did, and with less bloodshed.
Abolition in most of the British Empire occurred in 1834, following the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act. That left out India, but slavery was banned there too in 1843. In England itself, slavery was illegal at least going back to 1772. That’s decades earlier than the United States.
This alone is enough to make the case against the revolution. Decades less slavery is a massive humanitarian gain that almost certainly dominates whatever gains came to the colonists from independence.
The main benefit of the revolution to colonists was that it gave more political power to America’s white male minority. For the vast majority of the country — its women, slaves, American Indians — the difference between disenfranchisement in an independent America and disenfranchisement in a British-controlled colonial America was negligible. If anything, the latter would’ve been preferable, since at least women and minorities wouldn’t be singled out for disenfranchisement. From the vantage point of most of the country, who cares if white men had to suffer through what everyone else did for a while longer, especially if them doing so meant slaves gained decades of free life?
It’s true that, had the US stayed, Britain would have had much more to gain from the continuance of slavery than it did without America. It controlled a number of dependencies with slave economies — notably Jamaica and other islands in the West Indies — but nothing on the scale of the American South. Adding that into the mix would’ve made abolition significantly more costly.
But the South’s political influence within the British Empire would have been vastly smaller than its influence in the early American Republic. For one thing, the South, like all other British dependencies, lacked representation in Parliament. The Southern states were colonies and their interests were discounted by the British government accordingly. But the South was also simply smaller as a chunk of the British Empire’s economy at the time than it was as a portion of America’s. The British Crown had less to lose from the abolition of slavery than white elites in an independent America did.
The revolutionaries understood this. Indeed, a desire to preserve slavery helped fuel Southern support for the war. In 1775, after the war had begun in Massachusetts, the Earl of Dunmore, then governor of Virginia, offered the slaves of rebels freedom if they came and fought for the British cause. Eric Herschthal, a PhD student in history at Columbia, notes that the proclamation united white Virginians behind the rebel effort. He quotes Philip Fithian, who was traveling through Virginia when the proclamation was made, saying, “The Inhabitants of this Colony are deeply alarmed at this infernal Scheme. It seems to quicken all in Revolution to overpower him at any Risk.” Anger at Dunmore’s emancipation ran so deep that Thomas Jefferson included it as a grievance in a draft of the Declaration of Independence. That’s right: the Declaration could’ve included “they’re conscripting our slaves” as a reason for independence.
For white slaveholders in the South, Simon Schama writes in Rough Crossings, his history of black loyalism during the Revolution, the war was “a revolution, first and foremost, mobilized to protect slavery.”
Slaves also understood that their odds of liberation were better under British rule than independence. Over the course of the war, about 100,000 African slaves escaped, died, or were killed, and tens of thousands enlisted in the British army, far more than joined the rebels. “Black Americans’ quest for liberty was mostly tied to fighting for the British — the side in the War for Independence that offered them freedom,” historian Gary Nash writes in The Forgotten Fifth, his history of African Americans in the revolution. At the end of the war, thousands who helped the British were evacuated to freedom in Nova Scotia, Jamaica, and England.
This is not to say the British were motivated by a desire to help slaves; of course they weren’t. But American slaves chose a side in the revolution, the side of the Crown. They were no fools. They knew that independence meant more power for the plantation class that had enslaved them and that a British victory offered far greater prospects for freedom.
But all the same, the policy enraged American settlers, who were appalled that the British would seem to side with Indians over white men. “The British government remained willing to conceive of Native Americans as subjects of the crown, similar to colonists,” Ethan Schmidt writes in Native Americans in the American Revolution. “American colonists … refused to see Indians as fellow subjects. Instead, they viewed them as obstacles in the way of their dreams of land ownership and trading wealth.” This view is reflected in the Declaration of Independence, which attacks King George III for backing “merciless Indian Savages.”
When a cause is opposed by the two most vulnerable groups in a society, it’s probably a bad idea
And, unsurprisingly, Canada didn’t see Indian wars and removals as large and sweeping as occurred in the US. They still committed horrible, indefensible crimes. Canada, under British rule and after, brutally mistreated aboriginal people, not least through government-inflicted famines and the state’s horrific seizure of children from their families so they could attend residential schools. But the country didn’t experience a Westward expansion as violent and deadly as that pursued by the US government and settlers. Absent the revolution, Britain probably would’ve moved into Indian lands. But fewer people would have died.
None of this is to minimize the extent of British and Canadian crimes against Natives. “It’s a hard case to make because even though I do think Canada’s treatment of Natives was better than the United States, it was still terrible,” the Canadian essayist Jeet Heer tells me in an email (Heer has also written a great case against American independence). “On the plus side for Canada: there were no outright genocides like the Trail of Tears (aside from the Beothuks of Newfoundland). The population statistics are telling: 1.4 million people of aboriginal descent in Canada as against 5.2 million in the USA. Given the fact that America is far more hospitable as an environment and has 10 times the non-aboriginal population, that’s telling.”
Independence also enabled acquisition of territory in the West through the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican-American War. That ensured that America’s particularly rapacious brand of colonialism ensnared yet more native peoples. And while Mexico and France were no angels, what America brought was worse. Before the war, the Apache and Comanche were in frequent violent conflict with the Mexican government. But they were Mexican citizens. The US refused to make them American citizens for a century. And then, of course, it violently forced them into reservations, killing many in the process.
American Indians would have still, in all likelihood, faced violence and oppression absent American independence, just as First Nations people in Canada did. But American-scale ethnic cleansing wouldn’t have occurred. And like America’s slaves, American Indians knew this. Most tribes sided with the British or stayed neutral; only a small minority backed the rebels. Generally speaking, when a cause is opposed by the two most vulnerable groups in a society, it’s probably a bad idea. So it is with the cause of American independence.
Finally, we’d still likely be a monarchy, under the rule of Elizabeth II, and constitutional monarchy is the best system of government known to man. Generally speaking, in a parliamentary system, you need a head of state who is not the prime minister to serve as a disinterested arbiter when there are disputes about how to form a government — say, if the largest party should be allowed to form a minority government or if smaller parties should be allowed to form a coalition, to name a recent example from Canada. That head of state is usually a figurehead president elected by the parliament (Germany, Italy) or the people (Ireland, Finland), or a monarch. And monarchs are better.
Monarchs are more effective than presidents precisely because they lack any semblance of legitimacy. It would be offensive for Queen Elizabeth or her representatives in Canada, New Zealand, etc. to meddle in domestic politics. Indeed, when the Governor-General of Australia did so in 1975 it set off a constitutional crisis that made it clear such behavior would not be tolerated. But figurehead presidents have some degree of democratic legitimacy and are typically former politicians. That enables a greater rate of shenanigans — like when Italian president Giorgio Napolitano schemed, successfully, to remove Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister due at least in part to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s entreaties to do so.
Read the rest if you can stomach it. http://www.vox.com/2015/7/2/8884885/american-revolution-mistake