July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, America -- and Canada

Of course today is the birthday of the United States of America. However, it is effectively Canada's birthday as well. Had the US not become independent, what is today Canada would have most likely remained a not particularly differentiated part of a British North America, and what became one of Canada's founding populations -- the emigre American Loyalists -- would have remained residents of whatever of the thirteen colonies they had originally inhabited.

How the world would have truned out had the Revolution never happened, or never succeeded, is one of the perrenials of alternate-history speculation. It is all too long ago -- you can come up with scenarios that make it a better world, or a worse, and we will never know which it would have been.

So, I guess we'll just have to have a barbecue and enjoy it.

God bless America, God bless Canada, and Forward the Anglosphere!

Posted by James C. Bennett at July 4, 2006 04:32 PM

Indirectly it has similar significance for Australia as well. The loss of the American colonies gave rise to a need for a new penal colony. Britain would probably have settled Australia anyway as it wanted a foothold in the South Pacific, but the Revolution most likely accelerated this.

Britain learned lessons from its mishandling of the American colonies. Thanks to you Americans asserting your liberties, the Australian colonies were granted self-government very early - a mere few decades after the first was established as a penal colony under military rule.

Posted by: Charles at July 6, 2006 03:41 AM

The whole Second Empire approach to the colonies of settlement, including a fairly rapid transition to Dominion status and self-rule, was a reaction to the loss of the American colonies. The American Constitutional experience also served as a source of lessons learned for the Canadian and Australian foundings.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at July 6, 2006 09:22 PM

You own this topic. It is fascinating to the casual observer that, while each nation is of course its own entity, Australia seems more "American", Canada seems more "European", and Britain somewhere between the two, in terms of political culture.

Fascinating also that both Australia and Canada are more federal than the US, with states/provinces playing very significant roles in politics. Why?

Australia and Canada have fewer subdivisions. In the case of Canada, one of the largest provinces has a radically different culture and history. In the case of Australia each state's heartland is separated from its neighbors by a vast relative wilderness. I think it is also due to the fact that, being small in population, both Australia and Canada have had to rely on first Britain, and then the US for defense. The early US fought to establish itself on the North American continent against powerful European empires. This need for a strong national military helped to strengthen the national government. Surely it was no help to the Confederacy to foster the notion that Britain would come to their aid in the Civil War. No doubt that strengthened the will of the Union forces. On the other hand, Australian states and Canadian provinces had direct relationships to the British crown that bypassed the national government.

Posted by: jimbo at July 8, 2006 03:13 AM
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