Saturday, June 27, 2015

Was the American Revolution a Just War?

A week early, but see here. 

13 comments:

B. Prokop said...

At first glance it sounds like a frivolous question, but having lived in the UK myself for several years as well as having long term close professional partnerships with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, I've slowly come to the conclusion that the American Revolution was, all in all, a great disaster for Mankind.

Had the colonies stayed with the British Empire, there likely would have been no genocide against Native Americans, but we would have expanded into the West in the same relatively peaceful manner as the Canadians.

Had the US been British in the 19th Century, it's hard to imagine that it would have taken a bloody Civil War to end slavery. Slavery would have been phased out legally as it was in other British possessions.

Had the US been linked to Britain at the beginning of the 20th Century in the same manner as Canada, etc., it's hard to conceive of Germany ever daring to start the First World War (let alone the Second). Thus, no Bolshevik takeover in Russia, no Holocaust, no Cold War.

Had there been no American Revolution, we'd still be spelling honor "honour" and color "colour", and we'd be accenting mandatory and contractor on the second syllables.

We also would not have our current Supreme Court.

So whether or not it was a just war, it was certainly an unfortunate one.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Victor Reppert said...

But I don't think the game of Alternate History can be played with any degree of accuracy.

B. Prokop said...

I agree, but it is one of the most fun games around. I can think of at least six ways the South could have won the Civil War, for instance. (Or, more horrifyingly, two or three where the Axis win the Second World War.)

SRV said...

A CSA victory in the War of Northern Aggression would have been far less "horrifying" than the victory of Lincoln's destructive Union thuggery and tyranny. If the South had won, slavery would have eventually ended peacefully, over 600,000 Americans would not have lost their lives, and Federal power would have been checked by the ultimate weapon against its abuse intended by the founders, secession. The Lincoln regime of terror destroyed the original Constitution, and set us up for our current suffering under the oppression of an out of control Washington.

B. Prokop said...

A Confederate victory would have been only the first in an endless series of wars over who controlled the West and the Caribbean (where the South had territorial ambitions). It also would have meant no USA to come to the rescue of the rest of the world against Fascist aggression in the mid-20th Century (assuming the Allies could have won even the First World War).

All in all, although I still maintain that an alternate history with an all-powerful British Empire that included the entire North American continent would have been the Best of All Possible Worlds, a world without the USA in the last century could only have been a disaster.

Jezu ufam tobie!

SRV said...

The South did have ambitions, sure, and actually controlled part of Arizona for a time (Confederate Arizona Territory). But I will always maintain, at least in the light of the ORIGINAL Constitution that Lincoln essentially set fire to, that a Confederate victory would have been more right and just. And if there had been no USA as we know it in the early 20th century, there may not have been intervention in WWI. One can argue quite reasonably that Woodrow Wilson's actions led to the rise of Hitler in Germany. The US intervention in World War One was a major mistake and had disastrous consequences.

Two can play the alternate history game, Bob. But right is still right.

B. Prokop said...

It's kind of interesting that this started out as a question about the Revolutionary War, but seems to have settled on the Civil War. Perhaps that's just more evidence for the theory that the two are actually Parts A and B of a single conflict.

SRV, As for the "rightness" of the Civil War, don't forget that the South started it. Recall that I wrote that I could think of at least 6 ways the South could have won. The first way would have been to never fire the first shot. The bombardment of Fort Sumter did what Lincoln would never otherwise have been able to accomplish - unite the Northern populace around the idea of reuniting the country by force of arms.

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

Six ways the South could have won the Civil War:

1. Don't start it.

2. Push HARD in the early months into Missouri and Kentucky. Not the halfhearted effort that actually occurred. Sever the Northeast from the West.

3. Put competent leadership at the head of the army in New Mexico. Drive to the Pacific and enlist California on the Southern side. Put the Union on the defensive in the West.

4. Don't wrap your complete battle plans around 3 cigars for the Union troops to find, just prior to the Battle for Antietam.

5. Win the Battle of Perryville and add Kentucky to the Confederacy.

6. Jubal Early captures Washington in July 1864 along with the entire Federal government (to include President Lincoln). South sues for peace, holding the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court as hostages.

I can think of two or three other "missed opportunities" as well.

SRV said...

Jeff Davis make a serious error in the attack on Fort Sumter. Agreed. Lee's mistake at Gettysburg. On and on. Tragic. The Southern cause was just, regardless.

B. Prokop said...

I actually think (and I really do think this) that both sides in that war were "in the right".

Ilíon said...

^ Hmmm ... so, just as individuals sometimes "speak past one another", that is, both *think* they're talking about the same thing, using the same words, they are not, so, too, nation-states may be fighting different wars against each other?

Ilíon said...

"It's kind of interesting that this started out as a question about the Revolutionary War, but seems to have settled on the Civil War. Perhaps that's just more evidence for the theory that the two are actually Parts A and B of a single conflict."

Well, you know, the American Revolution *was* the English Civil War 3.0

B. Prokop said...

I recall visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield 3 or 4 years ago, and the park ranger explaining to the visitors how the soldiers of both sides in that battle were fighting for their country, and were deserving of equal honor, and of our thanks. I wonder if, in today's climate of Stalinist re-writing of history.. uh, excuse me, I meant to write "in today's enlightened environment of sensitivity and tolerance".. visitors nowadays would hear similar words? (I ought to go back and find out. The park is only about a 2 hours drive away.)

Jezu ufam tobie!