Politics Thread


#461

which military (out of curiosity) I’m thinking of signing on with the french foreign legion when I turn of age


#462

German “Bundeswehr”.


#463

I understand that they are very well supplied technologically speaking at least.


#464

@Cataphrak
Just out of curiosity, which city do you live in? I’ve lived in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary, but I’ve never actually seen a bear outside of a zoo. Saw deers occasionally. Caught a glimpse of wolves a couple of times…


#465

@hahaha01357
I live in the Vancouver area, Coquitlam to be exact. It’s pretty urbanized out here but we still have significant greenbelts remaining.


#466

I don’t think the American Revolution is being looked at in the right, viewpoint. The colonists had lived for years and years while Parliament was busy waging wars elsewhere. Suddenly, American businesses are being taxed, which is a pretty new experience. You also have many businesses, especially New England industry, that cant hope to contend with English business (which would remain true until the Protective Tax of Henry Clay, 1816). So there was definitely economic incentive to Revolution for many. Also, the intellectuals of America were all post-Enlightenment thinkers. So a lot of ideas about personal liberty and self-government were already floating around. Sure, I concede British citizens had it worse. But don’t underestimate how it felt to all of a sudden be taxed for things that had never been taxed for before. (Think gas prices, sudden rise in America’s gas prices created a lot of grumbling, but Europe’s are still way worse.). Idk if they SHOULD have rebelled, but with mishandling of the situation, which Britain DID have (think Boston Massacre), I think its easily understandable WHY it happened, and the reasons for it at the time.

That being said, even at the time over 1/3 of Americans felt Revolution wasnt the answer.


#467

@Raven And GB’s desire to crack down on pirating! Arrgh!


#468

22 Nationalism…(not racism)


#469

@Raven As soon as America resembled anything more than a pioneer living in a log cabin, there was a system of government and taxation in place. The difference was not between no taxes and taxes, all of a sudden, but between people not paying their taxes, and people being made to pay their taxes. Their “intellectuals” can bastardise Locke all they want, it doesn’t make this a crusade for property-rights. And Britain hardly mishandled the situation: Taxes were revoked as soon as complaints began and America was offered representation in Parliament. That a few scared soldiers panicked when surrounded and attacked by a mob of reprobates hardly constitutes a massacre, nor warrants complaint. But the revolutionaries were always keen on their slanderous propaganda; the uprising was so unjust, even Jacobites bore arms in defence of King George.

We’re dealing with an empire so ethical in its dealings that it even managed to win over the loyalty of the French in Quebec; because of the liberal terms of the Quebec Act, French Catholics(!) even threatened to excommunicate anybody who rebelled against the King. As I said, the “war” was naught more than a temper-tantrum.


#470

@Drazen When was “America offered representation in Parliament”? And by who?


#471

@P_Tigras I believe it was raised during one of Benjamin Franklins talks in Parliament. Naturally it was rejected as unsuitable.

Why on Earth would the Colonials want representation? If they were represented they could be out-voted; they wanted all the attention and special status that came with not having de iure representation. Makes them louder.


#472

@Drazen It is true that colonial interest in joining parliament receded after the Stamp Act was passed and positions hardened. Living in London, Franklin’s understanding of sentiment back in the colonies wasn’t always completely up to date, so at times he made statements on behalf of the colonists that were out of touch, and that thus made him suspect in the colonies, which in turn forced him to go out of his way to toe the line once he realized his mistakes. He tried to walk the tightrope by recognizing the authority of the King and not the parliament, much to the chagrin of the ascendant Whigs. Nevertheless I’m unaware of any serious attempt by the British parliament to invite the colonials to send representatives with full voting rights.


#473

@P_Tigras It was never strong to begin with. When Franklin was first sent to London, his role entailed preventing parliamentary representation from being instituted, as that would secure a political class for America that the bourgeoisie middle class upstarts didn’t want. When the Stamp Act was passed (and repealed, almost instantly), support for parliamentary representation, as you said, dropped further.

Didn’t stop the revolutionaries from saying “No taxation without representation” - Why lose a perfectly good propaganda slogan, after all?


#474

@Drazen
As a bloc, the colonial section of Parliament might be outvoted, but the ability of a third and relatively minor party to play kingmaker in a legislative body is not unheard of. It wouldn’t be hard for a “Colonial Party” to play off the Whigs and Tories and earn concessions in exchange for voting with a minority government (which becomes infinitely more likely with three parties instead of two) to advocate their home isles-exclusive policy (bills regarding the Irish, or foreign relations with Russia, for example).

IIRC, the Stamp Act was never popular in Britain either. I seem to recall one of Lord Chesterfield’s letters decrying it as unprofitable in the long run.


#475

@Cataphrak Even if the Colonial MP’s worked in unison, allying themselves with Whigs or Tories as the situation warranted, the MP’s would still come from the upper echelons of society - the wealthy mercantile and landowning class. The revolutionaries, on the other hand, were of the insolent middle class variety. Their interests were at odds… Bloody middle classes.

Which is not to mention, of course, that even if the upper classes campaigned for the radical mind-set of the terribly named “Patriots”, there was no way in hell either Whig nor Tory would allow it to pass. Their ideals were so asinine as to be wholly infeasible, not to mention outright detrimental to the rest of the Empire. It would have boiled down to a subsidised Colony, and who’d vote for that, except the colonials?

Representation boiled down to either passing reasonable policies or being outvoted, and we saw how the fanatics reacted to that choice - No more representation, then.


#476

@Drazen
The revolutionaries were middle class by English standards, but they were *very* upper class by colonial ones. The Adams brothers were prosperous businessmen (A respected lawyer and a brewer whose stuff still exists in sad, weak American form today), George Washington was a wealthy man with 40 000 acres of land, as was Jefferson, who had 40 slaves and had already served in Virginia’s legislature. Ben Franklin was a former member of the Pennsylvania Legislature and had honourary degrees from almost every reputable university in the Empire.

No doubt the home-born MPs would have considered their new colonial colleagues “rustic”, perhaps even “primitive”, but when they owned as much property as some titled nobles, they would have been accepted eventually.I have no doubt that if the “Founding Fathers” were offered early enough, they would have gladly joined the British Parliament. After all, their stated purpose for rebellion in the first place was to “gain the rights of Englishmen”, which they considered due to them.

As for the colonial lower classes, some of them *DID* try to rebel in the 1790s, then the government they had fought to establish started doing things like levy taxes (which they had realized, to their horror, was necessary for the function of any state). Said rebels were crushed, handily. Any rebellion without the support of the educated and propertied classes after the latter’s integration into British government would have been just as easily quashed.


#477

@Cataphrak It takes more than wealth to make somebody upper class - the colonists may have been landed, but they certainly weren’t gentry; You can’t buy values (evidently). As you know, there was a miss-migration into Canada after the Colonies were lost, which included much of the American mercantile class - which kinda goes to show the ideological differences between the mercantile upper classes (who retained their connections to Europe and the Empire through trade) and the middle classes (who had but land in America alone). The latter were mere upstarts, culturally speaking: beggars wearing purple who one mistakes for a king.

I have great doubts that they would have accepted joining the British Parliament, since it was discussed and rejected on several occasions - if they didn’t want it later, they wouldn’t want it earlier, since the only changes that had occurred since then were Parliament becoming more lenient, and the “Patriots” becoming more fanatical. And, also, aside from the existing resistance to doing so, due to the loyalist class who’d get into office, it would also mean finalising the layout of constituencies which were protested to so energetically by the expansionistic colonials. It was far more profitable to defy Parliament and invade the Iroquois Confederacy, nabbing all that land, than to become represented in Parliament, with established borders and constituencies.


#478

@Drazen
I can’t really agree that the Virginia planters and New England merchants were “middle class” in political outlook. The wealthy of the colonies had a very strong urge to emulate the culture of the English gentry, and many were descended from old English gentry themselves. The fact that they aspired to own great country estates and built country residences like Mount Vernon and Monticello in the english style says a lot about how much they were willing to bend to accept upper-class English social mores if that society would accommodate them with some political concessions.

As for polish, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for parliament to accept colonial delegates as “Close to English, but not quite”, after all, they shared language, culture and religion.

I think you might be thinking of the “American Colonies” as more unified socially than they actually were. If the wealthy planters and professionals along the coast were given political concessions (if done early enough, like say, the early 1760s) by London in exchange for the entirely fair levels of taxation that were levied upon them, I have no doubt that more, if not all of them, would have favoured the loyalist cause. That leaves the genuine ideologues and whatever forces they could muster, which without the likes of veterans and wealthy men like Washington and Charles Lee, would be paltry indeed.

The war might still have happened, but with more support abroad, and perhaps, more significantly, more support at home (as inclusion in Parliament would pull the rug out from those in Parliament who supported American Independence), the whole thing would have been over very quickly and very differently.

In short: the inclusion of wealthy Americans into Parliament might not have prevented the war, but it would have made London’s position strong enough to end it quickly.


#479

I wonder if the French monarchy would have survived if the British had ended the American Revolution (or perhaps in this timeline a simple revolt) quickly and decisively. Certianly they wouldn’t have gone bankrupt helping out the Colonials, circumventing the need to levy extra taxes. Would Canada still be settled by English speaking loyalists if they weren’t forced to leave their homes? Would the Louisiana purchase still happen? If not, would half of North America be speaking French right now?


#480

@Cataphrak Gaudy imitation has always been a characteristic of the bourgeoisie. Under Queen Victoria, the new money tried fine tailoring, country estates, and dinner parties (with poor delivery) - And all the while voted Whig. Likewise with the Jacobins, and the Bolsheviks, and the “Patriots”. The Americas might have tried to emulate European culture, but they might as well have tried playing dress-up, since they never managed to duplicate the mind-set and values that went with the fashion and etiquette.