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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Revolution

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American Revolution 1763-1789 The birth of a new nation - to commence at the Proclaimation of 1763 to the end of the Articles of Confederation.

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  #61  
Old 05 Jul 13, 01:55
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For me I believe that actually getting invloved in a military confrontation with the Americans was the first and biggest mistake. Given the circumstances at the time I don't see how Britain could have won the war on the battlefield.

Having said that, I think that one of the biggest failings of the British was to not properly or fully utilise the latent power of the Loyalists. I think that if these elements could have been supported they could have been a powerful local counter to Patriot forces, particularly in holding larger portions of the countryside.

By the time that Britain starts paying any serious attention to the Loyalists later in the war, I believe they were already a spent and cowed force (in many but not all parts of the country, of course).

I think that a stronger Loyalist presence could have been both a strong psychological and military counter to Patriot forces.
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  #62  
Old 05 Jul 13, 23:28
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Many leading british officers like Tarleton argued that Britain was too slow to address the naval threat of France, particularly in relation to the West Indies. Some even went as far to suggest Britain should have burnt the French fleet at anchor in a pre-emptive attack, thereby preventing any continental interference in the war. This doctrine was pursued later in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, with Britain much more aggressive in its pursuit and destruction of French fleets
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  #63  
Old 26 Jul 13, 08:40
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Most arguments listed overlook the underlying cause of the war. No representation in parliment. Without that the break with the British government was inevitable. It was just a question of when and at what price. Even losing the war would only have served to forstall this. Another would have followed.
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  #64  
Old 26 Jul 13, 11:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Purist View Post
What is generally not understood is that the theories and principles that led to the American revolution were part and parcel of the Age of Enlightment thought. American and Canadian colonists actually had more liberty and control over their affairs than the common Englishman, Scot or Irishman. The colonies were not oppressed when compared to the folks back home.

The issue was as much economic as it was political or 'philosophical'. The colonial system (raw materials out of the colonies, manufactured goods back from the home country) was in use by the British, Spanish, French, Portugues, etc. - it was the model of the day. It had its detractors in the colonies and added strength ot political arguments. Politicially, the ideals of liberty and representation and their adoption were possible in colonies *because* there was more freedom of thought, more social mobility, looser controls and higher levels of education amongst the growing middle and colonial upper class. Such events could not (likely would not) have taken place in England of the late 18thC but they were not unknown in London, Salisbury, Yok, Edinburgh or Dublin..

Like most colonies where the white population was 3rd or 4th generation colonial family stock, ties to the home country were less firm, society more politically liberal and the spread of liberal Enlightenment thought took hold more easily. Britain was more conservative and the changes that came there came slower and via the Commons and a similar rise of the middle class who demanded and exercised their expanded political franchise.

The idea of the "oppressed" colonies make good *nation founding* mythology but it is not really based in fact. At least no more so than the average member of any colony or even the home population were treated any better than the American colonists.
Rarely do the most oppressed and crushed subjects of any regime revolt. The term in modern parlance was "revolution of rising expectations" usually led by aspiring economic, political and military leaders. Expectation of equality is more dangerous by far to regimes than removing total oppression.

Washington, for example, wanted to his militia service against the French be recognized by the British, but it never was. Other Americans wanted the ability to manufacture, buy and sell quality luxury goods of their companies and to profit by them. The English crown was foolish in not co-opting this energy into the realm.

To your point, Frasier in his Flashman novels makes reference to the English nobility treating all of their "lessers" like dogs. OTOH they did have to bring in German mercenaries to New York and New Jersey precisely because too few redcoats had their heart in wiping out fellow subjects who made good.
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  #65  
Old 02 Aug 13, 17:42
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Actually the hiring of German mercenaries by the British Crown was becoming tradition. They had already done it in the Jacobite revolt in 1745 and would take it to another height in the Napoleonic Wars, where they quite literally hired other countries to fight Napoleon. The subsidies given to Austria, Prussia, and Russia were quite high and they were the only reason that those three nations were able to stay in the field in 1813-1814.

See Guineas and Gunpowder by Sherwig.

Sincerely,
M
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  #66  
Old 08 Aug 13, 06:54
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Originally Posted by Massena View Post
Actually the hiring of German mercenaries by the British Crown was becoming tradition. They had already done it in the Jacobite revolt in 1745 and would take it to another height in the Napoleonic Wars, where they quite literally hired other countries to fight Napoleon. The subsidies given to Austria, Prussia, and Russia were quite high and they were the only reason that those three nations were able to stay in the field in 1813-1814.

See Guineas and Gunpowder by Sherwig.

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Tradition or not, the British were not the only ones, Washington himself proposed the enlistment of German Mercenaries to Congress for his own Army.
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  #67  
Old 11 Aug 13, 08:44
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Tradition or not, the British were not the only ones, Washington himself proposed the enlistment of German Mercenaries to Congress for his own Army.
And both sides during the war used each other's deserters in the ranks, so what?

The point is Great Britain hired 30,000 German mercenaries from various states to help fight the Americans.

And it is accurate that the British had done it before and would do it again on a much larger scale, in effect hiring nations to fight for them, during the Napoleonic period.

The British army during the Napoleonic period was never very large and except for Wellingtonn's campaigns, usually didn't do too well, even in North America during the War of 1812, especially once the Americans fielded trained troops under competent commanders, which took awhile.

Sincerely,
M
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  #68  
Old 11 Aug 13, 08:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
And both sides during the war used each other's deserters in the ranks, so what?

The point is Great Britain hired 30,000 German mercenaries from various states to help fight the Americans.

And it is accurate that the British had done it before and would do it again on a much larger scale, in effect hiring nations to fight for them, during the Napoleonic period.

The British army during the Napoleonic period was never very large and except for Wellingtonn's campaigns, usually didn't do too well, even in North America during the War of 1812, especially once the Americans fielded trained troops under competent commanders, which took awhile.

Sincerely,
M
But your point seems to imply that only the British hired troops and mercanaries. I mean if were to be pedantic Lafeyette and Baron Stebuen could be classed mercenaries albiet idealistic ones

I think we did ok in the War of 1812

If your talking the Napoleonic Wars, British gold helped keep the allies in the field but it was Napoleon's own policies and actions that had him fighting those nations.
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  #69  
Old 11 Aug 13, 12:59
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Originally Posted by History fan View Post
Tradition or not, the British were not the only ones, Washington himself proposed the enlistment of German Mercenaries to Congress for his own Army.
Well, if you are speaking of raising a regiment of German speaking Americans/immigrants (what became the German Battalion of 1776-1781). He never advocated that Congress make a contract with some foreign prince for a unit of soldiers. In fact, Washington was strongly adverse to using non-natives for soldiers. He did not trust (as the result of experience) their loyalty and staying power for the cause. He also chastised recruiting officers for recruiting deserters for that same reason.

Michael
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  #70  
Old 11 Aug 13, 20:33
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I'm going to say their biggest mistake was treating the Americans like adversaries rather than traitors.

I'm pretty sure the British had the resources to really go after the colonial leaders. There's so many stories about them getting away, sometimes by the skin of their teeth, and I always wondered why they were allowed to get away time and time again. Also, Britain never learned from the French and Indian War that the European tactics were not always suited to wilderness America; the British kept trying to meet the Americans on the battlefield as one European army against another.

If they really wanted to crush the rebellion, they should have relentlessly pursued the leaders, very publicly executed them, and then been lenient with the average citizen-soldiers. Howe proved capturing major cities wasn't enough; for what is it to have Philadelphia while the provincial government goes free?
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  #71  
Old 12 Aug 13, 03:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyan67 View Post
Well, if you are speaking of raising a regiment of German speaking Americans/immigrants (what became the German Battalion of 1776-1781). He never advocated that Congress make a contract with some foreign prince for a unit of soldiers. In fact, Washington was strongly adverse to using non-natives for soldiers. He did not trust (as the result of experience) their loyalty and staying power for the cause. He also chastised recruiting officers for recruiting deserters for that same reason.

Michael
An add on. The Congress barely had the funds to support the Army as it was. Hiring mercenaries and then have no way to get them to America is totally ludicrous.
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  #72  
Old 12 Aug 13, 03:19
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The Crown, hiring mercenaries to fight against what was until them British citizen was just one more nail in the coffin. From before the start of the war and most of the way through it the Crown hardly made any good decision.

If they had there would have been no war in the first place.
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Old 12 Aug 13, 17:35
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Imposing taxes from London instead of working though the colonial legislatures, this is what causes the Revolution in the first place.
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Old 12 Aug 13, 19:31
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But your point seems to imply that only the British hired troops and mercanaries. I mean if were to be pedantic Lafeyette and Baron Stebuen could be classed mercenaries albiet idealistic ones

I think we did ok in the War of 1812

If your talking the Napoleonic Wars, British gold helped keep the allies in the field but it was Napoleon's own policies and actions that had him fighting those nations.
No, but it was British policy and it got worse as time went on. Hiring other nations to do your fighting for you because you don't want to employ your own troops is just a little rough.

So the allies are blameless for the Napoleonic Wars? And Napoleon's policies were no worse than any other nations' of the period and his civil and political reforms were much, much better. What he accomplished on the civil side was much more important than the military side. No other head of state during the period accomplished as much with long-awaited social reform.

The allies, including Britain, were as much to blame for the Napoleonis Wars as France was, if not more so. And is should be remembered that Napoleon inherited the wars when he became head of state in late 1799. He wasn't responsible for that.

And the 'settlement' (read as 'dividing the loot') at the Congress of Vienna showed the allies for what they were-land grabbers on a world-class scale and the only 'liberation' that took place at Napoleon's fall was how much of Europe could be gobbled up by the victors.

Sincerely,
M
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  #75  
Old 17 Aug 13, 23:23
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Quote:
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But your point seems to imply that only the British hired troops and mercanaries. I mean if were to be pedantic Lafeyette and Baron Stebuen could be classed mercenaries albiet idealistic ones


Neither Lafeyette nor Stebune were mercenaries, both were commissioned officers of the Continental Army and did not fight solely for money.
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