Was the British Empire a cope for their loss of the American Colonies?

Was the loss of America worse than all the Imperial gains of the British Tea Trade?

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Haim Arlosoroff

We all failed to secure the existence of Linconia.
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The Washington Naval Treaty, also known as the Five-Power Treaty, was a treaty signed during 1922 among the major Allies of World War I, which agreed to prevent an arms race by limiting naval construction. It was negotiated at the Washington Naval Conference, held in Washington, D.C., from November 1921 to February 1922, and it was signed by the governments of Great Britain, the United States, France, Italy, and Japan. It limited the construction of battleships, battlecruisers and aircraft carriers by the signatories. The numbers of other categories of warships, including cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, were not limited by the treaty, but those ships were limited to 10,000 tons displacement each.

For France, Italy, and Japan the advantage was clear, France and Italy could neither afford a full-on arms race nor could lose to the other, and the United States would have outproduced Japan by a greater factor than the 5:3 ratio because of the huge American production advantage. Anyone from Japan who had seen the auto factories in Detroit and the oil-fields in Texas knew that Japan lacked the power for a numerical naval race with America. The ratio worked very well for Japan – as a treaty to restrict the other parties.

However why did America sign the Naval Treaty? Well, while US President Woodrow Wilson's administration had already announced successive plans for the expansion of the US Navy from 1916 to 1919 that would have resulted in a massive fleet of 50 modern battleships, the new arms race was unwelcome to the American public. The US Congress disapproved of Wilson's 1919 naval expansion plan, and the 1920 presidential election campaign caused politics to resume the non-interventionalism of the prewar era, with little enthusiasm for continued naval expansion.

However, the King of all the world, Great Britain, with an empire on which the sun never sets? An island whose navy connects all their colonies and holdings? Why would they submit to an equal number of battleships with the US?
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Because of the math underlying their whole empire. Between 1815 and 1914, a period referred to as Britain's "imperial century" by some historians, around 10 million sq mi (26 million km^2) of territory and roughly 400 million people were added to the British Empire. Victory over Napoleon left Britain without any serious international rival, other than Russia in Central Asia. Yet by 1920 they could only maintain as many battleships as America could, or what would have been the point of a Treaty? However, what was it about Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Malta, Egypt, Nigeria, or the entire British holdings in the Caribbean that couldn't let the UK out-build America? Great Britain, having lost America formally in May 12, 1784, had thirty-one years later began conquering a larger section of the world, but what had it to show for it a century after that?
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Obviously if you wanted an empire like this you needed an excellent Navy and an adequate Army, rather than an excellent Army and an adequate Navy.
Hence why America could defend herself once Baron von Steuben taught Prussian Drill to American Conscripts.

Having lost America, the Britannic Isles could only equal America in the very terms and methods of war which Britain had claimed they were the masters of the world at. The Navy was Britain's glory and might, not its army. This was barely into the age of flight and certainly no one took spaceflight seriously yet. The Navy was the wall which kept the rest of Europe at bay and yet America would have out produced her if no treaty had been signed.

The one thing which the British thought they were the best in the world at, they acknowledged their former colony could be better at least numerically at. For all their Imperialism, Great Britain would have been stronger with America and no Empire than with their Imperial Possessions and no America. America was a jewel they lost, and all of the 1815–1914 bloat was to compensate and to show they didn't need their American colonies. In the end, India wasn't enough to fund a single Battleship. The UK went from 40 Battleships in 1920, to 20 in 1927, and finally matching America in 1931 with 15 battleships apiece.

The British Empire was just a cope for losing America. It only really got started after America, before that it was commercial and adventurous but after they lost America there came to be a harsh egoism in the Splendid Isolationism period which began at the end of Napoleon's Era and ended at Kaiser Wilhelm II's Era. Everyone knows the British Empire was just a cope for losing America.
 

Just Another Apocalypse

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No. England's history of carpet bagging predates Burgerland, and would have and did continue after the loss.
 

MediocreMilt

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No, it was because they wanted to be a British Empire next to the Second Reich, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Russian Empire.

Fun fact, Victoria, etc were only the Empress of India specifically (but the Queen of the Britons, etc), as those who wanted a British Empire recognized that it would be intolerable for British Subjects to become subjects to Imperial, rather than Monarchic power.
 

Chilson

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No. The Brits outright abandoned the US colonies for close to 150 years prior to the French-Indian war. It wasn't even really a huge loss for them to lose the US as the colonies were a rather small part of the colonial pie in terms of raw profits and exported goods. True the US colonies did produce an immense amount of goods, more than most other colonial projects, but it also consumed most of those goods due to the higher standing of living. Leaving little to be exported back to the UK.

The biggest reason the Brits even fought to keep the US was due to pride and the fear of the possible knock on effect of other colonies revolting. Hell, the only reason the US exists is due to French (and other European powers) wanting to give the brits a poke in the eye and gave huge amounts of support to the fledgling nation.

In the grand colonial game though South east Asia, India proper, South Africa and the Caribbean were seen as far more valuable as they consumed relatively few of the resources that were shipped back to the UK.
 

Haim Arlosoroff

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It wasn't even really a huge loss for them to lose the US as the colonies were a rather small part of the colonial pie in terms of raw profits and exported goods.
Well that didn't work out very well later in the World Wars did it? You can say it was no great loss to throw a million-dollar lotto ticket in the trash, how were you to know? But America did grow up to be larger economically and militarily.

While they may have had no British reasonings to keep a colony whose imports tightly matched their exports but historically thats like saying a Roman Empire shouldn't have industrialized instead of using slavery because Romans liked fucking their slaves. America grew and the British Empire fell, an alternate choice for them would have resulted in them having the dockyards and economy to sustain whatever far more valuable grand colonial game involving UK mercantilism longer.

On top of that, look for the Empire now. England sucks. King George III looks like a birthday present.
 

Freshly Baked Socks

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On top of that, look for the Empire now. England sucks. King George III looks like a birthday present.
Hindsight being 20/20, so goes King George over 200 years past;

I expect identical retrospectives be given to Presidents George/Bill/'Bama/Donald or Joe in the year 2225, although predominately in Mandarin or Cantonese. "Was American Exceptionalism a cope for their loss of bietnam/gorea?"
 

Stoneheart

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I expect identical retrospectives be given to Presidents George/Bill/'Bama/Donald or Joe in the year 2225, although predominately in Mandarin or Cantonese. "Was American Exceptionalism a cope for their loss of bietnam/gorea?"
the chinese will not dominate the next 200 years---
they will never be on top, get ready for a bunch of fucked up civil wars all around the world with russia sending soldiers to keep the west alive...
 

Freshly Baked Socks

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the chinese will not dominate the next 200 years---
I appreciate the optimism. Greater was the rhetoric of proposing a notion that ones grand-childrens grand-children wouldn't see ripen on the vine, by way of example.

The British Empire was just a cope for losing America.

You see, when a person asks a question, then answers it summarily, I do not take the argument at face value.

I understand that a set-up has been given, and deconstruct its own follies.
 

millais

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No, the Boer Wars were.
Literally. The Slagtersnek Rebellion (the first Boer uprising against British rule) was crushed by the Dutch-American Loyalist officer Jacob Cuyler, who relocated to South Africa to lend his Dutch language skills to the crown after the loss of America. After the suppression of the uprising, Cuyler hanged the Boer patriots involved in spite of government pardons and popular pleas for clemency, an infamous act of martyrdom that contributed to the Great Trek some years later.
 

L50LasPak

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I think you can make the argument that Canada, Australia and some of the British African colonies were cope for losing America, but for other places like India or South Africa those places had clear economic and resource values that made them prized possessions.
 

What the shit

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I think you can make the argument that Canada, Australia and some of the British African colonies were cope for losing America, but for other places like India or South Africa those places had clear economic and resource values that made them prized possessions.
South Africa was extremely strategic in it's position, lying right at the tip of southern Africa. It gave them easy access to both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean and with a navy like Britain, it was practically a necessity. India on the other hand, was always going to be sought after because of it's massive workable population, and how much food it produced for Britain.
 

Lemmingwise

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Well that didn't work out very well later in the World Wars did it? You can say it was no great loss to throw a million-dollar lotto ticket in the trash, how were you to know? But America did grow up to be larger economically and militarily.

While they may have had no British reasonings to keep a colony whose imports tightly matched their exports but historically thats like saying a Roman Empire shouldn't have industrialized instead of using slavery because Romans liked fucking their slaves. America grew and the British Empire fell, an alternate choice for them would have resulted in them having the dockyards and economy to sustain whatever far more valuable grand colonial game involving UK mercantilism longer.

On top of that, look for the Empire now. England sucks. King George III looks like a birthday present.

Britain didn't have to give up US. Even with france threatening them across the globe, and channel, they probably could have quelled the US rebellion. Instead they made a calculated choice to rather give the US favorable terms, to instantly have a good relationship with the new fledgling nation than a deep enmity.

At the time the US was really not that valuable yet. And the only reason it became that valuable, was because the people owned it themselves. If they were serfs, they wouldn't have been a brain drain location, they wouldn't have developed so well. They would have been a northern hemisphere brazil.
 

Shamash

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The British had other concerns given that the war was expanding to Mysore and their Caribbean colonies. Due to the entry of the French and Spanish into the war.

As far as the early 20th century goes-the US was already an industrial juggernaut and if war had broken out it could have built enough destroyers to blockade the British isles and starve them into submission.

So the treaty served to maintain the post war balance of power. And prevent another arms race.

By the end of WW2 however the British were no longer in a position to even stymie American hegemony and resigned themselves to decline.
 
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IAmNotAlpharius

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The problem is that the US wasn’t that valuable at the time. They got what they needed from us by trade and they could do it without having to manage us or deal with our costs, like with the French-Indian War. Independence was a win-win.