The Miracle of American Independence: Twenty Ways Things Could Have Turned out Differently

The Miracle of American Independence: Twenty Ways Things Could Have Turned out Differently

The Miracle of American Independence: Twenty Ways Things Could Have Turned out Differently

The Miracle of American Independence: Twenty Ways Things Could Have Turned out Differently

Synopsis

Although American independence was no miracle, the timing of the country's independence and its huge scope, both political and territorial, do seem miraculous. In The Miracle of American Independence Jonathan R. Dull reconstructs significant events before, during, and after the Revolutionary War that had dramatic consequences for the future as the colonies sought independence from Great Britain. Without these surprising and unexpected results, Dull maintains, the country would have turned out quite differently. The Miracle of American Independence reimagines how the British might have averted or overcome American independence, and how the fledgling country itself could have lost its independence. Drawing on his nearly fifty years of research and a lively imagination, Dull puts readers in a position to consider the American Revolution from the perspective of the European states and their monarchs. This alternative history provides a stimulating reintroduction to one of the most exciting periods in American and European history, proving that sometimes reality is even stranger and more miraculous than fiction.

Excerpt

In the long run, American independence was not a miracle. The inhabitants of what is now the eastern half of the United States were so rapidly multiplying and the land they inhabited was so distant from Great Britain that eventually they would have become independent. The early timing of that independence and its huge extent, both political and territorial, however, do seem miraculous or close to it. The American Revolution might have been indefinitely postponed had British leaders been wiser or Americans less suspicious of them; I will discuss seven ways the revolution might have been averted. Once hostilities began, the British might have forced Americans back into obedience or at least forced them to accept less independence or less territory; I will examine a dozen turning points. These two sections are closely linked by a common theme: the disastrous results of British ignorance and arrogance. Finally I will look at the postwar fate of American independence.

There, of course, could be far more than twenty chapters in this book, because there are many things that could have happened differently. For example, the warship Reprisal sank during a storm on its return voyage from taking Benjamin Franklin to France in 1776; it could easily have happened during its voyage to France. How then did I make my selection? Partly it was on the basis on how possible it was that . . .

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