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  • If the Colonists take Quebec?

    I've been reading a lot of stuff on Benedict Arnold's march to Canada and the subsequent battles that took place such as Quebec, the various engagments around Montreal, then up through the action down Lake Champlain. In Desjardin's Through A Howling Wilderness, he brings up a very interesting point. In the conclusion to the book, he argues that had the invading colonists been successful in capturing Quebec, that it very likely could have resulted in the United States of American not becoming its own nation. His argument is that if the Americans capture Quebec, then the British would realize that their chances of military success are seriously weakened and that it would be in their interest to reach some kind of compromise with the colonists.

    I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this point. It's a very interesting thing to consider, because it seems that had the colonists caught a break as simple as someone continuing the attack with Montgomery's forces after the general was killed, that Quebec still might have been taken. What is so intriguing for me is the idea that possibly losing such a huge opportunity like the taking of Quebec may ultimately have helped in the course of independence.

    So what would you say? If the colonists take Quebec and control both that city and Montreal in late 1775/early 1776, do the English then come to the bargaining table... or do things still follow a similar course toward independence?

  • #2
    Originally posted by goodfelladh View Post
    I've been reading a lot of stuff on Benedict Arnold's march to Canada and the subsequent battles that took place such as Quebec, the various engagments around Montreal, then up through the action down Lake Champlain. In Desjardin's Through A Howling Wilderness, he brings up a very interesting point. In the conclusion to the book, he argues that had the invading colonists been successful in capturing Quebec, that it very likely could have resulted in the United States of American not becoming its own nation. His argument is that if the Americans capture Quebec, then the British would realize that their chances of military success are seriously weakened and that it would be in their interest to reach some kind of compromise with the colonists.

    I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this point. It's a very interesting thing to consider, because it seems that had the colonists caught a break as simple as someone continuing the attack with Montgomery's forces after the general was killed, that Quebec still might have been taken. What is so intriguing for me is the idea that possibly losing such a huge opportunity like the taking of Quebec may ultimately have helped in the course of independence.

    So what would you say? If the colonists take Quebec and control both that city and Montreal in late 1775/early 1776, do the English then come to the bargaining table... or do things still follow a similar course toward independence?
    I would disagree. Although the American Continental Congress was already predisposed towards a complete severence of relations with England and moving towards a Declaration of Independance, such a move, as the military occupation of Quebec and Montreal would very likely have completely have shocked and awakened a sleeping British Parliament, in order to call for a major military effort with local measures in ALL of the North American Colonies, to restore order, unlike any that was actually seen during the Revolutionary War.
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
      I would disagree. Although the American Continental Congress was already predisposed towards a complete severence of relations with England and moving towards a Declaration of Independance, such a move, as the military occupation of Quebec and Montreal would very likely have completely have shocked and awakened a sleeping British Parliament, in order to call for a major military effort with local measures in ALL of the North American Colonies, to restore order, unlike any that was actually seen during the Revolutionary War.
      I also tend to think this would have been the most likely scenario...

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      • #4
        The whole Rev War thing is pretty simple when viewed 200 plus years afterwards from a pro-British perspective. We were all taught in school that 1/4 of all Americans were pro-independence and 1/4 of Americans were loyalists with the remaining half being undecided.

        Had Great Britain simply performed two tasks, bringing several cavalry regiments across the Atlantic to North America, plus enlisting and forming large numbers of American Tory regular colonial regiments of infantry, with all of the perks due to them to fight alongside the British Regular troops, to put down the rebellion, the Revolutionary War would have quickly died on the vine.
        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
          The whole Rev War thing is pretty simple when viewed 200 plus years afterwards from a pro-British perspective. We were all taught in school that 1/4 of all Americans were pro-independence and 1/4 of Americans were loyalists with the remaining half being undecided.

          Had Great Britain simply performed two tasks, bringing several cavalry regiments across the Atlantic to North America, plus enlisting and forming large numbers of American Tory regular colonial regiments of infantry, with all of the perks due to them to fight alongside the British Regular troops, to put down the rebellion, the Revolutionary War would have quickly died on the vine.
          Is it possible that the growth of America was a necessary part of a divine plan?

          I am afraid that I must admit lacking a great deal of knowledge regarding world history but my study of America history leads me to conclude that many things that happened should not have happened, save for luck, or divine intervention.

          As an American I feel I must state I am not saying that god has a greater affection towards Americans than any other nationality, only that America is necessary for the “Grand Plan”.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by goodfelladh View Post
            I've been reading a lot of stuff on Benedict Arnold's march to Canada and the subsequent battles that took place such as Quebec, the various engagments around Montreal, then up through the action down Lake Champlain. In Desjardin's Through A Howling Wilderness, he brings up a very interesting point. In the conclusion to the book, he argues that had the invading colonists been successful in capturing Quebec, that it very likely could have resulted in the United States of American not becoming its own nation. His argument is that if the Americans capture Quebec, then the British would realize that their chances of military success are seriously weakened and that it would be in their interest to reach some kind of compromise with the colonists.

            I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this point. It's a very interesting thing to consider, because it seems that had the colonists caught a break as simple as someone continuing the attack with Montgomery's forces after the general was killed, that Quebec still might have been taken. What is so intriguing for me is the idea that possibly losing such a huge opportunity like the taking of Quebec may ultimately have helped in the course of independence.

            So what would you say? If the colonists take Quebec and control both that city and Montreal in late 1775/early 1776, do the English then come to the bargaining table... or do things still follow a similar course toward independence?

            When it was remarked to Franklin that Gen. Howe had captured Philadelphia his response was that Philadelphia had captured Gen. Howe. I believe that if the Americans had not lost Montgomery, if Arnold had not gotten shot in the leg, if Morgan had not been captured, etc., etc., we might have captured Quebec, or would it have captured us? How could we possibly hold it? We had enough to do to hold on to what we had. Also, all of the hype about the Quebecers being so friendly to the US proved untrue. We would have been operating under false pretenses just as the British were when told that thousands of southerners would join their forces once they got into SC and NC, etc. I believe it is fortunate that we were not captured by Quebec. The entire story of Arnold's march up the Kennebec is very interesting indeed. Desjardin does a good job with it, but for more detail read Robert's March to Quebec, which contains all, or most, of the journals.
            "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Forgottenwar View Post
              Is it possible that the growth of America was a necessary part of a divine plan?

              I am afraid that I must admit lacking a great deal of knowledge regarding world history but my study of America history leads me to conclude that many things that happened should not have happened, save for luck, or divine intervention.

              As an American I feel I must state I am not saying that god has a greater affection towards Americans than any other nationality, only that America is necessary for the “Grand Plan”.

              i believe it was Divine Providence had a hand in our winning. One area that may support this is the weather. Look at how many times the weather intervened to help our cause (fog at Long Island), tornado (again NY), Cornwallis' sailing to the south in a gale.... On the other hand, a hurricane delayed Arnold's march to Quebec and may have cost us that battle, it shattered De Grasse's fleet and led to Sullivan's retreat from Newport, etc. Weather was certainly a big mysterious player in the Revolution, but I suppose it worked both ways. But I do beleive that what happened was the plan of Divine Providence.
              "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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              • #8
                You lose me on the divine providence angle. Why would a Supreme Being who, presumably created all men, favor one human side over another in one of our innumerable petty human squabbles? How is this Being going to sit in judgment over any of us, if It has stuck It's finger in to weigh the issue in favor of one side? Theology has no place here.
                dit: Lirelou

                Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by goodfelladh View Post
                  I've been reading a lot of stuff on Benedict Arnold's march to Canada and the subsequent battles that took place such as Quebec, the various engagments around Montreal, then up through the action down Lake Champlain. In Desjardin's Through A Howling Wilderness, he brings up a very interesting point. In the conclusion to the book, he argues that had the invading colonists been successful in capturing Quebec, that it very likely could have resulted in the United States of American not becoming its own nation. His argument is that if the Americans capture Quebec, then the British would realize that their chances of military success are seriously weakened and that it would be in their interest to reach some kind of compromise with the colonists.

                  I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts on this point. It's a very interesting thing to consider, because it seems that had the colonists caught a break as simple as someone continuing the attack with Montgomery's forces after the general was killed, that Quebec still might have been taken. What is so intriguing for me is the idea that possibly losing such a huge opportunity like the taking of Quebec may ultimately have helped in the course of independence.

                  So what would you say? If the colonists take Quebec and control both that city and Montreal in late 1775/early 1776, do the English then come to the bargaining table... or do things still follow a similar course toward independence?

                  That is what should have happened in the first place. This civil war which is what it really was was wholly unecessary and could've been sorted without violence. The colonists had a point about more representation. London had a point about the colonists playing a role in paying for their defense budget. The concepts of democracy and freedom espoused by the American constitutuion were already developing, flourishing and being implemented on the British side of the Atlantic throught the Enlightenment movement which makes the decsions by Lord North even more unreasonable and foolish and many contemporaries thought so. A compromise here would have been easy to do. As to divine intervention, I think not. If there was to be a divine intervention it would have been to make a compromise which would have saved bloodshed and the democratic evolution would not have halted.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lirelou View Post
                    You lose me on the divine providence angle. Why would a Supreme Being who, presumably created all men, favor one human side over another in one of our innumerable petty human squabbles? How is this Being going to sit in judgment over any of us, if It has stuck It's finger in to weigh the issue in favor of one side? Theology has no place here.
                    We are playing a “what if history” game with this thread. It may be fun and give birth to some good exchanges but it would be hard, perhaps impossible, to lead to any definitive results.

                    I did not say that God was on the side of America, only that it is possible that America could, for good or evil, be necessary for a divine plan.

                    I was just offering the ideal that something’s may be predestined, that whatever the British did it might be necessary for them to release America in the end. As a Christian the existents’ of the book of Revelations leads me to believe that some things are indeed in gods plan.

                    We could also play the “What if history” game with the battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederate cavalry had been at hand, surely the high ground would have gone to General Lee’s army, and it might well have been the end for the north. We will never know.

                    Imho the “what if “game opens the door to any supposition, including divine intervention.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Forgottenwar View Post
                      We are playing a “what if history” game with this thread. It may be fun and give birth to some good exchanges but it would be hard, perhaps impossible, to lead to any definitive results.

                      I did not say that God was on the side of America, only that it is possible that America could, for good or evil, be necessary for a divine plan.

                      I was just offering the ideal that something’s may be predestined, that whatever the British did it might be necessary for them to release America in the end. As a Christian the existents’ of the book of Revelations leads me to believe that some things are indeed in gods plan.

                      We could also play the “What if history” game with the battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederate cavalry had been at hand, surely the high ground would have gone to General Lee’s army, and it might well have been the end for the north. We will never know.

                      Imho the “what if “game opens the door to any supposition, including divine intervention.
                      With Canada, Australia etc as an historical precedent, I would propose that this is exactly what would ahve happened anyway without detriment to our concepts of democracy and freedom of expression.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Forgottenwar View Post
                        We are playing a “what if history” game with this thread. It may be fun and give birth to some good exchanges but it would be hard, perhaps impossible, to lead to any definitive results.

                        I did not say that God was on the side of America, only that it is possible that America could, for good or evil, be necessary for a divine plan.

                        I was just offering the ideal that something’s may be predestined, that whatever the British did it might be necessary for them to release America in the end. As a Christian the existents’ of the book of Revelations leads me to believe that some things are indeed in gods plan.

                        We could also play the “What if history” game with the battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederate cavalry had been at hand, surely the high ground would have gone to General Lee’s army, and it might well have been the end for the north. We will never know.

                        Imho the “what if “game opens the door to any supposition, including divine intervention.

                        You're right regarding the "What ifs" games. While it may be fun to speculate the games ultimately gets you nowhere. Regarding Divine Providence...the people involved in the war sure believed in it and so it may have some small bearing on the discussion. Whether or not some of our members believe in it doesn't matter, but you asked the question and all posters here are free to express their belief.
                        "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Forgottenwar View Post
                          We could also play the “What if history” game with the battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederate cavalry had been at hand, surely the high ground would have gone to General Lee’s army, and it might well have been the end for the north. We will never know.
                          This is clearly not the right forum for this discussion, but I could not possibly disagree with any statement more than I disagree with this one. Have you really studied Stuart's activities in the Gettysburg Campaign? Have you really studied the dispositions of the other four brigades of Confederate cavalry on July 1? I have. In enough detail to have published a 400 page book on the subject, so I think I know a little about this.

                          If you wish to debate this, then let's do so in the proper forum.

                          Eric
                          "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

                          Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart

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                          • #14
                            I think we are getting away from the intent of the original post. We can argue divine intervention till the cows come home and wind up right back where we began. Personal beliefs aside, I can argue for the intervention on either side, or against its existence entirely. My response was simply to answer respectfully the poster's question. I agree a theological discussion has no place here and ought to be ended right now. Responses to the Quebec question seem to deserve discussion. I'll move over to the Civil War forum to learn more about J.E.B. Stuart. Thanks Eric.
                            "We fight, get beat, rise and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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                            • #15
                              Even with the capture of Quebec, I don't believe much would have changed. The British would have diverted their troops to Quebec to retake the city anyway. If anything it would have been a short lived victory. Statement none the less, but the British would have reinforced and retaken the city.

                              Which possibly could have lead to the complete destruction of Arnold's army. If THAT happens, then what would have been the outcome?
                              www.alllinkshistory.blogspot.com - Finding the best articles and blogs about history on the net.

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