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July 01, 2008


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Thank you for the good wishes!

I was surprised when I read about the burning of the parliament buildings, too, to say nothing of the poisonous gridlock in the Canadian parliament before and afterwards. Clearly, a tight union was not meant to be.

As for imperial federation, I've absolutely no idea--I don't think that it entered into the history curriculum, to be honest.

Well, thanks and Happy Birthday in return, Noel. While I can do a credible Col. Blimp imitation on the subject of the American Revolution, I think that the results were the best possible for Canada, the US and Britain.

As to imperial federation, I remember being taught that it was a late development because in the early to mid 1800s the prevailing free-trade consensus in London regarded the settler colonies as a burden at best. But that was a long time ago and I was bored, so I could well be wrong.

Hi, James! I think it was Brad Delong who said something along the lines of, "If we'd known then that the British Commonwealth would turn out the way it did, then the Revolution would have been a mistake, but there's no guarantee that the British Commonwealth would have turned out the way it did without the Revolution."

I have the same impression you do about why London slept-walked into the dissolution of the Commonwealth, with a twist. My impression is that in 1782 the British didn't think that needed to offer Parliamentary seats to Canada or the West Indies in order to keep them ... and by the time the Corn Laws passed in 1815, there were good reasons to keep colonial interests at bay.

After that, every step towards Balkanization ineluctably proceeds ... save one. I'm still quite fuzzy as to why Australia and Canada introduced their own citizenships in 1949. It seems, well, pointless, since nobody involved really wanted to restrict immigration from each other, and I would have thought that the sentimental bonds would have been enough to keep the countries together.

I'm struck by the way American travel writers of the 1950s were surprised at the differences and barriers between Commonwealth members. Americans still tended to thinnk of the "white Dominions" as one country as late as the Eisenhower Administration. (From my limited period reading, the French seem to have shared this view.)

Hey. Well, I don't agree with Brad's analysis really. My thought is that a later NA revolution might have been much worse for all concerned than the one we got, not that without the American revolution Britain wouldn't have democratized. BUT I haven't really given it serious thought.

I agree with you, though. There was no reason to coddle the north american colonies left after the US split: our own laws and a few regiments of redcoats was all we could expect.

I suspect that partly played into imperial dissolution, sorta "Oh, NOW you want us. To pay for a dreadnaught. Yay."

The whys of the citizenship split we never learned. More than one reason, I think. We'd been politically independent for almost 20 years at that time, had done two world wars, and I suspect that we discovered that there were plenty of post-war immigrants willing to move here and start at the bottom, unlike the English.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Bermuda's restrictive immigration laws date from 1951.

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