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How the US did Britain a favour

augcaesarustus
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12/19/2015 12:40:28 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
People who live in the former dominions of the British Empire certainly appreciate the impact that Britain has had on their society. The three best examples of the perfect transplant society are: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All of these nations share similar values, have similar institutions and of course all have as their Head of State the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.

The advantage of a being a British transplant society was that the new world colonies were able to have the best of both worlds: first, they eschewed the 'old world' values of class and nobility, which was highly entrenched in British; and second, they had the benefit of hundred of years of history, which shaped and evolved the strong and effective institutions from which they now benefit. In this sense, they are extremely fortunate because the hard-work had already been done.

The United States, however, was and continues to be a conundrum. Whilst the US was a British transplant society, it turned out to be much different. The American revolution and the ensuing War of Independence had completely severed ties with the former Empire, and the new Founders established an entire nation from scratch, and developed it own institutions and values (even creating an entirely new political system), thereby eschewing everything that had happened up until that point. It was kind of a Year Zero for the United States, as though their nation had been born on that continent.

Many alternate history buffs would ask the question: 'what would have happened if the US never broke away?' Of course, this is a complicated question, but to say that the United States would've been better off (as many Commonwealth citizens would believe), I'm not so convinced that this is necessarily the case. The number one reason for this is: slavery. The reason why slavery was so prevalent in the Southern US was due to its geography and climate that favoured conditions for labour all year round, i.e. the plantations. The institution of slavery didn't pick up so much in Canada. So, even if the 13 Colonies hadn't broken away, the issue of slavery in the Colonies would've eventually posed an issue for the British. When the British did finally abolish slavery in 1833 (and assuming that 13 Colonies were still under the British), the institution of chattel slavery would've been well established in the Southern Colonies by the time. It would have been unlikely that the Southern Colonies would've easily foregone this institution (given that it took a civil war some 30 years later to abolish slavery) at the request of the British. This would've resulted in two scenarios: first, the Southern Colonies or the 13 Colonies would've rebelled anyway, and established its own nation; or second, the British would've permitted slavery (albeit reluctantly) as an exception in the Southern US.

The fact that the nation of the United States was already established by the time the British abolished slavery was actually what absolved Britain of the responsibility to deal with the slavery issue. And this is why the US did Britain a favour: the other British transplant societies were established after the abolition of slavery, and so the new colonies were not plagued with this extractive institution.

The independence of the US was a life-line for Britain.
beng100
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12/19/2015 6:25:31 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 12:40:28 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
People who live in the former dominions of the British Empire certainly appreciate the impact that Britain has had on their society. The three best examples of the perfect transplant society are: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All of these nations share similar values, have similar institutions and of course all have as their Head of State the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.

The advantage of a being a British transplant society was that the new world colonies were able to have the best of both worlds: first, they eschewed the 'old world' values of class and nobility, which was highly entrenched in British; and second, they had the benefit of hundred of years of history, which shaped and evolved the strong and effective institutions from which they now benefit. In this sense, they are extremely fortunate because the hard-work had already been done.

The United States, however, was and continues to be a conundrum. Whilst the US was a British transplant society, it turned out to be much different. The American revolution and the ensuing War of Independence had completely severed ties with the former Empire, and the new Founders established an entire nation from scratch, and developed it own institutions and values (even creating an entirely new political system), thereby eschewing everything that had happened up until that point. It was kind of a Year Zero for the United States, as though their nation had been born on that continent.

Many alternate history buffs would ask the question: 'what would have happened if the US never broke away?' Of course, this is a complicated question, but to say that the United States would've been better off (as many Commonwealth citizens would believe), I'm not so convinced that this is necessarily the case. The number one reason for this is: slavery. The reason why slavery was so prevalent in the Southern US was due to its geography and climate that favoured conditions for labour all year round, i.e. the plantations. The institution of slavery didn't pick up so much in Canada. So, even if the 13 Colonies hadn't broken away, the issue of slavery in the Colonies would've eventually posed an issue for the British. When the British did finally abolish slavery in 1833 (and assuming that 13 Colonies were still under the British), the institution of chattel slavery would've been well established in the Southern Colonies by the time. It would have been unlikely that the Southern Colonies would've easily foregone this institution (given that it took a civil war some 30 years later to abolish slavery) at the request of the British. This would've resulted in two scenarios: first, the Southern Colonies or the 13 Colonies would've rebelled anyway, and established its own nation; or second, the British would've permitted slavery (albeit reluctantly) as an exception in the Southern US.

The fact that the nation of the United States was already established by the time the British abolished slavery was actually what absolved Britain of the responsibility to deal with the slavery issue. And this is why the US did Britain a favour: the other British transplant societies were established after the abolition of slavery, and so the new colonies were not plagued with this extractive institution.

The independence of the US was a life-line for Britain.

Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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12/19/2015 8:13:53 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?
--
I think it's important to understand the context behind Britain's actions and motives for imposing the various taxes it did on the American Colonies: first, they had just won the French and Indian War, which was costly and ultimately resulted in a more secure North America under one dominant power. This actually benefited the 13 Colonies as well, as it meant that they didn't need to worry about another foreign power threatening their borders.

The idea that Britain was a 'tyrannical and malevolent' power doesn't sit well with me. It is true that Britain probably should've granted self-governance to the Colonies much sooner, but given the French Indian War, this was problematic. Also, British institutions would've benefited the 13 Colonies. Parliamentary democracy would've been the norm, which may have been a more effective system of governance that the current system.

I think we need to be realistic about what the founding of the United States: whilst voting rights were extended to males, which was unprecedented at the time, the institution of slavery was still practised, and the United States also experienced issues in national unity.

Ultimately, what I have come to conclude about the US is that it is a vastly different nation; in fact, the only common element is that Americans speak English. The culture and way of life is probably as different to other English-speaking nations as France is to those nations.
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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12/19/2015 8:17:58 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 6:25:31 PM, beng100 wrote:
At 12/19/2015 12:40:28 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
People who live in the former dominions of the British Empire certainly appreciate the impact that Britain has had on their society. The three best examples of the perfect transplant society are: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All of these nations share similar values, have similar institutions and of course all have as their Head of State the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.

The advantage of a being a British transplant society was that the new world colonies were able to have the best of both worlds: first, they eschewed the 'old world' values of class and nobility, which was highly entrenched in British; and second, they had the benefit of hundred of years of history, which shaped and evolved the strong and effective institutions from which they now benefit. In this sense, they are extremely fortunate because the hard-work had already been done.

The United States, however, was and continues to be a conundrum. Whilst the US was a British transplant society, it turned out to be much different. The American revolution and the ensuing War of Independence had completely severed ties with the former Empire, and the new Founders established an entire nation from scratch, and developed it own institutions and values (even creating an entirely new political system), thereby eschewing everything that had happened up until that point. It was kind of a Year Zero for the United States, as though their nation had been born on that continent.

Many alternate history buffs would ask the question: 'what would have happened if the US never broke away?' Of course, this is a complicated question, but to say that the United States would've been better off (as many Commonwealth citizens would believe), I'm not so convinced that this is necessarily the case. The number one reason for this is: slavery. The reason why slavery was so prevalent in the Southern US was due to its geography and climate that favoured conditions for labour all year round, i.e. the plantations. The institution of slavery didn't pick up so much in Canada. So, even if the 13 Colonies hadn't broken away, the issue of slavery in the Colonies would've eventually posed an issue for the British. When the British did finally abolish slavery in 1833 (and assuming that 13 Colonies were still under the British), the institution of chattel slavery would've been well established in the Southern Colonies by the time. It would have been unlikely that the Southern Colonies would've easily foregone this institution (given that it took a civil war some 30 years later to abolish slavery) at the request of the British. This would've resulted in two scenarios: first, the Southern Colonies or the 13 Colonies would've rebelled anyway, and established its own nation; or second, the British would've permitted slavery (albeit reluctantly) as an exception in the Southern US.

The fact that the nation of the United States was already established by the time the British abolished slavery was actually what absolved Britain of the responsibility to deal with the slavery issue. And this is why the US did Britain a favour: the other British transplant societies were established after the abolition of slavery, and so the new colonies were not plagued with this extractive institution.

The independence of the US was a life-line for Britain.

Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?
--
Also, as a second point, the defeat of the American Colonies paved the way for Britain to set its sights towards India, which probably made Britain more wealthy than the 13 Colonies would ever have.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/19/2015 9:25:29 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 6:25:31 PM, beng100 wrote:

Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?

Britain was already the de facto world hegemon throughout the pax britannica, controlling about a fifth of the world and thwarting the advances of competing smaller empires of the French, Russians, and Germans. Neither wealth nor power was in want following US secession.

I should also add that what makes this counterfactual particularly inconceivable, is that the lessons learned from the American revolution and the dynamic of an autonomous liberal power (with british heritage) in the western hemisphere helped to preserve the British Empire. First, US secession was in some respects an impetus for the liberal movement that reformed imperial governance of Canada and Australia, essentially obviating rebellion. Second, on the chance that being a subordinate dominion with economic obligations to the empire (being forced to import goods from other imperial territories and being forced to commercially disengage with imperial rivals) would cause the US to emerge much weaker by the end of the 19th century, the country would have been of probably far less use come World War I.

And I also think that US independence solidified Britain's position in the global axis of power at the end of both world wars. Having an independent ally to inherit Britain's seat as world leader produced a not just western but culturally and ideologically British world order; it ensured the continuance of its values, culture, and traditions of law when the empire inevitably collapsed under its own weight. Another way of framing this thesis, is that the US has served as Britain's geopolitical seed, and in that sense exerts its influence over the world vicariously. The kind of inchoate power dwelling in the newly formed United States would have been squandered if the country was treated as just another arm of the imperial corpus.

So I have to disagree with what you've said here regarding the losses incurred and side with the OP. The American Revolution was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Britain (especially in the context of imperial competition among the other European powers).
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
dylancatlow
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12/19/2015 10:26:49 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
This theory assumes that the British government would still have moved to abolish slavery if the United States had remained a British colony. If doing so would have lead to the political tensions you describe, they might have thought twice about passing such legislation for fear of losing one of their possessions. I mean, it's a lot easier to abolish slavery if you aren't personally benefiting from it, which was largely the case for the British. If one of their colonies was adamant about keeping slavery, and if the British were benefiting from it economically anyway, it's quite possible that the British wouldn't have banned slavery until much later on.
000ike
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12/19/2015 11:32:17 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 10:26:49 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This theory assumes that the British government would still have moved to abolish slavery if the United States had remained a British colony.

That's a fair assumption to make. First, abolitionism emerged from liberalism and transitively from the enlightenment -- essentially an independent political movement whose pressure in parliament would have been felt regardless of what was going on in America.

Second, the US South, while a staunch pro-slavery interest group, would have constituted at best a minor fraction of the pressure to sustain it. Sugar (not tobacco or cotton) was the largest 18th Century commodity, and was being exported from Caribbean sugar plantations to Britain and various imperial markets. When sugar became less profitable, as the price decreased due to foreign competition and alternative means of sugar extraction (beats as opposed to sugar cane), it was substantially easier for abolitionists to collapse the institution.

Third, A world in which the US does not declare independence, is a world in which the British government does not learn the limits of their prerogative over the colonies. Not only would they view it as their sovereign right to compel the US South to comply with Parliament's abolition, but they would assume that they have the overwhelming military force to destroy any resistance against it.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
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12/19/2015 11:43:27 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
What that third point means is that you are anachronistically projecting notions of colonial power and capability that would simply have no place in the governing calculus of the crown (absent a successful rebellion to prove it).
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
dylancatlow
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12/20/2015 2:34:19 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 11:32:17 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/19/2015 10:26:49 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This theory assumes that the British government would still have moved to abolish slavery if the United States had remained a British colony.

That's a fair assumption to make. First, abolitionism emerged from liberalism and transitively from the enlightenment -- essentially an independent political movement whose pressure in parliament would have been felt regardless of what was going on in America.
True, but that doesn't mean the movement would have proceeded at the same pace or in precisely the same direction under those conditions. If abolishing slavery was politically inconvenient, enlightenment thinkers might have considered it a lost cause, or if they went ahead with it anyway, their message might have been ignored by British politicians.


Second, the US South, while a staunch pro-slavery interest group, would have constituted at best a minor fraction of the pressure to sustain it. Sugar (not tobacco or cotton) was the largest 18th Century commodity, and was being exported from Caribbean sugar plantations to Britain and various imperial markets. When sugar became less profitable, as the price decreased due to foreign competition and alternative means of sugar extraction (beats as opposed to sugar cane), it was substantially easier for abolitionists to collapse the institution.

But for the American colonies, cotton was more important, and they're the ones the British would be concerned about in this context. One of the reasons that cotton was less important to Britain was the fact that they lost control of their cotton-producing colony, the United States. If they had not lost it, cotton might have been a larger priority for them.

Third, A world in which the US does not declare independence, is a world in which the British government does not learn the limits of their prerogative over the colonies. Not only would they view it as their sovereign right to compel the US South to comply with Parliament's abolition, but they would assume that they have the overwhelming military force to destroy any resistance against it.
Nevertheless, it's quite possible that they would been less inclined to outlaw slavery if they thought it would lead to uprising, or raise uncomfortable questions surrounding their relationship to the colonies. If there were an obvious way to maintain possession of their colony without having to go to war, they might have gone with that option and tried to avoid conflict altogether. I'm not claiming that the assumption made in the OP is wrong, but I think it's a big enough assumption to warrant discussion, like you've done here.
j50wells
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12/20/2015 3:22:22 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
Would we have been better? No. Not at all. But we would not have been in the dumps. We would have thrived, just not at the level that we are now.
The English were gentlemen. They were some of the most benevolent people in history. It is they who led the charge to end slavery, world-wide. And why were they gentlemen? Cicero and common law. This common law is so important to the understanding of enlightened people.
So why would they have not brought prosperity to America at the levels we see today? Because of their unbelievable pride. Brit's are the most prideful nation on earth. This pride is so arrogant so as to make them look illegitimate. This pride would have forced them to always hold the USA down with taxes and psychological persuasion.
National pride is often the downfall of a nation. Think Roman Empire. So it is better that we broke away from Britain. They weren't a bad people. Historically, they would have been more fair to America than many empire building nations. But, we found that liberty was the ultimate answer. This is the primary reason that we are the most powerful nation in the whole history of the earth, and the most benevolent. In as sense, the Brit's were our teacher, but it really wasn't them who taught us. It was Cicero. His writings should be read more than the Bible.
augcaesarustus
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12/20/2015 4:52:24 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 9:25:29 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/19/2015 6:25:31 PM, beng100 wrote:

Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?

Britain was already the de facto world hegemon throughout the pax britannica, controlling about a fifth of the world and thwarting the advances of competing smaller empires of the French, Russians, and Germans. Neither wealth nor power was in want following US secession.

I should also add that what makes this counterfactual particularly inconceivable, is that the lessons learned from the American revolution and the dynamic of an autonomous liberal power (with british heritage) in the western hemisphere helped to preserve the British Empire. First, US secession was in some respects an impetus for the liberal movement that reformed imperial governance of Canada and Australia, essentially obviating rebellion. Second, on the chance that being a subordinate dominion with economic obligations to the empire (being forced to import goods from other imperial territories and being forced to commercially disengage with imperial rivals) would cause the US to emerge much weaker by the end of the 19th century, the country would have been of probably far less use come World War I.

And I also think that US independence solidified Britain's position in the global axis of power at the end of both world wars. Having an independent ally to inherit Britain's seat as world leader produced a not just western but culturally and ideologically British world order; it ensured the continuance of its values, culture, and traditions of law when the empire inevitably collapsed under its own weight. Another way of framing this thesis, is that the US has served as Britain's geopolitical seed, and in that sense exerts its influence over the world vicariously. The kind of inchoate power dwelling in the newly formed United States would have been squandered if the country was treated as just another arm of the imperial corpus.

So I have to disagree with what you've said here regarding the losses incurred and side with the OP. The American Revolution was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Britain (especially in the context of imperial competition among the other European powers).
--
You know what: I couldn't have put it better myself. The only thing that I would say is this: the US and Canada, Australia and NZ are nothing alike. They are completely different nations with different values. The founding of the US was Year Zero, and everything that happened before that was completely nullified, except for the English language. I've learnt to stop applying Australian, NZ and Canadian solutions to American problems: it doesn't work and is futile.

The US was doomed to fail as a nation-state from the beginning. It is, and has always been a 'broken' nation; it is NOT united. The institution of slavery and the Civil War are evidence of this, as well as the current political divide between the northern and southern States.
augcaesarustus
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12/20/2015 4:53:08 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 10:26:49 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This theory assumes that the British government would still have moved to abolish slavery if the United States had remained a British colony. If doing so would have lead to the political tensions you describe, they might have thought twice about passing such legislation for fear of losing one of their possessions. I mean, it's a lot easier to abolish slavery if you aren't personally benefiting from it, which was largely the case for the British. If one of their colonies was adamant about keeping slavery, and if the British were benefiting from it economically anyway, it's quite possible that the British wouldn't have banned slavery until much later on.
--
Exactly, well said.
augcaesarustus
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12/20/2015 4:54:58 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 11:32:17 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/19/2015 10:26:49 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This theory assumes that the British government would still have moved to abolish slavery if the United States had remained a British colony.

That's a fair assumption to make. First, abolitionism emerged from liberalism and transitively from the enlightenment -- essentially an independent political movement whose pressure in parliament would have been felt regardless of what was going on in America.

Second, the US South, while a staunch pro-slavery interest group, would have constituted at best a minor fraction of the pressure to sustain it. Sugar (not tobacco or cotton) was the largest 18th Century commodity, and was being exported from Caribbean sugar plantations to Britain and various imperial markets. When sugar became less profitable, as the price decreased due to foreign competition and alternative means of sugar extraction (beats as opposed to sugar cane), it was substantially easier for abolitionists to collapse the institution.

Third, A world in which the US does not declare independence, is a world in which the British government does not learn the limits of their prerogative over the colonies. Not only would they view it as their sovereign right to compel the US South to comply with Parliament's abolition, but they would assume that they have the overwhelming military force to destroy any resistance against it.
--
Which ultimately would've led to an independent nation, anyway. I'm almost of the belief that the British 'gave up' their American Colonies, because it was more trouble than it was worth.
beng100
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12/20/2015 7:13:44 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/19/2015 9:25:29 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/19/2015 6:25:31 PM, beng100 wrote:

Yes the independence of the usa saved Britain a problem with slavery in the 1800s. Given the value of the theoretical American colony at the time the British would have not risked provoking an American independence movement so would have reluctantly tolerated slavery. If the UK had not lost the usa as a colony it would have become significantly wealthier and more powerful and the course of history of the world would have followed a very different path with the UK dominating world affairs much more. The USA greatly benefited from independence as Britain was a parasite on the US economy and would have remained so. The world would look very different today but in what ways I cannot guess. Maybe a large political union of the English speaking countries might exist today?

Britain was already the de facto world hegemon throughout the pax britannica, controlling about a fifth of the world and thwarting the advances of competing smaller empires of the French, Russians, and Germans. Neither wealth nor power was in want following US secession.

I should also add that what makes this counterfactual particularly inconceivable, is that the lessons learned from the American revolution and the dynamic of an autonomous liberal power (with british heritage) in the western hemisphere helped to preserve the British Empire. First, US secession was in some respects an impetus for the liberal movement that reformed imperial governance of Canada and Australia, essentially obviating rebellion. Second, on the chance that being a subordinate dominion with economic obligations to the empire (being forced to import goods from other imperial territories and being forced to commercially disengage with imperial rivals) would cause the US to emerge much weaker by the end of the 19th century, the country would have been of probably far less use come World War I.

And I also think that US independence solidified Britain's position in the global axis of power at the end of both world wars. Having an independent ally to inherit Britain's seat as world leader produced a not just western but culturally and ideologically British world order; it ensured the continuance of its values, culture, and traditions of law when the empire inevitably collapsed under its own weight. Another way of framing this thesis, is that the US has served as Britain's geopolitical seed, and in that sense exerts its influence over the world vicariously. The kind of inchoate power dwelling in the newly formed United States would have been squandered if the country was treated as just another arm of the imperial corpus.

So I have to disagree with what you've said here regarding the losses incurred and side with the OP. The American Revolution was the best thing that could have possibly happened to Britain (especially in the context of imperial competition among the other European powers).

I disagree. The loss of such a large resource was a major blow to the uk. Yes it became very powerful but if it had maintained control of the usa it would have dominated world affairs to an even greater extent that would have perhaps weakened its European colonial rivals to such an extent the two world wars would have been very different and possibly not happened at all. Ultimately though it's a largely hypothetical point as it would be hard to see such a vast country being controlled by a remote island with a smaller population by the beginning of the 20th century. American independence was inevitable once the colony became sufficiently developed. Indepedance certainly benefited the usa but UK citizens would be wealthier today if it's entire empire remained, even if it was more of an equal alliance rather then British controlled territory.