The Instigator
primeministerJoshua812
Pro (for)
The Contender
Wynton99
Con (against)

The 13 British American Colonies could have become a Federation with a Constitutional Monarchy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/23/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,092 times Debate No: 116589
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (23)
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primeministerJoshua812

Pro

I agree with the idea. I will use the history of Canada as an example of why this would have been very possible south of the border. First, the geopolitical situation was in favour. Spanish threats to the south and threats from Aboriginals were good grounds for colonial leaders the call for unity among the colonies just as colonists in Canada had done with the perceived looming threat of an American invasion post-civil war America. Second domestic political structure would be in place. The Colonists feud with Parliament would have brought up the idea of an "American Parliament" which would deal with the domestic affairs of the state while the British Parliament dealt with foreign and constitutional affairs as what happened with the Dominion of Canada. Third, this idea was already supported. Benjamin Franklin who was a delegate to the Albany Congress in which he proposed a "plan of a union under Britain" one that was rejected by the colonial legislatures and the British Board of Trade. Franklin even concedes that had the colonies united the revolution may not have happened or at least not as it did and at the time it did.
Wynton99

Con

Before I begin I would like to extend some cordiality to my opponent. I think this is an interesting topic, and I respect his opinions.

***First rebuttal of my opponent's contentions:***

1) On the argument: "The pressure of the Spanish threat to the south, and Aboriginal threat would favor the colonies unionizing for defense." It is important to note that the colonies at the time were fiercely competitive with one another. In fact, most wanted to become individual independent countries. To that end, most colonies were not even in favor of fighting against Britain even as the troops landed on the mainland - it took the radicals to rally the army together. Additionally, the colonies as apposed to the provinces of Canada, were inhabited for a few key reasons. The first was because of a lack of opportunity in Britain, second because of a sentiment of British oppression, and third because of ani-monarchical sentiments. Those that were rallying to fight were actually more interested in gaining the independence of their respective colonies than any coalition of colonies. It wasn't until the Join-Or-Die movement that the colonies began to coalesce. Because of this, an American parliament would have run into high resistance up until the moment that the colonies were invaded. And by that time, American nationalists were so eager to distance themselves from British governance that they scrapped any pretense of parliament in favor of the bicameral system. A few were in favor of a parliament, but for many it was too indirect of a democracy - this is why the US prides itself on its checks and balances.

2) On the argument: "The domestic political structure would have been in place". The political structure at the time of revolution was actually very fragmented. Each colony was printing their own currency, and the national currency was deemed worthless by the public. Their wasn't even a way to delegate funding between the colonies which was reflected in a complete lack of a tax revenue stream and a lack of funding for the continental army, which at some points was starving and dying of disease, while rich merchants within the colonies continued their daily lives. This contrast demonstrates the disunity that the colonies had.

3) On the argument: "The Idea was supported by Benjamin Franklin". Indeed the idea was considered by the colonies, but the clash between loyalists and revolutionaries was so great, that harbors became riot zones. If the loyalists had outnumbered the revolutionaries a federation may have been formed. However, as stated earlier, most colonies desired to be independent nations of their own.

***This brings me to my own contentions:***

1) The cause of the union of the colonies was the war. As mentioned earlier, the colonies struggled between the clash of the loyalists and nationalists up until the British invaded. Not until the fighting began did the Join-Or-Die Movement begin, and a national currency get minted. Still yet, some colonies remained loyal while others resisted heavily. However, history shows that nothing unites a people like an invasion on their homeland which can be seen in unification of the Ottoman Empire after the brutal crusades, the consolidation of the regions of China after being invaded by Japan, the forming of the Soviet Union after successfully coming back from a German invasion. The same goes for the States, which were otherwise seriously fragmented.

2) If it weren't for the invasion by the British, the colonies would have formed individual countries, rather than a union. An example of what the states could have looked like would be the countries that were formerly the British African Colonies, and Middle Eastern Colonies. Each colony was populated by a majority of people completely apposed to British rule, but without the success of the American revolution, became fragmented countries whose borders contained clashing cultures. This could have happened to the states, as the US colonies were founded for vastly different reasons, and by different cultures. Massachusetts for example was founded originally for religious freedom, while South Carolina was founded with the intent of farming cash crops. Some of these differences could be said to have helped divide the north and south in the Civil War with the contrast of the North quickly modernizing, and the South relying on agriculture.

3) The reason that Canada worked out this way, was because of the lower and less dense population compared to the States. Canada at the time of its unification before the US Civil War, did not have the dense population centers that the colonies had, and were much easier for the British government to control and appease. The colonies on the other hand, were a logistical nightmare for the crown. Even if Britain managed to install an American Parliament, it would have slowly begun to fracture, as British governance would break down over time as it did with so many other colonies. This would return the colonies to sort out their differences, and such a union would probably not have been able to survive. Remember, at the time of the civil war, gangs in urban centers required military action to challenge, and riots often caused far reaching instability. A civil war would have shattered the fragile union which would have never been tested by decades of politically refining autonomy, and another war with Britain to hone its governing and logistical capabilities.

*Conclusion) Because of the lack of unity among the individual colonial governments, and the lack of domestic and economic cohesion, the colonies would have formed individual countries in the absence of a British invasion. However, because of the British invasion, the colonies were forced to unionize and distance themselves from Britain significantly more radically than was intended. In the case of a unionization, an American parliament would have dissolved with the British empire because of a denser and more logistically challenging population.
Debate Round No. 1
primeministerJoshua812

Pro

I begin my rebuttal by issuing a gesture of thanks to my opponent for the acceptance for this debate.

On the first point made by my opponent. I would like to first ask my opponent a question. Will my opponent concede that the colonies unioning for defence against the aboriginals and Spanish as well as the French in Louisiana serves as a basis for a political and socio-economic union? Would may opponent agree that a lack of willingness to fight British troops would have gave ground to those who wanted a dominion for America under the Crown of Britain? Well, it is true that the colonies were fiercely competitive with each other the trouble brought upon the colonies by Parliament would have served as the purpose of a political union. I would argue that such competition does not remove the idea of union. We see similar traits in Canada. The colonies that now make up the Canadian Federation which deeply divided among ethnolinguistic lines such as the Francophones and the Anglophones consistently fighting for control of the colonial assemblies which the English almost effectively won due to the backing by the imperial parliament in London. I must argue that the reasons you give for the colonization for America apply to Canada as well. The join or die movement was formed in 1754 during the seven years war so this is necessarily an argument for independence but simply colonial unity. The cartoon appeared along with Franklin's editorial about the "disunited state" of the colonies and helped make his point about the importance of colonial unity. It became a symbol of colonial freedom during the American Revolutionary War. One of the reasons that American Nationalists were so successful is because of how the King responded to the declarations made by the first continental congress. Had the King responded differently we might not be discussing this. In their petitions, the first Continental Congress asserted it's loyalty to the King while expressing its dissatisfaction with Parliament. In my opinion, this is grounds for colonial union under the King. A Parliamentary system does not necessarily mean no bicameral system. Britain had and still has a bicameral system the house of commons and the house of Lords. Canada has a House of Commons and a Senate. Whether Canada and the United Kingdom is a more or less democratic than the US is a debate for another day.

When I say political structure I mean that each colony had a similar government to that of Canada and Australia. A Governor and a Legislative Assembly that had varying degrees of power. The colonies could have built on this in terms of dominion government. The horrible system of government established under the articles of confederation could have very well been changed if history had gone another way and the colonies could have set up the same systems of checks and balances but instead of a President for a head of state it would have been a King/Queen. A strong type of union government would allow the colonies to address the issues facing it.

While you are right in your stated contention. The use of reason instead of violence would likely have given the rise of a union government. It really depended on what the new government would be able to do and what the states would be able to do. for example, I live in Alberta, Canada. One of the political parties via to form the government in next year's provincial election wants to withdraw Alberta from Canada Pension Plan because if Alberta had it's own pension plan an APP if you will than pension rates could be offered at a lower premium.

I disagree that the cause of the union was the war or British invasion. I think the First Continental Congress is proof that the union was caused by actions of Parliament further supported by nationalism. While British invasions may have been having played a huge role it was the intolerable acts that caused the seed for the union to grow. The acts of Parliament started the cause for union and invasion, occupation and martial law followed suit. If Parliament had not acted than the colonies would have had no reason to unite against the British because it was Parliament who ordered the closing the of the Boston Habour and so forth. The colonial culture was actually quite similar. Very patriarchal in nature. The reasons why the colonies began has, in my opinion, nothing to do with the cause for a union. I would say that the main cause of disunion would have been slavery and Governmental structure, not culture something which you seem to indirectly argue for.

I read your third contention and I must remind you what the discussion is about. I am arguing for a union of the colonies in which the King is head of state but the colonies are effectively independent to the likes of Canada and Australia. The British Parliament only really dealing with Foreign and Constitutional affairs. I disagree that population plays as big a role as make it out to be. Well, it is true that population does have a role it wasn't the reason for any sort of independence as many colonists saw themselves as English citizens just as much as they saw themselves as Americans. America had trouble but then what country doesn't I see no reason why a long-term union could not have survived in fact it seems that my arguments have stood under scrutiny. If Parliament needed to change something then I am sure the Imperial Parliament in the name of keeping control would listen just as they did with Canada and Australia. I repeat my stance on the idea basis I see for civil war is slavery or governmental structure defects. The latter could be solved through debate and resolution like Canada and the other could have been solved through other means besides war. The only way I see armed rebellion on the issue of slavery is if the southern part of America violently reacted to the Slave-trade act of 1834 which banned slavery in the British Empire.

My Conclusion is simple. While my opponent gives me new points to consider. Many of my opponent's points seem to point towards union under the monarch. If the colonies unionized in a similar pattern to that of Canadian colonies the British Parliament's power would have weakened putting nationalists at ease. Basically, I see no reason in history why this union could not have happened.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
I declare and decree that reason must be used in defence of statements, Not simple babblings!
Posted by anti_ethnocentric 3 years ago
anti_ethnocentric
From this point fore let it be known I said what needed to be said and regardless of what is said from here on aft it is I who said " The Last Word ". . .
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
How so?
Posted by anti_ethnocentric 3 years ago
anti_ethnocentric
That comment makes you sound like a scissorbill.
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
No one is in the room. The room doesn't even exists.
Posted by anti_ethnocentric 3 years ago
anti_ethnocentric
primeministerJoshua812 Why would you think that? Wynton99 is not even in the room.
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
Oh, I thought you were talking to Wynton99. Telling that you refuted my contention does not mean you actually did so.
Posted by anti_ethnocentric 3 years ago
anti_ethnocentric
What part of refute do you not understand.
Posted by primeministerJoshua812 3 years ago
primeministerJoshua812
So do you Agree or Disagree?
Posted by anti_ethnocentric 3 years ago
anti_ethnocentric
primeministerJoshua812 not only has History but I too vehemently refute your contention.
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