In honour of the debate about whether Britain should gain its independence from the European Union we look back at the reasons given for opposing American independence. They come from John Dickinson, the founding father who refused to sign the declaration of independence.
In a speech on 1st July 1776 during the debate that led to the declaration of independence. He listed these reasons to vote against AmerExit:
Break Up Of America - Dickinson claimed in his speech that Florida would become a foreign country if America declared independence. He feared it would become part of Spain, and said: “a partition of these Colonies will take place if Great Britain cant conquer us”.
World War - He claimed the enemies of both Britain and America would use the independence as an opportunity to invade the USA. He also felt countries with colonies would want to stifle any talk of decolonisation through military force.
Bad Trade Deals - He dismissed claims that Britain’s foreign trade with America was too large to risk. Instead he expressed fears that Canada would be given to France to undermine the new USA. The end result of this would be “most disadvantageous Grant of our Trade” with France, whereas remain would lead to “share of commerce as would satisfy us”.
Regional Instability - If Florida was taken by Spain and Canada by France the whole region might be destabalised. Add in the war with Britain and things might get very unpleasant!
Treating Other Countries with Contempt - Leaving Britain as a unilateral act without permission of other countries would be seen as an act of contempt against them.
UK Would Collapse - Without America the UK itself is at risk. He feared the damage to leaving Britain might put the whole of the UK at risk of collapse.
National Security Would Be Undermined - Dickinson claimed national security was at risk from leaving. He said: “To escape from the protection we have in British rule by declaring independence would be like destroying a House before we have got another...”
Too Small To Stand Alone - The actions of pirates needed to be dealt with by countries working together. Independence would put this at risk, and the USA would not be powerful enough to counter it on its own.
Some of these reasons sound remarkably similar to why the UK should vote against independence on 23rd June. Something to think about!
Source: Arguments Against American Independence, speech by John Dickinson