Regarding the American Revolution, the ArticlesofConfederation, the

Alan Bradley abradley1 at bigpond.com
Tue Apr 23 20:40:34 MDT 2002


From: "Charles Brown"
> Was the British Navy stronger than the French, a significant factor with
respect to a war in America ?

The naval wars that led up to the battle of Trafalgar had clearly shown that
Britain was the number one naval power in Europe, which at that time implied
the world.

The impact of this on a war in north America would be three-fold:
a)  Britain could blockade US ports and/or harass US shipping, and the US
could do very little about it.  Historically, the US Navy did actually
achieve some successes against the Royal Navy, but these were engagements
between frigates and similar small vessels, not engagements between battle
fleets.

b)  Britain could send troops to north America relatively freely.  They
could also supply them.  But... remember that the British required
mercenaries/allies to put large armies in the field.  These weren't really
available in 1812-1814, as they were fighting Napoleon.

c)  The French would have to run the gauntlet of the British fleet to send
significant forces to the Americas.  This had been true during the American
revolution too, and they had managed it.  In fact, of course the French were
busy during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, so they would have been
unable to provide much support to the American colonies.  This is
_especially_ true during the 1812-1814 period.

In conclusion, then, British naval power was obviously a major asset for
them.  In the end, though, land armies were still necessary, and that was a
weak spot for them.  A fleet can't besiege New York, or burn Washington.
That requires armies.

Alan Bradley
abradley1 at bigpond.com


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