Would a Neutral Observer in 1775 Have Expected the British or the Colonies to Win the Revolutionary War?

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The year is 1775. The British are at war with the colonies, and unfortunately, for the colonies, a neutral observer in such a time would have picked the British for the win hands down due to their immense military strength, the colonies’ lack of metallic wealth, and the geographic fragmentation of the colonies.

For years Britain had been known to have one of the mightiest military powers in the world. This sentiment was only furthered by their 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada and again by their defeat of the French in 1763 (in the seven years’ war). In contrast, the colonies had small militias made up of mere citizens that were, for the most part, untrained in battle or military strategy. How could anyone expect the colonies, with their lowly militias, to ever hope to bring down such a force as the renowned British military?

In putting their theory of mercantilism into practice, the British exploited the colonies in ways that could help give them the upper-hand in a war they never expected when sending off their first colonists. The point of mercantilism is to export more than you import so as to build up the amount of gold and silver in your country’s treasury, therefore countries like Britain who had colonies had the upper hand since they could have raw materials not available on their homeland imported from their colonies. While this was great for the British, it meant the colonies had much less wealth than the mother country. As a result the British were able to hire German mercenaries known as Hessians and their military technology was more advanced than that of the colonies. Most anyone comparing the economic resources of the colonies against those of the British would have no trouble trying to guess who had more available to help them in a war against each other.

Not only did it seem that the colonies were outmatched in both military and economy, but also geographically. Unlike Britain, the colonies did not connect to one another to make...
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