Thought Experiment in 4GW/5GW: The Takedown of Sam Adams and John Hancock

US News & World Report (which I have been reading since I was a sophomore in high school in the distant past) has an interesting blurb in the whispers section entitled: Did Trigger-Happy Brits Blow 1775? You have to scroll down to see a bit to read the original, but here it is fully:

Did Trigger-Happy Brits Blow 1775?

Today's Army is much more of a thinking person's service, which is why all majors have to take a counterinsurgency class at the Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. There, Special Forces Maj. Christopher Schmitt teaches a course that suggests alternatives to guns and bombs, like psychological warfare and public relations. During a recent visit, we learned that Schmitt has his students test strategies on the Red Coats' move against Sam Adams and John Hancock, an act that helped spark the Revolutionary War. His question: "Could Sam Adams and John Hancock have been discredited by nonmilitary actions? Could they have looked at nonkinetic ways to address the Colonies' grievances? "Think about it: Instead of a refreshing Sam Adams, a tepid Boddingtons might be our favorite microbrew.

Well this sounds pretty fun to think about.

Here is the results of my solitary brainstorming on this (in the context of 4GW and 5GW).

Background British vs. a North American proto-insurgency

  • Similar Culture/Heritage
  • Long Communication latency between North America and London/UK
  • North American Colonist consider themselves British
  • At most 33% of Colonist really want full independence (maybe less in the 1774/1775 time-frame)
  • Colonist are merchant/merit/Capitalism driven
  • British are hereditary/hierarchical/Mercantilism driven
  • Both sides want profit
  • Colonist belong to a wide variety of churches without coordinated top leadership
  • Britain is mostly Church of England
  • The Colonist have newish intelligence service (Committee of Correspondence) and loosely coupled Independence-minded patriotic societies (The Sons of Liberty)

How could a sort of British Pro-Consul defuse the situation (which is being politically led by Sam Adams and John Hancock)? Here are some of my ideas:

Release Steam

  • Roll back some of the repressive acts that have the colonist agitating
  • Minimal Parliamentary participation for each colony ("No Taxation without repre…oh…right then…never mind")
  • Utilize a strong Crown appointed Governor and a weak (but non-token state legislatures
  • Create a North American High Court of Appeals to handle judicial appeals (with judges from both Britain and the Colonies)
  • Create a King's Commission for Grievances and Petition for North America (have both Colonist and Britons serving on it…co-opt Sam Adams time on this)
  • Remove one Regiment Garrisoned in Boston to outside of Boston. Reposition the other regiments to a coastal fortress. Create a joint colonial/British constabulary to provide policing functions.

Recruit/Integrate Colonial Officers into the British Officers

  • Re-enforces British identity
  • Gives a positive (to Britain) outlet for martially minded colonist

Trade Reform

  • Don't treat America as a second class trade partner
  • Move to free trade (away from Mercantilism)
  • American energy can be redirect toward profit (as we are naturally inclined)

Divide and Conquer

  • Create (and manipulate) a mild anti-slavery society/movement to wedge Northern colonies from southern colonies
  • Create (and manipulate) a mild Indian Friendship society/movement to wedge eastern colonies from western colonies
  • Use/manipulate Freemasonry in the colonies to increase universal Englishman Sentiment
  • Create (and Manipulate with money through Loyalist) local patriotic organization as an alternative to the various Sons of Liberty organizations
  • Infiltrate the Committee of Correspondence through spy trade-craft
  • Manage Agents of influence State Legislators and other public leaders through trade-craft
  • Discreet/shame/compromise/entrap key folks to destroy their public credibility
  • The above also necessitate the create a British/Loyalist Intelligence service and an even more secret smaller version (sometimes the actions of the first will give cover to the second).

"We are All Englishmen"

  • Create a Secretary of State for North American Affairs
  • Creation of North American High Court
  • Create a King's Commission for Grievances and Petition for North America
  • More opportunities for Colonial gentlemen in the British Army
  • Establish a UK wide Holiday to Celebrate North American. Have a major dignitary visit the Colonies each year around the time of the holiday (e.g. the King, Crown Prince, PM, Deputy PM, other princes, the 1774 equiv of Lord Mountbatten)
  • Slots for Americans based on merit at British Universities
  • Offer Sam Adams a teaching job at Oxford for 2 years with a large large stipend
  • Create an American campus extension (like the various American University campuses around the world) of Cambridge or Oxford to build colonial candidates for an English-style Civil service emphasising administration, engineering, natural philosophy, diplomacy and English identity.

Last Resort

  • Create an Operation Phoenix on the proto-rebel American Leadership disguised as a crime wave of some sort (or pirate attack or something).

5 Responses

  1. Blog Updates for April 2006

    Four blogs added to the blogroll this month:

    FX-Based by Sonny: focuses on strategy. Sonny contributed mightily to the discussion for that oddly named post, OODA, PISRR, FFPS, and Attractive Asian Women of Lost Nomad’s “Girl Wednesday
    Interact b…

  2. […] The new Carnival of the Vanities is out and it includes a link to my Takedown of Sam Adams and John Hancock post. […]

  3. Carnival of the Vanities

    Welcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of the Vanities. I’m sticking with my usual method of hosting a carnival — listing a summary of each piece with the author’s reason for submitting the post to the carnival (for

  4. Very interesting site… I wish I could write like you! Miky

  5. […] Purpleslog (“Where Awesomeness and Modesty Meets Sexy”), in an article dated 3 April 2006: How […]

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