Today is the anniversary of the night they caught Guy Fawkes standing next to 30 barrels of gunpowder underneath the House of Lords in 1605. He’d been waiting for the next morning when the King would be sitting in Parliament along with the royal family.
Postulate to the question, what if Guy Fawkes and his compatriots had succeeded:
If the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded, I believe we’d be living in a much different United States.
The Gunpowder Plot was a pro-Catholic movement, but sympathies would fall on the dead King. Catholics in England would be even more persecuted than they were. Not only would they be persecuted, they’d be sent off to the newly discovered America to get them out of England.
Many early European immigrants to America were religious exiles, but if they’d forced all the Catholics to emigrate, America would be a predominantly Catholic land. And they’d be a bunch of Catholics upset with England. Revolution would occur much sooner only rather than vying for independence, the Catholic Colonies would be vying to separate from England and join France.
Independence would occur at approximately the same time as it did, though it would probably start around 1780 rather than the early 1770’s. Louis the XVI would be just as taxing on the American populations as George III is. The war would be shorter, the French are not exactly famous for putting up a prolonged fight and Louis was facing too much unrest at home to start a practice of massive compulsory enlistment into his Army.
From there, the United States evolves pretty much the same, only as a Catholic nation rather than a Free Religion nation. Freedom from persecution for religion will still exist, but the nation will be officially Catholic. Also, there would be no distinction between Canada and the United States.
The Reign of Terror would not try to repatriate the United States, but would hastily try to form an alliance to consolidate their power in France.
Napoleon would still sell us Louisiana. He knows it is not possible for a European based Nation to defend the territory he just won from Spain.
The Civil War never happens for two reasons: First, The Papal denouncement of unjust slavery in 1839 would limit slavery in the US. Catholics are supposed to spread their religion to the heathens and once converted to Catholicism, they cannot be enslaved. Second, with the north including what would otherwise be Canada, the south wouldn’t even think of seceding, knowing they’d be so overmatched in a war.
The War with Mexico never happens. We’re both subservient to the Pope and let him draw the boundaries. He draws a straight line from the mouth of the Mississippi to the Mouth of the Colorado River and declares what’s north to be part of the United States. Texas never really has much bearing on history and is divided by the “California Line”.
The Latter Day Saint movement never takes hold in Utah. Being officially Catholic, the country is not so tolerant of start-up religions.
Otherwise we pretty much get to the same place we are now. Religion becomes less and less enforced by law, but Catholicism still dominates the population. By 1900 history becomes more familiar. Canada secedes during WWI due to English Sympathies and wanting to get more involved in the war than the states south of the St Lawrence River.
Ultimately I have no problem understanding that parallel universes could exist where every decision creates copies of the universe where each potential outcome was chosen. I also would postulate that not only do universes diverge at the point of change, but that they also converge at the point where the differences are forgotten or moot.
In “The Grand Design”, Stephen Hawking declares that history is quantum and if we cannot confirm through observation, all possibilities exist. As soon as we can longer know what happened in the past, every option that could possibly have happened did. Of course, we know how recent history, say the past few hundred million years because we can observe it through documents and fossils and such. But as soon as something exits recorded and recordable history, it becomes quantum.
I just caused the eyes of half my readers to glaze over.
And I’m sure the few that actually understand quantum physics are willing to tell me how I failed to properly convey how quantum theory works.