Since it looks like America and its attempt at freedom and other nouns is coming to an end, I wonder what the history books would have looked like if it had never quite started. Something as simple as a lack of French support could have doomed our attempted revolution. With no navy and inferior land troops, what could the colonies have done?
On one hand, the end of the British Empire may have been inevitable. But I don't think it was inevitable at the time. The world wars ended the empires of France, Germany, and Britain (and some other places that are too lame to name), far after the American revolution. And who knows what a captive American colony could have done during that time to change future history. Can you imagine a World War I with Germany knowing that America would be against it? Only in hind sight does an American-British alliance seem anything close to inevitable.
Earlier American intervention might have made a difference. Or, continued control of American resources might have made Britain powerful enough to prevent war in the first place.
But this assumes a lot. It assumes that America would have been quite as badass under the crown rather than against it. I suspect this is not the case. Rebellion, and weakness, fuel innovation. We were a weak nation, something which we cannot quite grasp today, but the War of 1812 certainly proves my point. So we had to do more, and faster, than any other country, just to survive. Somehow we carried that a bit further and became the most powerful nation in the world. I do think that Britain with control of the American colonies, or whatever we'd be by then, would still be the most powerful country in the world, but not by so much.
beyond national psychology, there is politics and diplomacy. Would the Louisiana Purchase have happened under British rule? While the crown may have been eager to buy the land, would France have sold it? Almost certainly not! The sale was a great deal for France and America, giving is needed land, giving them money, and as a bonus for France, strengthening a potential rival of Britain. Maybe a Britain that didn't lose the colonies could have conquered the land instead, but I suspect the sale was a lot cheaper. Such a war may have cost both sides too much, leading to an even stronger Prussian/German state, which could have contested French continental supremacy, and next thing you know all of European history is completely re-written, though I predict it would still end with a failed invasion of Russia. But maybe being unable to sell Louisiana would have forced France into peace sooner, preventing the invasion of Russia, and depriving Hitler of that important historical lesson which he ignored anyway because he was an arrogant racist (redundant?), so really nothing changes.
On a side note, I do not believe that anyone has successfully invaded Russia or Canada. Obviously this should make us worried about a potentially invincible Axis of Cold Places. To make it even worse, neither country speaks English.
Without the Louisiana Purchase, or with it at a high military cost, would the Americans (with all the alternative history, and my lack of time travel, I've decided to go with the third person) have been able to beat up Mexico repeatedly for land? And without that land, would America have had enough worthless desert to send natives to starve to death before inventing gambling? The entire presidency of Andrew Jackson could have been nullified.
What would a stronger Mexico have done? My guess is, been marginally less horrible, but it would not have been the savior and/or destroyer of the world.
It would have been a scarier Soviet Union growing out of Russia, still in control of Alaska. Would Canada have fallen? I do not know, but know this, any history in which Canada is not free to be Canadian is not a history that I want to see. And Sarah Palin would have been a communist and had a totally hot Russian accent, unlike whatever the hell that is.
I do hope that by the time this post goes up our representatives will have worked out something. My vote is for a all the sane people to lock the Tea Party members in a basement storage room, hold the votes, and then let them out when we're done governing and can go back to screaming incoherently at each other. If not, well then there's one day before life gets more interesting than I'd like.