Why did Captain Richardson travel to the past in the Outlander books?

Captain Richardson is a time traveler in the Outlander books. Why did he travel to the Revolutionary War?

Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 7 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

During Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, we learn that Captain Richardson is a time traveler. He has come back to the Revolutionary War with one goal in mind.

It’s always been clear that Richardson is up to something in the books. He starts off as a British officer, sending William on a dangerous mission that involves passing on notes to known Rebels. Then he switches sides, and he is somehow involved in the Benjamin Grey storyline.

As we learn that he’s a time traveler, we also find out what he wants. Is it the same as Claire and Jamie, or will he be on the opposite side to their wishes?

Captain Richardson wants the British to win in the Outlander books

We learn that Richardson is on the side of the British, despite turning coat and joining the Rebels. He switched sides to help prevent the Americans winning, although it’s not clear if he is going to succeed.

Why does he want the British to win, though? Does he really think that America will be better off remaining under the control of the Crown? Not really. There is one specific reason he wants the British to win.

It all comes down to slavery. Captain Richardson wants to bring an end to slavery sooner in America. Of course, there are questions about why he wouldn’t go back to a time before slavery took a hold in Britain and America, but that’s for another post. He thinks that Britain winning the Revolutionary War will lead to slavery coming to an end sooner than the American Civil War.

It certainly could, but that doesn’t mean everything else will be better. There are a lot of moments in history where we think events turning out in a different way could be better, but we simply don’t know. Maybe history played out the way that it was supposed to so there wasn’t someone worse than what we ended up with.

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