American West

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American West

The “American West” is not what many people think of when they hear those words. People think of it as cowboys and Indians fighting on the Great Plains and in the canyons or the travel across rugged terrain traveling as fast as they could for the gold rush. In all honesty the west started as soon as the Americas began to be colonized and many historians say it begins at the Proclamation Line of 1763. They had many struggles with the Native Americans, the French trying to take their land by way of war, and Great Britain, the motherland, taxing them harshly for war debt but the American colonists eventually made their way to what is today commonly called the West.

The Albany Plan of Union, which was drafted by Benjamin Franklin and the governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson, was a proposal to unite the thirteen colonies in preparation of a war with France. The proposal was drafted during a meeting with the native leaders, colonial officials, and representatives from the seven British colonies. This meeting was called the Albany Congress because they all met in Albany in the spring of 1754. The meeting had two focal points. The first was to ally with the Iroquois. Before this the Iroquois had a better relationship with the French. This was until the 1740s. During Albany Congress the Iroquois Indians were bribed with supplies and weapons to ally with the colonies. The other point of this meeting was the Albany Plan of Union. It called for a new government, a person who had powers of the relationships with the natives, and a grand council was also made. The plan was approved unanimously by every delegate at the Albany Congress but when it was presented to the colonists it never passed. The colonists all would rather have the wars paid for by the motherland. The Albany Congress and Albany Plan of Union could be seen as a prelude to American Revolutionary thinking and action because the Americans wanted to separate themselves to from the motherland little by little. The British would not have let them unite in America, because they would be afraid of what did eventually happen. The motherland wanted the colonies for more land to expand, exploration, and more power.

Before the French and Indian War, the Native Americans had a good relationship with the French so England wanted to appease the natives rather quickly. The king of England, George III, issued the Proclamation of 1763. This was written to halt the westward expansion of the colonists. King George III did this to keep the Native Americans happy and keep the colonists from taking all of their land. The line he talked about in the Proclamation of 1763 was at the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. Colonists were not allowed to go west of that line and any of the people who were already west were told to move back east. Most of the settlers that had already migrated to the west ignored what the king said and stayed. Even though colonists were not able to settle west of the line, they were allowed to trade with the Native Americans as long as they received a license from the governor and commander in chief of the colony of which they resided in. The colonists reacted negatively to the Proclamation Line of 1763 and many ignored it completely and kept moving west. Many thought that “risking their lives in the recent war had been rewarded by the creation of a vast restricted native reserve in the lands they coveted.” They also thought they were losing some of their rights since the new proclamation. Following the French and Indian, the French were forced out of North America and ceded all of their land to the British. The lands they lost included Canada and what is known as America today. They were only allowed to keep a few islands. With the British gaining control of the North American continent they had the most land and the most powerful army. They still tried to let the Indians keep their land east of Appalachian Mountains but it wouldn’t be long...
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