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French and Indian War

By shelly1111 Mar 26, 2006 2872 Words
The time period of 1754-1763 eventually led the American colonists to realize that they did not need the British any longer. The colonists felt that they themselves, were not Englishmen but members of their own society within the American colonies. By winning the French and Indian war the British were entitled to the land east of the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains. As the Americans began to move westward thinking that if they fought the war in the colonies, they were entitled to that land. While the American soldiers and their families were moving upon the lands they had won, the Indians attacked. The Americans asked for Parliament's protection, and assumed since they fought for them that Britain would assist them. Unforutanely, this was not the case. After Parliament denied protection for the American's, an outlet for a intercolonial government became more and more of an appealing option.

Their were many realtionships between the British and their American colonies that changed, and not necessarily for the better. One of these being their political relations. At the start of the Seven Years' War American colonists proudly waved the British flag. Colonists considered themselves a part of Britain, even though most of their reasons for leaving were the fact that they were second, third, or fourth sons, who were not entitled to any inheritance of their father's. These sons were discriminated against by the laws of their government from the start, yet they proudly called themselves 'Englishmen'. As the war went on, representitives from seven colonies met with 150 Iroquoi chiefs, in hopes of creating a intercolonial government. This meeting was known as the Albany Congress and held in Albany, New York in 1754. Benjamin Franklin offered the plan of this perfect intercolonial goverment, proposing that it would manage Indian affairs and defense. Also, that it would have the power to pass laws for the colonies and be able to raise taxes within them, if ever needed. Though, even with the help of Franklin's infamous politcal cartoon, of the snake broken in 13 pieces saying "Join or Die", his proposition did not interest the Indians. Many of the colonists talked much about union of the colonies being necessary, but as Ben Franklin saw it they were just not ready for it. The idea of intercolonial government did however get colonists thinking of themselves as a whole, and needed to organize themselves more. Most importantly the colonies found themselves less dependent on Britain , and this was a big step into their detatching from the British government. It was in 1755 that the French had driven the English traders out of the Ohio Valley. The French then established forts at the fork of the Ohio River, one of these forts being, Fort Duquesne. It was at that time, George Washington had already been sent there by his colony of Virginia's government to expel them from the area, but obviously was unsucessful. During this same year Washington had written a letter[document C] that he would like to serve under General Braddock. He states that he would serve with his best abilities for his King and country. His letter shows that Washington strongly believed he was a direct citizen of England, though he strongly fought for his colony. It is possible that Washington's letter was to decieve the British and while gaining military experience, he was also learning British fighting tactics and their weaknesses. Being that the English with American assistance had defeated the French before, England rounded up a several thousand American troops to fight for them. The Americans had no other choice than to fight for England, and they did so willingly. A very strong factor in American colonies unsteady relations with Britain was the factor of Salutary Neglect. Especially having to do with the act of smuggling. Plenty of Americans had gotten away with it before, and England was aware of it. As the war ended and England realized their debt, they decided to strengthen the vice-admiralty courts by passing the Sugar Act. Colonists were not happy about this. If the English haven't enforced the law in this long, they have no right to now. This was surely something for the colonists to rebel about, and a large factor to make them realize how little of help Britain is for them. One Massachusetts Solider wrote in his diary in 1759 that even though he was English born he and other colonist soldiers are being denied any liberties that Englishmen are granted[document D]. He is one who is realizing that the American Colonists are fighting equally beside the British soldiers and yet are not getting the same treatment. Once the war ended, American colonists began to move onto the land that the English had gained by signing the Treaty of Paris with France. Once they arrived at these lands they realized the Native American's were inhabiting it. The Native American's knew their lands were valuable[document B]. Chief Onondaga wrote very early on to the representitives of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, that they're not respected and not given much for their valuable lands. When the colonists approached the lands west of the Appalachians they were attacked by the Iroquois, this being Pontiac's rebellion. The American colonies told Parliament of this and asked for their protection. Parliament knew how costly this would be and they denied helping the American's. To avoid further problems with the Native Americans, the British passed the Proclamation of 1763, which closed off the land between the Appalachian's and the Mississippi River to colonists and reserved it for the Native American's. Once again, Parliament fell through for the American colonies and the colonists hard work gained them nothing, except for those who ignored the Proclamation, and moved there anyway. This led to a great deal of American colonies wanting their own government and not having to deal with the out of hand actions of the British.

With the many acts Parliament began to enforce, they should have known that the colonists reactions would be angry ones. The British economy was based on their trade with the Native Americans. Their economic system was somewhat weak and the colonies themsevles, were not self-sustaining. Which is why they were always so dependent on Britain . During the years of the war, northern merchants as wells as farmers, had good econmic opportunities. Orders for ships, arms, uniforms, and provisions, were in constant demand. Individual trades were also very successful during times of war, tailors' and shoemakers were constantly stiching, and Bakers found entire armies crammed in their bakery's demanding for bread. So, throughout the years that the war was taking place the economy of the colonies was flourishing. This money was still not enough, for the great amount of debt they were about to face. The cost of the war itself, turned Britain to even have to borrow money. The British Order in council had spoke of how the illegal acts, and fraud are largely damaging revenue[document F]. It was greatly known that everyone was in debt and they all needed any form of revenue possible. To reduce the debt England's chief minister, Grenville proposed new taxes, and the colonies were asked to help run their empire, by paying more. Grenville's plan to gain this income, started a quarrel between England and its colonies that would eventually lead to the revolution. In 1764, Grenville pushed several of those bills for revenue through Parliament. Bills that would damage the economic system of the colonies. First came the Revenue Act, better known as the Sugar Act. The Sugar Act added a list of things that could be sent only to England, as well as requiring American shippers to observe the trade regulations before loading their cargoes. Finally, it strengthened the vice-admirality courts, as I had said before, and it prosecuted anyone violating the trade acts. A practice, they had not been practicing for a long time. New York objected that it was unfair Parliament tax them for income when their was no one to represent North America in Parliament. After the Sugar Act, came the Currency Act, this act badly hurt the colonial economy. In 1751 Parliament had forbidden the New England colonies to issue paper money, and the Currency Act extended this to all the colonies. In a economy based on trade this constricted it, and dampered their source of revenue. The Parliament had always been what colonial legislatures modeled themselves after, but Parliament began to be viewed as a violator of the colonies rights. Mostly because, Parliament had always let the king and his ministers, and the Board of Trade run overseas affairs, and now they decided to make these decisions themselves for the colonies. After the Sugar Act was passed Grenville announced his idea to extend the stamp duties that already existed. He gave the colonists a year to think of alternative ways to raise revenue. The colonists strongly proposed this stamp tax, but none of them provided any ideas for another way of revenue. So, Grenville drove the bill through Parliament and the Stamp Act was effective in November of 1765. The Act required revenue stamps on every newspaper, pamphlet, almanac, legal document, liquor license, college diploma, packs of playing cards, and pair of dice. The colonist reactions ranged from just being angry with them to mass defiance. Especially in cities, did defiance of authority and destruction of propery occur out of the disgust of England's decision to be harder on the colonies. The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first to react to the Stamp Act, being that most Virginians were already on edge being that most planters were in dept because of the severe decline in tobacco prices and the war-related taxes. The burgesses objected to the stamp tax exemplifying the economic hardship it would cause, and argueing it was their right to be taxed by their own consent. All over America, towards the end of 1765, crowds had convinced stamp distributors to resign their commisions. This was very important, because now colonists had defied English authority. Even more directly they did defy authority, by forcing most customs officers and court officials to open ports and courts for business after November 1st, without using the stamps issued with the Stamp Act. The Americans got their way with this one, and in March 1766, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act. Though, Parliament could not just leave it at that, they passed the Declaratory Act, which gave Parliament the power to pass laws for the colonies in all cases. Not like they weren't doing it anyway. To manage the colonies better, in 1767 the king had appointed the Pitt-Grafton ministry, they obtained new laws to organize, yet again, the customs service, ebstablish a secretary of state to handle American affairs, and install three new vice-admiralty courts. The government faced much unemployment, tax protests, and even riots over the high price of grain. The ministry pushed through Paliament the Townshend duties on paper, lead, painters' colors, and tea. The new map of North America that the English had won,[document A] showed their new economic opportunities it was beneficial that they had more land on the coastal areas. Even though their were a small amount more of opportunities, with the rapid amount of taxes being passed it was hard for the colonies to get their revenue and not use it on these taxes. The colonies were left with little money of their own, and that left them without much. In document H the top left corner reads of how horrible the times are. Empahsized in capital letters it reads 'dollar-less'. It is clear that the colonies were in a horrible time, their economy has plumeted and they are left with nothing, and no assistance from Britain . They both know they're not getting anywhere by helping each other. Britain is taking the colonists money to help themselves, and leaving the colonists in a hole, with nothing.

There was yet another important relation, left to immensely change between Britain and its American colonies. That was their ideologic relationship. Views constantly changed on how they both viewed each other. From the very start the colonies looked at themselves equvalent to the British. While the British were looking upon the colonies as their property that they had control over, somewhat like the colonies were slaves to them. The Seven Years' war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. It was beneficial to the American colonies and England that France did not have any land in North America after the war was won[document A]. Now that the French were out of the area problems between them and the American colonies had been rid. The English and the French were now at peace with each other. The Proclamation of 1763, was an outrage to colonists and they disobeyed it and moved into the lands east of the Mississippi anyway. The British action of not taking any action for the colonies, showed that once they got what they needed they did nothing in return. The passing of the Proclamation began to change the relationships that the colonists had with the British. Colonists felt that they had wasted their time in fighting for England, they fought to protect their homeland, and hoped to gain land, and when they won for England the land they had gained they were denied of. They soon understood that Britain did nothing for them, except make them pay for revenue. Each act that Parliament passed caused much turmoil within North America. No colonists wanted to give up their profits to go to a land that was giving them nothing in return. Colonists began to rebel, and that just made Parliament more angry that the colonies wouldn't obey what they had said. Parliament must have gotten the idea as well, that the Americans were not as naive as they might have assumed. Benjamin Franklin had already offered the idea of an intercolonial government at the Albany Congress, but at that time the people were just not ready for a union. A union was exactly what the colonies needed that way they could run themselves free of Britain's biased decisions. Benajamin Franklin writes to John Hughs in Pennsylvania[document G], that he is in England trying to get the Stamp Act repealed because it is doing only worse things within the colonies. Also he tells Hughs that maintaining a firm loyalty to the crown will grant the colonies safety and honor from England. Though colonists do not honor or respect England in anyway, being that they are totally fed up with their policies. As Britain learns that the colonies have no respect for them its just more of an excuse for them to treat them inferior to England. Hardships and depression stormed the colonies when their economy slumped, it left them with nothing to do but to complain to Britain in hopes of their help. Britain never did help the colonies and left them poverty stricken even though they were their source of revenue. After colonists actions led to the Boston Tea Party and the British reacted with the Boston Massacre, it left the colonies into further opposition of English policies. Samuel Adams and Alexander McDougall tried to exploit issues of Britains policies but as the end of the depression took place they were stopped for awhile, but not long. It was only a short pause in the events that would lead to the American Revolution. A final step into the Revolution was Lexington and Concord, when 700 redcoats under cover went to seize colonial arms. The Americans knew, however, of their plan and 70 minutemen occupied the village green. The outbreaks of fighting altered the debates of the Second Continental Congress. After 14 months the Congress issued a formal declaration of independence, but the war between England and a civil war in America had already begun. The debate over whether the colonies should or should not declare themselves independent, continued. The king claimed the colonies were rebelling, and all of the Congress' actions were now treasonable. Richard Henry Lee inroduced his congressional resolution on June 7th, 1776, calling for a declaration of independence. This event was climatic, and two days after debate the Congress ordered a committee chaired by Jefferson to begin drafting the document. On July 4th, Congress sent the Decleration of Independence to the printer. We now had an intercolonial government, and were free from Britain. We no longer had that interconection we had with England when the Seven Years' War began.

The French and Indian war caused Britain to change its relationship to its colonies. This change eventually lead to the American revolution. The American colonies realized they did not need to be a subject to Britain's unfair actions, and thus waged war. Some say it was an act of treason, but Britain never treated the American colonies as if they were a part of England anyway. The British used and abused the colonies, never did they protect them. Even though it took the colonies nearly twenty years to totally break away from England it was for their benefit in the end.

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