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How the Aftermath of the French and Indian War Impacted British/American Relations
From the 1600’s up until the early 1700’s, the British Colonies were in a state of salutary neglect. Thereafter, the British executed the Navigation Acts, though loosely enforced, they were created in order to regulate trade between the Colonies and the mother country. The relationship between Britain and it’s colonies was a civil one up until it was greatly reformed with the events of the French and Indian War. The war significantly affected the economic, political, and economic relationship between the colonies and the mother country, the British want for control and their restrictions left the colonies seeing their mother country in a different light. In addition to the events over the course of the war, the economic aftermath of the war’s debts also left the colonies to suffer the British need of revenue. Though the greatest effects of the French and Indian weren’t felt until after the war, during the war the British started to show a stronger hand with their colonists in their time of need. With the start of the war, the colonists were already in a state of dissatisfaction with the mother country. The colonies were bound by the navigation acts, though the acts were loosely enforced in the early 1700’s with the years leading up to the war these restrictions were beginning to be administered. The colonies were not allowed to create factories to manufacture items, thus keeping them in a tie with Britain, by having the colonies trading their raw materials for manufactured items. During the war this proved to be a great problem, the British wanted the colonists to expand but the Native Americans and the French oppressed any colonial expansion, the colonies were stuck with the British in order to defend their land. Furthermore, the colonial soldiers in the war had an already growing discontent with the British. As a colonial soldier stated in his diary, “though we be Englishmen born, we are debarred Englishmen’s liberty”, this opinion of the British coming from a colonial soldier shows that the colonists did not receive the necessary aid from the mother country in order to prosper. However some people in the army had a different view or the British army, as George Washington says to General Braddock’s aide-de-camp, it was an honor to serve under a man of General Braddock’s abilities. This view point will later be crushed when General Braddock is defeated at fort Duquesne, and the colonists start to lose their trust in Britain’s ability to live up to their before reputation. When the war started to come to an end and the treaty of Paris was signed in 1763, there was mixed emotions about how the British were dealing with post-war problems. In some cases, colonists were ecstatic and praised the British with their protection of the colonies in their time of need, such example is of Reverend Thomas Barnard’s sermon, “Here shall our indulgent Mother, who has most generously rescued and protected us”, this shows that the some colonists had newly gained respect for the mother country. This opinion however, was not the majority view. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the British gained much land to the north and west (Doc. A). This land, that the colonies fought for was kept from them by Parliament with the proclamation of 1763. Not only were land restrictions imposed on the colonies but with the end of the war there was a great war debt. This meant that the British would have to implement taxes on the colonies in order to acquire the “large revenue“ (Doc. F). These taxes included the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, which were two of the biggest taxes that would cause the relationship between the colonies and Britain to be disrupted. With the year of 1765 came along the Stamp Act, a direct tax that the British used to increase the revenue that they would need in order to pay off their war debts. This tax caused great commotion in the colonies, in such a way that it led to a Stamp Act Congress, made to repeal the Stamp Act. This Stamp Act Congress sent representative Benjamin Franklin to London to try to repeal the taxes, and he thought there would be no success, ”we purpose… to get it repeal’d… yet Success is uncertain”. This gave the colonies less hope in the fight against the British restrictions of life in the colonies. The colonies resorted to boycotts to try to get Parliament to repeal the tax. The pain of this tax was felt although out the colonies, in the Pennsylvania Journal they say that “Times are Dreadful, Dokful, Dismal… and Dollar-Less” The Acts that Britain implemented upon the colonies ruined them and permeably ruined the chances of the civil relationship between the two countries. The political, economic, and ideological relationship between the English colonies and the mother country, Britain, were permanently destroyed during the course of the French and Indian war and the later repercussions. The British too quickly tried to restrict a growing country, and then later attempted to squeeze every last dollar out of it. After the war the colonies were in need of expansion in the newly gained land but were not gifted but punished with the harsh taxes to raise the revenue needed to pay the war debts. Not only this but the overall treatment of the colonies was horrendous and left the colonists seeing the mother country not as a benefactor but a deterrent. Though the colonies were forced through such a scaring time, without it, the colonies would not have started their journey on the road to revolution.