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How the French and Indian War Led Into the American Revolution

Topics: American Revolution, British Empire, Townshend Acts, United Kingdom, Boston Tea Party / Pages: 3 (657 words) / Published: Sep 28th, 2013
The Proclamation Line of 1763 prohibited settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. And even though this law was passed for colonists’ own good (and Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, was utterly opposed to the settlers encroaching upon unsubdued territory at this time) — for one reason to protect them from hostile Indians, it bothered people who were bent on western expansion.

Additionally, Great Britain incurred huge debt from the French and Indian War (1755-1763) — which was the North American theatre was the Global Seven Year War between France and England. And because it occurred in North America — with some fair amount taking place in New York Colony — Great Britain felt that the colonist should shoulder some fair share of the cost. Hence, the raising and levelling of taxes on various things — including foreign imported goods.

The Stamp Act (1765), Sugar Act (1765), and Townshend Duties (1767) increased the cost of everyday items such as paper, legal documents, sugar, newspapers, glass and tea. The inflation caused by England’s raising and increasing taxes was hard on the colonists — especially the less affluent ones — and New York Colony was already in an economic recession/depression from the end of the French American War. Also these aforementioned taxes were imposed by the British parliament without any participation or representation by any New York assembly or council, which also angered some colonists.

Also, the British Empire in North America dramatically increased in geographical size after the French and Indian War, which prompted Britain to send thousands of troops to Canada, Florida, and along the western frontiers to protect its expanded boundaries. Troops were also stationed in New York City. These measures at least in part precipitated the passing of the Quartering Act (1765) which required colonists to shelter and feed British Troops in New York. Many colonists resented this and also didn’t like “Redcoats” being in New York City because of their sometime drunken, rowdy behavior, and also because the soldiers often worked day jobs — competing with colonial civilians. In order to enforce the Quartering Act, parliament also passed the Restraining Act (1767), which would suspend the New York assembly for noncompliance of said Quartering Act; this was also resented.

Ultimately, the tensions mounting from what some colonists felt were unfair laws and taxes — without their being represented no less, the economic burdens on everyday living and commerce they caused, and resented, if not hated, British troops living in colonial cities such as New York and Boston led to protests and riots; which culminated in events like the Battle of Golden Hill in January, 1770 and the Boston Massacre six weeks later.

And even though the eventual repeal of the Townshend duties eased tensions between New Yorkers and the British government for the short term, the passing of the Tea Act (1773 — which gave the British East India Company a monopoly of this commodity in America renewed inflammatory ill feelings toward the British Crown. This inevitably led to hostile actions in the form of the infamous Boston Tea Party and some months later New Yorkers boarding a ship in New York harbor and dumping 18 chests of tea overboard.

In a punitive reaction to Massachusetts Colony for the Boston Tea Party, the British parliament passed the Intolerable Acts. This made many New Yorkers (and other colonists) more fearful than ever of a perceived oppressive regime and their basic freedoms.

Finally, a more stringent Quartering Act and the passing of the Quebec Act (which legalized the Catholic faith and set up a provincial government in Canada) in 1774 further inflamed some colonists and filled them with more dread.

In a nutshell, what may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused irreconcilable enmity between the British Crown and its colonists were the Quartering Act and Quebec Act of 1774, and especially the Tea Act and the ill feelings and hostilities it bred. These final measures may have in substantial part paved the way for the American Revolution.

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