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Colonist Resistance in The French and Indian War

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Everything happens for a reason, but sometimes a person must determine if what happens is justifiable or not. Such is the case with the British policies that were passed after the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War. One must look closely if the colonists had the right to resist the policies that were put upon them at the time. The causes, background, and overall outcome of the French and Indian War were the reason many policies were passed, which in return, the majority of American colonists resisted. The North American Conflict that existed during this time was between Great Britain and France and changed the direction and history of a whole nation. The war began in 1754 and ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The war provided Great Britain enormous territorial gains in North America, but disputes over policies and acts and paying the war’s expenses they came after, led to colonial discontent, and ultimately to the American Revolution. Great Britain and France had always had a long been neck to neck when it came to having colonial powers. They constantly had disagreements and issues amongst them, even outside of trying to control the colonies in the United States of America. Yet, the focus will be on their conflict with the United States that in return changed and shaped the course of history for that region. The biggest reason there was any type of rivalry amongst them was that both colonial powers looked to the new world as one of the largest sources of their income and as one of the greatest additions to their already huge empires.

“The French and Indian War resulted from ongoing frontier tensions in North America as both French and British imperial officials and colonists sought to extend each country’s sphere of influence in frontier regions.” Both countries wanted to keep their influence active in the region while maintaining their power, and eventually taking over. They also wanted to keep their source of money and income flowing regularly, as not to eventually fall. The issue lied though in the fact that the border between French and British possessions was not well defined. It became an issue when the land of the upper Ohio River valley became their dispute. The French had constructed several forts in this region in an attempt to strengthen their claim on the territory. Yet, the British colonial army, led by Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, attempted to rid the French in 1754. Yet, unfortunately for them, they were outnumbered, and in return, defeated by the French. When news of Washington’s failure reached the then British Prime Minister Thomas Pelham-Holles, the Duke of Newcastle, he called for a quick undeclared retaliatory strike. However, his enemies in the Cabinet of his own government, evaded him by making the strike plans public, therefore alerting the French Government. This fully escalated a quick battle into a full-scale war. This event, in return, proves that the causes of the French and Indian War had long been brewing, even before the beginning of the war and would eventually reach outcomes that would change American history forever. France had slowly been expanding further into the Ohio River Valley, an area already under British control. This event caused the British to fight against these expansions of the French on their territory. They had slowly been taking over and renaming the areas as New France. This event was the final straw for Britain. The war officially began in 1753 when the British demanded that the French forcefully leave Fort LeBoeuf, which they claimed was built on British territory. The French were against this, claiming that it was built within their own territory. Hence, the British captured several French forts and in return, the French retaliated against British troops and attacked Fort Necessity. It was at this point that the war had officially begun. According to Rebecca Brooks, “France considered the Ohio River Valley a part of the colony of New France and Great Britain considering it a part of the colony of Virginia. The area had several valuable resources such as a vibrant fur-trading industry as well as access to the Ohio River, which was a vital transportation corridor for the region.” The Ohio River Valley was an extremely important piece of territory for both Great Britain and France. It allowed the British to expand eastwards into continental America, while the French saw this as an extension of their current territory, causing both superpowers to want to control the land as it would be beneficial to their empires. To the French, it would help glue their spread out territories to the North in Canada and to the south in Mississippi. Whereas, to the British, colonists from nearby states wanted to settle the valley. With this land, the area would be of great financial benefit to whoever had hold of it. The French could continue trading down the Mississippi River and whoever controlled the Ohio River would control the trade in continental America. The escalation of the war became more as they both wanted to claim the area for themselves, which eventually led to the outcomes they had to resolve reasonably.

This war did not begin well for the British. The British Government sent General Edward Braddock to the colonies as a commander-in-chief of the British North American army, but he pushed away the potential Indian allies who were willing to help and colonial leaders failed to cooperate with him. On July 13, 1755, Braddock died after being fatally wounded in an attack on a failed attempt to capture Fort Duquesne, located in present-day Pittsburgh. The war in North America settled into a stalemate, in which neither side could make any progress, for the next several years, while in Europe, the French scored an important naval victory and captured the British possession of Minorca in the Mediterranean in 1756. However, after 1757 the war began to turn in favor of Great Britain. The British army defeated the French army in India, and in 1759, the British forces invaded and conquered Canada. Throughout the colonies, the message was clear that what had happened was too much and would not be tolerated and the government would have to come down hard on the colonists. After a clear and decisive victory for the British, against the French, in Montreal, Canada, the British, French, and Spaniards sat down for the Treaty of Paris in 1763. During the peace conference, it was decided what would be done with the French and Spanish territories. For the victors of this war, they had brought about plenty of bad feelings in Europe and the United States as a result. “The war provided Great Britain enormous territorial gains in North America, but disputes over subsequent frontier policy and paying the war’s expenses led to colonial discontent, and ultimately to the American Revolution.”

To further fuel their global war against France and her allies, Great Britain had to rely mainly on giving money to her allies in Europe, such as Prussia, to fight against the French. They also taxed their new colony quite heavily to finance their military operations in North America. The final battle to end the war was in Montreal, Canada where the British army had successfully routed the remaining French forces. The French surrendered and the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. The treaty demanded that the French give up all of their territories in North America and the Spaniards had to give up their control of Florida, but Cuba was returned to them. Most treaties, when signed, were written where the warring powers would end wars with an equal distribution of power, however, in this treaty the only true winner was Britain, which caused the French to detest the British even more and seek revenge later. They were not the only people who were infuriated by the newly established British policies. The newly acquired colonists highly disliked being taxed on exported goods without being represented in parliament. To further anger them in order to cover the debts of the war, they taxed the colonists on all printed paper. The Stamp Act was implemented in 1765 and it imposed direct taxes on all printed materials for the colonists. “The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765. The new tax was imposed on all American colonists and required them to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they used.” Everything was taxed, from playing cards, legal documents, newspapers, ship’s papers, licenses, and other publications. If it was something that was printed on paper, it had an obligatory tax put on it. The overall result of the Stamp Act was the resistance and opposition of the colonists. They did not approve of what was being done to them and eventually had the act revoked, though Britain still felt they had the right to impose acts on the people. At this time as well, Britain was needed to bail out their own British East Indies tea trading industry by taxing them on tea without being represented in parliament, which they revolted, starting the American Revolution. This event was the beginning of the end of the war, but led to many other acts being passed, and eventually another war. After the French-Indian War, the British were in heavy debt and in 1763, the British parliament passed the Tea Act as a way to bail out the British East India Company. From a financial perspective, they were not doing well, so as a way to fix the issues, similar products would be boycotted and they would be allowed to sell their tea at a cheaper price with a small tax. That, however, did not sit well with the colonialists who were still angered over the other taxes imposed on them, and they also feared the British East Indies Company would have a monopoly on trade. “The act granted the company the right to ship its tea directly to the colonies without first landing it in England, and to commission agents who would have the sole right to sell tea in the colonies.”

This Tea Act, which was enacted in 1763, as a result of the heavy debt that Great Britain had fallen into after the French-Indian War, was a failure from the start. To better their financial situation, the British parliament decided to perform several taxes on their newly acquired colony. The Tea Act stated that the British could ship their tea duty-free to the colonies for a cheaper price but there was a small tax to pay. The colonists however, were already quite distressed with British parliament taxing them without they being represented in the parliament, furthermore, they were afraid that this event would give the British East India Company a monopoly on the sea trade in the region. The Tea Act did not sit well with colonists, and after much resistance, it eventually led to something even larger, it led to the Boston Tea Party. In response to the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts were eventually passed. “The Intolerable Acts were punitive laws passed by the British Parliament in 1774 after the Boston Tea Party. The laws were meant to punish the Massachusetts colonists for their defiance in the Tea Party protest in reaction to changes in taxation by the British to the detriment of colonial goods.”

For the colonists, the Intolerable Acts were just that, intolerable. They had gone too far in what they had done in Boston, and Britain was not going to tolerate it and accept it in any way. They came down hard on the people with the four acts they had passed. The four laws that were passed in the Intolerable Acts were the Boston Port Act, the Massachusetts Government Act, the Impartial Administration of Justice Act and the Quartering Act. The purpose of the Boston Port Act was to close the port until the colonists had fully paid for the tea they had dumped. The Massachusetts Government Act changed the government of the Massachusetts colony and gave more power to the governor while taking power away from the colonists. The Quartering Act was an expansion of the original Quartering Act of 1765. The law stated that colonies were required by law to provide barracks for British soldiers. When barracks were not available, soldiers must be housed in other buildings like barns, hotels, and even colonist homes. It was due to these acts that did not go well with the colonists that the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, to solve the situation, they were in. Many acts and policies were passed as a result of the French and Indian War, yet American colonists felt the need to reject them and had them removed. This event goes to prove that, not everything is justifiable for every person and that resistance can help get things changed and removed. Yes, everything happens for a reason, but sometimes a person must determine if what happens is justifiable or not. Such is the case with the British policies that were passed after the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years War. One must look closely if they rightfully resisted the policies that were put forth upon them at the time.

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Colonist Resistance In The French And Indian War. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/colonist-resistance-in-the-french-and-indian-war/
“Colonist Resistance In The French And Indian War.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/colonist-resistance-in-the-french-and-indian-war/
Colonist Resistance In The French And Indian War. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/colonist-resistance-in-the-french-and-indian-war/> [Accessed 27 Jun. 2022].
Colonist Resistance In The French And Indian War [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 14 [cited 2022 Jun 27]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/colonist-resistance-in-the-french-and-indian-war/
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