US History/Road to Revolution

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The French and Indian War[edit]

(The following text is from Wikipedia)

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was the North American chapter of the Seven Years' War. The name refers to the two main enemies of the British: the royal French forces and the various American Indian forces allied with them. The conflict, the fourth such colonial war between the kingdoms of France and Great Britain, resulted in the British conquest of all of New France east of the Mississippi River, as well as Spanish Florida. The outcome was one of the most significant developments in a century of Anglo-French conflict. To compensate its ally, Spain, for its loss of Florida, France ceded its control of French Louisiana west of the Mississippi. France's colonial presence north of the Caribbean was reduced to the tiny islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Naming the war[edit]

The conflict is known by several names. In British North America, wars were often named after the sitting British monarch, such as King William's War or Queen Anne's War. Because there had already been a King George's War in the 1740s, British colonists named the second war in King George's reign after their opponents, and thus it became known as the French and Indian War.[1] This traditional name remains standard in the United States, although it obscures the fact that American Indians fought on both sides of the conflict.[2] American historians generally use the traditional name or the European title (the Seven Years' War), and have also invented other, less frequently used names for the war, including the Fourth Intercolonial War and the Great War for the Empire.[1]

In Great Britain and France, the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War war usually has no special name, and so the entire worldwide conflict is known as the Seven Years' War (or the Guerre de sept ans). The "Seven Years" refers to events in Europe, from the official declaration of war in 1756 to the signing of the peace treaty in 1763. These dates do not correspond with the actual fighting in North America, where the fighting between the two colonial powers was largely concluded in six years, from the Jumonville Glen skirmish in 1754 to the capture of Montreal in 1760.[1]

In Canada, both French- and English-speaking Canadians refer to it as the Seven Years' War (Guerre de Sept Ans) or the War of the Conquest (Guerre de la Conquête), since it is the war in which New France was conquered by the British and became part of the British Empire. This war was also known as the Forgotten War.

Impetus for war[edit]

Territorial expansion[edit]

There were numerous causes for the French and Indian War, which began less than a decade after France and Britain had fought on opposing sides in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). Both New France and New England wanted to expand their territories with respect to fur trading and other pursuits that matched their economic interests. Using trading posts and forts, both the British and the French claimed the vast territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, known as the Ohio Country. English claims resulted from royal grants which had no definite western boundaries. The French claims resulted from La Salle's claiming the Mississippi River for France—its drainage area includes the Ohio River Valley. In order to secure these claims, both European powers took advantage of Native American factions to protect their territories and to keep each other from growing too strong.

Newfoundland's Grand Banks were fertile fishing grounds and coveted by both sides. The conclusion of this war would see France keeping only the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, allowing them access to the Grand Banks to this day.

Religious ideology[edit]

The English colonists also feared papal influence in North America, as New France was administered by French governors and Roman Catholic hierarchy, and missionaries such as Armand de La Richardie were active during this period. For the predominantly Protestant British settlers, French control over North America could have represented a threat to their religious and other freedoms provided by English law. Likewise, the French feared the anti-Catholicism prevalent among English holdings. In this period, Catholicism was still enduring persecution under English law.

Céloron's expedition[edit]

In June 1747, Roland-Michel Barrin de La Galissonière, the Governor-General of New France, ordered Pierre-Joseph Céloron to lead an expedition to the Ohio Country with the objective of removing British influence from the area. Céloron was also to confirm the allegiance of the Native Americans inhabiting the territory to the French crown.

Céloron's expedition consisted of 213 soldiers of the Troupes de la marine (French Marines), who were transported by 23 canoes. The expedition left Lachine, on June 15, 1749, and two days later reached Fort Frontenac. The expedition then continued along the shoreline of present-day Lake Erie. At Chautauqua Portage (Barcelona, New York), the expedition moved inland to the Allegheny River.

The expedition headed south to the Ohio River at present-day Pittsburgh, and Céloron buried lead plates engraved with the French claim to the Ohio Country. Whenever British merchants or fur-traders were encountered by the French, they were informed of the illegality of being on French territory and told to leave the Ohio Country.

When Céloron's expedition arrived at Logstown, the Native Americans in the area informed Céloron that they owned the Ohio Country and that they would trade with the British regardless of what the French told them to do.[3]

The French continued their expedition. At its farthest point south, Céloron's expedition reached the junction between the Ohio River and the Miami River. The junction lay just south of the village of Pickawillany, where the Miami Chief, "Old Britain" (as styled by Céloron), lived.

When Céloron arrived at Pickawillany, he informed "Old Britain" of the "dire consequences" of the elderly chief continuing to trade with the British. "Old Britain" ignored the warning. After his meeting with Old Britain, Céloron and his expedition began the trip home. They did not reach Montreal until November 10, 1749.

The best summary of the expedition's findings came from none other than Céloron himself. In his report, Céloron wrote: "All I can say is that the Natives of these localities are very badly disposed towards the French, and are entirely devoted to the English. I don't know in what way they could be brought back."[3]

Langlade's expedition[edit]

On March 17, 1752, the Governor-General of New France, Marquis de la Jonquière died. His temporary replacement was Charles le Moyne de Longueuil. It was not until July 1, 1752 that Ange Duquense de Menneville arrived in New France to take over the post.

In the spring of 1752, Longueuil dispatched an expedition to the Ohio River area. The expedition was led by Charles Michel de Langlade, an officer in the Troupes de la marine. Langlade was given 300 men comprised of members of the Ottawa and French-Canadians. His objective was to punish the Miami people of Pickawillany for not following Céloron's orders to cease trading with the British.

At dawn on June 21, 1752, the French war party attacked the British trading centre at Pickawillany, killing fourteen people of the Miami nation, including "Old Britain". The expedition then returned home.

Marin's expedition[edit]

In the spring of 1754, Paul Marin de la Malgue was given command of a 2,000 man force of Troupes de la Marine and Aboriginals. His orders were to protect the King's land in the Ohio Valley from the British.

Marin followed the route that Céloron had mapped out four years previously. The main difference in the two expeditions was that, whereas Céloron had buried lead plates, Marin was constructing and garrisoning forts.

The first fort that was constructed by Paul Marin was at Presque Isle (Erie, Pennsylvania) on Lake Erie's south shore. He then had a road built to the headwaters of Rivière aux Boeuf. Marin then constructed a second fort at Le Boeuf (Waterford, Pennsylvania). This fort was designed to guard the headwaters of the Rivière aux Boeuf.

Tanaghrisson's proclamation[edit]

On September 3, 1753, Tanaghrisson (d. 1754), Chief of the Mingo, arrived at Fort Le Boeuf. Tanaghrisson hated the French because, as legend had it, the French had killed and eaten his father. Tanaghrisson told Marin, "I shall strike at whoever...",[4] threatening the French.

The show of force by the French had alarmed the Iroquois in the area. They sent Mohawk runners to William Johnson's manor in Upper New York. Johnson, known to the Iroquois as "Warraghiggey", meaning "He who does big business", had become a respected member of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area. In 1746, Johnson was made a colonel of the Iroquois, and later a colonel of the Western New York Militia.

At Albany, New York, there was a meeting between Governor Clinton of New York and Chief Hendrick, as well as other officials from a handful of American colonies. Chief Hendrick insisted that the British abide by their obligations and block French expansion. When an unsatisfactory response was offered by Clinton, Chief Hendrick proclaimed that the "Covenant Chain", a long-standing friendly relationship between the Iroquois Confederacy and the British Crown, was broken.

Dinwiddie's reaction[edit]

The earliest authenticated portrait of George Washington shows him wearing his colonel's uniform of the Virginia Regiment from the French and Indian War. However, this portrait was painted years after the war in 1772.

Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia found himself in a predicament. Many merchants had invested heavily in fur trading in Ohio. If the French made good on their claim to the Ohio Country and drove out the British, then the Virginian merchants would lose a lot of money.

Dinwiddie could not possibly allow the loss of the Ohio Country to France. To counter the French military presence in Ohio, in October 1753 Dinwiddie ordered Major George Washington of the Virginia militia to deliver a message to the commander of the French forces in the Ohio Country, Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre. Washington, along with his interpreter Jacob Van Braam and several other men, left for Fort Le Boeuf on the 31st of October.

A few days later, Washington and his party arrived at Wills Creek (Cumberland, Maryland). Here Washington enlisted the help of Christopher Gist, a surveyor who was familiar with the area.

Washington and his party arrived at Logstown on November 24, 1753. At Logstown, Washington met with Tanaghrisson, who was angry over the encroachment by the French military of his land. Washington convinced Tanaghrisson to accompany his small group to Fort Le Boeuf.

On December 12, 1753, Washington and his men reached Fort Le Boeuf. Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre invited Washington to dine with him that evening. Over dinner, Washington presented Saint-Pierre with the letter from Dinwiddie that demanded an immediate French withdrawal from the Ohio Country. Saint-Pierre was quite civil in his response, saying, "As to the Summons you send me to retire, I do not think myself obliged to obey it."[5] The French explained to Washington that France's claim to the region was superior to that of the British, since René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643–1687) had explored the Ohio Country nearly a century earlier.[6]

Washington's party left Fort Le Boeuf early on December 16, 1753. By January 16, 1754, they had arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia. In his report, Washington stated, "The French had swept south."[7] They had constructed and garrisoned forts at Presque Isle, Le Boeuf and Venango.


The French and Indian War was the last of four major colonial wars between the British, the French, and their Native American allies. Unlike the previous three wars, the French and Indian War began on North American soil and then spread to Europe, where Britain and France continued fighting. Britain officially declared war on France on May 15, 1756, marking the beginnings of the Seven Years' War in Europe. Native Americans fought for both sides, but primarily alongside the French (with one exception being the Iroquois Confederacy, which sided with the American colonies and Britain). The first major event of the war was in 1754. Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, then twenty-one years of age, was sent to negotiate boundaries with the French, who did not give up their forts. Washington led a group of Virginian (colonial) troops to confront the French at Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh). Washington stumbled upon the French at the Battle of Jumonville Glen (about six miles (10 km) NW of soon-to-be-established Fort Necessity [see below]), and in the ensuing skirmish, a French Officer (Joseph Coulon de Jumonville) was killed, news of which would have certainly provoked a strong French response. Washington pulled back a few miles and established Fort Necessity. The French forced Washington and his men to retreat. Meanwhile, the Albany Congress was taking place as means to discuss further action.

Edward Braddock led a campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne in 1755; Washington was again among the British and colonial troops. Braddock employed European tactics: bold, linear marches and firing formations. This led to disaster at the Monongahela, where the French and natives, though heavily outmanned and outgunned (the British had a heavy cannon), used superior tactics (using the trees and bushes as cover) to gun down and rout the British. Braddock was killed; Washington, despite four close calls, escaped unharmed and led the survivors in retreat. This stunning British defeat heralded a string of major French victories over the next few years, at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and Carillon, where veteran Montcalm famously defeated five times his number. The sole British successes in the early years of the war came in 1755, at the Battle of Lake George, which secured the Hudson Valley; and in the taking of Fort Beauséjour (which protected the Nova Scotia frontier) by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton. An unfortunate consequence of the latter was the subsequent forced deportation of the Acadian population of Nova Scotia and the Beaubassin region of Acadia.

The year 1756 brought with it William Pitt, Secretary of State of Great Britain. His leadership, and France's continued neglect of the North-American theater, eventually turned the tide in favor of the British. The French were driven from many frontier posts such as Fort Niagara, and the key Fortress Louisbourg fell to the British in 1758. In 1759, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham gave Quebec City to the British, who had to withstand a siege there after the Battle of Sainte-Foy a year later. In September of 1760, Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, the King's Governor of New France, negotiated a surrender with British General Jeffrey Amherst. General Amherst granted Vaudreuil's request that any French residents who chose to remain in the colony would be given freedom to continue worshiping in their Roman Catholic tradition, continued ownership of their property, and the right to remain undisturbed in their homes. The British provided medical treatment for the sick and wounded French soldiers and French regular troops were returned to France aboard British ships with an agreement that they were not to serve again in the present war.

Summary of the war in America In 1752 the French and their Native allies raided a trading outpost sited at modern day Cleveland rid the area of Pennsylvanians. In 1754 General George Washington attacked French soldiers and then became trapped in his poorly built, Fort Necessity in Great Meadows Pennsylvania and more than one-third of Washingtons's men shortly became casualties. Twenty-two year old Washington and his men surrendered and were allowed to leave back to Virginia. In July 1755, a few miles south of Fort Duquensne in Pennsylvania, the combined forces of French and Natives attacked British colonial troops that were preparing a to assault the fort. The aftermath that ensued would result in a British defeat and General Edward Braddock would be killed. Once London heard of this Britain declared war upon France and formally began the seven years war. After this the British feared that France would attempt to retake Nova Scotia and that the 12,000 French Nova Scotians would break their neutrality, so the British military forced around seven thousand French Nova Scotians from their homeland. This was history's first large-scale modern deportation, the French would be sent from Louisiana to the Caribbean and families would become torn apart. In July of 1758 The British had recaptured the fort at Loiusberg winning control of the St. Lawerence River. This would cut the major French supply route and open up more supply lines for the British. In the fall of 1758 the Shawnee and Delaware Natives accepted peace offerings from the British and the French abandoned Fort Duquesne. A decisive attack would happen in the fall of 1759 when General James Wolfe's forces defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham and thus taking Quebec. A year after this event the British would capture Montreal and the North American stage of the war would be over.


The descent of the French on St. John's, Newfoundland, 1762.

Though most of the North American fighting ended on September 8, 1760, when the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered Montreal — and effectively all of Canada — to Britain (one notable late battle allowed the capture of Spanish Havana by British and colonial forces in 1762), the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763. The treaty resulted in France's loss of all its North American possessions east of the Mississippi (all of Canada was ceded to Britain) except Saint Pierre and Miquelon, two small islands off Newfoundland. France regained the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which had been occupied by the British. The economic value of these islands to France was greater than that of Canada at the time, because of their rich sugar crops, and the islands were easier to defend. The British, however, were happy to take New France, as defense was not an issue, and they already had many sources of sugar. Spain gained Louisiana, including New Orleans, in compensation for its loss of Florida to the British.

Also, Britain gained control of French Canada, a colony containing approximately 65,000 French-speaking, Roman Catholic residents. Early in the war, in 1755, the British had expelled French settlers from Acadia (some of whom eventually fled to Louisiana, creating the Cajun population). Now at peace, and eager to secure control of its hard-won colony, Great Britain found itself obliged to make concessions to its newly conquered subjects; this was achieved with the Quebec Act of 1774. The history of the Seven Years' War, particularly the siege of Québec and the death of British Brigadier General James Wolfe, generated a vast number of ballads, broadsides, images, maps and other printed materials, which testify to how this event continued to capture the imagination of the British public long after Wolfe's death in 1759.[8]

The European theatre of the war was settled by the Treaty of Hubertusburg on February 15, 1763. The war changed economic, political, and social relations between Britain and its colonies. It plunged Britain into debt, which the Crown chose to pay off with tax money from its colonies. These taxes contributed to the beginning the American Revolutionary War.


Year Dates Event Location
1754 May 28th
July 3rd
Battle of Jumonville Glen
Battle of the Great Meadows (Fort Necessity)
Uniontown, Pennsylvania
Uniontown, Pennsylvania
1755 May 29th – July 9th
June 3rd – 16th
July 9th
September 8th
Braddock expedition
Battle of Fort Beauséjour
Battle of the Monongahela
Battle of Lake George
Western Pennsylvania
Sackville, New Brunswick
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Lake George, New York
1756 March 27
August 10th – 14th
September 8th
Battle of Fort Bull
Battle of Fort Oswego
Kittanning Expedition
Kittanning, Pennsylvania
1757 August 2nd – 6th
December 8th
Battle of Fort William Henry
Second Battle of Bloody Creek
Lake George, New York
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
1758 June 8th - July 26th
July 7th – 8th
August 25
September 14th
October 12th
Second Battle of Louisbourg
Battle of Carillon (Fort Ticonderoga)
Battle of Fort Frontenac
Battle of Fort Duquesne
Battle of Fort Ligonier
Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Ticonderoga, New York
Kingston, Ontario
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Western Pennsylvania
July 6th – 26th
July 31st
September 13th
Battle of Ticonderoga (1759)
Battle of Fort Niagara
Battle of Beauport
Battle of the Plains of Abraham
Ticonderoga, New York
Fort Niagara, New York
Quebec City
Quebec City
1760 April 28th
July 3-8th
August 16th – 24th
Battle of Sainte-Foy
Battle of Restigouche
Battle of the Thousand Islands
Quebec City
Pointe-a-la-Croix, Quebec
Ogdensburg, New York
1762 September 15th Battle of Signal Hill St. John's, Newfoundland
1763 February 10th Treaty of Paris Paris, France

Battles and expeditions[edit]

United States
    • Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754)
    • Battle of Fort Necessity, aka the Battle of Great Meadows (July 3, 1754)
    • Braddock Expedition (Battle of the Monongahela aka Battle of the Wilderness) (July 9, 1755)
    • Kittanning Expedition (climax September 8, 1756)
    • Battle of Fort Duquesne (September 14, 1758)
    • Battle of Fort Ligonier (October 12, 1758)
    • Forbes Expedition (climax November 25, 1758)
  • Province of New York
    • Battle of Lake George (1755)
    • Battle of Fort Oswego (August, 1756)
    • Battle on Snowshoes (January 21, 1757)
    • Battle of Fort Bull (March 27, 1756)
    • Battle of Sabbath Day Point (July 26, 1757)
    • Battle of Fort William Henry (August 9, 1757)
    • Attack on German Flatts (1757) (November 12, 1757)
    • Battle of Carillon (July 8, 1758)
    • Battle of Ticonderoga (1759)
    • Battle of La Belle-Famille (July 24, 1759)
    • Battle of Fort Niagara (1759)
    • Battle of the Thousand Islands, 16-25 August, 1760
  • West Virginia
    • Battle of Great Cacapon (April 18, 1756)
  • New Brunswick
    • Battle of Fort Beauséjour (June 16, 1755)
  • Nova Scotia
    • Battle of Louisburg (July 27, 1758)
  • Ontario
    • Battle of Fort Frontenac (August 25, 1758)
    • Battle of the Thousand Islands, 16-25 August, 1760
  • Quebec
    • Battle of Beauport (July 31, 1759)
    • Battle of the Plains of Abraham (September 13, 1759)
    • Battle of Sainte-Foy (April 28, 1760)
    • Battle of Restigouche, July 3-8, (1760)
  • Newfoundland
    • Battle of Signal Hill September 15, 1762

Proclamation of 1763[edit]

(The following text is taken from the Wikipedia article)

A portion of eastern North America; the 1763 "Proclamation line" is the border between the red and the pink areas.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763 by George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the Seven Years' War. The purpose of the proclamation was to make sure Britain could control its new territory for its The Proclamation in essence forbade Americans from settling or buying land west of the Appalachians. Colonists were angry because many already had land in that area. Additionally, the Proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly in land bought from Native Americans.

Native land[edit]

In the fall of 1763, a royal decree was issued that prohibited the North American colonists from establishing or maintaining settlements west of an imaginary line running down the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. The proclamation acknowledged that Native Americans owned the lands on which they were then residing and white settlers in the area were to be removed.

However, provision was made to allow specially licensed individuals and entities to operate fur trading ventures in the proscribed area. There were two motivations for this policy:

To avoid warfare with the Indians. This aim had little to do with affection for the tribes, but simply reflected the facts that Indian conflicts were very expensive and that the British had not yet deployed sufficient soldiers in the west to keep the peace. Some Indians welcomed this policy, believing that the separation of the races would allow them to resume their traditional lifeways; others realized that the proclamation, at best, would only provide some breathing room before the next onslaught of settlers.

To concentrate colonial settlements on the seaboard where they could be active parts of the British mercantile system. The first priority of British trade officials was to populate the recently secured areas of Canada and Florida (see Treaty of Paris), where colonists could reasonably be expected to trade with the mother country; settlers living west of the Appalachians would be highly self-sufficient and have little opportunity to trade with English merchants. The reaction of colonial land speculators and frontiersmen was immediate and understandably negative. From their perspective, risking their lives in the recent war had been rewarded by the creation of a vast restricted native reserve in the lands they coveted. Most concluded that the proclamation was only a temporary measure and a number ignored it entirely and moved into the prohibited area. Almost from its inception, the proclamation was modified to suit the needs of influential people with interests in the American West. This included many high British officials as well as colonial leaders.

Beginning in 1764, portions of the Proclamation Line were adjusted westward to accommodate speculative interests. Later, in 1768, the first Treaty of Fort Stanwix formally recognized the surrender of transmontane lands claimed by the Iroquois.

The Proclamation of 1763 was a well-intentioned measure. Pontiac’s Rebellion had inflicted a terrible toll on the frontier settlements in North America and the British government acted prudently by attempting to avoid such conflict in the foreseeable future.

The colonists, however, were not appreciative and regarded the new policy as an infringement of their basic rights. The fact that western expansion was halted at roughly the same time that other restrictive measures were being implemented, made the colonists increasingly suspicious

Almost immediately, many British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary, since there were already many settlements beyond the line (some of which had been temporarily evacuated during Pontiac's War), as well as many existing land claims yet to be settled. Indeed, the proclamation itself called for lands to be granted to British soldiers who had served in the Seven Years' War. Prominent American colonists joined with land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west. As a result, the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with Native Americans. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labor (both 1768) and the Treaty of Lochaber (1770) opened much of what is now West Virginia and Kentucky to British settlement.

Organization of new colonies[edit]

Besides regulating colonial expansion, the proclamation dealt with the management of newly ceded French colonies. It established government for four areas: Quebec, West Florida, East Florida, and Grenada. All of these were granted the ability to elect general assemblies under a royally appointed governor or a high council, which could then create laws and ordinances specific to the area in agreement with British and colonial laws. In the meantime, the new colonies enjoyed the same rights as native-born Englishmen, something that British colonists had been fighting over for years. An even bigger affront to the British colonies was the establishment of both civil and criminal courts complete with the right to appeal--but those charged with violating the Stamp or Sugar Act were to be tried in admiralty court, where the defendant was considered guilty until he or she could prove his or her innocence.


The influence of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on the coming of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) has been variously interpreted. Many historians argue that the proclamation ceased to be a major source of tension after 1768, since the aforementioned treaties opened up extensive lands for settlement. Others have argued that colonial resentment of the proclamation contributed to the growing divide between the colonies and the Mother Country.

In the United States, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 ended with the American Revolutionary War, because Great Britain ceded the land in question to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Afterwards, the U.S. government also faced difficulties in preventing frontier violence, and eventually adopted policies similar to those of the Royal Proclamation. The first in a series of Indian Intercourse Acts was passed in 1790, prohibiting unregulated trade and travel in Native American lands. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court case Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823) established that only the U.S. government, and not private individuals, could purchase land from Native Americans.

The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession of aboriginal land in British North America, especially Upper Canada and Rupert's Land. The proclamation forms the basis of land claims of aboriginal peoples in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is thus mentioned in Section Twenty-five of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Stamp Act and other Laws[edit]

In 1764, George Grenville became the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance). He allowed customs officers to obtain general writs of assistance, which allowed officers to search random houses for smuggled goods. Grenville thought that if profits from smuggled goods could be directed towards Britain, the money could help pay off debts. Colonists were horrified that they could be searched without warrant at any given moment. Also in 1764, with persuasion from Grenville, Parliament began to impose several taxes on the colonists. The Sugar Act of 1764 reduced the taxes imposed by the Molasses Act, but at the same time strengthened the collection of the taxes. It also provided that British judges, and not juries, would try cases involving that Act.

The next year, Parliament passed the Quartering Act, which required the colonies to provide room and board for British soldiers stationed in North America; the soldiers would serve various purposes, chiefly to enforce the previously passed acts of Parliament.

Following the Quartering Act, Parliament passed one of the most infamous pieces of legislation: the Stamp Act. Previously, Parliament imposed only external taxes on imports. But the Stamp Act provided the first internal tax on the colonists, requiring that a tax stamp be applied to books, newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, playing cards, and dice. The legislature of Massachusetts requested a conference on the Stamp Act; the Stamp Act Congress met in October that year, petitioning the King and Parliament to repeal the act before it went into effect at the end of the month, crying "taxation without representation."

The act faced vehement opposition throughout the colonies. Merchants threatened to boycott British products. Thousands of New Yorkers rioted near the location where the stamps were stored. In Boston, the Sons of Liberty, a violent group led by radical statesman Samuel Adams, destroyed the home of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson. Parliament did indeed repeal the Stamp Act, but additionally passed the Declaratory Act, which stated that Great Britain retained the power to tax the colonists, even without substantive representation.

Believing that the colonists only objected to internal taxes, Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend proposed bills that would later become the Townshend Acts. The Acts, passed in 1767, taxed imports of tea, glass, paint, lead, and even paper. The colonial merchants again threatened to boycott the taxed products, reducing the profits of British merchants, who in turn petitioned Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts. Parliament eventually agreed to repeal much of the Townshend legislation. But Parliament refused to remove the tax on tea, implying that the British retained the authority to tax the colonies despite a lack of representation.

In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which exempted the British East India Company from the Townshend taxes. Thus, the East India Company gained a great advantage over other companies when selling tea in the colonies. The colonists who resented the advantages given to British companies dumped British tea overboard in the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773.

Boston Tea Party.jpg
The Boston Tea Party

In retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passed the Coercive Acts, which were in the colonies known as the Intolerable Acts.Parliament reduced the power of the Massachusetts legislature and closed the port of Boston. Also, the Quartering Act was extended to require private individuals to lodge soldiers. Furthermore, Parliament allowed royal officials accused of crimes to be tried by a British, rather than a colonial, jury.

First Continental Congress[edit]

In order to debate a response to the Intolerable Acts, all American colonies except for Georgia sent delegates to the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia. The Congress, which met in September 1774, issued the Declaration of Rights and Grievances. When the Congress adjourned, it stipulated another Congress would meet if King George III did not acquiesce to the demands set forth in the Declaration. When the Second Congress did meet, the military hostilities of the Revolutionary War had already begun, and the issue of Independence, rather than a redress of grievances, dominated the debates.

American Revolution[edit]

The American colonies fought a protracted war against Britain from 1775 until 1783, seeking independence from the mother country. The American forces were divided (many citizens supported maintenance of strong ties to Britain), ill-equipped, and impoverished; yet, thanks to the "home field advantage" of operating locally, with interior supply lines, the patriots were able to outlast and frustrate their over-extended foe.

Women's History of the Period[edit]

Phillis Wheatley[edit]

In 1773 Phillis Wheatley becomes the first African American in U.S history to be published. Her poems of death, religion, and the struggle of blacks in the United States are first published in a newspaper called The Newport Mercury.


The literacy rate in Europe from the 17th century to the 18th century grew significantly. The literacy rate back in the 18th century had double since the 17th century. The rate of literacy had grown more popular in certain areas where there were the religious schools. The literacy rate in England in 1640s was around 30 percent for males and rose to 60 percent in mid-18th century. In France, the rate of literacy in 1686-90 was around 29 percent for men and 14 percent for women and it increased to 48 percent for men and 27 percent for women. The literacy for the general public had grown for both men and women during the 18th century. During the 18th century there were more and more girls being sent to school to get educated. Most of the girls that were going to the schools came from the middle class society. When girls went to school they had restrictions. Women were excluded from learning about science and politics. One of the main issues about female education was due to the weakness of a faulty education. The first colleges were Harvard in 1636, the college of William and Mary in 1693, St. Johns college in 1696, Yale in 1701, the college of New Jersey which is known as Princeton in 1746, King’s college known as Columbia in 1754, the college of Philadelphia in 1755, and the queen’s college known as Rutgers. All of these colleges were meant for men and only white men. Some of the college experimented by admitting Native American students in 18th century. During this time, boys would enter college when they were the ages of 14 or 15. In the 18th century science, politics and modern history were the main courses to study in the college curriculum. During the 18th century American college graduates become Protestant clergymen. Also during that time they had Vocational education.

A people and a nation eight edition\ education_in_the_Age_of_Enlightenment. American Education the colonial experience by Cremin A. Lawrence


  1. a b c Anderson, Crucible of War, 747.
  2. Jennings, Empire of Fortune, xv.
  3. a b Fowler, Empires at War, 14.
  4. Fowler, Empires at War, 31.
  5. Fowler, Empires at War, 35.
  6. Ellis, His Excellency George Washington, 5.
  7. Fowler, Empires at War, 36.
  8. Virtual Vault, an online exhibition of Canadian historical art at Library and Archives Canada


  • Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf, 2000. ISBN 0-375-40642-5.
  • Anderson, Fred. The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War. New York: Viking, 2005. ISBN 0-670-03454-1. Released in conjunction with the 2006 PBS miniseries The War that Made America.
  • Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency George Washington. New York: Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., 2004. ISBN 1-4000-3253-9.
  • Fowler, W.M. Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. New York: Walker, 2005. ISBN 0-8027-1411-0
  • Jennings, Francis. Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies, and Tribes in the Seven Years War in America. New York: Norton, 1988. ISBN 0-393-30640-2.
  • Virtual Vault, an online exhibition of Canadian historical art at Library and Archives Canada

Further reading[edit]

  • Eckert, Allan W. Wilderness Empire. Bantam Books, 1994, originally published 1969. ISBN 0-553-26488-5. Second volume in a series of historical narratives, with emphasis on Sir William Johnson. Academic historians often regard Eckert's books, which are written in the style of novels, to be fiction.
  • Parkman, Francis. Montcalm and Wolfe: The French and Indian War. Originally published 1884. New York: Da Capo, 1984. ISBN 0-306-81077-8.
  • Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America. Penguin Books, 2001. Edited by Eric Foner. ISBN 0-670-87282-2.

English Colonies · American Revolution