- During the French and Indian Wars, the French colonists and their Native allies, the Horus were up in arms against the British Colonies, Anglo-American colonists and the Iroquois Confederacy
- The French and Indian Wars revealed to the American colonists that they were more than an offshoot of Britain, but they had different values and culture
The mid-eighteenth century, there were tensions in the North America frontier as the French and British imperialists sought to extend their countries’ dominance in the region. The French colonists and their Native allies the Horus were up in arms against the British Colonies, Anglo-American colonists and the Iroquois Confederacy. Great Britain controlled 13 colonies stretching to the Appalachian Mountains but the Algonquian claimed, and the French counter claimed Louisiana through Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes. The New France region, which present-day Canada, was also French territory. Iroquois Confederacy controlled and claimed upstate New York and parts of northern Pennsylvania while the Horus claimed the region along Ohio River.
The French and the Huron had been established a trading relationship in the 1600s when the French fur traders and explorer Samuel de Champlain established a friendly alliance between the setters in Quebec and the Huron. The Huron request and received the assistance of the French in defeating the Iroquois tribe of the upper New York. The British on the other hand developed a trading relationship with the Iroquois.
The settlers in New France desired to increase their fur trade over the Ohio River and the Great Lakes, while the British started moving into the Ohio River Valley with the Crown granting the territories to companies such as the Ohio Company.
By the 1750s the French under Marquis Duquesne sought to establish new settlements in the Northern American interior, they unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Iroquois to shift their allegiance to them against the British. In 1754, Virginia sent the then 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington with 150 men to a place near the forks of the Ohio River in present-day Pennsylvania where the French were putting fortified post, Fort Duquesne. However, before reaching the Fort, they met with an army of the French and the Huron Indians where after a bloody confrontation, Washington was defeated and allowed to retreat with what was left of his troop. The Incident marked the beginning of the French and Indian War.
In the same year, the colonist held an anticolonial congress, a meeting of the British colonies representatives together with their six allied Native American nations to develop a plan for defending their land from the French. The meeting took place in Albany, New York and Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union. The plan was to establish a colonial defence force and impose upon themselves taxes to raise finances for the defence.
However, the distance and the prevailing travelling conditions at the time kept six of the colonies from attending. The representatives in attendance agreed on the importance of having a joint defence force but could not build consensus on the issue of taxation. The Crown, on the other hand, did not entertain the idea of the colonies exercising such an extent of self-control. Therefore, though none of the issues in the Albany Plan were agreed on, it helped set the stage for the establishment of the US nation.
By 1756, the war between Britain, France, Spain and other European countries broke out in the West Indies, Europe and other continents with British colonies such as Africa and the Philipines.
In 1755 British General Edward Braddock lost a battle through which he attempted to eject the French from Fort Duquesne, he was met and ambushed by an army of French soldiers together with their Native Indian tribe allies. However, in 1758, Britain was successful in knocking over Fort Duquesne under the Leadership of Prime Minister William Pitt and the command of Lord Loudon. The area was named Pittsburg in honour of the Prime Minister.
In 1759, Pitt set out to conquer the Montreal-Quebec area in New France Canada; he placed James Wolfe in charge of a clandestine attack on Quebec. Wolfe and the Commander of the French army Marquis de Montcalm were killed in battle, and the French surrendered. Later in the year, the British were also successful in removing the French forces in Montreal. The Paris Peace Settlement of 1763 confirmed France no longer had interest in Northern America except two islands near Newfoundland, marking the official triumph of the British in the seven-year war.
Proclamation of 1763
The British proceeded to open the area for exploration and expansion but faced three main problems. The first was French settlers in the region, especially Quebec were hard to control. To suppress any potential for an uprising, the British organised mass deportation of French colonists. For instance, the Acadians left for Louisiana, specifically around New Orleans.
The second problem was the Native Americans allied to the French. Chief Pontiac of the Algonquian-speaking Ottawa community commanded a bloody uprising that resulted in the death of thousands of soldiers and settlers. The Ottawa gave up most of their land west of the Appalachians.
To counter the Chief’s rebellion, the British gave the Natives smallpox-infected blankets and handkerchiefs. The disease swept through the Indian tribes and devastated their people. The British regained the upper hand. The third challenge was the British colonists, who were beginning to tire of the Crowns control over their land. The Proclamation of 1763 issued by the Crown was set to achieve two objectives. First, was to maintain colonists more closely to English colonial authorities by confining them to the coast. Second, was that in it, would be a little easier to collect taxes.
However, the Proclamation enraged the colonists, which they ignored and settled westward, creating new territories and overcoming challenges in the process and therefore becoming more self-reliant. The Proclamation also revealed some resentment the colonists had over the Seven year war. The colonists had over time began to favour the Native guerrilla warfare tactics, and the British were overly formal and preferred formal tactics of going into war. New England colonies also disliked the fact that they had to house British troops during the war. However, the most pressing issue was Britain’s attempts to tax the colonists to pay for Britain’s wars.
Further, Britain had established an authoritarian rule over Canada, causing concerns in America on the loss of liberties in Canada. To the Crown, the victory of the war meant that the whole of the North American region was now free for their control and exploitation. To the colonist in America, they began to see themselves not as an offshoot of the British Empire but as people of distinct values and culture.