1754 – July 4, 1776


T/R 11-12:15


The French and Indian War officially broke out it 1754 as a result of the land disputes involving the Ohio River Valley. This area of the Ohio Valley became of much interest to the British in hopes they might penetrate further to the west. On the other hand, the French needed to hold on to it because it was the place they planned on linking up with their Canadian lands. In 1754, George Washington, was selected by the Governor of Virginia to lead a small group of American colonists to Fort Duquesne and evict the French. During Washington’s trek toward Fort Duquesne, his group ran across a small clan of French men, which quickly turned into bloodshed. Washington quickly gave order for his men to fire on the French, resulting in 10 French being killed, and 22 captured, during what was known as a time of “peace” between the British and the French (histchannel.com).


As a result, in February of 1755 the English sent General Edward Braddock and two regiments to Virginia to “protect the colonies”. The king of France also responded by dispatching a few regiments to America. The next step for the English was to send a group of about 2000 men lead by General Braddock and Lt. Col. George Washington into the Ohio Valley to attack the French. Although the French were outnumbered by about 1100 men, with the help of a group of Indians, they were able to slaughter this troop and kill General Braddock (history.html).


This would not be the only embarrassing defeat of the war for the British, in July of 1758 near Lake George, New York, as nearly 2000 men are lost, compared to only 377 French. Although the British forces had suffered a few embarrassing losses, they began to gain control of the war with the surrender of Fort Duquesne in 1758, and the capture of Fort Niagara in 1759. The final blow to the French came in 1760 when under the instruction of William Pitt the British troops won the battle of Quebec, and thus vanished French power completely from the continent. Soon after in 1763 the French and Indian war was officially over when a peace settlement was reached in Paris. This victory by the British colonist showed them that they were able to fight for themselves, and it also in the crude form of Braddock’s defeat, opened their eyes to the fact that Great Britain was not invincible (histchannel.com). After the conclusion of the war there were many differences about the colonial soldiers, and the British officials. The officials looked at the colonist as less than them. This was not the view of the colonists at all who believed they deserved a great deal of credit for risking their lives so that the British Empire could grow into America (The Brief-p.77).


Now with the end of the French and Indian war, and the shadow of the French flag waving in America, the colonist felt freer than ever. Even after being decimated by the British, the French still had one hope, and that was that American colonist would attempt to break ties with Britain and form their own empire. Now the American colonist felt the strong pull of undiscovered land to the west, and they would soon begin to move toward and into this area. This move toward the west would be smashed in 1763 when King George III of England put his pen to the paper and signed The Proclamation of 1763, stating that any settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains was prohibited, and that anyone who was already in the area must move back. This proclamation enraged the American settlers who said the land was a birthright, and they had already fought for it. This proclamation was only the start of things to come from Great Britain’s government that seemed to try to suppress the prosperous colonists. In 1764 Prime Minister George Grenville, passed the Sugar Act. This would be the first law ever passed by that body for raising tax revenue in the colonies for the Crown. Also, in 1763 Grenville ordered the British navy to enforce the Navigation Laws. Following the Sugar Act came the Quartering Act of 1765. This measure required certain colonies