Clarify English attitudes toward the North American colonies following the French and Indian War.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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English attitudes toward the North American colonies changed in important ways after the French and Indian War.  These changes did a great deal to bring about conflict between the colonists and the British government.  They eventually helped lead to the American Revolution.

Before the French and Indian War, the British had generally left the American colonies more or less alone.  This was a policy that is now known as the policy of “salutary neglect.”  The colonies were left to run their own affairs to a large degree.  This got them very used to the idea that they should be in charge of their own affairs and that they should have self-government.

But the war changed that.  The war in North America was a small part of a global “Seven Years’ War” that pitted England and its allies against France and its allies.  The war cost a lot of money.  This was what changed English attitudes.  The English government felt that the colonies should pay more in taxes to help defray the costs of the war.  They felt that the colonies should have to obey the British laws more closely.  In other words, they decided to bring an end to the period of salutary neglect so that they could get more tax revenues from the colonies, which generally paid much lower taxes than Britain itself did.

When the British ended the period of salutary neglect, colonists became very angry because they felt that freedoms that were rightfully theirs were being taken away.