Clarify English attitudes toward the North American colonies following the French and Indian War.
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.
There was a change in the British attitude toward the colonies after the French and Indian War ended. After the French and Indian War ended, the British received most of the land France had in North America that was east of the Mississippi River. This significantly increased the amount of land that the British had in North America.
Before the French and Indian War, the British were very lax with their policies toward the colonies. Many of the trade laws were not enforced. Smuggling was common. The colonists got used to this policy of salutary neglect.
However, during and after the French and Indian War, the British were required to spend more money on the administration of the colonies. The colonies became more expensive to run. The British felt the colonists should share in the cost of running and protecting the colonies. The British passed tax laws such as the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts. The British then required the colonists to provide housing and supplies for the soldiers that were protecting them. The British restricted the movement of the colonists into the new lands gained from France because the British feared the Native Americans would attack the colonists if they went to these newly acquired lands. The colonists, who were used to lax enforcement of laws and policies, resisted and resented the increased attention Great Britain was now giving to the operation and defense of the colonies.
The British attitude towards the colonies changed dramatically after the French and Indian War. Before the war, the colonies were allowed more self-government. They were still subject to British taxation and navigation laws, but these were not strictly enforced. Local tax collectors in the colonies were often inept and easily corrupted. During the war, British officials got to see that the colonists did not follow British law. Right after the war ended, Parliament decided to tax the colonists more since the money was going for colonial defense and it was something that would benefit the colonists more than it would those in Britain. Parliament started by creating a line west of the Appalachians that the colonists were not supposed to cross. The colonists quickly became angry over this and they accused Britain of keeping them close to the coast and therefore easier to tax. The British claimed that they were trying to prevent confrontations between the Native Americans and colonists. This was the spark of what would be a problem that would only be reconciled through war.