How did the British try to strengthen their control over the colonies after the French and Indian War, and how did the colonists respond?
The British government did several things to increase their control over the colonies after the French and Indian War ended. The Proclamation of 1763 was issued. This prevented the colonists from moving to the lands that Great Britain gained from France after the French and Indian War ended. The British believed they were protecting the colonists while the colonists felt the British were trying to control to where they could move. The Quartering Act was passed in 1765. This required the colonists to provide housing and supplies for the British soldiers who were enforcing the widely unpopular Proclamation of 1763.
The British also tried to increase their financial control over the colonies. The Sugar Act was passed in 1764. While this lowered the tax on molasses, it signaled the British were going to more closely enforce various trade laws that had been ignored for years. Writs of assistance allowed the British to search for smuggled goods. The Stamp Act in 1765 and Townshend Acts in 1767 were new tax laws that were passed to try to raise revenue. The colonists opposed both laws because they did not have elected representatives in Parliament that could speak about and vote on these new taxes.
Despite achieving victory, the French and Indian War had a devastating impact on the British economy. To address this, the British implemented a number of strategies in order to safeguard their interests as well as recover from the detrimental consequences of the war.
- The British parliament authorized that over 5,000 British soldiers be ferried to North America in order to protect their territory against potential threats from their foes.
- In order to avoid any further costly wars with the Indians and to concentrate the population in a strategic locality suitable for trade with the mother country, the Proclamation of 1763 was declared. This proclamation forbade any settlement by the colonists to the west of Appalachian Mountains.
- To recover from the financial predicament, the British introduced a number of Acts that enforced taxes and regulated the use of paper cash. These included the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, and the Currency Act.
However, the above measures left the colonists disgruntled, and they retaliated in various ways.
After the French and Indian War, the British were in a great deal of debt, and they tried to recoup that debt by strengthening the already existing Navigation Acts, which forced the American colonies to buy finished goods only from Britain. To enforce these acts, the British stationed officers at customs offices in ports. In addition, the British passed new forms of taxes like the the Stamp Act, which required colonists to buy seals to place on documents. The colonists reacted by protesting against these acts and by continuing to smuggle in goods. They also boycotted English-made goods in favor of domestic products such as homespun clothing and mounted dramatic protests such as the Boston Tea Party. After years of "salutary neglect," meaning the general non-enforcement of the Navigation Acts, the colonists were not prepared to accept the enforcement of these laws.