How did colonial and British interests both dovetail and diverge in the motives of the French and Indian War.

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askteacherz eNotes educator| Certified Educator
pohnpei397 provides some great background of this event; I would like to add some further details to this excellent summary. As indicated the French & Indian War is the last of what history books will title the Four Wars for Empire (known also as the Hundred Years War); England and France had been fighting over dominance of the hemisphere ever since the Spanish Armada had been sunk in the English Channel. This is essentially the last of the wars to control colonization in North America. I like to use the simplistic formula or driving force behind empirical ambition as being Land + Wealth = Power. These nations are all land locked in Europe and to maintain their lust for power these empires must expand their lands. Another concept that cannot be over-shadowed as a "dovetail" concept is the religious factor. France is still very much Catholic and England anti-papist due to the continued rise of Puritanism and/or Protestantism. So the fighting in North America was also over preventing the spread of papist thought to the Native Americans. The Colonists wanted the French off the continent because they were incited Native Americans to murder them all across the frontier by placing a price or ransom on their scalps; payable at most any French outpost. This of course led to the Albany Congress and the attempt to unite the thirteen colonies. The British became very much alarmed when Fort Duquense was built at the Three Rivers Region (today's Pittsburg, PA); later scouted out by George Washington at the request of the Governor. As a result of GW's survey the British sent troops and the final of the Four Wars for Empire was underway. In summary the British and Colonial interests, as already stated dovetail in numerous ways. Ultimately, they wanted the French ejected off the continent to gain, in England's case, ultimate power and world trade dominance; while the colonists would benefit cause they and England hold a symbiotic relationship.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The motives of the colonies and the British dovetailed because they both wanted to defeat France.  From there, the interests of the mother country and colonies diverged.

The British were interested in defeating France worldwide.  The French and Indian War was merely one small part of the overall Seven Years' War.  The British were going to do whatever was necessary to secure their overall empire rather than doing things that would be explicitly meant to advance the colonies' interests.  For example, one reason the British wanted the French out of America was the fact that the French were trading too much with the colonies, bypassing Britain and defeating the mercantilist point of having colonies.

By contrast, the colonies simply wanted France out so that the colonists could expand into areas controlled by France.  The British did not really care about this.  In fact, after the war, they issued the Proclamation of 1763 to prevent this.

The colonies wanted the war to be waged for their own benefit while the British wanted to wage the war as part of an overall plan to defeat France.  Because of this, their motives diverged a great deal.

kenwright05 | Student

Studying the French and Indian War completely from the Native American perspective, explain the actions of the major Indian federations and explain why they often seemed to be on the winning side of the battles but still came to what we now know is a tragic ending.