How did the French and Indian War affect the colonists politically?

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jpgwolf37 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French-Indian War, otherwise known as the Seven Years War, is considered by some historians as the first world war, in that it was fought across the globe, in colonies belonging to the French and English. The impact of the war on the American colonies was three-fold. First, the war brought an influx of British soldiers into North America, where these troops built extensive systems of fortification along the contested, northern border with Canada. Many of these military forts would later serve as British bulwarks against the Continental Army of the nascent United States, and many others remained even after the end of the Revolution, to protect British territories.

Second, the war led seven of the initial thirteen states to begin holding regular meetings to coordinate their mutual defense against the French and their Native American allies. These meetings, known as the Albany Congress, or Congress of Albany, because of its location in Albany, New York, became the model for the Stamp Act Congress and later, the Continental Congress. Although the purpose of the Albany Conference was to help the cause of the British against the French, ironically, the precedent of having delegates from each state meet to organize a military response and share information, helped prepare the colonists for their war against the British, which required a much closer collaboration.

Third, and most importantly, the enormous cost of the French-Indian War left the British Empire in dire financial straits. This ballooning deficit led the British government to end its laissez-faire approach to governing the colonies, known as Salutary Neglect. The British replaced that policy with burdensome and often-punitive taxation, heavy-handed regulation, and autocratic rule, whereas before the colonies had enjoyed self-governance and relative autonomy. Yet the deficit that the British Empire had run up in order to defeat the French led King George III to treat the American colonists as second class subjects, subservient to English capital and domestic policy, thereby provoking formerly loyal Brits in the Colonies to armed rebellion.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French and Indian War had a very big impact on the colonists politically.  This war had the French and most Native American tribes fighting against the British. With the British victory in this war, it changed the landscape significantly in North America. By winning, the British got all of France’s land in North America that was east of the Mississippi River except for New Orleans.  Great Britain also got Florida from Spain who had been helping France.  As a result of this victory, the colonies would remain in Britain’s hand.  If Britain would have lost, it is possible the colonies could have been transferred to France. Now Great Britain did not have to worry about the French attacking their colonies and possibly taking control over them. Additionally, by gaining all of this land from France, Great Britain could expand westward if it wanted to do this. However, there was some risk in westward expansion at this time because many Native Americans tribes were not friendly toward Great Britain.  The result of the French and Indian War had a huge impact on Great Britain and their colonies.