What was the impact and outcome of the French and Indian War?

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were many impacts of the French and Indian War, which was a very significant turning point in world power dynamics. 

For one thing, the Treaty of Paris, the treaty that concluded the war, ceded all French territory in North America to Great Britain. In short, France was finished as an imperial power in North America. However, the British found this to be a mixed blessing. This upset the fragile balance of power that Native peoples, most notably the Iroquois confederacy, had been able to use to their advantage. One immediate effect of the Treaty of Paris was Pontiac's Rebellion, which resulted in part from Native anxieties about their treatment at the hands of the British and future colonial expansion. In an effort to avert future conflicts with Native peoples, the British crown issued the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement by British colonists west of a line that extended along the Appalachian Mountains. This angered many American settlers and land speculators.

Americans were also angry at British attempts to make the colonies pay for the costs of occupying these new territories, which were part of a broader attempt to reform the colonial structure. Especially galling was the Stamp Act, which attempted to raise revenues by levying a tax on official documents. This was more or less a direct consequence of the French and Indian War. Further attempts to raise money by levying and enforcing higher import duties further angered the colonists, precipitating the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Another result of the war was increased tensions between Native peoples and British settlers on the frontier. The French and Indian War had been very bloody in western Pennsylvania in particular, and this raised tensions between settlers there and colonial elites in the east. It also contributed to the growing number of settlers who moved from Pennsylvania and Maryland to the Carolina backcountry. Finally, the war led to real tensions between the Crown and the colonial assemblies, who were generally stingy in contributing to the war effort. This often-overlooked issue provides important context for the imperial crisis that followed the war. 

Stephen Holliday eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An often overlooked outcome of the French and Indian War is that American colonists, who fought along with British regular troops during the war, inadvertently discovered the myth of British invincibility.

Before the war started, American colonists and the British (in Great Britain) assumed that the British Army was a match for any European power at any time and under any circumstances.  Under General Braddock in 1755, however, the British Army, including many colonial troops, suffered a devastating defeat, in part because Braddock and his generals ignored the advice of Americans, including Washington.  This defeat resulted in the loss not only of a large army but also a loss of confidence in British military strength.  Washington certainly learned a great deal about the British Army's reluctance to adapt to changing circumstances and terrain.  Even though the British, by 1757, began to defeat the French on a regular basis, Americans who participated alongside British regulars began to realize that the British were vulnerable.  This realization undoubtedly influenced the decision to challenge British sovereignty in the colonies in 1775.

Another outcome of the French and Indian War is called "Pontiac's War," an uprising of American Indians in 1763 in what was formerly French territory as a result of British trading policies with the Indians.  After the loss of most British forts in the new territories, the deaths of several thousand American settlers and the displacement of several thousand more colonists, the British settled Pontiac's complaints in the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The outcome of the French and Indian War was that the French lost their colonies in North America.  The French and Indian War was part of a much larger war between France and England.  England won the war and, as part of the settlement, France withdrew from North America and England took over France’s colonies.  The main impact of the war, though, was not the withdrawal of France.  Instead, the impact of the war was that it led to the American Revolution.

After the war, the British government owed a lot of money.  It wanted the American colonies to help pay the debts that had been incurred in the fighting of the war.  Therefore, they started to tax the colonies more than they had before.  They also tried harder to enforce laws in the colonies.  These laws restricted trade so that the colonies could only trade with England, thus enriching the “mother country.”  Colonists resented the new taxes and the increased enforcement of laws that had previously not been enforced. Their resentment eventually led to the outbreak of the American Revolution.