The need for the Royal Proclamation of 1763 could have been avoided if the colonist had not.....  I have to write an essay, and I want to say it could have been avoided if the colonists were not...

The need for the Royal Proclamation of 1763 could have been avoided if the colonist had not.....


I have to write an essay, and I want to say it could have been avoided if the colonists were not racist towards Inidans, showed fairness over land, and got support of British on the frontiers, but I need ideas to go in some of these categories, especally racism.


Asked on by t521863

1 Answer

ophelious's profile pic

ophelious | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You're taking a tricky position on the proclamation if you say it could have been avoided. Your argument boils down to the idea that if people weren't such jerks, things would have been better.  That's true, but it is in the nature of people to be jerks so it goes without saying.

The proclamation was a method used to try to reduce potential problems with the natives.  You might want to change your thesis to discuss why the proclamation was necessary, despite the fact it was unpopular in the colonies.  I think that you'd have an easier time arguing some of it should have been adopted by the new American government as well.

I'm in a "numbered bullet" mood, so there's going to be lots of them in my answer:

The Proclamation of 1763 came about for several reasons.

  1. England had acquired a lot of North American land, previously owned by France, through what we know as the "French and Indian War," and the British weren't sure how to administer it yet.
  2. The land won was populated by natives, many of whom had been on the side of France and were not partial to the British.
  3. The colonists had a habit of moving West into this land, which caused tension with the natives.
  4. The tension was sometimes violent and the British were afraid of expensive and bloody "Indian Wars" on this frontier.

The Proclamation of 1763 did the following:

  1. Organized governments for places like Quebec and Florida.
  2. Put a temporary "boundary line" at the watershed of the Appalachian mountains, across which no colonists were supposed to settle.
  3. Made it illegal for individuals to make land deals with the Natives across that line.

The proclamation of 1763 had the following result:

  1. Many people got angry.

Why did they get angry?  Lots of reasons:

  1. The war had just won the land, so colonists felt they had a right to enjoy what they'd help win. 
  2. There were a fair number of settlers already living in that land who would now be displaced.
  3. Settlers argued that the "line" was not far enough west.

Getting back to your original question, though, you're right about your points but there is a lot of history working against your argument:

  1. Most colonists were racist about Indians. The problem with this is that the colonists were racist about everybody.  In general, Europeans would have found all the other races of the world inferior and so it would have been odd if they'd thought differently of Native Americans.  They also disliked each-other to a large extent.
  2. Racism was only part of it.  The British just fought a war with the French and won the land, and they were Europeans as well.  The overriding factor wasn't race but greed.  If they hadn't thought the natives an inferior race, they still would have wanted to take the land through conquest.
  3. At this point, I think the colonists did feel they were being fair about buying the land, or felt they didn't buy it because the natives didn't technically own it.
  4. Forts and soldiers on the frontier wouldn't have helped.  Without the proclamation they would only have been there to fight Indians on behalf of colonists, which wouldn't have reduced tensions.

I respect what you're trying to do, but I think you'd have an easier time if you modify your angle.  Let me know if you'd like more help!