What were the similarities and differences in the way that the British and French empires administered their colonies before 1763?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Before 1763, France was under autocratic rule. Therefore, French colonists pledged their allegiance to the Crown. The French king ruled the colonies, and there was no form of representative government. Conversely, British colonists were free to govern themselves in America provided they observed English law and pledged allegiance to their king. They could create local governments and formulate their ways of collecting taxes.

British colonists were mostly agriculturalists, loggers, and convicted criminals. However, French colonists were missionaries and traders. Regarding religion, many British colonists were non-Catholics. On the other hand, French colonists were primarily Catholic. Moreover, unlike the French, the British allowed immigrants into their population.

The economic activities in British colonies included trading and agriculture. Also, the British exported fish and tobacco. However, the French colonies focused on the fur trade and were not as successful as the British when it came to agriculture. A similarity between the British and French colonists during this period is that they were initially friendly and respectful to Native Americans. It is noteworthy that there were several land disputes in the latter years before 1763 between the Indians and the British. Therefore, alliances were formed between the Native Americans and the French especially during their conflicts with the English.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial