What was the source of colonists unrest after 1763?

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kriscarr eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1763 marked the end of the French and Indian War.  Although the British Empire won the conflict and gained Canada, they were saddled with three primary problems, and their responses to those problems created unrest for the colonists.

First, the war gave England a huge debt.  In 1763, the British debt was 122 million pounds, and the interest was 4 million pounds each year.  England believed the colonies should shoulder some of that debt.  In 1764, the Parliament enacted an enforcement on the Sugar Act intending to raise revenue from the consumption of molasses.  Then in 1765, the Parliament enacted the Stamp Act, which taxed all paper (including legal documents and paper goods made in the colonies).  This caused severe unrest among the colonists.  The Resolution of Merchants declared a boycott of British goods, stating: " It is further unanimously agreed, that no Merchant will vend any Goods or Merchandise sent upon Commission from Great-Britain."

Second, the indigenous populations of the British and French colonies in North America had sided with the French in the war and did not acquiesce to British rule.  An uprising in the area now known as Ohio (Pontiac's Rebellion) led to the Proclamation of 1763 which banned colonial settlements west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Colonists, such as George Washington, who wanted to create settlements did not like this.

Third, because of the indigenous and colonial uprisings, Great Britain decided to maintain a military presence in the colonies.  This led to protests about "quartering" in which military personnel would commandeer a colonists home. As George Washington said in a letter in 1769, "At a time when our lordly Masters in Great Britain will be satisfied with nothing less than the deprication of American freedom, it seems highly necessary that some thing should be done to avert the stroke and maintain the liberty which we have derived from our Ancestors..."

   

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