What were the causes of unrest in the American backcountry in the mid-eighteenth century?

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In the big picture, the aftermath of the British victory in the French and Indian War (1756–1763) brought with it some good and some bad things. English (Irish and Scots) colonists now "owned" the land east of the Mississippi River. The land that had not been settled, therefore, became what...

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In the big picture, the aftermath of the British victory in the French and Indian War (1756–1763) brought with it some good and some bad things. English (Irish and Scots) colonists now "owned" the land east of the Mississippi River. The land that had not been settled, therefore, became what is known as the backcountry.

However, King George III, with his Proclamation of 1763, forbade settling on land west of the Appalachian Mountains, and one of the reasons he did this was to curry favor with the Indians until the land could be occupied and exploited by the English.

But that might have taken a long time. The British were in heavy debt following the war, so they couldn't finance occupation of the new lands, and this is where a certain "unrest" in philosophy came to be. Colonists had helped to win the war, thus, they felt free to explore and settle in the backcountry. By the same token, there was no British government presence on this land so, in effect, they would be left unprotected.

However, these settlers were paying taxes to the British, thus they expected a modicum of protection. This is where we see the divergence in the British way and the colonial way: the British cannot protect the settlers, but they still collect taxes from them. The colonists want their independence but expect a certain protection from their own government.

These differences are what spawned the Regulator Movement in the Carolina backcountry, and the Paxton Boys incidents in the Pennsylvania backcountry.

Following the French and Indian War, there was a notable break in the way American colonists and the English thought of each other. These differences are what led to the unrest between the two and what later brought on the American Revolution.

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The major cause of unrest in the backcountry in this time period was discontent with the performance of the colonial governments.  The colonial governments were run by elites from the coasts and the backcountry people felt that these elites were insenstive to their needs.

Most importantly, the backcountry people wanted to be protected.  They were living on the frontier where they faced threats from Indians and outlaws.  They wanted the government to do more to protect them.  When this did not happen, rebellions like that of the Paxton Boys in Pennsylvania took place.

In addition, backcountry people sometimes felt cheated and abused by the coastal elites.  They felt that the government was acting in ways that helped the rich at the expense of the backcountry farmers.  This sort of complaint led, for example, to the "Regulator" movement in North Carolina.

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