The French and Indian War (The Seven Years' War)

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What were the impacts of the French and Indian War on the colonies?

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The French and Indian War, part of the larger Seven Years' War, had significant impacts on the American colonies. It resulted in Britain's increased territorial control, from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi river, and led to a divergence in perspectives between the British and colonists, with Britain expecting gratitude and repayment. This expectation resulted in taxation schemes that fueled resentment in the colonies. Additionally, Britain's response to Pontiac's War, particularly the Proclamation of 1763 prohibiting white settlement west of the Alleghenies, further antagonized the colonists. These factors ultimately led to the War of Independence in 1775 and the creation of the United States in 1776.

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The Seven Years' (in America, French and Indian) War was actually an imperialist war in which Britain, France, and others competed for dominance in Europe, America, and Asia as well. The English colonists were, in some sense, empowered by this conflict, playing a decisive role in expelling the French from North America. The result was a huge increase in British power with the takeover of Canada and the undisputed (from a European standpoint) British control of all the territory from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi river.

The divergence between the British perspective on this outcome and that of the colonists was one of the causes of the War of Independence twelve years later. The British put forth the idea that the war had been fought to protect the colonists and therefore that the colonists "owed them." This was then used to rationalize the taxation schemes that ended up causing massive resentment in the colonies.

The colonists, more realistically, knew that the war was another in the endless stream of conflicts between the European powers who were fighting to settle their own differences, regardless of the welfare of their colonial subjects. Despite the more expected possibility that the colonists would be grateful to the mother country for protecting them and making their lives safer against encroachment from the French and their Native American allies, the war had the opposite effect of antagonizing the colonists.

This was augmented by the British response to Pontiac's War, the Native American uprising occurring in the year the French and Indian War ended. The British, in order to placate the Ottowa and other American Indian Nations in the Great Lakes region (and also, partly out of a genuine sense of fair play toward the indigenous people) passed the Proclamation of 1763, prohibiting white settlement west of the Alleghenies.

This unfortunately backfired, given that the colonists continued to move west through the mountain passes which the British, with their limited forts and outposts, could not police effectively. It was another factor that would contribute to war in 1775 and the secession of the colonies from Britain in 1776, resulting in the creation of the United States.

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In the short term, the French and Indian Wars gave the colonists invaluable experience fighting alongside the British regular troops to put down the coalition of the French and their Indian allies.  The colonists were able to severely weaken one of the most significant of the French allies, the Huron tribe; this would pay dividends later in terms of acquiring land.  The colonists tried to organize under the Albany Plan in order to better help the British cause, but Britain made clear their disapproval of colonial organization.  This convinced the colonists that Parliament did not want a united front against them in the New World.

In the long term, after the French and Indian War, Britain rewarded its Indian allies by creating the Proclamation Line of 1763, which prohibited white settlement beyond the Appalachian Mountains.  To colonists already living west of the line or those who had plans to move their families later, this was an outrage.  Also, the colonists were not happy with rewarding the Native Americans who attacked their settlements.  During the war, the British officials got to see firsthand how colonists flouted tax laws and duties. After the war, Parliament tightened its control over the American colonists in order to get them to pay for their own defense.  This put the colonists and Parliament on a collision course and would ultimately lead to the American Revolution.  

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The French and Indian War had a dramatic effect on the American colonies. Britain was occupied with the Seven Years War with France and had kind of left the American colonies to its own devices. The crown was very lax in tax collection during the war. Colonial leaders enjoyed a great deal of autonomy in this period.

At the conclusion of the American theater of the Seven Years War, the relationship with the English crown was in flux. The war changed the economic and political dynamic. Britain had incurred heavy debt in the process of conducting war. Its plan was to collect more revenue from the colonists. The American colonists were not happy with this process because it affected important import industries like rum production.

With increased agitation because of the taxation policy, the British felt the need to increase military presence in the American colonies. This action led to warfare between the colonies and England.

The war also created a certain unity amongst the colonies. Before the conflict, there was no cohesion between the thirteen colonial governments. After fighting against a common enemy in the French and Indian War, the colonists felt a common bond that had not existed earlier. The fact that the French were forced to vacate their colonies to Britain also meant that the lands to the west of the colonies became an attractive incentive for freedom from England.

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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What economic effect did the French and Indian War have in the colonies? 

The French and Indian War impacted the colonies economically. As a result of the war, the British were able to expand their influence in the Ohio Valley. This meant the British would profit even more from the lucrative fur trade now that France had left the area.

The French and Indian War also impacted the colonies in a negative economic manner. As the British Empire grew, it became more expensive to run the colonies. The Native Americans were a threat to the colonies. Thus, the British needed to spend more money on protecting them. As a result, the British believed the colonists should share in some of the cost of running the colonies because the colonists were benefitting from some of the actions of the British. As a result, new taxes laws were passed to raise revenue for the British. The British passed a law requiring the colonists to provide housing for some of the soldiers who were protecting them. The colonists resisted these tax laws because they had no voice in their passage. Eventually, these disputes grew more serious, leading to more events that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

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What was the impact of the French and Indian War?  

It is important to remember that the French and Indian War, which lasted from 1754-1761, was part of a much larger global conflict, known as the Seven Years' War, a massive struggle between Britain and France for control of colonies around the world and for increased influence in Europe that lasted from 1756-1763. Essentially, the major, direct result of the French and Indian War in North America was that France ceded, in the Treaty of Paris in 1763, all of North America east of the Mississippi to Great Britain. This included Canada, almost all of the West Indies, and all of the disputed area in the northwest. The British even got Florida, a Spanish possession, because Spain had allied with the French in the conflict. So the short-term impact was that British America doubled in size.

In the long term, the results of the conflict were more complex. Generally speaking, it led to increased tensions with Britain's American colonies. Hoping to avoid having to send troops to settle costly border conflicts, the British declared, in the Proclamation of 1763, that all lands west of the Appalachians were closed to American settlement. This was a major disappointment, not so much to common people (who tended to ignore the proclamation) but to land speculators who had secured promises of massive grants of land in the region that they could no longer sell. Probably the largest of these speculators was George Washington. The war also created a spirit of unity among the colonies, expressed by the proposed Albany Plan of Union in 1754. Finally, and most famously, Parliament attempted to pay for the massive debt accrued in financing the war by levying a series of taxes on the colonies. The first of these, the Sugar Act, met with great opposition which only intensified with the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765.

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