For close to a century after the British colonists had settled in the U.S., these nations found themselves being subjected to a “political constriction” under Britain’s policy of “salutary neglect.” But upon being threatened by some nations like France and their instinctive American allies, Britain chose to step in and fight to protect the colonies involved. The war, which lasted for seven years, forever altered the relationship between the Great Britain and its blossoming young colonies in some ways but more notably in an ideological sense, resulting in a rebellious life force that ended up biting them back.
The French and Indian War (1754-63) did alter the political, economic, and ideological relationships between Britain and its American colonies in some ways. The relationship was altered politically because of the Britain’s control of the whole of the eastern coastline, economically on how various policies were set up after 1763 which were aimed at raising revenues to meet the expenses of the empire. Ideologically, the relationship was altered as a result of the views of the American colonizers with regards to the relationship between Britain and its colonies.
The British did have control over the French during this period and because of this, they were left in control of the whole eastern coastline. This created an extreme alteration in most regions of North America. It can be argued that the increase of English control in these areas made it possible for Britain to not only oversee the welfare of their land but also of those nations that they had colonized (Doc. D). These numerous activities made Britain run out of funds as they were at this point in extreme debt. This gave room for the various monarchs to blame the colonizers for their loss of revenue. The British, however, believed that the monarchs were supposed to be repaid for they did “protect” the colonists (Doc. E).
After 1763, Britain found itself in a situation where it urgently needed the revenue that was to be paid for the French and Indian War. Britain developed more clever ways of raising revenue from the various colonies. Because as early as 1650 to the culmination of the French and Indian War was a period of “salutary neglect,” Britain merely took part in the lifestyle of the colonies (Doc. F). The Stamp Act of 1765, which was passed by the British Parliament aimed at directly taxing all the colonies on close to all printed materials such as newspapers and marriage licenses did put the colonies in a huge anguish (Doc. G). Following the end of the French and Indian War, “mercantilism” became strictly enforced. “Mercantilism” is just but a method through which revenue was raised from the colonies. This was made successful by making sure that the colonies only traded with the Great Britain where they were expected to import more products than they exported.
This particular war had in fact cleared out the British Government. The British administration argued that the American colonies also had to share the encumbrance of the war expenses that came about as a result of military operations in the northern regions of America. They then proposed to impose taxes on nearly all products that were supplied by the colonial administrations minus charge.
The colonists started to feel that it was not fair for a small political body which was not even representing them to start taxing them. However, it should be noted that this was not a new conflict. Royal Governors, as well as various colonial congresses, had kept on fighting over taxes meant for operating the government without the consent of those who represented the citizens. For instance, in the New York Colony, the governor passed the “Charter of Liberties and Privileges” that allowed every freeholder and stated that the colony should be governed by the king, governor, and the “people in assembly gathered.” The efforts of England intended to restrict the right of free trade by colonial traders by passing the “Navigation and Sugar Acts” brought about dissatisfaction and gave a boost to a thriving trafficking activity in the Atlantic seaboard. In 1764, New York traders did a petition to the parliament not to renew the Navigation Act, an appeal that failed. In October 1765, various representatives from various colonies agreed to meet in New York to propose for the various colonies to coordinate their efforts accordingly so that they can be represented in Parliament as well as for the taxing authority to be given to the colonial congresses. Followers in England, however, did point out that the taxes imposed on colonial products might well be paid in England and the probable cause of ill-will eliminated (Doc. C). The last straw for most American colonizers was the “Quebec Act” that gave room for some degree of autonomy to certain nations such as Canada. This act did alter the manner in which Britain and the American colonies ideologically coexisted as it did restrict settlement on some areas besides granting free exercise of religious conviction to the Canada’s French Catholics. It was this final clause that created a furor in Massachusetts as well as other colonies as the initial step towards bringing together “Protestant Americans” with the Pope. Secondly, the war tried to remove the great and ever-present threat of the French invasion from Canada. With this already eliminated, the Colonists, in general, began feeling less need for the British (Doc. B). After the explosion of the war that arose from small agitations, it was evident that the numerous Indian states that stayed in these locations were vital in both the start and the aftermath of the conflict. This involvement by Indians made an enormous difference in the result of the war since they were good at playing the French against the England in an unfamiliar terrain for both nations with the aim of maximizing their individual interests. The turning point in the war came about when most of the Indian nations succeeded in changing their war strategies and turned their back on France. Having greater possessions of the British and lacking the advantage of their Indian allies, the French did have little hope and ultimately lost the continent.
In conclusion, it is true to say that The French and Indian War (1754-63) did alter the political, economic, and ideological relationships between Britain and its American colonies in some ways. This was either through Britain’s control of the whole of the eastern coastline, on how various policies were set up after 1763 aimed at raising revenues to meet the expenses of the empire, or as a result of the views of the American colonizers with regards to the relationship between Britain and its colonies.
Document B; Canassabego, Chief of the Onondaga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, speech to representatives of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, 1742.
Document C; George Washington, letter to Robert Orine, aide-de-camp to General Edward Braddock, March 15, 1755.
Document D; Massachusetts soldier’s diary, 1759.
Document E; Rev, Thomas Barnard, sermon, Massachusetts, 1763.
Document F; British Order in Council, 1763
Document G; Benjamin Franklin (in London) letter to John Hughs (in Pennsylvania), August 9, 1765.