The French and Indian War, was a war fought between France and Britain. The war was the product of an imperial struggle, a clash between the French and English over colonial territory and wealth. Great Britain claimed that the French provoked war by building forts along the Ohio River Valley. Virginia’s governor sent a militia to the French and Native American allies. The war started out badly for Great Britain, about 2,000 British and colonial troops were defeated by the French and Native Americans.
For the first three years of the war, the outnumbered French dominated the battlefield, soundly defeating the English in battles at Fort Oswego and Ticonderoga. The British then began to make peace with important Indian allies, and under the direction of Lord William Pitt, they began adapting their war strategies. The British had a further stroke of good fortune when the French were abandoned by many of their Indian allies.
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Exhausted by years of battle, outnumbered and outgunned by the British, the French collapsed during the years 1758-59, concluding in a massive defeat at Quebec in 1759. The end of the war resulted in with mixed feelings between both the Americans and the British. The results of the war effectively ended French political and cultural influence in North America. England gained massive amounts of land and vastly strengthened its hold on the continent. The war, however, also had subtler results.
It badly eroded the relationship between England and Native Americans; and, though the war seemed to strengthen England’s hold on the colonies, the effects of the French and Indian War played a major role in worsening the relationship between England and its colonies.. The American colonists were active in fighting against the French and began to develop the relationships that would lead to the push for independence. Benjamin Franklin attempted to unify the colonies in a conference in Albany during the war.
The Albany Plan was created during this conference, it included common defense by colonies against the French, taxation, a colonial defense force, and home rule for colonial politicians. The problem with the Plan was that the leadership community of the American colonies was more conservative and it was a small government, as well as the fact that the British were not ready to give up such control during a time of war to their own colonists. The British began to tighten their grip on the American colonists with the Proclamation of 1763 and the increase in troops that were present in the colonies.
The Proclamation of 1763 dealt with the “Indian” problem, essentially ignoring the native people and restricting colonial ventures to all territory east of the Appalachian Mountains. The British had undisputed control of the continent and had very strong thriving economies in the colonies. They also had very large war debts as a result of defending the colonies during the war. This led to the British conclusion for colonies to start paying more taxes in order to pay off these war debts and start making a profit for Britain.
On the other hand, the colonies wanted things to stay the way they were. They saw the principle of foreign taxation as leading to a time when Britain would tax the colonies dry and make life there miserable. This led to the fight that eventually led to revolution and independence. As the French and Indian War ended, it left the British’s main focus to being the colonies. Controlling the colonies, ruling over the colonies, and taxing the colonies. Little did they know that the colonies had plans of their own.