Unification of the American People (Pre-American Revolution)

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For the English colonies, the French and Spanish colonies were an hindrance to westward expansion, trade and cooperation with Native Americans. They saw the French and Spanish as a potential military threat in the new world. The English, who where mainly protestant, thought of the French and Spanish colonies as a bastion of Roman Catholic Christianity, which bothered them greatly.

In 1739, Great Britain declared war on Spain in what was known as the War of Jenkin’s Ear, which was fought mostly in the New World.Then this war merged into the much intenser and larger war of the Austrian Succession, which saw Great Britain and France as opponents. This war started in 1744 and lasted until 1748. The war had turned out to be a draw but intensified British and France rivalry, and both kingdoms increased its military and fortifications in the New World.

The population growth of the British continental colonies proved to be a source of tension. In 1700 the population was 250,000, it grew to 1. 75 million in the 1760s.The colonists saw the colonies as a very dense populated area even though by today’s standards they are considered to but very low density areas.

The colonist decided to push west into the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. They had started to creep into areas already claimed by France. The first people to start the march were fur traders and land speculators. The first people were getting rich because they would get land at a low cost on unsettled land and then would turn around and sell Kneibel 2 it as a high price to people that would arrive later on.

One of these spectators would become very famous, George Washington of Virginia. The English were moving into an area that was claimed by the people who had been there for hundreds of years, such as the Ottawa and Delaware in the Ohio Valley. These people had good relations with the French, who also had the region dotted with numerous forts. Other people that had occupied the land were the Iroquois confederation in New York, and the Cherokee in the colonies of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

It was impossible for there not to be warfare between the French and the Natives and the English.The English as they went westward began building outposts in the Ohio Valley. This was meant as a challenge to the French and its allies. They went along the eastern seaboard where the French had previously settled and gained control of the Canadas, the Great Lakes, the Ohio River and the Mississippi River valleys, all the way down to New Orleans. Neither the French or The Natives wanted the English to move in. By 1755 the French at Fort Duquesne beat General Edward Braddock’s British and American army.

The Albany Congress was a meeting of representatives of seven of the British North American colonies in 1754.Representatives met daily at Albany, New York from June 19 to July 11 to discuss better relations with the Indian tribes and common defensive measures against the French. The Congress produced Benjamin Franklin’s Albany Plan of Union, an early attempt to form a union of the colonies. The plan was passed by the congress but rejected by King George II.

This plan would show up in the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. This congress tried to make treaties with the tribes, which attended the meetings. The treaties failed with the natives because they were purposed just as the French and Indian War was getting going and theKneibel 3 Natives saw the English as the weaker of the two. The rulers in London saw the war in the New World as a way to cripple the French and to promote their and their colonies’ interests. William Pitt put around 23,000 troops into the colonies to suppress the Indians and drive France off the continent. They had produced victories with the huge army at a considerable cost.

After two victories the Iroquois sent an army to join the British attack on Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. By this victory in 1759, the British cut off the French from the Western part of their empire.British General James Wolfe captured Quebec city in 1759. The next year the British took Montreal. The French power in the new world was destroyed. The people that lived in the captured areas were French and Roman Catholic.

They were not happy about the occupation of the English. Also the Natives that sided with the French formed a alliance and went to war against the English. They were easily defeated by 1762. But they had made a point.

They wanted to maintain control of their property and would resist encroachments. The British government declared a Proclamation Line in 1763.Across this line the colonists were not to go until the warfare was minimized with the Natives and acceptable means were found to settle the conflicting claims by Frenchmen. The colonists believe this was an affront to their right to the land and resented the motherland for their interference. The British government had to find ways to pay for the almost constant wars which had expanded and protected the colonies and to administer the empire. London stationed 10,000 soldiers in North American as a permanent military force.

The control of native relations was turned to the imperial officials because the government thought that the colonists were incapable Kneibel 4 in doing so. The soldiers restricted western advancement. The Quebec Act was made to allow the Quebecois to maintain their culture. This was called enlightened legislation by the government. The English colonies, however, did not see it that way. The act saw the Ohio Valley as part of Quebec.

The colonists saw it as an infringement on their “coast-to-coast” land clams and that it favored Roman Catholicism.When the War had come to an end in 1763, the colonists saw themselves as patriots and loyal to Britain. But this was before they learned that they had to help pay for security and administering the Empire and that the British expected to rule more than it had in the past. The colonists thought that they shouldn’t have to carry any of the burden of the war or military imposement. Grenville, the chief minister of George III, went to Parliament agreed that the colonists and the people in the British Isles should be taxed.

His first taxing effort was to reduce the Molasses tax from 6 pence to 3 pence a gallon.But the Sugar Act of 1763, as it is know, added more colonial products which could only be sent to Great Britain and required the shippers to post a bond before it was shipped. Whereas the British government was lax on the laws in the colonies before, they started to enforce them, collect taxes, and punish criminals. The Currency Act made the colonists use the currency of Great Britain.

But the colonists started using paper money during the war because there wasn’t enough money to go around. And this act made the colonists more mad because they didn’t have sufficient money to run the colonies.The Stamp Act in 1765 made many colonists protest and engage in violence and other criminal behavior. Grenville didn’t think the colonists would object because the people on the motherland had the tax and had no problem with it. The colonists did not react the same way Kneibel 5 however. The colonists erupted in protest.

The act provided for trials of offenders in admiralty courts with no juries. Nine of the colonies sent representatives to the Stamp Act Congress in New York. They signed agreements to boycott imports to pressure British merchants to pressure Parliament.The Sons of Liberty, a radical group that organized riots, and members of the Stamp Act Congress argued that Parliament didn’t have the right to tax them directly because they were Englishmen and should not have to bear taxation without representation.

Parliament said that they were represented because the House of Commons represented all commoners in te Empire and that the Colonists were free to come to England and run for seats on Parliament. The Tactics by the colonist s, radicalism, had worked. In 1766, Parliament repealed the Stamp Act.They, however, passed the Declaratory Act which said that Parliament had not conceded the right to tax.

This sign of weakness meant that the radicals had Parliament on the run. The radicals in 1774 launched a campaign to get action against the British, and got the First Continental Congress to meet in September, 1774 in Philadelphia. Georgia, Hudson Bay, Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda remained loyal to Britain and did not send any delegates. The liberal Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania almost had his compromise plan of colonial union adopted.It called for a royally-appointed, governor-general and a council representing the colonial assemblies with the power to legislate and the right to veto Parliamentary acts affecting the colonies.

When it was defeated, the radicals adopted a “Continental Association” calling for non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation of goods between colonies and Great Britain. The Congress adopted a plan of enforcement that laid the basis for this extralegal government. Kneibel 6 The radicals began to collect military supplies and train soldiers. This was a treasonous activity.The British sent additional troops to serve under Thomas Gage. Gage sent a detachment to Concord to retrieve the arms and arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock.

Minutemen fired on British troops. The casualties were 273 either dead, wounded or missing. The radicals sent out propaganda that there was a massacre by the British. The propaganda worked, people started seizing governments and royal governors being forced from their position. On may 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress assembled.

They made one last appeal to the king, but were mainly concentrated on war preparation.Thirteen of the colonies went to war against the British Empire. The two decades from 1754 to 1775 proved to unite the colonists against England. Either through war with the French or Natives forcing them to work together and setting a president that would carry on, or acts being passed that made a lot of colonists think the same way toward the British. Also the congresses that were formed and called upon the colonies to come together to solve certain problems.

And finally lead to the 13 colonies to declare war on Britain in a compacted way.Historical Text Archive – Coming of the Revolution, 1754-1775 September 25, 2008 http://historicaltextarchive. com/sections. php? op=viewarticle&artid=651 History Central – The Quatering Act September 25, 2008 http://www.

historycentral. com/Revolt/students/aterms. html CliffsNotes. com. Discontent in the Colonies. 25 Sep 2008 <http://www.

cliffsnotes. com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/topicArticleId-25073,articleId-25018. html>. Nash, Gary B. and Jeffrey, Julie. The American People Creating a Nation and a Society, Fifth Edition.

Printed in United States: Copyright 2001. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc.

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