Economic Changes Post the Seven Years’ War
The French and Indian War also known as the Seven Years War was a major conflict between the French, with the support of the Indians, and the colonists who later received aid from Great Britain. The war’s effects range from the ideological relations between the colonies and Britain, which gradually changed from thinking of the British as a helpful source of protection to hatred towards them, to the political and economic changes imposed by Great Britain. The relationship between Americans and British suffered greatly by the war and the changes that occurred after it would eventually mark American history forever.
The economic effects of the French and Indian War were mainly the tightening of the British and colonists’ mercantilism relationship and the Acts imposed by Great Britain towards its American colonies to facilitate the payment of the war debt. By 1763, the Seven Years War had already come to an end, leaving Britain bankrupt because of the great amount of money it had spent protecting its overseas colonies from the French and Indian threat. The British Order in Council stated the establishment of duties that were necessary for he protection and support of the colonies (doc.
F). The British thought the colonists
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Before anyone fired the first shot to start the Seven Years War, conflict had already arouse because of the Chief of the Onondaga Nation’s speech to representatives of the colonies in 1742 where he clearly expressed his discontent towards the colonists, specifying that the Indians didn’t obtain any value from the colonial trade. The Indian Chief, who was part of the Iroquois Confederacy, insisted that the colonists didn’t have any right to settle which leads them to ally the French in order to stop American settlers from aging their land (doc. B).
After the war of 1763, the colonists were grateful because the war had ended and they were victorious, and the political aid from Great Britain was essential for their victory. This increased Americans’ pride and it left a loyalist print in many citizens who still considered themselves British gentlemen (doc. E). The first sign of colonial discontent occurred after the war because even though England gained all the land from Mississippi River and the Ohio River (doc. A), the colonists were prohibited to establish in those lands according to the Proclamation of 1763.
This was a huge political change because since the denudation to the colonies until the French and Indian War, the colonies had been under salutary neglect which established that they had the power to govern themselves. However after the war, King George considered it was time to have a tighter control over the colonies, which created a conflict between the motherland and its colonies because the colonists believed that if they had ruled themselves successfully for years without the need of a king, they didn’t have to follow his instructions now, especially when it involved the ass of their land.
If the Proclamation of 1763 had already brought drizzle in the “perfect” relationship between Britain and its colonies, then the Acts imposed by the British brought a hurricane that ended up destroying the relationship between the motherland and its overseas colonies. The Sugar Act of 1764, which was the first law ever passed, brought so many protests from the colonists that ended up being lowered substantially and the agitation died down tremendously, until the next act was passed. This process continued with the Quartering Act, the Stamp Act, and the
Townsend Acts, and with each Act the agitation of the colonists kept increasing until any chance of a peaceful agreement between Britain and the colonies seemed impossible. The major change that resulted from the French and Indian War was the turn of the Americans’ point of view towards the British, which switched from a stable relationship where the British protected their overseas colonies to an increase hatred towards their motherland who was corrupting their freedom. The term “salutary neglect” refers to the English policy of interfering very little in colonial affairs.
During this time the colonists were given a good deal of autonomy in local matters, and the English rarely legislated constraints of any kind. At the end of the Seven Year’s War, England began to assert more control over the American colonists, levying taxes and trade regulations, to the objection of the colonists. Two major groups aroused during this period, the patriots who had a desire of freedom and the loyalist who continued to follow the ideas disposed by Great Britain. During the early war in March 15, 1755,
Lieutenant George Washington’s letter expressed his desire as a firm loyalist to serve his king and country against their enemies (doc. C). As Washington, there were many loyalists who were prepared to fight not for the colonies, but for their motherland. However, as the war progresses there were others who were not too keen on fighting for a nation who denied them their basic needs. Many soldiers didn’t receive liquor or warm clothes during winter which increased tremendously the death rates, and they felt as if they were been denied their Englishmen liberty (doc.
D). After the taxation and the restriction established in the Proclamation of 1763, the colonies had something in common that would later lead them to colonial unity: the fight to preserve their rights. Colonial unity was necessary for preserving freedom. It was imperative that the colonies put aside their differences and unite even during the French and Indian War when they were allies with the British. Since the beginning of the war, Benjamin Franklins famous “Join or Die” cartoon, which shows the colonies as part of a disbanded snake, seriously advised unification.
The relationship between Americans and British gradually changed from a firmly respect to British and their beliefs, to the fight for our own beliefs against them. The changes in the political relations between Great Britain and the American colonies were mainly shown in the Proclamation of 1763, which destroyed the principle of salutary neglect, Acts declared by Great Britain towards the colonies. In the same way the economic effects were reflected in the imposition of duties that the colonists had to pay to ensure their protection.
The biggest change occurred in the American ideology and the colonists desire to fight for their natural rights because even though many Americans were still loyalists by the end of the French and Indian War, they believed they deserved to be treated as Englishmen and as soon as they realized Britain would no longer allow them to have even their basic needs, they decided they would no longer be loyal to them. The effects of the French and Indian changed the course of American History because it provided the first firm foundation towards the desire for independence.