U.S. History French and Indian War
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An agreement, especially one between nations, signed and approved by each nation.
English and French Colonial Differences.
-- France and England held prominent positions among world powers. The involvement of both countries in the colonies led to many conflicts. Each country wanted to dominate the colonies; neither would tolerate the other's presence there. The extreme differences between the two countries—in both their approaches and in their positions in the colonies—created friction.
- --The French colonies sprawled over a vast area of North America—from the Mississippi River valley in the heart of the continent, along the Great Lakes to eastern Canada and the St. Lawrence River, and eastward through the countryside to the Allegheny and Appalachian mountain ranges.
- --In 1760, the French Empire in North America had a population of about 80,000 colonists spread out among sparsely populated settlements. Only three major towns were in the French Empire in North America: New Orleans, Quebec, and Montreal. About 15 percent of the French people lived in these towns. The rest were trappers, traders, missionaries, and settlers living in small outposts or traveling around the vast French Empire.The English colonies spanned most of the coast of North America.
- --The English colonists numbered a little more than 1.5 million in 1760. The majority of the colonists lived in towns of fair size or in fine cities. The largest city was Boston, with 42,000 inhabitants.The French did not try to develop the resources of their empire. For them, the chief value of the colonies was the fur trade. Many Frenchmen trapped animals for furs or traded with the Native Americans. Some farming was carried on in the St. Lawrence valley, but it was not very important economically.
- --Most English colonists, however, became permanent settlers. They built houses, farmed the land, and used the available resources of the country. Building ships; growing wheat; lumbering; cultivating tobacco, rice, and indigo; and trapping for fur were only a few of the occupations found in the English colonies.
- --The French never developed a system of representative government. All power was in the hands of the royal governor. The people had no voice in the laws drawn up by the king or his representatives, nor was there any religious freedom for non-Catholics in New France.
- --The English colonists developed representative government early through their charters and elected assemblies. Such bodies had the right to make laws and to levy taxes.
- --More religious liberty was found in the English colonies than in the French. When the French Protestants left France, they did not settle in Canada, but in the English colonies where they were allowed the religious freedom denied to them in France.
- --One advantage the French had over the English was that their government was in the hands of one person, and decisions could be made more quickly than in the thirteen English colonies.
- --A second advantage held by the French was the friendly relationships they had established with most of the Native American tribes living in the rival empire. Friendly relations with the Indians were an economic necessity for the French, since the French depended upon the Indians for furs. The Indians were less friendly with the English. Many tribes hated the English for driving them from their homes and land. The one exception was the Iroquois tribes of New York, whose hatred for the French was based on the support given by the explorer Samuel de Champlain to the Algonquian Indians during a war between the two tribes more than one hundred years before.
English and French Colonial Wars.
--England and France fought a series of wars lasting over a period of seventy-five years. The first three wars had very little effect on the possessions of both countries in the New World. The fourth war, called the French and Indian War (1756–1763), drove out the French from the mainland of the North American continent
--The first war, King William's War (named for King William III of England), took place entirely in Europe. The second war, Queen Anne's War, ended with the English gaining control of the area known today as Nova Scotia, as well as the Hudson Bay region and Newfoundland.
--The third war, from 1744–1748, was the first clash between the French and the English in the New World. Named King George's War, for King George II of England, it was the North American portion of a European conflict known as the War of Austrian Succession. The French seized the prosperous sugar island of St. Lucia in the West Indies, and the British, with the aid of their colonies, captured Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia.
--The war ended in a draw in 1748, and a peace treaty provided that the land captured by both sides during the fighting had to be returned to its original owners. The English returned Cape Breton to the French, but the French remained in St. Lucia. This treachery became one more area of contention between the French and the English.
--England tried to negotiate a settlement for the return of St. Lucia. The French responded by complaining about England's aggression in other places, especially the building of an English stronghold in Nova Scotia.
--The French began winning several of the important Indian tribes over to their side by telling them that they would protect them from the English. To show that they meant what they said, the French began to build forts in key areas where there might be possible conflict with the English. However, the English responded by building forts of their own.
Ohio Valley Conflict.
--Both the French and the English considered the Ohio River valley to be the most valuable possession of all. The problem began in 1749 when some Virginia promoters encouraged settlers to go into the Ohio River valley. The promoters had obtained a grant of thousands of acres of land from the English king for their venture. Before long, a stream of frontier settlers from Virginia was moving steadily into the Ohio valley. The new governor of New France, Marquis Duquesne, was so angered by this intrusion that he decided to construct a series of forts from Lake Erie to the Ohio River to halt the flow of frontier settlers.
--The concern felt in Virginia was immediate. Robert Dinwiddie, the lieutenant governor, was especially interested because of his investments in the Ohio Company and did not hesitate to take action. In1753 he sent a young man named George Washington to Fort Verango to try to persuade the French to leave English (Virginian) soil. Washington was received cordially. The French, however, were determined to have the entire Ohio valley as their own without interference from anyone else.
--Dinwiddie decided to build a fort where the Ohio River met the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers. In early 1754, a small army led by Washington set out to build the fort. Washington learned that the French were constructing Fort Duquesne at the same place. Instead of returning to Virginia, Washington decided to go against the French with his small band of 150 men. Washington encountered and defeated a small party of French soldiers. Knowing that the French would soon come after him, Washington ordered his men to establish a fort as quickly as possible. The stronghold was aptly named Fort Necessity. The French soon found Washington and his men. Fort Necessity was no match for the large French army, and Washington was soon defeated. He returned to Virginia with the remainder of his army, having fought the opening battle of the French and Indian War.
Albany Plan of Union.
--The English officials, realizing that the defense against the French would be strengthened by a union of the colonies, called a meeting at Albany, New York. Seven of the thirteen colonies sent representatives. Benjamin Franklin, the delegate from Pennsylvania, proposed that all the colonies band together in a union. A legislature would be formed that would consist of a president general, to be appointed by the king, and a council, whose members would be chosen by the colonial legislatures. This legislature would represent all the colonies. The legislature would also have control over Indian affairs and would build an army for the defense of all the colonies, both subject to the approval of the president general and the crown.
--The colonies did not accept the Albany Plan of Union, refusing to give up any of their own powers to one central authority. The English also turned down the plan because they preferred to deal with the colonies individually rather than as a group.
-- The English sent over an army of British regulars under the leadership of General Edward Braddock. These two regiments were responsible for removing the French from the Ohio valley. Braddock, however, did not understand Indian fighting methods. When he led the troops that attacked Fort Duquesne, Braddock sent 300 ax men ahead of him to clear a way through the forest. With his army of 1,400 regulars and 450 Virginia militiamen under Washington, Braddock pushed forward toward Fort Duquesne. On July 9, 1755, Braddock's army was met by an advance force of French and Indians and was soundly defeated. Braddock and most of his 1,400 regulars were killed. Washington and the remainder of the Virginia militia returned safely to Virginia
--In New York Colonel William Johnson, a friend of the Iroquois, won their aid against the French. Johnson defeated the French at Lake George and thus ended the French efforts to gain control of New York.
--In 1759 the English sent out large forces. A drive in western and northern New York won Fort Niagara, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point. An English fleet, carrying troops under the command of General James Wolfe, sailed up the St. Lawrence River and besieged the city of Quebec, located on top of an extremely high bluff.
--In a surprise move Wolfe led his soldiers up the side of the bluff during the night and at dawn had his army ready for attack on the Plains of Abraham behind the city. Both commanders, General Wolfe of England and General Marquis de Montcalm of France, were killed in the ensuing fighting. The English won the battle, and a few days later Quebec was surrendered to the English.
--During 1760 Montreal, Detroit, and other French forts along the Great Lakes were captured by the English, ending the French Empire in North America
Treaty of Paris, 1763.
--The peace that ended the French and Indian War is known as the Treaty of Paris. The treaty reflected the great triumph that England enjoyed throughout every part of the world. France lost almost all its possessions and foreign trade.
--In America, England acquired Canada and France's territory east of the Mississippi, except for New Orleans. The islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, which were important sugar-producing islands in the West Indies, and Haiti (half of the island of Hispaniola) were returned to France. The English gave Cuba and the Philippines back to Spain and received Florida in return.
--Having persuaded Spain to enter the war in what was a hopeless cause for the Spanish, France gave New Orleans to Spain as well as all the land that France claimed west of the Mississippi River. France received fishing privileges off the coast of Newfoundland and the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
--The defeat of the French and the acquisition of new territory made England the leading colonial power in the world. To help pay the costs of the war, however, England had to increase revenues from the colonies and make them pay for the victory they had won. This victory also gave England more opportunity to concentrate on the colonies, now that France was no longer a threat.
--To the colonists, the elimination of the French brought a welcome relief. They no longer needed to look to England for protection against the French. The colonists had gained valuable military experience and now knew their own strength. The result of all these factors was a change in the relations between the mother country and the colonies; no longer were they so dependent. The events of these early years were shaping the future of the colonies into that of an ultimately great nation.
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