Thesis of the significance of french and indian war

The colonists thought that their participation in the imperial war had finally shown them to be equal members in the Empire. By contrast, the War rigidified the metropolitan view of the Empire as a pyramid of authority. The Parliamentary revenue acts were designed to raise money to support the continuing presence of the British military in America, forcing the colonists to pay in taxes what they previously viewed as gifts due only in times of war. In short, London ministers and American colonists had "competing visions of empire" This exposition of conflicting constitutional visions calls to mind the work of John Phillip Reid and Jack P.

These visions were irreconcilable, and the question becomes why the rupture occurred when it did. Anderson's answer is that a decade of mutual misunderstanding accelerated the two sides toward open conflict. He also reminds us that a lot of resonant constitutionalism, including much we still hear today, sprang up as the first British Empire flexed its "sinews of power. One limitation of this bipolar interpretation is that it simplifies the constitutional situation on both sides of the Atlantic. Those in the colonies, for example, did not all share the same vision of the Empire.

Different groups had different perspectives, and it will not do to classify the imperial agents serving in the provinces as metropolitan. For one thing, it was often those agents who formulated what became at home the orthodox view of the colonies. In addition, they rested their theory of imperial government on Crown power, not Parliamentary sovereignty, and to them it mattered little if the Crown enacted the policies they developed on the ground using its prerogative, as with the Proclamation of , or through Parliament.

That choice was a function of metropolitan politics. Similarly, the colonial opponents of the new imperial regulation were not a coherent bloc with a single vision of empire. Much divided urban merchants and lawyers, for example, from frontier settlers. They were united in Revolution by their common opposition, and the strains between them began to show soon afterward. Anderson leaves off in , but by then, he argues, the die was cast.

He concludes that we should view "the Seven Years' War and the Revolution together as epochal events that yoked imperialism and republicanism in American political culture" and then suggests that this perspective on the founding era will help us understand "a national history in which war and freedom have often intertwined" p.

He even offers a tantalizing counter-factual suggestion that a few changes in British policy would have resulted not in revolution but rather in a commonwealth structure coming much earlier than it did and including the thirteen mainland colonies.


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But to flesh out these ideas would demand another volume, and perhaps Anderson is writing it. The one we have now opens with nine maps that set the stage for what was truly a global conflict. These are well done and include a chronological map of key battles, one of Native American nations, and another of Quebec and the fateful Plains of Abraham.


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  • There are also maps of the Caribbean, continental Europe, and India, demonstrating that by the s the European empires had already moved well beyond the Atlantic world. But much of the fighting occurred in a small corner of North America along the St. Lawrence River and in the Champlain Valley: the early and, for a long while, lone British victory at Lake George; the grisly siege of Louisbourg that led to the expulsion of 5, French-Canadians from Acadia which Anderson likens to "ethnic cleansing" p.

    Anderson revises much of the conventional wisdom about these battles. Just one example is the death of Wolfe. Anderson argues that Wolfe, suffering from tuberculosis and taking opiates, felt overwhelmed by the grueling war and sought an honorable exit. His aides thought his plan to attack Quebec directly was unwise, but Wolfe was choreographing a heroic end for himself; he was not trying to grab real estate for the Empire.

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    As it turned out, the defense was more bedraggled that Wolfe expected, and Montcalm, dependent on a Canadian militia for which he felt little but contempt, could not match the disciplined British army. At the end of the day Wolfe got his heroic death, and by the way the British Empire won Canada. Anderson's first book analyzed the War's effect on Massachusetts militiamen who served the Empire,[5] but there is little social history from the bottom in Crucible of War. His focus on the larger players yields its own rewards. Anderson gleefully romps through successive British administrations and the military hierarchy and has a Namierite talent for sizing up individual ambitions.

    As Benedict Anderson notes, there was often a "stagey quality" to elite affection for empire. Imperial war was a theatrical exploit for many, a chance to make a mark and win appointment to some remunerative post--ideally at home but more likely abroad. Empire was opportunity, and the difference between the diplomats and generals on the one hand and the merchants in counting-houses on the other may not have been quite as large as the Weberian distinction between speculation and capitalism.

    Renewed attention to these rational mercenaries also sheds light on the controversy about the essential character of the Empire--military or commercial? Older histories of the War end after the deaths of Montcalm and Wolfe. Anderson's book also visits Hanover, Bengal, and elsewhere.

    Correcting the usual American-centered interpretation, Anderson declares that "the Battle of Quiberon Bay," on the southwest coast of France, "and not the more celebrated Battle of Quebec, was the decisive military event of " p. Again, "in the end, it was Lagos and Quiberon Bay that proved decisive at Quebec, and control of the Atlantic that settled ownership of Canada" p. Now here is revisionism. The reader wants more on this, and wonders why Anderson writes so much about the deaths of Montcalm and Wolfe but gives no other reference to Lagos in these pages.

    Why did the War have one legacy for thirteen mainland colonies and another for the additional thirteen British colonies to the north and south? But this book focuses on mid-century North America, and perhaps the greatest difference between older and newer histories of this time and place is the role of the Native Americans.

    8d. The Treaty of Paris (1763) and Its Impact

    Here they share the stage with European and provincial characters. The index refers to thirty Indian nations, and Anderson shows that there were divisions among them, although the War itself encouraged a "nativist" identity in the Ohio Valley p. On the advice of imperial agents like Sir William Johnson, the Crown treated the Indians within its territory as quasi-subjects to whom it owed duties, not as savages barriers to expansion--more or less the provincial view.

    If Anderson follows this volume with another, he will probably explore the way the Empire finally cut its ties with those quasi-subjects, leaving them to fend for themselves in a nation where they were, legally, "domestic dependent nations,"[11] but, practically, obstacles to be removed. In this act, Congress created Indian Territory in the west that included the land area in all of present-day Kansas, most of Oklahoma, and parts of what later became Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.

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    The area was set aside for Indians who were to be removed from their ancestral lands which, in turn, would be settled by non-Indians. The area steadily decreased in size as the maps below of , , , and indicate. Thus, the legal and geographical nature of Indian Country changed dramatically in the Nineteenth Century. As the maps above indicate, Indian people saw their lands greatly diminished between and From the very beginning of the US government, Indian policies have been contradictory - in writing, most aimed to act in good faith toward the Indians, but in practice, these policies endorsed actions most beneficial to the non-Indian population.

    Indeed, because Indian nations were legally recognized as sovereign, the federal government immediately faced what soon became known to non-Indians as the "Indian problem" - while European Americans wanted to move westward and conquer all the land to the Pacific Ocean, it was clear that the hundreds of sovereign Indian nations were not going to willingly or voluntarily give up their land. Consequently, the United States government took two steps:. Treaties are legal, government-to-government agreements between two legitimate governments - in this case, the United States and an Indian nation.

    When an Indian nation signed a treaty, it agreed to give the federal government some or all of its land as well as some or all of its sovereign powers.

    In return, the federal government entered into a trust responsibility with the Indian Nation in which the federal government promised that in exchange for their land, it would:. Treaties were not the only legal entities that defined the federal relationship with Indian Nations. As early as , the US Supreme Court also assumed that role. In what is known as the Marshall Trilogy, the Supreme Court established the doctrinal basis for interpreting federal Indian law and defining tribal sovereignty.

    How Essential Was the French & Indian War to the American Revolution?

    Thus, beginning with Johnson v. McIntosh , the Supreme Court produced two competing theories of tribal sovereignty:. Over the years, the Court has relied on one or the other of these theories in deciding tribal sovereignty cases. Whichever theory the Court favored in a given case largely determined the powers the tribe had and what protections they received against federal and state government encroachment.

    The Marshall Trilogy cases bolstered the federal land-taking powers of the treaties that were ratified by the U. Indians during the era of Manifest Destiny were relegated to a kind of limited sovereignty that was to be governed by paternalistic trust and subject to the interpretation of the US government and its courts.

    French and Indian War

    By , that paternalistic trust was clearly-articulated by Congress when it decided to end all government-to-government treaties with Indian nations. No longer would Indians have any negotiating power or say about their treatment at the hands of the US government. Thereafter, such determinations would be made as Congress passed various federal policies and laws.

    And in so doing, the federal government's trust responisibility began to erode. The loss of Indian Country was just one of several legal ways that Indian sovereignty was diminished during the 19th Century. As Euro-Americans moved westward , they began to demand access to more territory - the vast majority of which was occupied by American Indians.