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Irwin Week 3 Lecture 4 Severing the Bonds of Empire
Student Reading Assignments: • Day 1 – Begin Reading Chapter 5 by reading “Severing the Bonds of Empire; pages 120 – 129. • Day 2 – Continue reading Chapter 5 from page 129, “Sugar and Currency Acts,” to page 137, “Confrontations in Boston.” • Day 3 – Complete reading Chapter 5 by reading from page 137, “Confrontations in Boston, “ to page 143, the end of the chapter. Lecture: The American Colonies Come of Age: John Adams identified the period between 1760 – 1775 as the era of the true American Revolution.” This way of thinking illustrated a definite shift from the colonist’s allegiance to Britain, to that of an allegiance to America. In the 1750s, a series of events began to draw the colonists’ attention from their own domestic matters to their relations with Great Britain. It started with the Seven Years War. Territory Squabbles: By the mid-1700s. the British colonies along the Atlantic were surrounded by the French in the major inland river valleys and the Great Lakes, by the Spanish to the South, and by a variety of Native American Indian tribes, in practically every direction. By this time, Spain’s overall power was declining, but the French on the other hand, had established a network of forts and settlements in the North American interior. Throughout the 1700s, the Iroquois Confederacy had come to realize that they could take advantage of the rivalry between England and France by playing one European power against the other. As the result of this, and other factors, the Iroquois had become a very powerful force that had control over much of the interior north of Virginia and south of the Great Lakes. After Pennsylvania was established in 1682, the Quaker colony eventually negotiated with the Iroquois for the rights to settle on the land (however the Iroquois really did not have control of that territory). The land upon which Pennsylvania was established was actually the territory of the Shawnee and the Delaware, tribes that were enemy to the Iroquois. As Pennsylvania began to get established, the Shawnee and the Delaware were pushed off of their land in a southerly direction. This in turn brought them into conflict with colonists in Virginia. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 1 of 4
In 1749, a group of Virginians were establishing the Ohio Company. The goal of this company was to exploit the area where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join to form Ohio. The “Ohio country” was important to the French because it gave them water access to their posts on the Mississippi River (which is accessible through the connections of the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers). By the time that territorial disputes between the English and the French were launching the French & Indian War, many groups were vying for Ohio, including the Shawnee and Delaware, who by this time were allies of the French. As the 1750s unfolded, there were a series of raids carried out by the English against the French, as well as raids carried out by the French against the English. Both sides used Native American Indians in their raids. The Albany Congress: In June 1754, delegates from seven New England and Middle Colonies held a congress in Albany, New York, to discuss territorial issues. Out of this meeting, the English colonists hoped to persuade the Iroquois to abandon their neutrality, and to help them defend against the French. The Iroquois chose to remain neutral and did not give the colonies the support that they were seeking. Also at the Albany Congress, the colonists called for a union of the English colonies, under an inter-colonial legislature. This “Plan of Union” was rejected because most colonies did not want to give up any autonomy. The Fight For Ohio: While the Albany Congress was in session, Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia sent a small militia group to build a fort on a contested area along the Ohio River. When a larger French force arrived, the Virginians surrendered. The French took over this site and improved upon it, creating Fort Duquesne. George Washington, who at that time was a young Virginia militia officer, attacked the French in this area, but ended up being forced to withdraw to his own “crudely built” “Fort Necessity” at Great Meadows, Pennsylvania. The Seven Years War: On July 3, 1754, after having one third of his men killed or wounded, Washington surrendered. In a gentlemanly gesture, the French allowed Washington and his men to return to Virginia. When word of these skirmishes made their way back to England, the government of Britain officially declared war against France (in 1756), thus one could say that George Washington inadvertently helped start the Seven Years War (which among the colonies was called the French and Indian War)! With England and France officially at war, William Pitt, a civilian, was placed in charge of the colonial war effort against the French, in 1757. Pitt said that the colonies would be reimbursed for their wartime expenses. He used a combination of British troops and www.mirwin.weebly.com page 2 of 4
colonial militiamen to fight the French. Defeat of the French in North America: In 1758, British forces recaptured a fort at Louisbourg, which gave them control of the St. Lawrence River. Eventually, the French were forced to abandon Fort Duquesne, and in 1759, English General James Wolfe defeated the French at Quebec. One year later, the British captured Montreal, which was the last major French territory to fall to the British during the French and Indian War. The Treaty of Paris followed (1763), in which France ceded its major North American territories to Britain. Britain’s overall victory in the Seven Years war, forever altered the balance of power in North America, as France was ousted from much of the North American continent, and in a separate matter, Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain in 1763. Britain Establishes New Boundaries For Its Colonies: In 1763, The British government issued the Proclamation of 1763, which spelled out boundaries of England’s holdings in North America, in essence, the Proclamation of 1763 established a western boundary for the North American colonies of England (see map 5.1 on page 123 of textbook, A People & A Nation on this). A Series Of Acts Are Imposed Upon the Colonies: It cost Britain millions of dollars to fight the Seven Years War. King George III’s Prime Minister, George Grenville, suggested that the colonies be taxed in order to help pay for their share of the war expense. The Sugar Act of 1764 was born from this idea. After the French & Indian War, British colonists did not have to worry about the French or the Spanish as a threat to territory. A number of Grenville’s ideas however, created new issues for the colonists to address. One of which was the issue of “taxation without representation.” Tensions Rise: In a relatively short period of time (about 20 years) tensions arose and gradually increased between the government of King George III and the English colonists in North America. Below is a list of key events that ultimately set the stage for the Declaration of Independence, in 1776: Continue On To Next Page:
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Chronology Events Which Led to the American Revolution 1754 - The Sugar Act 1765 The Stamp Act 1765 – The Declaratory Act 1767 – The Townshend Acts 1770 – The Boston Massacre 1773 – The Tea Act 1773 – The Boston Tea Party 1774 – The Coercive Acts (also known as the Intolerable Acts) 1774 – The First Continental Congress 1775 – The Battles of Lexington and Concord (First shots fired in the Revolutionary War) 1775 – Second Continental Congress 1776 – The Declaration of Independence - End of Lecture -
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