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Hannah Paquette

APUSH DBQ: French and Indian War


In the late 1700s, there was a huge shift in colonial territory and attitudes towards the
parent country. This was due to the Treaty of Paris, which marked the end of the French and
Indian War. The Treaty gave all of Frances territory on the North American Continent to Spain
and Britain; whose treasury had been depleted by the cost of the war. To build up her economy
again, Britain began to heavily enforce tariffs on the colonies. The rise in taxes resulted in
outrage from the colonists perspective. After being allowed self-rule for so long, they felt that
Parliament had no right to tax them. During this time, the colonists also came up with their own
ideas on government, which contrasted sharply from British ideas on the same subject. Britains
change in economic and political policies, after the French and Indian War along with different
ideas on the organization of government, caused the colonists to begin questioning the power
dynamic between themselves and Britain.
Before the war, the American colonies enjoyed a period of benign neglect, meaning that
though they were still subjects of Britain, they we free to create their own government in the
New World. The colonies operated on an economic policy called mercantilism, which meant that
the colonist would send raw materials exclusively to Britain, who would then send back finished
products made from the raw materials to the colonies for profit. The system also prevented the
colonies from trading their supplies with any other country. They were only supposed to trade
with Britain alone. However, due to benign neglect, the colonists were able to smuggle goods out
of the colonies to other countries such as Spain or France for their own profit. After the French
and Indian War, Britain became stricter with its trading restrictions. With a huge national debt to

pay, Parliament tried to raise revenue at home first. This attempt was met with disaster. In
Britain, citizens rioted in protest. So Parliament tried a different tactic: taxing the colonists.
According to Document F, the British Treasury commissioners had written to the king about the
taxes already present in the colonies and the little revenue they were getting from it. They felt
that the colonies disregard for the taxes was costing Parliament too much, especially after the
war when they needed an army to defend their newly acquired territory. Parliaments reasoning
basically stated that since the colonists were using a considerable amount of British resources,
they had to start paying along with the rest of the British Empire. Soon thereafter parliament
began legislating acts for the colonies.
The new acts did not just pertain to economics; Parliament passed the Declaratory Act,
giving itself the right to legislate for the colonies. The Declaratory Act replaced the Stamp Act of
1766. After more than a century of self-government, the colonists were fearful of this act.
Parliament, a governing body in which the colonist had no representation in officially stated that
they could make laws that would take precedent over ones already enacted by local legislatures.
The act also had been a response to American protesting the Stamp Act. Benjamin Franklin wrote
in a letter to John Hughes about his progress in repealing the act. In the letter, he stresses that
success is uncertain, and they must appear loyal to the British. The British Army was seen as the
most powerful in the world, and if they tried to fight then, in 1765, the revolution would have
been over before it even began. At the same time, Parliament began arresting smugglers and
having them brought to courts in Acadia, since all American juries refused to convict them. The
colonist protested, claiming that in their rights as Englishmen, they had the right to be tried in
their local courts instead of being brought to Acadia for their trials. Politically, the colonists were
forming their own ideas of government, most of which did not agree with British policies

Before the war, the colonists we content to be British subjects. George Washington, in his
letter to Robert Orne, praised General Braddock and requested that he join the army. Even people
in Massachusetts praised and glorified the British Army, as exemplified in Document E. These
feelings of good will would only last until the British introduced their new taxes. However,
tension began forming even during the French and Indian War. The colonial militia was
untrained and undisciplined, was working side by side with the most well-disciplined army in the
world. A Massachusetts soldier writes about the unfair treatment of the colonial soldiers. The
British troops were given better living conditions than the colonists, who saw themselves as
equals with the British. At this time, colonists began to question where the British drew their
authority from. Again, when Parliament passed all of the new Acts, the colonists protested,
saying that they could not be taxed without representation in the legislative body of the empire.
In response, the British claimed that the colonists had virtual representation in Parliament, to
which the colonists argued that virtual representation does not actually exist. Document H is a
reaction to the Stamp Act, and depicts a bleak and grim outlook on life under the acts. By this
point most Americans were angry with the British over the new acts which infringed on their
economic and political rights.
The British measures to rebuild its economy ended in failure in the long run; since
Parliaments actions only lead the colonists to rebellion and war. Their new economic and
political policies with the colonists made them feel resentful towards British rule. This, coupled
with the colonists new ideas on government, which conflicted with British practices, created
tension between them and the colonists. They began to question British authority and what rights
the colonists were owed as subjects of Britain. From their questioning and tension between the
two groups, the foundation of the American Revolution had been set.