Competing European Claims In the middle of the 18th century, France and England had competing claims for land in North America. The French held trapping and trade routes in the Ohio Valley. The English colonies were encroaching on French territory are the population grew. They also competed over trade issues with the Native Americans in the disputed region.
The Battle of Fort Necessity The French set up forts along to protect their fur trading interests. Some of these forts conflicted with English claims. Virginia Governor Dinwiddie dispatched a young George Washington in 1753 to deliver a protest to the French. This protest was ignored. The British sent a party to construct a fort on the site of modern Pittsburg. Young George Washington
The Battle of Fort Necessity A recreation of Ft. Necessity. The force was driven off by the French who, in turn, constructed Fort Duquesne on the site. The next year, Dinwiddie turned to Washington to expel the French from the site. Washington was quickly overwhelmed by superior French and Native American numbers. Washington had to retreat to the hastily constructed Fort Necessity, which he had to surrender shortly there after. This incident was a prelude to the French and Indian War.
The Albany Congress In 1754, war was inevitable. The colonies sent delegates to Albany to discuss strategy for common defense. They approved a document written by Benjamin Franklin promoting a substructure of government below British authority to govern the colonies. The council would be comprised of elected representatives from each colony and headed by a President- General appointed by the crown. The colonies were not ready for political union and it is unlikely that the "Join or Die" (1754) published by Franklin is British government would have supported the plan.considered the first political cartoon of the colonies.
From the Albany Plan of Union From the Constitution (1754) (1787) “[the President]…he shall take care that the 9. That the assent of the President-General be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, laws be faithfully executed…” and that it be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution. 10. That the President-General, with the “[the President]…shall have power, by and advice of the Grand Council, hold or direct with the advice and consent of the Senate, to all Indian treaties… and make peace or make treaties, provided two thirds of the declare war with Indian nations. Senators present concur…” 11. That they make such laws as they judge “[Congress will] regulate Commerce with necessary for regulating all Indian trade. … foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes…” 15. That they raise and pay soldiers and “[Congress will] raise and support Armies…To build forts for the defence of any of the Colonies… provide and maintain a Navy…” 16. That for these purposes they have power “The Congress shall have Power To lay and to make laws, and lay and levy such general collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…” duties, imposts, or taxes…
Braddock’s Defeat In July 1755, the British sent a force from Virginia to attack Fort Duquesne. The heavy force was defeated by the smaller French force and their Native American allies. Both the British commander, Braddock, and the French commander Beaujeu, were killed. 23 year old George Washington won accolades for rallying the defeated British and preventing the battle from turning into a rout. The first two years of fighting were characterized by humiliating defeats for the British.
The Seven Years War in Europe The French and Indian War was essentially the North American theatre of a larger conflict, the Seven Years War, in Europe. Britain, Prussia, and Hanover fought against an alliance of France, Austria, Saxony, Russia, Sweden and Spain. Prime Minister Pitt of England provided subsidies to Prussia to fight in Europe and committed British troops and resources to winning the war against the French in North America. The European phase of the war lasted from 1757 to 1763.
Fortunes Reverse In 1757, expansion advocate William Pitt became the British Prime Minister and vowed to lead country to victory. Pitt concentrated on: expelling the French from North America buying the cooperation by the colonists by stimulating the North American economy with a massive infusion of British currency buying the support of the Native Americans with promises of fixed territorial boundaries.
Fortunes Reverse The greatly fortified force devastated the Cherokee to the South and began capturing strategic French forts and cutting off their supply lines. The British conquered Quebec in 1759. In 1760, they captured Montreal. In the final years of the war, the British defeated the French Navy and took French colonies in the Caribbean. The French Empire in North America came to an end.
French Defeat: Treaty of Easton The Treaty of Easton, signed in 1758, essentially sealed France’s fate. In the treaty, the British promised the Six Iroquois Nations to stop settlements west of the Alleghenies in exchange for their neutrality in the war. This caused the French to abandon Fort Duquesne and, by 1760, Detroit and Montreal, the last two French strongholds in North America, had fallen. This was the end of major fighting in North America.
The Treaty of Paris The 1763 Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War. The French transferred its claims west of the Mississippi to Spain and ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to the British. The Treaties of Easton and Paris limited colonization to the Eastern seaboard.
Pontiacs Rebellion Native Americans quickly grew disenchanted with the British. The British exhibited little cultural sensitivity, traded unfairly, and failed to stop encroachments on Indian land. This unrest culminated in a rebellion by Pontiac, a Native American leader who united various tribes with the goal of expelling the British. The uprising lasted from 1763 to 1766. Massacres and atrocities occurred on both sides— most notably, British General Jeffrey Amherst gave the Native Americans blankets infested with smallpox.
Chief Pontiac: Address to Ottawa, Huron, and Pottawatomie Indians (May 5, 1763) “It is important … that we exterminate from our lands this nation which seeks only to destroy us. You see as well as I do that we can no longer supply our needs, as we have done from our brothers, the French. The English sells us goods twice as dear as the French do, and their goods do not last. … When I go to see the English commander and say to him that some of our comrades are dead, instead of bewailing their death, as our French brothers do, he laughs at me and at you. If I ask for anything for our sick, he refuses with the reply that he has no use for us. … Are we not men like them? … What do we fear? It is time.”
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 Violent incidents such as Pontiacs Rebellion prompted the English crown to attempt to mandate an end to encroachments on territory promised to the Indians. Settlers were not to establish themselves west of the “Proclamation Line.” The effort was unsuccessful and is viewed by many to be a leading cause of the Revolutionary War.