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Ap United States History

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How the French and Indian War Affect the Revolutionary War

The American Revolution was gradually built up throughout the 1700s, but the French and Indian war had a huge contribution to the American sense of individualism and liberty that led to its break from England. The French and Indian war taught the divided colonials many things that would help them in the upcoming war with England, including military experience, realization of the fallibility of England, anti-English sentiment, growth in colonial unity, the elimination of the threat that France and its Indian allies posed to the colonies. Without the contributions of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution could have been much more difficult to begin and carry out. The experiences of colonials in the French and Indian War were invaluable in their revolution, specifically in the war with England.

The colonials under George Washington gained military experience, and learned they could defeat a bigger force. In the initial conflict of the war that was only formally declared two years later, Washington was sent as a lieutenant colonel in command of around one hundred and fifty colonial militiamen in order to secure the claims of several Virginians in Ohio Valley. They encountered a small force of French troops about forty miles from the French Fort Duquesne. After a short battle, the French leader was killed, and his troops retreated. This gave the colonials that fought there, including Washington, valuable experience for how warfare would be conducted in the English colonies, specifically the guerrilla style attacks that they would later use against the English in the heavily forested colonies. It also proved to the colonial militiamen that it was definitely possible to defeat a large foreign power, in this case France, which influenced the revolution against England by giving them confidence in their ability to defeat a foreign power on their own ground.

England displayed its weakness in General Braddock's defeat, despite the unshakeable air that it attempted to project. In 1755 Braddock set out with a sizeable force of English regulars and colonial militiamen to capture Fort Duquesne. He made slow progress, and encountered a smaller force of French and Indian troops. With his larger force of English redcoats, he managed to repel the French and Indians, but they succeeded to win the battle by retreating, hiding, and firing back upon the English. The English were completely routed, and Braddock himself was killed as a result of the battle, a significant loss for them. Many colonials witnessed first-hand that the English style of warfare was not effective in the diverse landscapes of the New World, and understood that the powerful English armies were not supreme.

Anti-English sentiment grew as the colonials and redcoats fought together, and colonial unity grew partly as a result of the English arrogance displayed. Despite the fact that they fought side-by-side in many conflicts, the English regarded the rag-tag colonial militiamen as inferior fighters, and would not recognize any rank below Captain. Even important leaders such as General Wolfe looked down upon the colonials, which in turn had an effect on the colonial opinion of the English. Most colonials regarded themselves as an important part of the English empire, and being viewed as second-rate Englishmen only served to reduce the popularity of English involvement in the colonies. Colonial unity was advanced by the conflict, by people who were united in their support of the war, people who were unconcerned with the war, and refused to contribute to the conflict, as well as soldiers from different colonies who met with statesmen and other leaders, and each other. This helped create the future leadership of George Washington, and expanded the possibilities of large-scale colonial unity against England.

After the defeat of the French, and significant loss of power by the Indians and Spanish, the colonies no longer needed the same protection from England. During the French and Indian war William Pitt managed to completely capture French Canada. His leadership, along with that of James Wolfe, resulted in the successful capture of Louisburg, Montreal, and Quebec effectively removed any real French presence in the north, though much of the French culture, and even the language was retained, and Quebec still speaks French today. The deportation of around four thousand Acadians in 1755 only served to emphasize this destruction of the French holdings in the New World. The Indians also lost much of their power, as their most powerful ally, the French, was defeated, and they lost the ability to create conflict between the foreign powers in their area. Spain also lost Florida, which helped in clearing the way for English colonial expansion. This lack of opposition eliminated the need for a large British protection force, making the colonies more independent and making almost any British presence seem like an unnecessary burden.

There were also many reluctant revolutionaries. Americans considered themselves English and thought they deserved the same rights as Englishmen. Governors and Generals did not believe Americans were Englishmen. They treated the Americans badly. William Pitt’s policy of impressments upset many Americans. He took men off boats and forced them into the army where they were not treated like Englishmen. He also seized supplies for his men from American citizens. However, Americans did not want to secede from Britain. Benjamin Franklin, a reluctant revolutionary, believed that Americans should have English rights but should still be loyal to the Crown.

After the French and Indian war, permanent troops were stationed in America because Britain felt America needed more protection. Americans were forced to house these troops. Americans felt their liberties as Englishmen were being undermined. They thought that they should not have to house troops they did not want there in the first place. Radical Whigs thought it was a conspiracy because once troops were stationed in the colonies Britain would easily be able to have complete control over the Colonists.

Also, the French and Indian war provoked the American Revolution because it led to unwanted taxes which undermined English liberties. It led to the Proclamation of 1763 which did not let Americans to settle their own land. Radical Whigs wanted to withdraw. Reluctant revolutionaries wanted to stay Englishmen, however, with all the events, which occurred in a chain reaction from the French Revolution, they were forced to rebel.

The American Revolution had a huge variety of causes, but the French and Indian war was one of the biggest factors in causing the American Revolution. It showed the colonials numerous things that helped them start and win the war with England, including invaluable military experience for troops and leaders such as George Washington. Without such contributions, the American Revolution could have been impossible, or at the very least much more difficult. The fallibility of Britain's military was fully demonstrated in the conflict with French in Ohio, and factors such as this had a huge effect on the colonial view of the possibility of rebellion, which was only reinforced by their victories against France, greatly influencing the American Revolution, and thus, the fate of the New World. In conclusion, The French and Indian war appeared to affect the starting point for the American Revolution.…...

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