French and Indian War Cause and Effect
Although struggles for supremacy had been going on for many decades between France and England in the New World, hostilities intensified in the early 1750’s as both English and French settlers had attempted to colonize land in the Ohio River Valley, near present day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The English settlers, who had moved northwest from Virginia, and French settlers, who had moved east from the Great Lakes, or south from Canada, each thought they owned the rights to the land.
In 1754, English forces under George Washington had begun their march to Fort Duquesne for the purposes of ousting the French from the region by force. On the way, they encountered a French scouting party near present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Washington’s men massacred the party in what came to be known as The Battle of Jumonville Glen. Washington soon took camp at Great Meadows, a large natural clearing, and ordered the construction of Fort Necessity in anticipation of a French response. The French did respond, as 600 soldiers forced Washington to surrender the fort. The French and Indian War had begun.
As a result of the British victory in the French and Indian War, France was effectively expelled from the New World. They relinquished virtually all of their New World possessions including all of Canada. They did manage to retain a few small islands off the coast of Canada and in the Caribbean. They also agreed to stay out of India, which made Great Britain the supreme military power in that part of Asia. In addition, as compensation for Spain’s loss of Florida to England, Spain was awarded the Louisiana territory. The entire face of North America had been dramatically changed. Following the war, England issued the Proclamation of 1763, which restricted settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains in an attempt to appease Indians who had developed positive relations with France. Westward-bound settlers, however, ignored the proclamation and moved into Indian lands.
Because English had incurred significant debt while fighting the war in and for the colonies, Parliament attempted to recoup the financial loss by issuing the 1765 Stamp Act on the colonists. The Stamp Act was a tax on virtually all printed documents. The tax was ill-received by the colonists, who began a boycott of British goods and even attacked British tax collectors. Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and instead issued the Declaratory Act, which maintained Britain’s right to tax the colonists. These tax issues would become the cause of an even greater conflict 10 years later – The American Revolution.