At the outset of the eighteenth century, the Ohio Valley can identified as the main
catalyst in triggering open hostilities between the French and the Americans. The French
occupied parts of Canada but also wanted a stake in America. Its means to do this was
through the Ohio Valley it maintained. However, the colonists were bound to permeate
this area in their push towards the west. And as they did, competition for the lush lands
flared up and came to a breaking point.
This directly lead to the French and Indian War
with the Indians, for the most part, siding with the French against Britain. The events and
sentiments that took place during and immediately after the French and Indian War
(1754-1763) were extremely important in contributing to the outset of the American
Revolution. By looking at the perspectives of the two diverging peoples, it is evident
there is a strong contrast, which lead to increasing tensions.
The intermingling of arrogant British redcoats and the proud colonial militiamen
precariously produced a strong mutual dislike and contempt. The majority of British
officers hated colonial service and took great care to avoid it. After all, America was a
strange wilderness to them.
The West Indies specifically were infested with
disease-carrying pests, and fevers were known to kill hundreds of men. Britains found the
colonists uncooperative and very reluctant to serve for their country. Religious minority
groups especially opposed to war “could play hell with appropriations.” (Chidsey) For
example, the Quakers absolutely would not fight to protect their very own homes and
refused to be taxed for a war because they thought, according to their religion, it was
sinful. Most colonists altogether refused to contribute money. It was not until William
Pitt offered to reimburse them a share of the money did they render some wealth, though
not much (Bailey 98).
When American recruits finally dribbled in, they were primitive in
military customs. Some even deserted camp, and when they were seized and brought
back to camp, they were whipped. British General Braddock went so far as to forewarn
his soldiers of a penalty of hanging for the next that deserted him.
The colonists, having always thought the British militia to be noble and
indomitable, were shocked at their behavior. The almighty Redcoats were actually
running and hiding in battle times when they should have proved valorous. The British
were probably embarrassed too over a childish rivalry between English generals William
Johnson and Governor William Shirley at Fort Albany.
Competition arose because of
Shirley’s greed for Indian allies, and neglecting Johnson simultaneously. They
immaturely wrote secret letters about each other, getting others involved and annoyed. A
factor also contributing to the disappointment of the colonists is how the British
consistently fought a European war instead of a new style war, particularly guerrilla
warfare (based on sneak attack and using camouflage), which limited their success and
sometimes determined failure. Impressment prevailed for part of the war, adding insult to
outrage. Impressment refers to the British sending “press gangs” from their warships to
bring in mariners to serve in the British ships. They received little to no pay, and about
900 of the seamen died leaving their families bereft and embittered (Reeder).
the Americans and the English referring to each other as cowardly dogs, conflict became
more personal between people than just between two land areas.
Although still disunited, the colonies were beginning to melt this hindrance,
sometimes without knowing it, to realize they shared more in common with each other
than with those of the mother country. The disunity that had predominated since the
founding of the colonies can be accounted for and understood because of geographical
barriers like rivers and lack of roads, diverse religions, mixed nationalities, various
governments, boundary disputes, social classes, different currencies at altered worths in
each colony, and jealousy. As British Sir Winston Churchhill said, “They were united in
distrusting the home government but in little else.” However, steps were being taken,
sometimes not even purposely, to promote rapport among the colonies. Newspapers, for
instance, not only covered the war effort, but they also promoted a unity of consciousness
for the colonies.
Through these reports and therefore awareness, the English were warned
of French troops moving southward from Canada and of the French master plan to
capture the continent in 1753. The Albany Plan of Union was a positive step in achieving
union. The ingenious Benjamin Franklin proposed a layout of .