The Beginnings of the Revolution

Chapter Four
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six


One major military event took place on the North American continent prior to the American Revolutionary War. The French and Indian War took place from 1756-1763. This series of battles would ultimately feed the fires of revolution against England by the English colonials. Not only was it a war of conquest but it planted a psychological seed in the colonialist mindset that proved they were somewhat capable of the defense of their colonies and they were beginning to be united politically and militarily.   

By the middle of the eighteenth century the North American continent was somewhat of a jigsaw puzzle of European colonies and territories. By 1700 a look at the map of North America suggested that France held claim to the lion’s share.[1] Spain had laid claim to Florida in the south and much of the western territories. France occupied the middle part of what is now the United States, as well as the southern parts of what is now Canada. Great Britain had its established thirteen colonies along the eastern seaboard.

The now established British Colonies were experiencing a steady growth in population and production and were slowly moving westward into the new territories forming settlements. Some of the migrating colonists had no qualms about encroaching on the land claimed by both the French and the Native American population. Obviously, these movements and invasions were not appreciated or accepted. 

In and around 1754 small skirmishes broke out between the British settlers and the French and the Indians, thus aptly naming it the French and Indian War. The tensions of this conflict ignited a war in Europe that the Europeans referred to as the Seven Years War.

During the beginning months and years of the conflict the French and the collaborating native American Indians held their ground with numerous successful battles. The first president to be of the United States initiated his military career during the onset of this war.

Virginia dispatched a twenty one year old surveyor named George Washington west to tell the French on the upper Ohio River that they were trespassers.[2] Washington’s youth became

evident in some of his military decisions, but the experience was to be beneficial in the long run when the Revolutionary War would be ignited a decade and a half later. The young and sometimes considered to be overly ambitious Washington learned the foundational skills of statesmanship and diplomacy that would prove vital not only as he led the Colonial militias through the various battles of the forth coming Revolutionary War, but also as he led the new nation as its first president. These lessons did not come easy for the young military leader, but he was very willing to learn from them and mature in his tactical skills.

In the late 1750s the tables turned and the British armies and colonial militias began to gain ground against the French and eventually established new settlements in the acquired territories. In the Treaty of Paris (1763), France ceded its major North American holdings to Britain. Spain, an ally of France toward the end of the war, gave Florida to the victors.[3]  Though the War had ended the after effects would begin to stir a completely different relationship between King George III who had been crowned in 1760, and the thirteen British Colonies.

[1] Borneman, Walter R. The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of America (New York. Harper Collins, 2007) p.5

[2] Borneman, Walter R. The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of America (New York. Harper Collins, 2007) p.xxii

[3] Norton, Mary Beth A People & A Nation (New York, New York.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2008) p.127

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