How The British Policies Toward Colonies Changed after French and Indian War

Britain won in the French and Indian war. This had a great impact on British colonies. The win led to expansion of British territories in the New World. The Treaty of Paris, which marked the end of the war, increased British area of governance in North America. However, the cost of the war led to an increase in the Britain’s debt. This had a negative impact on Britain’s economy. The British opted to pay off its debt by increasing taxes from its colonies. George Grenville, who was the King’s Treasury minister, initiated this move. He initially tried to increase taxes in Britain through a Cider Tax. However, this tax was so unpopular that he was temporarily removed from office. He then initiated a Stamp Act in the colonies in an attempt to raise money from the colonies to cover the cost of the war. Grenville also increased the enforcement of the Navigation Acts by Custom officials. The Navigation Acts had previously been ignored due to smuggling among the colonists. This led to the end of Britain’s unofficial policy of Salutary Neglect (Geiter &Speck, 2002).

The war also led to an increase in resentment towards colonists among English leaders. They were not satisfied with the financial and military help they received during the war. These factors convinced most English leaders that the colonies should have a major reorganization with the central authorities of the colonies changing to become London. As such, the English leaders of the colonies in different parts of the world set in motion plans that ultimately gave London more authority over the control of the governments of the colonies. The change in control of the colonies increased resentment towards British imperial policies, which ultimately led to the American Revolution (Sammis, 2002).

The war also had a great impact on American colonists. Before the war, the colonists had learned how to unite against a common enemy. Therefore, the thirteen American colonies coexisted in mutual distrust. However, after the war, they learned that they could become more powerful if they joined and made Britain the next common enemy (Sammis, 2002).

The war also led to the removal of France from North America. This made the vast of North American continent open for the British to colonize. However, the British government decided otherwise. It issued a Royal Proclamation in 1763, which helped in the control of population movement within the colonies. The Royal Proclamation prohibited the settlement west from moving beyond a line drawn along the tip of the Appalachian Mountains. It also led to the authorization of an army of about 10,000 regulars, which was paid for by taxes gathered among the colonies. The Sugar Act and the Stamp Act were the major pieces of legislation that helped in the collection of taxes among the colonies. This move infuriated Americans. The French had previously held them back. However, the British who now ruled over them, stopped their surge towards the west (Sammis, 2002).

British victory in the war had a disastrous effect on the Indians of the Ohio Valley. The Indians were the third major party of the French and Indian War. Parties that aligned themselves with the French during the war faced great enmity from the British after their victory in the war. On the other hand, the Iroquois Confederacy, which aligned itself with the British during the war, faced less enmity after the British victory in the war. However, the alliance between the British and the Iroquois Confederacy began to crumble from within. The Iroquois Confederacy started to contest the British for control of the Ohio Valley for another 50 years. However, they could not cope with the British in terms of military or political equality since the British had a vast army of more than 10,000 people, which was incomparable to the Iroquois Confederacy that had an army of regulars.

Britain was also keen on keeping peace in North America after the war especially among the colonies in the western frontier. The Royal Proclamation prohibited colonists from expanding west of the Appalachian Mountains. King George III, who issued the Royal Proclamation so it fit for the new territory that was acquired due to the British victory in the war to be reserved for Indians. This was an attempt to appease the Indians who aligned themselves with the British during the war. However, this measure failed to appreciate the fact that the removal of the French from North America led to a reduction in the incentive of the colonies to maintain their links with Britain. Unpopular taxes, prohibition of colonial expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains and concessions which were issued to Quebec’s Catholic population ultimately led to the starting of the American Revolutionary War, which led to the independence of the U.S. from Britain. Therefore, it is pertinent to claim that despite the fact that the British won the war, the French and Indian war marked the beginning of the weakening of the British grip on its North American colonies.

 

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