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Chapter Four: The Empire in Transition


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Explain Britain's policy of Salutary Neglect toward the colonies.
After the Glorious Revolution, the Parliament established supremacy over the king. Since the Parliament relied politically on merchants/landholders, they were less inclined to tighten control over the colonies because merchants thought doing so would disrupt the profitable commerce with the colonies.
The royal officials in America also contributed to the loose control of the colonies. The governors weren't competent: most had used bribery to obtain their offices and continued to accept bribes while in office. Some appointees remained in England and hired substitutes to take their places in America.
How did the colonies respond to Britain's policy of Salutary Neglect?
Colonial assemblies took advantage of the weak imperial administration. They asserted their own authority to levy taxes, make appropriations, approve appointments, and pass laws for their respective colonies. The assemblies thought of themselves as miniature parliaments, each as sovereign in its own colony as Parliament was in England.
Albany Plan
In 1754, the colonies faced a common threat from the French and their Indian allies. Delegates from PA, Maryland, NY, and New England met in Albany to negotiate a treaty with the Iroquois. They tentatively approved a proposal to set up a "general government" to manage relations with the Indians.
However, when the Albany Plan was presented to the colonial assemblies, the French and Indian War had already begun. None of the colonies approved the plan.
Seven Years' War [French and Indian War]
The war occurred through the late 1750s and early 1760s, as part of a larger struggle between England and France. The British confirmed England's commercial supremacy and cemented its control of the settled regions of N. America. It was also the final stage in a struggle among the three principal powers in NE America: the English, the French, and the Iroquois.
Describe France's colonial empire.
The French possessed the whole length of the Mississippi and its delta [Louisiana], and the continental interior as far west as the Rockies and as far south as the Rio Grande.
They founded a string of communities, fortresses, missions, and trading posts to secure their hold on the enormous claims. Large estates [seigneuries] were established along the banks of the St. Lawrence River; the fortified city of Quebec was founded. Plantations emerged on the lower Mississippi. New Orleans was founded in 1718 to service the French plantation economy.
The Iroquois Confederacy
Five Indian nations [Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, and Oneida] formed a defensive alliance in the 1400s. They were the most powerful native presence in the Ohio Valley. The Iroquois maintained their autonomy by avoiding a close relationship with either the French or English. They raded with both groups and played them against each other; as such, the Iroquois maintained precarious power in the Great Lakes region.
King William's War
[1689-1697]; produced only a few, indecisive clashes between the English and the French in N New England
Queen Anne's War
[1701-1713]; generated more substantial conflicts than King William's War. It was ended by the Treaty of Utrecht, which transferred substantial territory from the French to the English, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
King George's War
[1744-1748]; English colonists were drawn into a conflict Between England and Spain over British trading rights in the Spanish colonies, which turned into a larger European war. The colonists engaged in a series of conflicts with the French. They captured the French bastion at Louisbourg, but were forced to abandon it by the peace treaty that ended the conflict.
Describe the aftermath of King George's War.
Relations among the English, French, and Iroquois deteriorated. The Iroquois granted trading concessions to English merchants, so the French began buildng new fortresses in the Ohio Valley, in order to prevent the English from using their power with the Indians to expand into French lands. The English began building their own fortresses. The Iroquois quickly lost their power.
Fort Necessity
1754, the governor of VA sent a milita force under inexperienced George Washington to the Ohio Valley to challenge French expansion. They built a crude stockade of Fort Necessity not far from the French Fort Duquesne. The Virginians unsuccessfully attacked the French; the French countered with an attack on Fort Necessity. They trapped Washington and his soldiers inside; GW surrendered after 1/3 of the soldiers had died. The attack on Ft. Necessity marked the start of the French and Indian War.
First Stage of the French and Indian War
[1754-1756]; the war is primarily a local, N American conflict. All tribes except the Iroquois are allied with the French. The colonists fight alone to defend themselves against raids by French/Indians; the Iroquois remain passive to avoid antagonizing the French.
Second Stage of the French and Indian War
[1756-1758]; fighting spreads to the West Indies, India, and Europe itself. The main struggle remains in N America, where England has suffered only defeat. William Pitt, the English Sec. of State, brings the war under fully British control in 1757.
Pitt plans military strategy, appoints commanders, issues order to colonists. British commanders began impressing colonists; officers seize supplies from local farmers/tradesmen, and force colonists to quarter soldiers.
Colonists resent the new imposistions and resist them. By early 1758, the friction between British and colonists threatens to stop the war effort.
Third Stage of the French and Indian War
[1758-end]; Pitt relaxes many of the policies that Americans oppose. He agrees to reimburse colonists for all supplies taken, and returns control over recruitment to the colonial assemblies. He sends many more British troops to America. The tide of the war begins to turn in England's favor.
1759, the army of Gen. Wolfe travels up a hidden path at night and surprises the French forces. The battle marks the fall of Quebec.
Sept. 1760, the French army formally surrenders in Montreal.
Peace of Paris
1763; the French cede to Great Britain some of the West Indian islands, mos of their colonies in India and Canada, and all other French territory east of the Mississippi. They cede New Orleans and claims west of the Mississippi to Spain. They no longer have any claim in the mainland of N America.
Why were the British resentful of the colonies after the French and Indian War?
The cost of the war greatly enlarged Britain's debt. They were angry that colonists made so few financial contributions to a war being waged for the American benefit. They were contemptuous of the colonists' military ineptitude. They were angry that colonial merchants had continued to sell food/other goods to the French in the West Indies throughout the conflict.
Many English leaders believed that a major reorganization of the empire was necessary in order to give London increased authority over the colonies.
What affect did the French and Indian War have on the American colonists?
It forced them to act together against a common foe. The friction over British requisition and impressment policies, and the return of authority to colonial assemblies seemed to confirm the illegitimacy of English interference in local affairs.
What affect did the French and Indian War have on the Indians?
The tribes that allied themselves with the French earned the enmity of the British. The Iroquois Confederacy, allied with Britain, were seen as being duplicitous because of their passivity. The Iroquois alliance with the British quickly unravelled; increasingly divided and outnumbered, they would never again be in a position to deal with Europeans on terms of military or political equality.
Britain's War Debt
Landlords and merchants in England obected to any further tax increases, and the colonial assemblies were unwilling to pay for the war effort. Many officials in England believed that only by taxing the Americans directly from London could the empire meet its financial needs.
Describe King George III
He assumed power in 1760; he was determined to reassert the authority of the monarchy. He removed from power the relatively stable coalition of Whigs that governed for over a century, and replaced it with a new and unstable coalition of his own; his new ministries lasted an average of only two years.
He was painfully immature and insecure, which lead to the instability and rigidity of the British government during his reign.
George Grenville
He became prime minister in 1763; he shared the prevailing opinion within Britain that the colonists should be compelled to obey the laws and to pay a part of the cost of defending and administering the empire.
Proclamation of 1763
Settlers were forbidden to advance beyond the Appalachians. This was passed because when frontiersmen began moving into the land gained from France, Indian tribes began fighting. British officials were afraid that an escalation of the fighting would threaten western trade.
The Proclamation was ineffective. British authorities failed to enforce limits to the expansion, and the boundary was repeatedly pushed further west in an effort to create a permanent western boundary for European settlement. None of the attempts were effective.
What were Grenville's first attempts to increase authority in the colonies?
British troops were stationed permanently in America; under the Mutiny Act of 1765, colonists were required to help provision and maintain the army.
Ships of the British navy patrolled US waters to search for smugglers; the customs service was reorganized and enlarged; royal officials were requird to take their posts instead of sending substitutes; colonial manufacturing was restricted so it wouldn't compete with industries in England.
Sugar, Stamp, and Currency Acts
Sugar of of 1764 raised the duty on sugar while lowering the duty on molasses. It also established new vice-admiralty courts in America to try accussed smugglers, thus cutting them off from sympathetic local juries.

The Currency Act of 1764 required colonial assemblies to stop issuing paper money.

The Stamp Act of 1765 imposed a tax on every printed document in the colonies: newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets, deeds, wills, licenses. It increased British revenue in America tenfold.
Paxton Boys
A band of PA frontiersmen. They descended on Philadelphia to demand tax relief and financial support for their defense against Indians. Bloodshed was averted only by concessions from the colonial assembly.
Describe Americans' political grievances.
They found ways to live with the new taxes without terrible economic hardship. However, they were accustomed to wide latitude in self-government. They believed that colonial assemblies had the sole right to control appropriations for the costs of government within the colonies. By attempting to raise extensive revenues directly from the public, the British government was challenging the basis of colonial political power.
Why was the Stamp Act so objectionable to the colonists?
The tax affected everyone. The Stamp Act wasn't designed to regulate commerce, but was clearly an attempt by England to raise revenue in the colonies without the consent of the colonial assemblies.
Virginia Resolves
Patrick Henry's set of resolutions declaring that Americans possessed the same rights as the English, including the right to be taxed only by their own representatives. Virginians should pay no taxes except those voted by the VA assembly, and that anyone advocating the right of Parliament to tax Virginians should be deemed an enemy of the colony.
Stamp Act Congress
Called by James Otis, Oct. 1765; it met in NY with delegates from 9 colonies. In a petition to the British government, the congress denied that the colonies could be rightfully taxed except through their own provincial assemblies.
Sons of Liberty
A mob that rose up in Boston against the Stamp Act; the mob terrorized stamp agents and burned stamps. They attacked supposedly pr-British aristocrats.
Describe the repeal of the Stamp Act
New Englanders stopped buying English goods in protest of the Sugar Act, and the Stamp Act caused the boycott to spread. The prime minister Rockingham repealed the Stamp Act, under pressure from English merchants concerned about the loss of their colonial market.

Rockingham also passed the Declaratory Act at the same time. It confirmed parliamentary authority over the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." In the rejoicing over the Stamp Act repeal, most Americans paid little attention to the new Act.
Mutiny (Quartering) Act of 1765
Required the colonists to provied shelter and supplies for British troops. In Mass. and NY, assemblies refused to vote the mandated supplies to the troops. The colonists objected not so much to quartering/supplying, as to being forced to do so by London.
Townshend Duties
1767; the NY Assembly was disbanded until the colonists agreed to obey the Mutiny Act.

New taxes were imposed on lead, paint, paper, and tea. England assumed that since these taxes were "external" (on imports from overseas only) as opposed to the internal taxations of the Stamp Act, the colonists would not object.

However, the colonies resented the suspension of the NY assembly and saw it as a threat to every colonial govt; they also rejected the distinction between external and internal taxation.
Nonimportation Agreement
Townshend established a board of customs commissioners in America. The commission ended smuggling in Boston, where the commission was headquartered, but smugglers continued business elsewhere.

Boston merchants were angry that the lucrative smuggling trade had been diverted. They organized a boycott of British goods that were taxed under the Townshend Act. Merchants in Philadelphia and NY joined them in the nonimportation agreement, and some southerners agreed to cooperate as well.
Committee of Correspondence
Proposed by Samuel Adams in 1772, in order to publicize the grievances against England. Other colonies followed Mass.'s lead, and a loose intercolonial network of political organizations was soon established that kept the spirit of dissent alive throughout the 1770s.
Sources of Revolutionary Ideology
Some ideas were drawn from religion (esp. Puritan) sources, or from the political experiences of the colonies.

The "radical" ideas of those in Great Britain who stood in opposition to their government were the most important. Some were Scots, who considered the British tyrannical; others were "country whigs," who felt excluded from power and considered the system corrupt and oppressive.

New concept of what government should be: since people were inherently corrupt/selfish, government was necessary to protect individuals from each other. But since any government must be run by corruptible people, the people need safeguards against its possible abuse of power.
No Taxation Without Representation
Americans believed a basic principle og government was the right of people to be taxed only with their own consent. This took shape with the widely repeated slogan.
"Virtual" and "Actual" Representation
According to English constitutional theory, members of Parliament didn't represent individuals or particular geographical areas. Each member represented the interests of the whole nation and the whole empire. [Virtual]

Americans believed that every community was entitled to its own representative, elected by the people of that community. Since colonists had none of their own representatives in Parliament, they were not represented there. [Actual]
Differing Opinions of Sovereignty
The British believed that the empire was a single, undivided unit, so there could only be one authority within it: Parliament and the King.

Americans believed that Parliament had the right to legislate for the empire as a whole, but the provincial assemblies alone could legislate for the individual colonies. They were arguing for a division of sovereignty.
Political Importance of Colonial Taverns
Taverns and pubs became central meeting places for discussions of ideas about resistance. Taverns were also places were resistance pamphlets and leaflets could be distributed, and the settings for meetings for the planning of protests and demonstrations.
Gaspee Incident
[1772]; Colonists seized a British revenue ship on the lower Delaware River; angry residents of Rhode Island boarded the British Schooner Gaspee, set it afire, and sank it.
The Tea Act
Britain gave the East India Company the right to export merchandise directly to the colonies without paying any of the regular taxes imposed on colonial merchants, who had traditionally served as the middlemen in such transactions. The company could thus undersell US merchants and monopolize the colonial tea trade.

Resistance leaders saw the law as representing an unconstitutional tax on US merchants; the colonists responded by boycotting the tea.
Daughters of Liberty
A women's patriotic organization that was committed to agitating against British policies. They proclaimed "Rather than Freedom, we'll part with our tea."
The Boston Tea Party
Dec. 16, 1773, three companies of fifty men dressed as Indians went aboard three tea ships, broke open the tea chests, and heaved them into the harbor. Similar events occurred in Philadelphia, NY, and Charleston.
The Coercive (Intolerable) Acts of 1774
The port of Boston was closed; the powers of self-government in Mass. were greatly reduced; royal officers in America were allowed to be tried in other colonies or in England when accused of tcrimes; colonists were required to quarter troops.
Quebec Act
Extended the boundaries of Quebec to include the French communities between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers; it also granted political rights to Catholics and recognized the legality of the RCC within the province. Many colonists feared that a plot was afoot to subject Americans to the authortiy of the Pope.
Consequences of the Coercive Acts
Instead of isolating Mass., it became a martyr in the eyes of other colonists. New resistance was sparked. Colonial legislatures passed a series of resolves supporting Mass., women's groups mobilized to extend the boycotts of British goods and to create substitutes for the tea, textiles, etc., that they were shunning.

Fifty-one women in NC signed an agreement declaring their adherence to the anti-British resolutions of their provincial assembly and proclaiming their duty to support the public good.
First Continental Congress
Delegates from all colonies except GA were present at the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

They rejected a plan for colonial union under British authority. They endorsed a relatively moderate statement of grievances which addressed the king as "sovereign," but included a demand for the repeal of all oppressive legislation passed since 1763. They approved a series of resolutions recommending military preparations be made for defense against possible attacks by British troops in Boston. They agreed to a series of boycotts that they hoped would stop all trade with Britain, and formed a "Continental Association" to see that the agreements were enforced. They agreed to meet again the following spring.
Conciliatory Propositions
Parliament proposed that the colonies would tax themselves at Parliament's demand. It was hoped that this would separate the US moderates from the extremist minority.

This proposal didn't reach America until after the war had begun.
Farmers and townspeople in Mass., prepared to fight on a minute's notice.
General Thomas Gage
Commander of the British Garrison in Boston; he considered his army too small to do anything without reinforcements. He resisted the advice of others who assured hm that Americans would back down quickly before any show of British force.

He hesitated to arrest rebel leaders Sam Adams and John Hancock, and only acted when he heard that minutemen had supplied a large store of gunpower in Concord.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord
William Dawes and Paul Revere warned villages/farms of British movements, and minutemen were prepared when the British arrived in Lexington. Shots were fired, and several minutemen were hurt.

When the British reached Boston, they found most of the gun powder had been removed.

On the trip back to Boston, the Britishi were harassed by the gunfire of guerilla farmers. The British lost three time as many men as the Americans.

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