Document Based Question 1
The struggle between France and England for North American sea power and colonial rule ended by the French and Indian War. The war began in 1754 in the upper Ohio Valley. Two years later, the conflict spread to Europe where it was known as the Seven Years’ War. One of the greatest battles of the war that practically ended France’s power in America was the English capture of Quebec in 1759. The treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, formally ended the war in America, making Great Britain master of Canada and the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. These terms ended French power in the New World and made Great Britain supreme. Although the tensions between both England and its colonies were released, there was still no acknowledgment of any severance of the colonies from England. Proceeding the war, Britain passed new Acts, which colonists regarded as, for the most part, unbearable. These new Acts and the determination for colonial independence and uniformity made the separation of the colonies from England inevitable.
Because colonists proved resistant to British control, British policies were forced to be relaxed. Even so, the colonial assemblies reluctantly continued to respond to British needs. The British Empire was in great need of organizing. With the territorial annexations of 1763, the British Empire nearly doubled in size, making it difficult to rule. Because of this, and other factors such as England’s war reparations, it was necessary that Britain seek greater control over its colonies. English government made efforts to find a way to deal with its war debt, and their effort to do this was made through raising the already high taxes. According to Document C, this resolution “caused great uneasiness and consternation among the British subjects on the continent of America.” In the past, England had viewed its colonial empire in terms of trade. To prevent an escalation of the fighting that might threatened western trade, the Proclamation Act of 1763 was instituted. This prevented settlers from advancing beyond a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains. In accordance with Document A, this line was established to keep colonists from infringing upon Native American lands. The Proclamation Act regarded England’s most important markets and investments, which were located east. British controlled colonist movement’s westward in order to modify the eastern population to benefit Britain’s markets.
The Proclamation Act of 1763 was one of the first instituted acts passed By England. As the years progressed, new Acts were passed by Great Britain to establish more control over the American colonies. Among these, the Stamp Acts was passed by the British Parliament in 1765 to raise revenue, requiring that stamps be used for all legal and commercial documents, newspapers, etc. in the American colonies. John Dickenson of Document I made clear that authorities impose duties on the colonies “for the single purpose of levying money.” In March 1766, it was repealed because of strong colonial opposition. This step, however, was accompanied by a Declaratory Act setting forth Parliament’s supreme power over the colonies in matters of taxation as well as in all other matters of legislation (Document E). Britain was only adding insult to injury by the creation of new acts because colonists began to adopt the idea of no taxation without representation (Document D).
The reason that the colonies were able to separate from England was because of confidence and determination. Originally, the colonies were not strong enough to function on their own as an individual country, and the aid of Great Britain was essential. Document H states that “without being incorporated, the one [country] must necessarily govern; the greater must rule the less.” The extreme acts passed by Britain are what pushed the colonists over the edge. By 1774, the united colonies rose over Great Britain to enhance the inevitability of the separation of the colonies from England.