America's Place in the Global Struggle

8d. The Treaty of Paris (1763) and Its Impact

William Pitt
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
William Pitt, the elder, was appointed by King George II to be secretary of state, in charge of military affairs and colonial policy.

The fighting was over. Now the British and the British Americans could enjoy the fruits of victory. The terms of the Treaty of Paris were harsh to losing France. All French territory on the mainland of North America was lost. The British received Quebec and the Ohio Valley. The port of New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi were ceded to Spain for their efforts as a British ally.

It should have been a time to revel in the spoils of war. Instead, the very victory that temporarily brought American colonists close to their British cousins would help tear them apart.

There is nothing like fear to make a group of people feel close to a protector. The American colonists had long felt the threat of France peering over their shoulders. They needed the might of the great British military to keep them safe from France. With France gone, this was no longer true. They could be free to chart their own destinies.

The experience of the French and Indian War did not in many ways bring the British and the Americans closer together. British troops looked down their noses at the colonials. Americans were regarded as crude, lacking culture. The pious New Englanders found the British redcoats to be profane. New Englanders did not like taking orders. There was considerable resistance to helping the British at all until Pitt promised to reimburse the colonists. Smugglers continued to trade with the French and Spanish enemies throughout the war. There was considerable tension indeed.

The American colonists did feel closer to each other. Some of the intercolonial rivalry was broken down in the face of a common enemy. The first sign of nationalism was seen when settlers from all thirteen colonies lay down their lives together in battle. Likewise, the joy of victory was an American triumph. All could share in the pride of success. In many ways, the French and Indian War was a coming of age for the English colonies. They had over a century of established history. They had a flourishing economy.

The Americans proved they could work together to defeat a common foe. Before long, they would do so again.

On the Web
The Albany Plan
In 1754, colonial representatives met in Albany and devised a plan for a "general government" of the British colonies, a benchmark in the achievement of a sense of colonial unity.
The Significance of the Frontier in American History
Written by Frederick J. Turner in 1893, this influential essay describes the unique features of the American frontier and its contribution to the unfolding of American history.
The Ohio Valley In American History
It was the Ohio Valley which forced the nation away from a narrow colonial attitude into its career as a nation among other nations with an adequate physical basis for future growth. American history isn't all about the eastern seaboard.
Treaty of Paris
The King of Great Britain shall restore to France the islands of Guadeloupe, of Mariegalante, of Desirade, of Martinico, and of Belleisle; and the fortresses of these islands shall be restored in the same condition they were in when they were conquered by the British arms... Read the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
Fort Toulouse
Alabama Indians, angered by British trade abuses, allowed the French in 1717 to establish Fort Toulouse near present-day Montgomery, Alabama. The Indians and the French soon became dependent on one another. When the French were forced to move west of the Mississippi River under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763), many of the Alabama Indians moved with them.

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