Lecture #14: From Triumph to Disaster

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University of California - Berkeley
Mark Peterson

Lecture #14: From Triumph to Disaster The Seven Years War and the Dissolution of the British Empire, 1754-1776 ‘Evangeline’ by Longfellow – best selling poem in America written in 1847 Fictional character but representative of people deported from Acadia Remained a strong symbol in Acadian culture (both in Louisiana and Nova Scotia) Fiction and reality can come together I. The Seven Years War as a Watershed: A Colonial War with European (and Global) Consequences War begins in North America; a lot of the fighting was centered in North America. Both sides sent a huge number. Both fight each other trying to exhaust resources and political will to keep fighting; afterwards a treaty would balance out the fighting.  Brings European style warfare to America o Uniforms o Ranks o Numbers of troops they were able to raise were much larger than what the colonial raids had ever seen before A. The Expulsion of France and Its Consequences » The war starts off going very badly for the British – Part of the reason is because of the disorganization of the British American colonies (all had their own interior governments and armies) – British army was much more top-down – American armies: in order to raise money to support troops you had to go through the colonial legislators ◊ Some colonies were better than others ◊ E.g. in Pennsylvania the leadership was still descendent from Quaker tradition – huge pacifists – made it difficult to pass any law to support this war – Problems cooperating between disciplined British army and colonial legislators » William Pitt takes over – Spends millions of pounds into war effort – Believed that if Britain won this war, then this war would change the world forever – Pitt learns from mistakes of early years ◊ American high command were dictatorial and demanding ◊ Instructs new commanders to respect and work with the American colonies › Enhances willingness and effectiveness of cooperation with colonies ≈ Colonies turned out thousands of troops themselves ≈ Supplied food, clothing, other supplies  Merchants and farmers profiting from the war – Captures city of Quebec in 1759, captures Montreal by 1760 ◊ French give up North America › Other priorities › Withdraws from North America 1761-2 completely » All of Eastern North America become British – Before this time, the continent had been divided three ways – Now it was divided two ways B. The Effects of Close Contact: British American Military Operations » Highland clearances of Scotland 1745 – Highland Scots were a threat to Britain – Led to the first ethnic cleansing » Acadian removal: ‘something shocking’ (1755) – Led by same people who led the Highland clearances – Needed transport ships – Needed additional soldiers – Ordered to burn everything and wipe out every village they can find – Found old people only ◊ All the younger people had fled to come up with a plan to fight – British army’s tactic was to cut off their food supply so that they would starve to death in the cold Acadian winter, so that this would force the younger people would come back » American Support troops for British combat troops – Turned to Boston (in Southern New England) ◊ For decades, this region had gradually become a trading zone ◊ Boston’s merchants expanded into other territories, bought livestock and things like that and sold it into the Atlantic ◊ For decades, New England had been fighting in British wars › Able to easily raise a sizeable army of 2000 men » Discipline and the enlisted men – British military men were trained and disciplined in a way that was different to American military men – Discipline in Britain enforced by punishments if soldiers strayed ◊ Shocked Americans » Aristocracy and the Officer Corps – Used to having absolute command over their soldiers – Did not see their men as equal – Different to American officers ◊ Willard’s men were from his area; he lived with them, were neighbours with them, were friends with them » Undisciplined Militia – American leaders would sometimes leave or quit in order to save their troops if they didn’t believe it was a worthy cause – British military didn’t trust American military – Sense of common goal but distance between how the two armies worked created fear and hostility throughout the Seven Year War C. Pontiac’s Rebellion » Before the Seven Year War, because the French colonists traded with the Indians, the Indians had a loose alliance with the French » French colonists predominantly male – Married Indian women, had mixed race children – Alliances strong » French colonists gave gifts in return for exclusive control over fur capturing trade capacities of certain Indian tribes » When the British took over Montreal and Quebec and the French fled, the Indians had to deal with the British whereas they we
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