tv [untitled] March 24, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EDT
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 well, welcome to our class on colonial history at the university of texas at arlington. today our subject is the seven years war or the french and indian war. and as the two names tell us, this war has at least a dual meaning, really multi-faceted meaning because it was a conflict fought in various areas of the globe.
it was a conflict that began in 1754 in north america and through that beginning of the war in north america france and britain came to be at war with each other. and formally in europe france and britain went to war against each other in 1756. by that time, as we'll see, their colonies in north america and their forces in north america were already joined in conflict so to understand the french and indian war as it's traditionally called in american u.s. history and also the seven years war, one has to put it in a very broad perspective of north american history and even european history of course and looking beyond europe to the competition between empires, especially france and britain in various corners of the globe. the war would be fought in north
america where it began. it was joined in europe on a large scale and involved nations such as russia, austria, prussia as well as france and britain. and of course it was fought in the caribbean as well, which was a major theater of conflict during the war. toward the end of the war spain would join on the side of france complicating the matter still. well, today our focus will mainly be on the conflict in north america. and, of course, that was the land of native peoples and of many distinct indian peoples and their land, their present, their future. all of those were at steak,
every bit if not more so than for the european empires keak, every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad and every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad ake every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad aek every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad aea every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad aak every bit if not more so than for the european empires contesting for power abroad a columnists. so really to understand the war we look at the imperial perspective, the conflict between france and britain, for overseas mastery and mastery in north america. the involvement of colonials of britain and france in north america, and also native perspectives very importantly of the many indian peoples who are drawn into the conflict. now geography is important in understanding the conflict in north america and really you have four principle zones in north america that we're going focus on today. one is the area where the war began, the ohio country. we talked a little about this last time, how the war began in
the ohio country in 1754 when the colony of virginia challenged the french building of forts in the ohio country. the war also involved acadia or what is also called nova scotia, the name given at that area by the british, an area on the eastern coast of canada, which conflict. the war also involved the region of the lake champlain corridor. now lake champlain is a lake today that is largely between two states, new york state on the western side of the lake and on the east vermont. the northern tip of the lake does touch canada. so lake champlain was extremely important in the war as a
corridor between the colony of new york and the hudson river valley and canada. and it could be an artery of invasion either moving northward or southward as we'll see at various points in the conflict. and, lastly of great importance was the st. lawrence river, the great river of canada. beginning with its source in the great lakes and, of course, its course downstream moving northeasterly all the way to the atlantic. and quebec being the main french fortress and most powerful single point in canada was to be very significant in the conflict. so let's take a look at a modern
map and get a sense of this geography. now today beyond discussing the military history i'd like to give you a little sense of the human dimensions of this conflict. and the various peoples and interests involved. the struggles, the sufferings which were great, the hardships, not least of the acadians. the french colonists of acadia who were largely deported and expelled from their native land by the british during the conflict. we'll also talk about a battle that occurred in the lake champlain corridor actually on the shores of lake george and triggered a famous episode, a massacre that's featured in the movie, "the last of the
mohicans." as well as the book, of course, by james fennimore cooper, the 19th century novel. we'll also talk about the turning point in the war, how in the early stages of north america the british and british colonials were faring badly and the french and their native allies were doing quite well. then how in 1757 with william pitt's rise to power with the first minister to england, what would be prime minister today, the british adopted a more effective war policy that made north america a central theater of the war and brought more resources to north america which helped british victory ultimately. that british victory we'll see occurred through the occupation of certain points, including ultimately quebec. and we'll talk about the british
campaign that culminated in the congress quest of french canada in 1759-'60. now let's turn to a modern map to give you a sense of the geography that i've outlined here. we can see that the -- there is an outline of the british colonies along the seaboard and also an indication of roughly where the appalachian mountains lay, dividing coastal regions from the vast interior, entirely a native land really, where there were european traders, french for the most part in this region of the great lakes, for example, and the mississippi valley, but there were very, very few europeans.
and we also see on this map the location of lake champlain, and can you see it as a corridor between the hudson river, which empties in new york, that is manhattan into the new york bay and atlantic, and its northern reaches through a river in in montreal. who would control this artery, that's very important for the determination of the conflict. we also talk about acadia or nova scotia, which is here, an important region. and next we'll begin with the ohio country because this is where the conflict began in 1784. pardon me, 1754.
1754, all right? okay. let's continue. well, historians use maps, you know, to get a sense of not only the relationship between geographic regions, and that's very important, but historical maps, such as this one, which date to 1756 and was drawn in paris gives us -- this type of map gives us a sense of how europeans perceived the north american landscape. it tells us what they knew most about, what they knew less about. for example, it also shows you little red dots where there are settlements or towns in areas of the british colonies. and here, of course, is the st. lawrence, and montreal would be
here about, and quebec toward here. so we get a sense of how people living at that time, especially policy maker, government policy makers, government leaders perceived the geographic landscape. one of the most interesting features of this map, which is in the state library of virginia, is that it is french and gives you a french perspective. the line that presumes to be a boundary here indicates where the french believe the boundary to be between the british and french colonies. actually, there is no agreed-to boundary. there is no consensus between britain and france at all about where their respective colonies merge. there is a contested front tier or border lens between the british colonies and french
canada. and, actually, the country at stake is almost entirely an indian country. and that is where the war begins. why does the war begin here in the ohio country? it really began because of french policy thinking about british expansion and how british expansion must be stopped, not only the expansion of settlement westward, which the french were concerned about given the fact that the british colonies were growing so rapidly in population and by the mid 1750s the british colonies had a population approaching 1.5 million people.
far, far outnumbering the french in canada who may have numbered some 80,000 by comparison at the time. well, how could the french, with a population of roughly 80,000 perhaps in the st. lawrence river valley and neighboring regions, how could they possibly stave off english control of the continent when british colonials, those within the british colonies along the atlantic seaboard numbered 1.5 million. of course there were several hundred thousand slaves among the total population in the british colonies. the french were also concerned not only with the expansion of british population and the movement westward, but also of trade that british colonial traders from pennsylvania and virginia were venturing into the ohio country and with british manufactured goods, they were
going to capture the fur trade and draw towards the british colonies and away from canada. and the french realized in canada that if they lost control of the fur trade in the interior, and it was drawn mostly to the british, then canada would be worthless and lost.inking was this, where the native peoples made economic alliances, is they made their economic alliances with the british, they would also make their political and military ones with them too. their trade would sway native peoples in a certain direction.
settlements but of trade into the interior of north america? the answer was a fort-building program in what was called the ohio country which had no definite boundaries at the time. the ohio country consisted of parts of what is today the state of pennsylvania as well as ohio. in fact, the most strategic region at the time was in western pennsylvania, particularly at the forks which make the beginning and mark the beginning of the ohio river where the allegheny and the monongahela rivers meet to form the ohio. and there the french established a fort in 1754 called ft. duquesne, and the british colonials in virginia were very concerned about that. they would not easily tolerate that. virginia claimed boundaries
stretching to the south sea based on its charter from the crown back in 1609. the virginians were very much expansionists. and leading men of virginia had already formed a land company which got british permission to colonize this area. and if a certain number of colonists could be situated there, let's say 100 families, that company, by right from the king, could receive a grant of up to 500,000 acres. so there was much at stake. it was not only in the interests of ordinary british colonials in colonies such as virginia that were at stake, but also the interests of a land company such as the ohio company that wanted to expand settlement and do so in a way that was profitable.
and acquire land and legal title from the crown, bargain with native peoples and then bring on settlers to establish a profitable enterprise. well, of course, the colony of virginia in 1753 decides to send a message to the french in the ohio country. we know who they send as their messenger, right, who the governor sends, the governor of virginia, robert dinwiddie at the time. and he sends our young hero, george washington, all of 22 years old, right? and just a young colonel of militia, and he goes on a mission westward from virginia to the ohio country and all the way north to the lake erie to notify french officials there
who have established forts, who have hundreds of men now in the ohio country that this territory by right belongs to britain and not to the king of france. and, of course, washington was an emissary here. he was not coming so much as a soldier. he was accompanied just by a few native guides. and the french commanders treated him quite civilly. but they made it quite clear that this land all the way to the ohio belongs to france. and it is not british. so the conflict would begin the next year when washington would, this time, march out to the ohio country, toured ft. duquesne with the force of 300 to 400
men, and the fighting would begin that spring and summer of 1754. that marked the beginning of the french and indian war and a war that spread far beyond this limited area. so i don't think really washington or the french who were immediately involved or the native peoples of that particular region, the delawares and the shawnees and the miamis, and others, could foresee exactly what would come from this early clash. well, let's move to the next slide. and this is a -- the journal of washington, very interesting the -- that he kept, and during his first journey to the ohio country where he went as a diplomatic emissary of the
governor of virginia, robert dinwiddie, and he went to tell the french commandant on the ohio that this land in the ohio region belonged to the british, and not the french. and washington's journal was published in williamsburg, virginia, not only there but also in london. so it had an impact on the government in london, and london was being apprised that there was a burgeoning conflict between the british colonies, particularly virginia in this case, and the french in the ohio country. now, in 1754, the british colonies, aware that hostilities with the french in the ohio country are about to begin and that tensions are mounting,
several of the british colonies send delegates to albany. in the colony of new york to confer together and, of course, that's called the albany congress. one of the delegates at the albany congress most famously is benjamin franklin. and franklin, representing the colony of pennsylvania, believed as others did that the colonies would have to work together, that is, the british colonies which did not have a history of working very well together or very strong ties among themselves in terms of military policy-making. now, the colonies were accustomed, apart from new england -- the new england colonies would often work together, but the colonies to the south would really operate
more or less on their own individually. so the albany congress were where delegates of several colonies met in 1754 discussed how they could cooperate more effectively together and even establish a type of union among themselves under british authority. now, the plans of the albany congress did not bear fruition as benjamin franklin tells us. no colonial congress or grand council as franklin conceived developed from the albany congress. nevertheless, franklin's idea which he shared with others of drawing the colonies more closely together under british rule so that they could form a common policy and front against the french and the native allies
of the french, that was very important. and franklin, of course, expressed this idea through a famous cartoon that he published in the "pennsylvania gazette" in 1754 in philadelphia. and it shows the colonies as a snake, right? and either they it will join together or they'll die separately. now he chose to picture them from north to south. head to tail. new england grouping those together, new york, new jersey, pennsylvania, maryland, virginia, north carolina, south carolina, seems to have forgot georgia. maybe that was a little distant and not immediately -- he knew georgia was just a new and beginning colony and might not perhaps contribute so much to the common effort so franklin interestingly ended the tail of this colonial dragon with south carolina, but the point is that
he wanted more effective unity working together towards common ends. now, where were the early battles? the first skirmishes of the french and indian war occur or the seven years war in north america. the british, of course, will call this the french and indian war. the name as we'll see in today's lecture can be a little misleading because not all indian peoples by any means sided with the french. indian peoples shifted in loyalty. some were more neutral at the beginning of the conflict. others joined the french.
others had a wait-and-see attitude. some would change sides during the war. so native peoples belonged to particular groups. we have to think of them as iroquois and even within the iroquois of the various nations within that native confederacy. let's say the mohawks as compared to the senecas, and, of course, you have to do the same with the other native groups, shawnees, delawares, potawatomis, miamis, many, many others, and we'll talk about some of those today. so the name french and indian war can be used to indicate the seven years war north america, but it's very important to remember that it doesn't really mean that all the natives by any means are simply on the french side or that they stay on one side throughout the war. again, native peoples enter this conflict for their own reasons, for their own interests. and we'll see that their interests are not identical at all to the french, let alone to the british.
so what is ft. necessity? ft. necessity is a site in western -- southwestern pennsylvania today. then it was in this broad region called the ohio country. it was where washington in the summer of 1754 established a simple crude fort in a meadow. there was a large meadow there. and that has been preserved to today amidst a great forest of endless miles. establish a defensive position here. there had already been at that time the first skirmishes between the virginians and the french. now, what happened is that the french who were several hundred at ft. duquesne and who had even more native allies in the area,
came to contest washington, and they were stronger and forced him to surrender in july 1754. and so this first military action of washington's in the war is a failure. he and the virginians are defeated. however, they're able to surrender on honorable terms and permitted to return to virginia. so, yet the french have sent the message that british colonials will not have an easy time if they pass into the ohio country. they will be contested by the french and the french, of course, will rely on native allies such as the delawares and the shawnees, and it's interesting to note that in relying on the delawares and shawnees, the french were calling upon the assistance of
native peoples who had been forced westward by british colonials in eastern pennsylvania. and some of these native peoples forced westward, of course, harbored resentment against the british and british colonials and helps -- this helps to explain why some of them aided the french at this early stage in the conflict. now, in 1754 and into '55, the british government decided that the conflict in north america was serious enough that british troops should become directly involved. now, this is a very interesting point. the year is 1755. war has not yet been declared between britain and france. and yet, there is fighting in north america that's already
begun. the british government makes the decision to send two regiments of troops totaling nearly 2,000 men to north america to join in the conflict there. even though britain and france are not yet at war in europe, but the british government is thinking that north america is sufficiently important that we have to stop the french possession and capture of the ohio country. we cannot tolerate that. it's strategically important to us to be involved here. and the man who was appointed the head of the two british regiments was a veteran soldier, a veteran general, general