Until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, few colonists in British North America objected to their place in the British Empire. Colonists in British America reaped many benefits from the British imperial system and bore few costs for those benefits. Indeed, until the early 1760s, the British mostly left their American colonies alone. The Seven Years' War (known in America as the French and Indian War) changed everything. Although Britain eventually achieved victory over France and its allies, victory had come at great cost. A staggering war debt influenced many British policies over the next decade. Attempts to raise money by reforming colonial administration, enforcing tax laws, and placing troops in America led directly to conflict with colonists. By the mid-1770s, relations between Americans and the British administration had become strained and acrimonious.
The first shots of what would become the war for American independence were fired in April 1775. For some months before that clash at Lexington and Concord, patriots had been gathering arms and powder and had been training to fight the British if that became necessary. General Thomas Gage, commander of British forces around Boston, had been cautious; he did not wish to provoke the Americans. In April, however, Gage received orders to arrest several patriot leaders, rumored to be around Lexington. Gage sent his troops out on the night of April 18, hoping to catch the colonists by surprise and thus to avoid bloodshed. When the British arrived in Lexington, however, colonial militia awaited them. A fire fight soon ensued. Even so, it was not obvious that this clash would lead to war. American opinion was split. Some wanted to declare independence immediately; others hoped for a quick reconciliation. The majority of Americans remained undecided but watching and waiting.
In June 1775, the Continental Congress created, on paper, a Continental Army and appointed George Washington as Commander. Washington's first task, when he arrived in Boston to take charge of the ragtag militia assembled there, was to create an army in fact. It was a daunting task with no end of problems: recruitment, retention, training and discipline, supply, and payment for soldiers' services were among those problems. Nevertheless, Washington realized that keeping an army in the field was his single most important objective.
During the first two years of the Revolutionary War, most of the fighting between the patriots and British took place in the north. At first, the British generally had their way because of their far superior sea power. Despite Washington's daring victories at Trenton and Princeton, New Jersey, in late 1776 and early 1777, the British still retained the initiative. Indeed, had British efforts been better coordinated, they probably could have put down the rebellion in 1777. But such was not to be. Patriot forces, commanded by General Horatio Gates, achieved a significant victory at Saratoga, New York, in October 1777. Within months, this victory induced France to sign treaties of alliance and commerce with the United States. In retrospect, French involvement was the turning point of the war, although that was not obvious at the time.
Between 1778 and 1781, British military operations focused on the south because the British assumed a large percentage of Southerners were loyalists who could help them subdue the patriots. The British were successful in most conventional battles fought in that region, especially in areas close to their points of supply on the Atlantic coast. Even so, American generals Nathanael Greene and Daniel Morgan turned to guerrilla and hit-and-run warfare that eventually stymied the British. By 1781, British General Lord Charles Cornwallis was ordered to march into Virginia to await resupply near Chesapeake Bay. The Americans and their French allies pounced on Cornwallis and forced his surrender.
Yorktown was a signal victory for the patriots, but two years of sporadic warfare, continued military preparations, and diplomatic negotiations still lay ahead. The Americans and British signed a preliminary peace treaty on November 30, 1782; they signed the final treaty, known as the Peace of Paris, on September 10, 1783. The treaty was generally quite favorable to the United States in terms of national boundaries and other concessions. Even so, British violations of the agreement would become an almost constant source of irritation between the two nations far into the future.
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"Indian Magna Carta" redirects here. This term has also been applied to the United States Indian Reorganization Act.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763, by King George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War, which forbade all settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains. It rendered worthless land grants given by the British government to Americans who fought for the crown against France. This Proclamation angered American colonists, who wanted to continue their westward expansion into new lands for farming and keep local control over their settled area. The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada. The 1763 proclamation line is similar to the Eastern Continental Divide's path running northwards from Georgia to the Pennsylvania–New York border and north-eastwards past the drainage divide on the St. Lawrence Divide from there northwards through New England.
Main article: Great Britain in the Seven Years War
The Treaty of Paris was the official conclusion to the Seven Years' War, of which the French and Indian War was the North American theater. Under this treaty, France ceded ownership of all of continental North America east of the Mississippi River, including Quebec, and the rest of Canada to Britain. Spain received all French territory west of the Mississippi. Both Spain and Britain received some French islands in the Caribbean. France kept a few small islands used by fishermen, modern-day Haiti and the rich sugar island of Guadeloupe.
Besides regulating colonial expansion, the Proclamation of 1763 dealt with the management of inherited French colonies from the French and Indian War. It established government for four areas: Quebec, West Florida, East Florida, and Grenada.
Some Native American peoples—primarily in the Great Lakes region—had a long and close relationship with France, and were dismayed to find that they were now under British sovereignty. They missed the amicable relationship with the French, along with the gifts they bestowed upon them, neither of which they had with the British. Pontiac's Rebellion (1763–66), a war launched by a group of natives around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, was an unsuccessful effort by the western tribes to push the British back. However tribes were able to take over a large number of the forts which commanded the waterways involved in trade within the region and export to Great Britain. The Proclamation of 1763 had been in the works before Pontiac's Rebellion, but the outbreak of the conflict hastened the process. British officials hoped the proclamation would reconcile American Indians to British rule and help to prevent future hostilities.
At the outset, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 defined the jurisdictional limits of the occupied territories of North America. Explaining parts of the Frontier expansion in North America, in Colonial America and especially Canada colony of New France, a diminutive new colony, the Province of Quebec was carved. The territory northeast of the St. John River on the Labrador coast was placed under the Newfoundland Colony. The lands west of Quebec and west of a line running along the crest of the Allegheny mountains became Indian territory, temporarily barred to settlement, to the great disappointment of the land speculators of Virginia and Pennsylvania, who had started the Seven Years' War to gain these territories. The proclamation created a boundary line (often called the proclamation line) between the British colonies on the Atlantic coast and American Indian lands (called the Indian Reserve) west of the Appalachian Mountains. The proclamation line was not intended to be a permanent boundary between the colonists and Aboriginal lands, but rather a temporary boundary which could be extended further west in an orderly, lawful manner. It was also not designed as an uncrossable boundary; people could cross the line, just not settle past it. Its contour was defined by the headwaters that formed the watershed along the Appalachians. All land with rivers that flowed into the Atlantic was designated for the colonial entities, while all the land with rivers that flowed into the Mississippi was reserved for the native Indian population. The proclamation outlawed the private purchase of Native American land, which had often created problems in the past. Instead, all future land purchases were to be made by Crown officials "at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians". Furthermore, British colonials were forbidden to settle on native lands, and colonial officials were forbidden to grant ground or lands without royal approval. The proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from American Indians.
British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary since the British government had already assigned land grants to them. Many settlements already existed beyond the proclamation line, some of which had been temporarily evacuated during Pontiac's War, and there were many already granted land claims yet to be settled. For example, George Washington and his Virginia soldiers had been granted lands past the boundary. Prominent American colonials joined with the land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west. Their efforts were successful, and the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with the Native Americans. In 1768 the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour, followed in 1770 by the Treaty of Lochaber, opened much of what is now Kentucky and West Virginia to British settlement.
Indigenous People of Treaty Six Territory
Further information on Canadian Aboriginal legacy: The Canadian Crown and Indigenous peoples
The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession of Indigenous land in British North America, especially Upper Canada and Rupert's Land. The proclamation forms the basis of land claims of Indigenous peoples in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is thus mentioned in Section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
According to historian Colin Calloway, "[settler] scholars disagree on whether the proclamation recognized or undermined tribal sovereignty". The proclamation established the important precedent that the indigenous population had certain rights to the lands they occupied.
Some see the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as a "fundamental document" for First Nations land claims and self-government. It is “the first legal recognition by the British Crown of Aboriginal rights" and imposes a fiduciary duty of care on the Crown. The intent and promises made to the native in the Proclamation have been argued to be of a temporary nature, only meant to appease the Native peoples who were becoming increasingly resentful of “settler encroachments on their lands” and were capable of becoming a serious threat to British colonial settlement. Advice given by a merchant to the Board of Trade on August 30, 1764, expressed that
The Indians all know we cannot be a Match for them in the midst of an extensive woody Country...from whence I infer that if we are determined to possess Our Posts, Trade & ca securely, it cannot be done for a Century by any other means than that of purchasing the favour of the numerous Indian inhabitants.
Some historians believe that “the British were trying to convince Native people that there was nothing to fear from the colonists, while at the same time trying to increase political and economic power relative to First Nations and other European powers.” Others argue that the Royal Proclamation along with the subsequent Treaty of Niagara, provide for an argument that “discredits the claims of the Crown to exercise sovereignty over First Nations” and affirms Aboriginal “powers of self-determination in, among other things, allocating lands.”
The influence of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on the coming of the American Revolution has been variously interpreted. Many historians argue that the proclamation ceased to be a major source of tension after 1768, since the aforementioned treaties opened up extensive lands for settlement. Others have argued that colonial resentment of the proclamation contributed to the growing divide between the colonies and the mother country. Some historians argue that even though the boundary was pushed west in subsequent treaties, the British government refused to permit new colonial settlements for fear of instigating a war with Native Americans, which angered colonial land speculators. Others argue that the Royal Proclamation imposed a fiduciary duty of care on the Crown.
George Washington was given 20,000 acres (81 km2) of wild land in the Ohio region for his services in the French and Indian War. In 1770, Washington took the lead in securing the rights of him and his old soldiers in the French War, advancing money to pay expenses in behalf of the common cause and using his influence in the proper quarters. In August 1770, it was decided that Washington should personally make a trip to the western region, where he located tracts for himself and military comrades and eventually was granted letters patent for tracts of land there. The lands involved were open to Virginians under terms of the Treaty of Lochaber of 1770, except for the lands located 2 miles south of Fort Pitt, now known as Pittsburgh.
In the United States, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 ended with the American Revolutionary War because Great Britain ceded the land in question to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Afterward, the U.S. government also faced difficulties in preventing frontier violence and eventually adopted policies similar to those of the Royal Proclamation. The first in a series of Indian Intercourse Acts was passed in 1790, prohibiting unregulated trade and travel in Native American lands. In 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court case Johnson v. M'Intosh established that only the U.S. government, and not private individuals, could purchase land from Native Americans.
250th anniversary celebrations
In October 2013 the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation was celebrated in Ottawa with a meeting of Indian leaders and Governor-General David Johnston. The Aboriginal movement Idle No More held birthday parties for this monumental document at various locations across Canada.
- ^Royal Proclamation I
- ^Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (2007)
- ^ abGordon S. Wood, The American Revolution, A History. New York, Modern Library, 2002 ISBN 0-8129-7041-1, p.22
- ^W. J. Eccles, France in America, Fitzhrenry & Whiteside Limited 1972, p220
- ^Jack M. Sosin, Whitehall and the Wilderness (University of Nebraska Pres. 1961 p. 146
- ^Harvey Markowitz, American Indians (1995) p. 633
- ^Louis De Vorsey, The Indian boundary in the southern colonies, 1763–1775 (1966) p. 39.
- ^Calloway, Scratch of a Pen, 93.
- ^Borrows, Wampum, 155.
- ^Douglas R. Francis, Richard Jones and Donald B. Smith, Origins: Canadian History to Confederation 6th ed. (Toronto: Nelson Education Ltd., 2009), 157.
- ^Francis et al., Origins, 156.
- ^Jack Stagg, Anglo-Indian Relations In North America to 1763 and An Analysis of the Royal Proclamation of 7 October 1763, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Research Branch, 1981, 356.
- ^Borrows, Wampum, 158–159.
- ^Quoted in Native Liberty, Crown Sovereignty: The Existing Aboriginal Right of Self-Government in Canada, Bruce Clark. (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990), 81.
- ^Borrows, "Wampum," 160.
- ^Borrows, Wampum, 164.
- ^Borrows, Wampum, 165.
- ^Woody Holton (August 1994). "The Ohio Indians and the Coming of the American Revolution in Virginia". The Journal of Southern History. 60 (3): 453–78. doi:10.2307/2210989.
- ^"Royal Proclamation of 1763: Relationships, Rights and Treaties – Poster". Government of Canada. 2013-11-27.
- ^"Letter from George Washington to George Mercer dated November 7, 1771, at Williamsburg". The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources. p. 68. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013.
- ^21U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543 (1823)
- ^CBC.ca: "Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada's 'Indian Magna Carta,' turns 250" 6 Oct 2013
- ^G+M "Royal Proclamation’s 250th anniversary has First Nations reflecting on their rights" 7 October 2013
- Abernethy, Thomas Perkins (1959) . Western Lands and the American Revolution. New York: Russell & Russell.
- Borrows, John (1997). "Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian Legal History, and Self-Government". In Asch, Michael. Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-0580-3.
- Calloway, Colin (2006). The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-530071-8.
- Marshall, Peter. "Sir William Johnson and the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, 1768." Journal of American Studies (1967) 1#2 pp 149–179. doi:10.1017/S0021875800007830
- Sosin, Jack. Whitehall and the wilderness: The Middle West in British colonial policy, 1760-1775 (1961), the standard scholarly history of the proclamation and its effects.
- Stuart, Paul. The Indian Office: Growth and Development of an American Institution, 1865-1900 (UMI Research Press, 1979)
- Cashin, Edward J. "Governor Henry Ellis and the Transformation of British North America." Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994.
- Fenge, Terry and Jim Aldridge (eds.), Keeping Promises: The Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Rights, and Treaties in Canada, 2015, McGill-Queen's University Press
- Lawson, Philip. The Imperial Challenge: Quebec and Britain in the Age of the American Revolution. Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989.
- Roth, Christopher F. (2002) "Without Treaty, without Conquest: Indigenous Sovereignty in Post-Delgamuukw British Columbia." Wicazo Sa Review, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 143–165.
- Stonechild, Blair A. "Indian-White Relations in Canada, 1763 to the Present." In Encyclopedia of North American Indians, ed. Frederick E. Hoxie, 277–81. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.
- Tousignant, Pierre. "The Integration of the Province of Quebec into the British Empire, 1763–91. Part 1: From the Royal Proclamation to the Quebec Act." In Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 4. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980.