Chapter 6 (12th)

The Duel for North America

  1. France Finds a Foothold in Canada
    1. France got a late start in colonizing America (like England and Holland).
      1. French were tardy due because during the 16th century they suffered foreign wars and issues at home.
        1. To help ease Catholic-Protestant feuding, the Edict of Nantes (1598) was issued. It granted religious toleration to the Huguenots (French Protestants).
      2. King Louis XIV took an active interest in France’s lands overseas—he wanted more.
      3. So, the French landed in the St. Lawrence River in what is today’s Quebec.
        1. Samuel de Champlain was the leader of the expedition and “Father of New France.”
        2. Champlain was on good terms with the local Huron Indians. He helped the Huron defeat their enemy, the Iroquois.
        3. His alliance with the Huron would become a problem later with the British in the French and Indian War.
      4. New France didn’t have loads of immigrants (as did New England).
        1. The French peasants were too poor to get themselves across the ocean.
        2. The Huguenots were not permitted to emigrate.
  2. New France Fans Out
    1. New France was built on the beaver skin trade.
      1. Young beaver trappers (coureurs de bois or “runners of the woods”) paddled canoes into trapping lands, worked with the Indians, and hauled out their beaver skins for sale.
        1. They were also known as voyageurs.
        2. Place-names were left behind like Baton Rouge (red stick), Terre Haute (high land), Des Moines (the monks), and Grand Teton (big breast).
        3. Their Indian friends were decimated by the whites’ diseases.
        4. The beaver population eventually began to run thin.
    2. Catholic missionaries tried to convert Indians to Christianity.
    3. New France grew.
      1. Detroit (the “City of Straits”) was founded in 1701 by Antoine Cadillac to help fend off the English from moving into the Ohio Valley.
      2. Louisiana was founded by Robert de La Salle in 1682. It reached from the headwaters of the Mississippi River down to the Gulf of Mexico.
      3. The fertile lands of Illinois were New France’s breadbasket. There they had forts and trading posts at Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Vincennes.
  3. The Clash of Empires
    1. England got into some mini-wars in the 1700s with various other nations. Bottom line: it was England vs. France/Spain; England won.
      1. King William’s War and Queen Anne’s War
        1. The French coureurs de bois and the British colonists. Both sides recruited Indian allies.
        2. Both sides agreed that America wasn't worth risking regular troops.
        3. Pro-France Indians ransacked Schenectady, New York, and Deerfield, Mass.
        4. The British failed to take Quebec and Montreal, but did temporarily seize Port Royal.
        5. The English won the war and a peace treaty was signed at Utrecht (1713)
          1. It gave the British Acadia (renamed as Nova Scotia), Newfoundland, and Hudson Bay.
          2. It pinned the French down to the settlements along the St. Lawrence River.
          3. It gave the British trading rights with Spanish Florida.
      2. The War of Jenkins’s Ear
        1. A Spanish commander cut off an English Captain Jenkins' ear.
        2. The war was small and played out in the Caribbean and the buffer colony of Georgia.
        3. It merged with the larger War of Austrian Succession and became known as King George's War.
        4. The British invaded Ft. Louisbourg (guarding the entrance to New France) and took it.
        5. The peace treaty gave Louisbourg back to the French. The English were outraged.
  4. George Washington Inaugurates War with France
    1. The British, French, and Spanish were in mini-wars, on and off. The Ohio Valley would be the battleground (and prize) for the decisive war (the French and Indian War).
      1. The land was sandwiched between British and French colonies. Where's the border? was the question.
      2. The land was very fertile and therefore very valuable.
    2. The French set out to lay claim to the Ohio Valley by building Ft. Duqeusne (at today's Pittsburgh).
      1. In response to the fort, the British sent 21 year old Major George Washington and troops.
      2. Washington got into a skirmish, built Ft. Necessity, fought guerilla-style, and was forced to surrender after 10 hours.
      3. Back in Nova Scotia, the British evicted the French Acadians. They migrated as far south as New Orleans and became known as the "Cajuns."
      4. After a wrist-slapping, he was allowed to march away. But, the French and Indian War had begun.
  5. Global War and Colonial Disunity
    1. Though the players were the same, the French and Indian War was different from the others—it'd begun in America.
    2. The French and Indian War was called the Seven Years' War back in Europe.
      1. In America, it was England/American colonists/some Indian tribes vs. France/French colonists/more Indian tribes.
      2. The belligerents were England/America/Prussia vs. France/Spain/Austria/Russia.
      3. Frederick the Great of Prussia (Germany), though outnumbered, held off the French, Austrian, and Russian armies.
    3. Many Americans sought strength in unity. To unite or not was a hot topic however.
      1. 7 of the 13 colonies met (1754) at the Albany Congress in Albany, NY.
      2. There, Ben Franklin led the delegates toward unity.
        1. His famous "Join or Die" cartoon of a disjointed snake (symbolizing the colonies) illustrated his point.
        2. His plan eventually failed though, because the colonies were reluctant to give up their sovereignty or power. Still, it was a big step toward unity—one that'd be repeated later on.
  6. Braddock's Blundering and Its Aftermath
    1. After Washington's failure, the British sent Gen. Edward Braddock to roust out the French at Ft. Duquesne.
      1. Braddock's men were ambushed en route to the battle and nearly wiped out. Braddock himself was killed. Only Washington's men using "Indian tactics" (guerilla fighting) prevented a total catastrophe.
      2. Clearly, a new style of fighting was needed in America (not the European style of fighting in an open field with lines of troops).
    2. A rash of Indian uprisings spread across America from frontier Pennsylvania to North Carolina. Rewards were offered to whites for Indian scalps.
    3. British defeats mounted as they tried unsuccessfully to take wilderness posts.
  7. Pitt’s Palms of Victory This content copyright © 2010 by
    1. Just as things were going terribly for the British, a strong leader stepped up in William Pitt, the "Great Commoner" who became the "Organizer of Victory."
    2. Pitt made some changes in the war…
      1. He took the focus off of the French West Indies (this sapped British resources).
      2. He put the focus on Quebec and Montreal (since they controlled the supply routes into New France).
      3. He replaced old, cautious officers with young, daring officers.
    3. Pitt's plan worked.
      1. Ft. Louisbourg fell in 1758. This was like cutting the root and letting the vine wither because all French supplies funneled past Louisbourg.
      2. James Wolfe, handsome at 32 years old, scored a major victory at the Battle of Quebec.
        1. Quebec was considered impenetrable with its bluffs. But, Wolfe's men snuck up the cliffs, then surprised and defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham. Both Wolfe and his French counterpart Marquis de Montcalm were killed in the battle.
        2. The Battle of Quebec was a red letter event in British and American history.
        3. After Montreal fell to the British in 1760, it was all but over.
    4. The Treaty of Paris, 1763 was a crushing defeat for France and victory for Britain.
      1. France was kicked out of North America completely. This meant Britain got Canada and the land all the way to the Mississippi River.
      2. France was allowed to keep sugar plantations in the West Indies and 2 islands in the St. Lawrence for fishing purposes.
      3. France was forced to give the Louisiana (including New Orleans) territory to Spain.
  8. Restless Colonists
    1. These wars and victories had effects…
      1. The British & colonists were confident after their victories.
      2. The notion that British regulars were invincible was shattered (Ie. Braddock's loss).
      3. Friction emerged between the uppity British and colonial "boors." This foreshadowed trouble.
        1. The British wouldn't recognize any American above the rank of captain.
        2. Americans thought of themselves as equals to British.
      4. The Brits distrusted the Americans. Some Americans had traded with enemy ports in the West Indies; this had prompted Britain to forbid New England exports.
      5. Other Americans didn't want to fight, but wanted full British privileges. They only fought when Pitt offered reimbursement.
      6. One major benefit of the war was the realization of much in common. The colonies had been reluctant to unite, but now were surprise to realize that they shared things: language, traditions, and ideals. The colonies were bonding.
  9. Americans: A People of Destiny
    1. With the war over, American colonists roamed free—without worry of France, and to a large degree, of England.
      1. The French took solace in their loss by figuring, "If we lost a great empire, maybe England will one day lose theirs."
      2. Spain was also crippled. Florida had been a headache because of Indian troubles and runaway slaves, but Spain had been defeated. England was now in control.
    2. The Indians recognized their weakened position.
      1. Ottawa chief Pontiac led a violent uprising in the Ohio valley.
      2. He had some success initially, but the British were ruthless and destroyed his people. One infamous tactic was to give the Indians blankets laced with smallpox.
      3. This opened the trans-Appalachians to the English. Daniel Boone trekked across the mountains and led settlers into Tennessee and Kentucky.
      4. London suddenly issued the Proclamation Line of 1763.
        1. This line was the Appalachian Mountains.
        2. It said whites were not permitted to cross and settle west of the Appalachian Mountains; that was Indian land.
        3. The purpose of the proclamation was to resolve the Indian issue with the "out-of-bounds" line. But, the colonists cried foul asking, "Didn't we just fight a war to win this land?!"
        4. In 1765, 1,000 wagons left Salisbury, NC to head "up west" despite the proclamation.
      5. The British, puffed up with victory, were becoming annoyed at the unruly and unappreciative Americans. Trouble was brewing.
  10. Makers of America: The French
    1. King Louis XIV dreamed of a French Empire in North America. Losses in 1713 and especially in 1763 ended that dream.
    2. The Acadians were some of the first French to be rooted out of their homes.
      1. These folks were from Acadia, the place that was changed to Nova Scotia.
      2. The British had demanded allegiance to Britain, or leave. The Acadians left.
      3. The scattered but largely went down to the bayous around New Orleans. They brought/developed a unique culture that came to be called the "Cajuns"…
        1. They brought Roman Catholicism with them.
        2. They raised sugar cane and sweet potatoes.
        3. They spoke a French dialect.
        4. They began to intermarry with the Spanish, French, and Germans.
        5. The Cajun culture is a mix of a lot of cultures thrown together in a mixing pot and stirred together.
        6. The Cajuns were very isolated until the 1930s. Gov. Huey Long started building bridges that linked up the bayous and the people.
    3. After the French and Indian War (1763) Quebec citizens began emigrating to New England. Their motivation was lack of food in Quebec.
      1. These folks hoped to return to Canada.
      2. They kept their religion (Catholicism) and their language (French).
      3. Even still, English is spoken today by the Cajuns and French-Canadians in America.
    4. Quebec remains today as the strongest testament of France in North America.
      1. The French language is on road signs, in classrooms, courts, and markets.

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Except for the 11th edition American History pages, the content of this site is copyright © 2010 by and may not be copied or redistributed. It is protected at