Using the maps in this chapter, write a brief essay explaining why the St. Lawrence River valley was the strategic key to control of the whole center of North America.
1. Compare France’s colonizing efforts in the New World with Spain’s and England’s colonies (see especially Chapters 1 and 2). What factors explain France’s relatively weak impact on the New World compared with that of England’s and Spain’s?
2. In what ways were the American colonists involved in the home country’s struggle with France?
3. How did French relations with the Indians compare with the Indian policies of Britain and Spain?
4. Why did most Indian peoples fight with the French against Britain and its American colonists in the French and Indian War?
5. Explain why Britain’s successin defeating the French empire led to failures in dealing with its colonial subjects.
. What did the French and Indian War reveal about Britain’s fundamental attitudes toward its North American colonies. How did the British view of the colonists differ from the way the colonists understood themselves and their identity?
7. When the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) began, most American colonists were extremely proud and happy to be British citizens, part of the world’s greatest empire. When it ended many of them no longer felt that way, even though the British Empire was more powerful than ever. Why?
Chapter 7 Questions
1. What central political ideas had colonial Americans developed by the eighteenth century that made them deeply suspicious of centralized authority and fervent in defense of their rights?
2. How and why did the Americans and the British differ in their views of taxation and of the relationship of colonies to the empire?
3. What was the theory and practice of mercantilism? Was mercantilism actually as economically oppressive as the colonists came to believe? Were the psychological effects of colonial dependence less or more important than the economic ones?
4. Prior to the outbreak of violence in 1775, what essentially nonviolent methods did the colonists use in their struggle with British authorities? Were these methods effective in achieving colonial goals? How did the British respond to them?
5. What advantages and disadvantages did the American rebels and the British each possess as the war began? What did each side do to mobilize its resources most effectively?
6. At various times during the decade from 1765–1775, the British government backed down and sought compromise with the American colonies. Why did it react so differently, and harshly, after the Boston Tea Party? Was there any possibility that the Empire could have been repaired after the imposition of the Intolerable Acts?
7. Could the American people have won their independence without George Washington and the small, professional Continental Army? Why have the myths of the militiamen and the part-time citizen-soldiers (Minute Men) loomed almost larger in American memories of the Revolutionary War than memories of Washington’s trained professional military?
8. Was the American Revolution inevitable? Or could the thirteen colonies have remained attached to Britain for many years and then peacefully achieved their independence as the British colonies of Canada and Australia later did? How would the meaning of America have been different without this violent revolt from the home country?