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US History - Indian Wars and the American Revolution

Updated on April 4, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

In many ways, music saved my life, and I have the most famous director of the USMC bands to thank for it!

Conference between the French and Indian leaders around a ceremonial fire by Émile Louis Vernier (1829 - 1887).
Conference between the French and Indian leaders around a ceremonial fire by Émile Louis Vernier (1829 - 1887). | Source

Prelude to the American Revolution

The British in America were distracted by the French and Indian War (1754 -1763). This was a war with France and was only one of a series of such wars that began in the 1600s.

Warring over land title ownership seems to have begun as soon as the European groups settled in America and organized themselves beyond mere survival during the harsh winters.

As European settlement progressed, the newcomers seemed to want even more land for their home countries' Kings and Queens.

The French and Indian War was the first war entered into by Europeans on land in the New World, previous wars between France and England having begun largely in Europe.

Land Speculation

The Ohio Company of Virginia was an 18th century land speculation company. it was founded for settlement by Virginians of the Ohio Territory and for trading with the Native North Americans in the territory. Ohio finally became a US State in 1803.

Indian War

Both the French and the English wanted the land that was Ohio and its surrounding region, because both European nations had sent fur traders in to deal with Native North Americans in that territory. By the mid-18th century, the Ohio Company of Virginia was an active group of English traders that wanted to split the territory into farms for the English.

The French tried to stop this farming by sending in troops and building a fort in what is now Pittsburgh: Fort Dusquesne. However, the Miami Indian town, Pickawillany, served many British settlers. Nevertheless, the French and other Native Americans destroyed the village in 1752.

In 1754, George Washington could not drive out the French, so he build Fort Necessity in a standoff play. On July 3, 1754, the French and Native Americans conquered Fort Necessity and began The French and Indian War.

Likeness of a Mohawk man. Mohawk were the easternmost Iroquois nation in the future Eastern Seaboard of the USA. They are "Keepers of the Eastern Gate", first to see sunrise.
Likeness of a Mohawk man. Mohawk were the easternmost Iroquois nation in the future Eastern Seaboard of the USA. They are "Keepers of the Eastern Gate", first to see sunrise.

Native Americans in the Ohio Territories

Native Americans in the Ohio Territories sided with the French, because there were fewer of them than the English, whom they thought would overtake Native lands and displace the indigenous people.

[Note: My French-Mohawk ancestor was part of this on the French side, which is ironic, since the other side of my family is distantly linked to the Queen of England. They came to America around the time of The French and Indian War. Perhaps they even fought each other 300 years ago. In my own lifetime, I have seen French-British tensions close up.]

English Prime Minister William Pitt sent backup British troops to America in 1758 and they conquered for Duquesne. Next, they captured Fort Niagara and Quebec, the largest French city in the New World and then Montreal in 1759. England was now in control.

The French and Indian War actually continued in the Old World -- Europe, Africa, and Asia - until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1763. Britain came out of it owning the majority of what is now Canada and the lands from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi River, except Florida.

Meanwhile, the Colonists in The 13 Colonies wanted independence.

A New Nation and Constitution

The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the first and oldest representative democracy, greatly influenced the US Constitution. The Six Nations are Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.

Map of Six Nations Reserve Today

Six Nations Reserve, Ontario:
Six Nations Indian Reserve No. 40, ON, Canada

get directions

Chief Thayandaneega aka Joseph Brant
Chief Thayandaneega aka Joseph Brant

Mohawk Chief Thayandaneega: Captain Joseph Brant

Joseph Brant (Chief Thayandaneega) was a war chief of the Iroquois Six Nations, but also a British military captain. He recognized the usefulness of interaction with the British and received sand English education. Indeed, the Mohawk and other Iroquois interacted with the English and even began businesses and worked in and among them.

Captain Brant earned the respect of Native Americans and English alike, because he helped to bridge the two worlds. When the American Revolution ended in 1783, he became a US statesman and negotiated land settlements for the Iroquois Six Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.

The Six Nations lived in Ontario Province in the Grand River Valley. Statesman Brant was vital in aiding economic, religious, and political activities. The Mohawk Nation is still a vital political entity in Ontario. Brant helped start a school and a grist mill in the region, but he always kept the attitude that Native Americans are sovereign nations.

The British Red Coat Soldiers

Fife and Drum Corps, United States Army 3rd Infantry Regiment, tribute to the British.
Fife and Drum Corps, United States Army 3rd Infantry Regiment, tribute to the British.

British Control After French and Indian War

England wanted to control the 13 Colonies to prevent their expansion by themselves westward, because all control would then be lost. (Imagine trying to control a child or teenager 3,000 miles away without mail, phones, computers or any other contact. Mind control probably won't do it.)

In a political ploy, England enacted the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to reserve all the lands between the Alleghenies, Florida, the Mississippi River and Quebec for Native Americans. The Colonists felt belittled. Next, the Sugar Act of 1764 prevented import of foreign rum, taxed molasses from home and abroad, and further, taxed wine, silk, coffee and other items. England sent warships to watch for smugglers.

The English carried "writs of assistance" that let the Crown's officers search suspected premises at will. Colonists began to chant "No taxation without representation." They received the Currency Act for their trouble, which permitted only British money to be used. Then came the Stamp Act that pasted tax stamps on newspapers, pamphlets, leases and all other printed matter. Everyone in the colonies had to pay. This led to the formation of the secret security organization Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party.

England would not permit Americans to be represented in the British Parliament. Instead, Colonists received The Townshend Acts that funded colonial governors, judges, and the Red Coats and such in America. The Colonists boycotted British goods, so England repealed taxes except for the Tea Tax. Incensed, the Sons of Liberty initiated the Boston Tea Party.

Next, England enacted The Intolerable Acts.

  • Boston Port Bill -- closed the port of Boston until the price of the ruined tea was paid.
  • Restriction of local authority
  • Banning of town meetings
  • Quartering Act -- local authorities were required to find quarters for the Red Coats, in inns and even private homes.
  • The Quebec Act - expanded the boundaries of Quebec Province, surrounding the Colonists with a Roman Catholic territory. Simply stated, the Church of England was itself a form of Catholicism and the Colonists did not want to abide by the state-sponsored Church of England.

War Re-Enactment

Foundations of Religious Freedom in America

Puritans and the Quakers

The Puritans and the Quakers especially left the Old World to escape form religious control and abuse. The Intolerable Acts were all forms of additional control and abuse. The Quakers, believed in individual freedom, but the Puritans believed that human beings needed government as a guide.

This is almost like the beginning of Republican and Democrat political parties on an elementary level. The Quakers went on to fight for abolition of slavery, Native American rights, prison reform, prohibition alcohol, education, and the women's movement.

The French Huguenots also came to America for religious freedom and two of their most famous members were Paul Revere and Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Francis Marion
Francis Marion
Francis Marion

Heroes of the Revolution

My favorite figure in the American Revolution (American War for Independence) is General Francis Marion. He was nicknamed the "Swamp Fox" when British Colonel Tarleton cursed him as a crafty fox for his guerrilla warfare techniques.

The Red Coats simply lined up and marched forward in lines, moving across fields with their red coats blaring in the sun as easy targets. The Colonists under Marion hid with camouflage and jumped out of trees on them, etc.

Marion's men also covertly destroyed enemy communication, diverted supplies, and freed prisoners before disappearing into thin air.

He used the land to help him outsmart the British. One of the major advantages that the rebels had against the British is that they knew the lay of the land! In 1842, the Marion Military Institute was founded, making it the oldest military junior college in the nation.

The name honors General Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War "Swamp Fox."

Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox

Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox
Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox
This is one of the first books I collected on this subject. Francis Marion was nicknamed the "Swamp Fox", a commander and Brigadier General for his command of volunteer troops during the American Revolution. His men were primarily local farmers, Native Americans, and African Americans who fought in the swamps of the Southeastern Seaboard. They attacked at night and took British supplies, weapons, and horses in a series of actions vital to the forming of the USA.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS


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