Chapter 4: The Empire Under Strain
A Loosening of Ties
A Tradition of Neglect
As late as the 1750’s people had no reason to object their membership of the British Empire. But tension were rising as England lost its grip on the colonies. By 1775, their relationship was damaged beyond repair. The British Government remained uncertain on how to deal with the colonies and they were left to go their separate ways. The Parliament had growing supremacy over the king. The prime minister and his cabinet were mostly in charge. The first prime minister was robert Walpole, who believed that reducing trade restrictions would stimulate commerce. Meanwhile, the government itself was inefficient and there was much confusion in various departments. The weak administration and neglect policy weakened England’s hold on the colonies. Officials in the colonies were succumb to bribery. By the 1750’s the colonies had the right to levy taxes, make laws and create local governments.
Despite their frequent resistance, colonists thought of themselves as English. New Englanders and Virginians viewed each other as foreigners. Only geography seemed to connect these societies together. The colonial postal system helped increase communication. Still the colonists hated to cooperate even when faced with war. At a meeting of colonial leaders, it was decided that one general government be set up, but the colonies would keep their constitutions. There was an outbreak of war against the French and Indians.
The Struggle for the Continent
In the late 1750’s and 60’s, a great war raged thorough North America, changing the balance of power. In part, this was part of a larger struggle between England and France. the British victory in the Seven Years war confirmed their commercial supremacy and gave it control of settled regions in North America.
New France and the Iroquois Nation
By the 1750’s, religious and commercial tensions between the French and English had...