The Verbal Worship of the British Empire by Taylor

The Chapter 18 reading of American Colonies presents an alternative view of the New World. Whereas up until this point Taylor has described the New World in terms of settlement and development of political structures and economic systems, he now describes it as a battlefield to set the stage for the seven years war. He opens the history of war in the 18th century by stating that, despite having a well-funded army in the area, the French managed to lose a fortress at Louisberg to what was essentially a New English militia. After initial battles, both the French and the British realized that they needed to pay more attention to the New World as a theatre for warfare. However, as both colonial areas developed into the mid 18th century, population dynamics shifted so that the British found themselves at a massive advantage. They enjoyed areas of centralized, high density population, whereas the French found themselves dispersed along hundreds of miles of land that frankly was unsustainable and nobody could really live on. This lead to a particular point where Taylor refers to the French as “more restrained and civil” during the seven years war.

 

Really?

 

He goes on to explain himself by stating that since the French had such a dispersed population, they knew that the only way to win the seven years war was to gain the help of the Indian population, and become their puppeteers so that the Indian nations between the French and British Borders would die for the French. I completely agree with Jelaws post stating that The British, in this and several other instances, are painted in far too kind a light.

 

However, this does not excuse the indignation of the colonists that is described in later chapters. In exchange for fighting for and successfully defending the colonies, The British began to raise taxes on the colonists that were minuscule compared to taxes in England, and extremely affordable in the economy of the New World. However, the Colonists believed that they were being oppressed by their mother country because they were being asked to pay in VERY small part for a war which the British fought for them. Taylor describes the taxes being viewed as an “attack on liberty”, but, as always, in reality there is always a much more simple and pragmatic cause for government actions. Like trying to pay for two imperial wars at once.