The French and Indian War, spanning from 1754-1763 marked a major turning point in the relationship of Great Britain and her American colonies.
Prior to the war colonists enjoyed near free reign, afterwards the British began constricting their grip upon the colonies and affected their relations greatly in the process.Before the war the colonists lived under loose mercantilist law, in a period of salutary neglect in which Britain’s laws were few and hardly enforced. This suited both parties quite well until the war, and the British fought themselves into a large debt. Parliament decided that as British subjects, the colonists were required to pay part of the incurred debt.
George Grenville, sent to levy taxes and enforce new laws is a pivotal piece in the shifting attitudes of Britain and the colonies toward one another. Grenville levied taxes such as the stamp act, taxing almost every single paper product imported to the Americas. This outraged many to the point of burning down and beating or destroying various people and structures related to the stamp trade. Grenville also enforced navigation laws in his mercantilist policies such as the treatment of smugglers.
Any person suspected of such were sent to Nova Scotia with no trial, as well as being forced to pay for their own journey. This served to limit the colonists ability to trade with other nations for needed goods which further fueled colonial discontent towards Britain.Other taxes, such as the tea ta served to incite action among the colonists. They believed the tea tax to be another way for the British to scam them of their money, and as such the sons of liberty, dressed as Native Americans, dumped literal tons of tea into the harbor. Meanwhile, from the perspective of Parliament this tax was mutually beneficial, even favouring the colonists. The Boston Tea Party yet again served to weaken the trust once evident between the two before the war. The Tea Tax, Boston Tea Party, and other similar events accumulated to the British sending a force of 5,000 redcoats to make an example of Boston.
However, this only fueled the flames of distrust, and discontent among Britain and her soon to be independent colonies. The occupation of Boston resulted in further resistance, many fights and skirmishes such as the Boston “Massacre”. The massacre was used as a tool of propaganda among the more opportunistic colonists, creating depictions of the event in an exaggerated manner, yet again fanning the flames of a not to far off rebellion. These events seemed ample reason to Parliament to justify sending more soldiers.The war marked the most pivotal point in the attitude shift of the colonies to their mother country. At multiple points such as the tea tax, the British sought to reconcile with the colonies, however from a colonial perspective it seemed a bid to exploit them further.
This contrast of opinions and actions played greatly towards affirming colonial discontent towards the British, and the British to them.