Print Сite this

French and Indian War

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a result of the dramatic opposition between the French and British forces which struggled for controlling more territories in North America. Thus, the French and Indian War should be discussed in the context of the worldwide conflict between the French and British forces known as the Seven Years’ War (Cave 7). Frontier tensions in North America led not only to one more colonial war but also contributed to developing the Seven Years’ War as an attempt to change the character of the states’ influence in their North American colonies. The first signs of the coming war were observed in 1754 when Lieutenant Colonel George Washington was defeated at the Battle of Fort Necessity. After the battle, Washington chose to sign the Document of Capitulation (Anderson 45). From this point, it is important to focus on the beginnings of the French and Indian War and to discuss the unique role of George Washington in escalating the military conflict between Great Britain and France in the 18th century. Even though the Battle of Fort Necessity was only one of the series of battles in the French and Indian War, Washington’s failure in the conflict contributed to developing a prolonged military opposition between the states of Great Britain and France and their colonies.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

To understand the aspects of the conflict’s development, it is necessary to refer to the events which led to intensifying the opposition between the French and British forces in North America. From 1750 to 1754, Great Britain was a powerful colonial state. Thus, Great Britain controlled thirteen colonies in North America, and these territories were expanded to the Appalachian Mountains. However, the territory of New France and Canadian colonies were controlled by the French officers who were also oriented to expanding the influence in the region (The United States Department of State). The Ohio River valley was the only disputable territory because both the French and British authorities were inclined to control these lands. In their attempts to win control over the territory, the French officers were rather aggressive because they focused on constructing fortifications in the region.

The British reaction to the French activities associated with developing the frontier conflict was active, and Lieutenant Colonel George Washington was sent to the Ohio territories to deliver a message to the French authorities in 1753 (Anderson 45-46). Washington’s mission was to demonstrate the British protest regarding French activities and intentions. In response to the provided message, the French authorities continued to strengthen their positions at the discussed territories. As a result, both the French and British officers began to prepare for the expected military conflict. At this stage, Washington could not influence the situation, and his role was only in analyzing the French intentions and further actions.

The situation changed in 1954 when Washington became the main figure in escalating the conflict between the French and British forces because of being responsible for important military and political decisions. It is possible to state that in spring of 1754, Lieutenant Colonel George Washington was ready to oppose the French forces referring to the assistance of the Virginian militiamen. While orienting to the French Fort Duquesne, the British forces attacked the French soldiers, and Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville was killed at the battlefield. The battle was discussed by the researchers as the first military attempt to expel the French forces from the region (Dixon 334). However, the consequences of the battle were more significant for the history of the French and Indian War than the battle itself. To avoid the attack of the French because of Jumonville’s death, Washington started to build Fort Necessity at Great Meadows.

The fort was a small circular fortification round a rather small storehouse (Anderson 46-47). Having little time and resources to construct an effective fort, the British soldiers started to dig trenches to provide more space and protection for three hundred persons. However, when the French army of militiamen and Indians came to the fort, they observed a lot of opportunities to use the fire and protect themselves behind the leaves of the trees located in front of the fort (Anderson 46-47). The weather conditions, the physical state of the British soldiers, and the absence of the Ohio Indians’ help contributed to the defeat of the British forces. Washington’s defeat demonstrated the unpreparedness of the British forces to the serious military conflict because of their obvious focus on winning the control over the Ohio territories without any efforts.

Thus, Washington’s failure in the Battle of Fort Necessity could be discussed as only one defeat in the conflict associated with the frontier tensions, but the problem was in the fact that the French commanders and authorities used the defeat as the ground to start the war. From this point, it is possible to focus on several reasons for Washington’s failure in the Battle of Fort Necessity. Analyzing the events, it is possible to state that there were no time and resources to build a fort and resist the attacks of the French soldiers effectively. The British soldiers were exhausted and demoralized by the start of the battle because of understanding the superiority of the French forces supported by the Indians (Dixon 334-335). Researchers also note that Washington was an amateur in leading the soldiers and in deciding on the tactics, and the French commanders used that fact to develop a new war (Anderson 48; Cave 118). The military conflict between France and Great Britain could provide the French monarch with the opportunities to strengthen his influence in the world colonies and expand them defeating the British monarchy.

Analyzing the role of George Washington’s actions during the beginnings of the French and Indian War, it is necessary to examine the ways to avoid the war in North America and Europe. Being defeated in the Battle of Fort Necessity, Washington was proposed to sign the Document of Capitulation, which also included specific terms of capitulation. It was expected that Washington discussed capitulation as the only way to avoid the French trial. On the one hand, the Document of Capitulation included such reasonable points as the discharge of prisoners and the absence of claims regarding the Ohio territories. On the other hand, the text of the document also included statements related to the assassination of Jumonville as the French diplomatic envoy. Signing the document, Washington admitted his guilt about Jumonville’s assassination (Cave 118). As a result, the French king received the opportunity to start a war against Great Britain at any time. In this context, Washington had few opportunities to avoid signing the terms of capitulation and prevent the further escalation of the conflict because of the need to protect the lives of the British soldiers surviving the Battle of Fort Necessity.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

In spite of the time break between the Battle of Fort Necessity and the actual beginning of the French and Indian War, Washington’s defeat is discussed by historians as one of the most dramatic events in this military conflict. The British governor, the Duke of Newcastle, reacted to Washington’s failure with sending Major General Braddock to Fort Duquesne, but the initiative resulted in the defeat and in strengthening the French control in the region (Cave 8-9). The British authorities were rather helpful to state their control over the desired territories in a new complicated situation. Furthermore, the French authorities not only used the opportunity to make the Ohio territories the French colony but also focused on developing a full-scale war necessary for increasing the French world status as a powerful colonial state (Anderson 50). From this point, the Battle of Fort Necessity can be discussed as a turning point in the developing colonial war between France and Great Britain.

Referring to the results of the Battle of Fort Necessity in the context of the French and Indian War, it is necessary to focus on the role of George Washington in influencing the development of the military conflict. The Battle of Fort Necessity was Washington’s one of the first military experiences, and it is almost impossible to refer to Lieutenant Colonel as an effective decision-maker who could predict all the consequences of the aftermath of his actions the Battle of Fort Necessity (Cave 117-118). On the one hand, Washington rather effectively used the available resources while planning the resistance to the French attacks at Fort Necessity. On the other hand, the lack of experience prevented Washington from organizing an effective military operation to avoid signing the document presenting the terms of capitulation. Thus, it is impossible to discuss the issue of the war only from one angle, examining only Washington’s successes and failures without discussing the context of the relationships between France and Great Britain during the 18th century.

Thus, focusing on the results of the Battle of Fort Necessity and the beginnings of the French and Indian War, much attention should be paid to the role of Washington in developing the war. From this perspective, the role of Washington in the French and Indian War is significant because he signed the document that was used as the justification for war. However, it is impossible to state that Washington’s actions played a key role in escalating the conflict, which was a result of the years of tensions between France and Great Britain. In this case, the Battle of Fort Necessity can be discussed as only the start of the prolonged military conflict in a series of other colonial wars, which further resulted in the Seven Years’ War. Different consequences can be predicted while discussing the development of the conflict between the French authorities, British officers, and Indians in the Ohio River Valley. As a result, the beginning of the war at these territories could be considered as a question of time, and the role of George Washington is less critical in this context.

Annotated bibliography

Anderson, Fred. The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War. Boston, MA: Penguin, 2006.

Anderson discusses all the phases of the French and Indian War in his book. Describing historic events, Anderson develops his own argument and evaluates the results of the war for the history of the United States. The source provides important details, facts, and examples necessary to support arguments and conclusions made in the paper.

Cave, Alfred. The French and Indian War. Boston, MA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.

Alfred Cave is Professor of History at the University of Toledo located in Ohio. In his book, Cave discusses all the details of the French and Indian War with the focus on its role in the context of the world war involving Great Britain and France. The book is important to understand the events which lead to the war, including the Battle of Fort Necessity. The book also provides the biographical sketch to discuss the personality of George Washington.

We will write a custom
essays
specifically
for you!
Get your first paper with
15% OFF
Learn More

Dixon, David. “A High Wind Rising: George Washington, Fort Necessity, and the Ohio Country Indians.” Pennsylvania History 74, no. 3 (2007): 333-353.

In his article, David Dixon, a professor of history at Slippery Rock University, focuses on the role of George Washington’s activities in forming the political and social life of the Ohio Country Indians in the 18th century. This article is important to support the statements about the social situation in the Ohio River Valley during the conflict.

The United States Department of State. Milestones: 1750–1775: French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War, 1754–63. Washington, DC, 2012. Web.

The United States Department of State website supports the “Office of the Historian” project. These web pages are written by professional historians for the purpose of preparing the official historical records and presenting the results of the official historical researches. The information from the website is used to support the historical details mentioned in the paper in the context of the battle’s role for developing the Seven Years’ War.

Cite this paper

Select style

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2020, May 11). French and Indian War. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/

Reference

StudyCorgi. (2020, May 11). French and Indian War. https://studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/

Work Cited

"French and Indian War." StudyCorgi, 11 May 2020, studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/.

1. StudyCorgi. "French and Indian War." May 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/.


Bibliography


StudyCorgi. "French and Indian War." May 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2020. "French and Indian War." May 11, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/french-and-indian-war/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2020) 'French and Indian War'. 11 May.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.