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Royal Proclaimtion | Quebec Act | American Revolution | Loyalists | Attack on Quebec

The American Revolution was slow in coming and was one of the most important events in North American history. After the end of the Seven Years War in 1762, many of the English colonists along the Atlantic seaboard felt they would be able to migrate west and find new land to settle on. With the threat from the French removed, there would be nothing to fear during westward expansion. The colonies felt that they had participated as partners in the defeat of the French and would share in the spoils within a benevolent and protective British Empire.

Britain had emerged from the conflict bathed in glory and victory. Her empire now stretched around the world and continual expansion would inevitably transpire.  The challenges that remained were financial and structural. The debt that had been built up during the 7 Years War had to be paid down and the budget brought under control. A fundamental belief in economic philosophy relating to mercantilism was that the colonies existed for the benefit of the mother country. Now that peace was established and threats removed from the colonies in North America, they would have to pay their share of the costs to maintain law and order, the military, and various other costs including the paying down of the debt.

The British were also anxious to have English colonists move into the newly won former French colony of Quebec and slowly begin the process of Anglicizing it. One Act of Parliament was intended to force potential settlers for the Ohio country to resettle in Quebec first and then proceed from there. It was hoped that this would help increase the percentage of English subjects in Quebec. The former Indian allies in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys were also to be granted lands for their support against the French.

The failure by the British to recognize a way in which the colonists could participate in government in London and the passage of various Acts which directly imposed taxes and obligations upon the colonists fuelled a growing resentment among many of the leading citizens of the colonies. These acts were referred to as the intolerable acts and slowly an awakening of the colonies indigenous power was expedited by resistance to these acts. There were many in Parliament that recognized the growing rift with the colonies but the governing party and fractions took a hard line against appeals for some sort of participation by the colonies and insisted on obedience to the crown.

With civil unrest and mob resistance growing the British began to revoke some of the colonial charters and strip power form some of the colonial legislatures. A Continental Congress was called for leaders of the colonies to assemble and discuss developing affairs. By July 0f 1776 the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed and America had separated.

Invitations were constantly issued to Nova Scotia, Quebec and the other British Colonies to join the 13 rebelling colonies but none were answered. Hostilities had begun in 1775 and in December 1775 an American army under Benedict Arnold attacked Quebec City in an attempt to force Quebec into the rebel camp and join the southern colonies against the British. The attack was defeated and Quebec was never really threatened again during the war.

The war continued with victories and defeats for both sides until 1781 when the Americans and their French allies defeated Lord Cornwallis and the British army at the Battle of Yorktown. This marked the end for British efforts to force the 13 colonies back into the British Empire and peace was negotiation. The remaining British colonies which comprised present day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario became a safe haven for British loyalists and were to slowly develop separately from the United States until they were prepared to unite as Canada in the 1860's and some later.


Question of Loyalty

By G Scott staff writter,  2012 - - section:eras, subsection Revolution