The Connection between Westward Expansion and the American Revolution


Map of North America after the Treaty of Paris of 1763

The British won vast territory in North America after the Seven Years’ War, but with the land came numerous problems of how to govern it. Conflicts arose from the inability of British officials to balance the interests of colonists and Indians, which led to colonial dissatisfaction with imperial rule and, ultimately, to the causes of the American Revolution.

Territorial Gains from the Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris of 1763 that ended the Seven Years’ War provided Great Britain with enormous territorial gains. Under the treaty, Canada and the entire present-day United States east of the Mississippi came under British control. With the official end of the war, Anglo-American colonists began to pour over the Appalachian Mountains in search of land.

As the native population had made no land cessions, many of these settlers had no official claim to the land. In many cases, the land was claimed by private land companies, in which the Virginia elite had invested heavily in an attempt to diversify their holdings outside of the volatile tobacco market. Thus, they had an interest in pressing the British Government to address ensuing tensions.

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