Jayla Reese 1 September 2012 3 Essay 2: Colonial Unity (1755-1774) Beginning in 1754, the evolution of colonial unity experienced its jump start with the event of the French and Indian War in America. In entering this war, the French were doing fairly well; they’d just ensured the surrendering of George Washington and Virginian troops as well as the Native Americans that were helping them. The French and Indian had also begun attacking the settlements of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
After a breakdown in French leadership, however, the tables suddenly turned in favor of the Americans, with the help of the British, who successfully claimed victory in 1763. The great victory and power of the British Empire led to conflicts that would ultimately ruin the relationship between the British and the American colonists shortly after. As a result of the incapability to administer the colonies and territories of North America, the British began enforcing harsh restrictions and taxes, which directly affected the colonists.
The Stamp Act was a major one of many, passed in 1765, that taxed the colonists for legal documents including newspapers and publications. This sparked outrage in the colonists, and also acts that would ultimately begin to strengthen the colonies. Referring back to the French and Indian war, the Albany Congress was configured during the same year, June of 1754. Seven representatives, one from each colony, met in Albany, New York, with the intent to discuss the Albany Plan of Union.
The purpose of this plan, created by Benjamin Franklin, was to discuss persuading the Iroquois to aid them in fighting the French, and to also group the colonies into one alliance. Unfortunately, the plan failed due to the rejection in which none of the legislatures present during the meeting decided to ratify it. Although the Albany Congress proved to be unsuccessful in unifying the American colonies, future attempts were made by the Stamp Act Congress, and the First Continental Congress as the British and American colonies ontinued to debate the issue of taxes. The Stamp Act Congress, which included delegates of nine colonies, met in October of 1765 in regards to the Stamp Act. The Stamp Act Congress was not an immediate success, but in the end, all but one legislature approved the plan known as the Stamp Act Resolves. The famous saying “No taxation without representation! ” has been known to have derived from this action. Events following this colonial effort would later include American boycotts and movements against the British rule.
The Boston Massacre, occurring on March 5, 1770, which resulted in the death of five men, and also the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 in which Bostonians destroyed a shipload of tea, were two major occurrences that showed the strong American resistance to the British. Another meeting, held by twelve colonies, would establish the committees of correspondence due to the threats made my British to trial Americans in England, and would further show the growth of unity building among the colonies.
Pleased with the decisions and organization shown during the meeting of the Stamp Act Congress, the colonies decided to meet again from September 5 to October 26 in 1774 sending their delegates to Philadelphia. The First Continental Congress, as they were called, met in response to the Coercive Acts passed in favor of British authority. All colonies except Georgia were present, and the delegates all strongly agreed that Coercive Acts were unconstitutional. However, the representatives still thought only in ways to benefit their individual colonies.
This led to the division of the colonies and eventually some of the colonists were against boycotting British trade (Continental Association) and other colonies agreed with this gesture. Although the colonies essentially worked together as a whole for some matters, the unity displayed between them wasn’t the greatest. The colonies would later, during 1774 and 1775, split into the Whigs and Tories, in which the Whigs were anti-British rule, and the Tories supported the British. However, the British were primarily the main purpose for the colonies to take a stance, thus causing the colonists to bond together despite their differences.