The Proclamation of 1763


After the French and Indian War, England decided to change the way it treated the colonies. First, the British felt the colonies needed more protection from the American Indians. Second, the war had left England with a large debt. England believed the colonies should pay part of this debt. Finally, England believed the colonies did not have enough respect for English laws.

In 1763 a remarkable Indian leader, Chief Pontiac, tried to drive the British from the land around the Ohio River. He captured many British forts. Pontiac was defeated only when England sent more soldiers to America. The British felt they should keep 10,000 soldiers in America to protect the colonies. This would cost a large sum of money. The British government wanted the colonies to help pay this cost.                             


To avoid more trouble with the Indians, the British issued the Proclamation of 1763, closing the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains to the settlers. The British did not expect to keep this law for long. They wanted to give the Indians some time to calm down. In time, England would reopen the land to pioneers. The proclamation also required fur traders to have a license to trade with the Indians. A large British force was sent to the frontier to enforce the new laws.

The pioneers were angry with the new laws. They wanted the rich farmland west of the mountains. Land companies wanted to sell this land to the settlers. The fur traders wanted to be free to deal with the Indians. They hated the law that limited their trading.

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