The French and Indian WAR

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1 The French and Indian WAR Junior Scholastic, Oct 1, 2001 by Alexandra Hanson-Harding It changed the future of North America In 1607, the first English settlers founded Jamestown, Virginia. A year later, the French arrived in Canada. For the next 150 years, Britain and France struggled for control of land in North America. The two countries fought four wars between 1689 and The last and most important was the French and Indian War ( ). That struggle began over who would control the Ohio River valley. French fur trappers had explored the land and claimed it for France. But Britain claimed that its Colonies extended west into that territory. The outcome of the war would change the future of North America. SCENE ONE Narrator A: It is October 22, 1753, in Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia. Robert Dinwiddie: The French and their Algonquin Indian allies are massacring settlers in western Virginia. Take this letter to the French. They must leave our people alone and get off the land! George Washington: Yes, sir! Narrator A: Washington starts out, reaching a French fort in December. Washington: This is British territory. Your forces must leave! Legardeur de St. Pierre: Mais non! This is our land! You can tell your Governor we intend to stay! Washington: I will give him your answer. But we'll be back! Narrator A: Washington returns to Williamsburg and tells Dinwiddie what happened. The Governor asks the Virginia Legislature for money and troops to protect colonists on the frontier. Dinwiddie: Gentlemen, the welfare of all the Colonies is endangered by the French and their Indian allies. We must take action! Narrator A: To protect the frontier, Dinwiddie orders a fort built where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet the Ohio (see map, p. 22). In March 1754, he sends Washington with

2 159 soldiers to man the fort. But the French capture the fort, naming it Fort Duquesne. Washington then learns that many French and Indians are headed his way. His army takes refuge in makeshift Fort Necessity, but are badly beaten. The French let Washington go, but the defeat worries many colonists. Tom: I'm going to join the fight against the French. How about you? Nat: Count me in! SCENE 2 Narrator B: With war threatening, Britain asks the Colonies to meet with the six nations of the Iroquois in hopes of winning their support. Seven Colonies send representatives to the Albany Congress, in June Hendrick: You and the French are fighting about lands that belong to us. Your settlers are moving onto our land and taking our hunting grounds. We don't want to be destroyed by your quarrel. William Johnson: But you hate the French and the Algonquin as much as we do. You'll be well rewarded for your help. Narrator B: Benjamin Franklin and other delegates realize that to win a war, the Colonies must work together. Benjamin Franklin: If the Iroquois nations can join together, why can't we? The Colonies should form a Grand Council that can tax people and raise an army. And there should be a presidentgeneral, appointed by the Crown. Narrator B: The delegates approve Franklin's Albany Plan of Union. But Britain says it makes the Colonies too powerful, while the Colonies say it gives Britain too much authority. The plan never goes into effect. SCENE 3 Narrator C: In 1755, the British send General Edward Braddock to Virginia. With Washington as his aide, he leads an army of soldiers to the Ohio River valley. Edward Braddock: We need some open land for a proper battle! The French will be sorry they took us on! Washington: Sir, the Indians have taught the French how to fight in these woods. They don't wear bright red or blue uniforms as we do. They wear brown, to blend in with the woods. And they don't line up in neat rows to fire. They shoot from behind trees.

3 Braddock: That's not the proper way for a soldier to fight. Narrator C: Suddenly, a gunshot. Braddock: Charge, men! Charge! Narrator C: The troops charge, but are easy targets in their red and blue uniforms. Many are killed. Some Virginians shoot from behind trees. Braddock: Get into a line and fight like soldiers! Soldier: But sir, if we line up, we'll be slaughtered. Braddock: I give the orders, cowards! Narrator C: The soldiers line up, but many are killed. Braddock, too, is hit. He dies as Washington leads the surviving troops back to Virginia. SCENE 4 Narrator D: In 1757, William Pitt, Britain's Foreign Secretary, talks with Lord Jeffrey Amherst in London. Lord Jeffrey Amherst: We keep losing battles. What should we do? The French have many advantages over us. Our settlements are scattered and harder to defend than theirs, which are clustered together. They have closer ties with their Indian allies. Their army is larger than ours. Sir William Pitt: We have advantages, too. Twice as many British have settled in North America as French. Our Navy is stronger. And look at this map. See the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers? The French use those rivers to supply their armies. If we can control the rivers, we can keep French supplies from reaching the Great Lakes and the Ohio River valley. I want you to capture Fort Louisburg in Nova Scotia. Then we can block the French from entering the St. Lawrence. Narrator D: Amherst attacks and takes Louisbourg. Meanwhile, the Iroquois win a great battle near the Niagara River. Despite the victories, some colonists are unhappy. Tom: We fight for Britain, we pay taxes, and we still aren't respected! Nat: It's not right. The British walk around with their noses in the air, pretending to be better than we are! SCENE 5

4 Narrator E: By 1759, the French have suffered crushing losses. But the British still need to defeat the French at Quebec, their capital. Montcalm's aide: Can the British beat us, sir? Marquis de Montcalm: Quebec is a natural fortress. We just have to hold our position until winter comes. Montcalm's aide: Should we attack? Montcalm: No, let them exhaust themselves. After all, what can they do? They can't climb the cliffs! We need not suppose that the enemy have wings. Narrator E: But the British come up with a plan. James Wolfe: The French show no signs of giving in. And we must leave before the St. Lawrence River freezes up, or we'll starve this winter. Wolfe's aide: What if we climb the steep cliffs to the Plain of Abraham at night? Wolfe: If the French spot us, they could wipe out our whole army. We'll have to be silent. But... I like the idea. Narrator E: The next morning. British troops: Charge! French troops (surprised): Oh, no! Montcalm: I've been shot! Montcalm's aide: No, my general! Montcalm: I am glad I shall not live to see the fall of Quebec. Narrator E: On another part of the battlefield, General Wolfe also has been shot. Wolfe: I'm dying. Wolfe's aide: They run, sir! Wolfe: Who runs? Soldier: The enemy, sir!

5 Wolfe: Ah! Now I can die in peace! Narrator E: Quebec surrenders. SCENE 6 Narrator F: By 1760, British and colonial forces had defeated the French in North America. In 1763, the two sides signed the Peace of Paris Treaty, giving Britain almost all French territory in North America (see maps, p. 24). Tom: Well, we got rid of the French. Nat: But did you hear? Britain has declared all the land west of the Appalachian Mountains offlimits to settlers. Tom: We fought for that land! Nat: If there's one thing we've learned, it's that our thirteen Colonies can fight together. Tom: King George'd better not forget that! AFTERWORD The British won the war-but at a high price. As one historian writes, "With the triumph of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham began the history of the United States." The colonists had learned how to pull together. And they were no longer willing to accept British rules and taxes. The next time British and colonial soldiers met they would do so on opposite sides of a battlefield. CHARACTERS Narrators : A- F British Soldiers French Soldiers Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia George Washington, a major in the Virginia militia Legardeur de St. Pierre, French commander, Ohio Valley

6 Tom [ Nat Hendrick, an Iroquois leader William Johnson, an envoy to the Iroquois Benjamin Franklin, Albany Congress delegate Edward Braddock, British general Lord Jeffrey Amherst, British general William Pitt, British Foreign Secretary Marquis de Montcalm, French general

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