Proclamation of 1763

The Proclamation of 1763 forbade English colonists to live west of the Appalachian Mountains.

 
Following the French and Indian War, Native Americans residing in the Ohio Country feared that American settlers would flood into the region. The natives' French allies had lost possession of their North American colonies as a result of the war and subsequent peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris (1763). Pontiac, a leader of the Ottawa Indians, attempted to form a native confederation to stop the westward flood of British colonists. Pontiac's attempt, known as Pontiac's Rebellion, failed to drive the Europeans from North America, but it did prompt the British government to implement the Proclamation of 1763. Any settlers currently west of the mountains had to move back east.
 
All English territory between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River now became an Indian reserve. England implemented the proclamation for two reasons. First, the English hoped to prevent further conflicts with the Native Americans. The French and Indian War had been quite expensive, and it cost the British government substantial sums of money to keep a military force in the New World to protect the colonists. Most Native Americans east of the Appalachians had already been exterminated by the colonists or forced west of the mountains. The Indians in the Ohio Country would hopefully not attack the colonists east of the mountains because of England's pledge.
 
Second, England, because of its serious financial straits, hoped to tax the colonists. Most bureaucrats sent to enforce the tax laws remained in the major cities along the Atlantic seaboard. Those colonists west of the Appalachians were well out of reach of the tax collectors. By keeping the colonists east of the mountains, England could hopefully improve its financial condition.
 
While the Proclamation of 1763 did improve England's relations with the Ohio Country natives, it greatly upset the colonists. One reason the French and Indian War had occurred from 1756-1763 was so that English colonists could gain access to land in the Ohio Country. By implementing the Proclamation, England denied the colonists this opportunity. Many colonists became convinced that England did not care about nor understand the colonists' needs.
 
The Proclamation of 1763 remained in effect until 1776 when the American colonies declared their independence from England. Despite this, the proclamation did not prevent the colonists from moving into the Ohio Country prior to 1776. Many struggling families east of the Appalachians sought a better life in the west. Also some missionaries, especially those belonging to the Moravian Church, came to the Ohio Country in the years before the American Revolution. Although they came in small numbers, the early settlers were an indication of what was to come once the Americans gained their independence by the Treaty of Paris (1783).
 
Reference and Suggested Reading

Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf: Random House, 2000.

        Art in the Colonies
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City

 

Tea table, 1765–75
American - Mahogany
One of the finest ornamentally carved Philadelphia circular tea tables, this example has exceptionally high knees and, on the pillar, an unusually flattened ball. The top is a finely figured board with a delicate, crisply carved rim; the fluting is narrow; the small-scale, naturalistic carving is discreetly placed. Such refined carving could only have been done by someone fully trained in a rigid London apprenticeship system, and Philadelphia in the 1760s was a magnet for just such talented and ambitious craftsmen.

 

 
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