American History Stories—Volume I - Mara L. Pratt

How The Colonies Grew United

The close of this French and Indian War brings us close upon a period which is perhaps the most important in the whole history of our country.

We are coming upon that great war known as the Revolutionary War. Revolution, you know, means a turning over, a changing about; and you will think, before you get through, that it was indeed a turning over and a changing about.

Before we start upon that great war, let us look over this country and see what sort of people and conditions we are going to deal with.

During this French and Indian War, the people of the thirteen colonies had unconsciously been getting ready for the Revolution which was so near at hand.

Before this war, there had been a great deal of petty jealousy between the different colonies. Each had been jealous of the other's religion and customs. The Swedes didn't care to have much to do with the Dutch, and the Dutch were rather jealous of the Swedes; the Puritans and the Quakers had not quite forgotten the days of persecution; the Episcopalians of Virginia, the wealthy planters with their slaves, looked down upon the northern colonists as a very common sort of people.

But during this French and Indian War all the colonies had fought side by side against a common foe, the Indians and French. They had grown more used to each other's ways; the Virginian Episcopalians had found that the Massachusetts Puritans were, after all, quite as brave and noble as they themselves were; while on the other side these rigid Puritans had found that the Virginians were true and honest-hearted, and could make just as sturdy soldiers as were to be found in any colony. All these bitter feelings were gradually softened down, and at the end of the war many a Puritan, Catholic and Episcopalian had made warm friendships with one another, which no doubt lasted as long as they lived.

Other things, too, had been working to bring them together. The British officers had, throughout the war, sneered at the colonists, and had plainly shown them that England considered them as a very inferior sort of people.

Their wishes and their advice had been thrust aside in contempt, and their best officers had often been pushed out to make room for some young Englishman who knew no more about the work before him than a child.

All these and many other influences had been at work to bring about in the colonists a more united brotherly feeling; while, at the same time, there had been creeping into their hearts and heads a feeling of rebellion against the injustice of England, and a sense of strength in themselves, which by and by, as we shall soon see, broke out in that war between England and America known as the Revolution.