French and Indian War


This four-session course will deal with the French and
Indian War of 1756–1763 by looking at the actions of
some of the main participants. The first session will
address the causes of the war, starting with the actions of
the French and their Indian allies in North America. The
second session will describe the role of a young George
Washington in the lead-up to the war until his retirement
from the fighting in 1758. The third session will center on
the activities of Benjamin Franklin in the American colonies
and then in Great Britain between 1754 and 1762.
Finally, we will look at the role of Prime Minister William
Pitt, who oversaw the expansion of the British Empire
during the war against France and its allies.

By studying these various actors we can get a clearer
understanding of what was at stake in this war, which
was part of a much wider conflict between the British
and French empires. We can also see the beginnings
of the breakdown in relations between Great Britain
and its American colonies that will eventually lead to
the Revolutionary War and American independence.
Although this will not be a “military history” course, we
will look briefly at the main engagements of the war
in North America, particularly the role played by the
American colonial forces in these battles. Hopefully, by
studying the conflict through the biographies of some of
the key players, we will gain an insight into the past while
appreciating how events often carry even the greatest of
men head over heels down the stream of history.


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