And the question — what’s this war all about?
In my AP US History class, students learn about something called The French and Indian War.
In this regard, they learn that the French and Indian War was a North American armed conflict, fought between 1754 and 1763, that pitted the colonies of British America (aka New England) against those of French America (aka New France), with each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies.
The students also learn that:
- Prior to the war, Great Britain claimed the territory that stretched from the eastern coast of the 13 colonies to the Appalachian Mountains whereas France claimed the territory that lay to the west of the Appalachians up to the Mississippi River.
- The war resulted from the question of who should be viewed as the rightful owner of the territory located between the Mississippi River and the Appalachians Mountains.
- The war ended with France ceding its territory east of the Mississippi Rive to Great Britain.
Three years ago and after having taught the above, I encouraged my student to produce a talk show script (with this script to include everything that might have been said during the filming of a fictional, thirty minute talk show entitled APUSH Today, with this particlar talk show to have focused on the French and Indian War.)
Before starting to work on the script, I also encouraged my student to assume that this talk show:
- Took place on June 28, 1754, a month after the start of the French and Indian War and three months before the battle of Fort Duquesne
- Spotlighted a host and six very special guests: King George II of Great Britai, King Louis XV of Francce, a Shawnee tribal chief, a French fur trader, an Iroquis tribal chief, and a English speaking, Ohio River Valley settler.
- Explored an all-important question typically raised and discussed AP US History classes everywhere— who should be viewed as the rightful owner of the territory located between the Mississippi River and the Appalachians Mountains.
True, the final draft has not yet been produced. On the other hand, it’s come a long way (see below).
THE HOST’S OPENING
Hello everybody and welcome back to yet another segment of APUSH Today. My name is Joe Titan, and given that we are now a good month into what many are calling the French and Indian War, we’re going to spend the next thirty minutes or so taking a close look at the question of what’s this war all about?
And to answer that question, I’m now going to bring before you six very special guests.
Our first guest is King George II of Great Britain. I’m going to start off by asking his highness a few questions. Then I’m going to turn to King Louis XV of France, then an Iriquois Tribal Leader, then a Shawnee Tribal Leader, then a French Canadian fur trader, and then to close out, I’m going to want to hear from a New England settler.
But first. King George the II of Great Britain, and to learn more about King George and his thoughts on all this thing, I’m now going to step right over here, welcome King George II of Great Britain onto our stage, and begin by asking this question . . .
THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
. . . your highness in no more than three words, what’s this war all about?
In three words, I don’t need three words. Just two — disputed territory!
Thank you, your Highness. And for the sake of the audience that may not be familiar with what you mean by‘ ’the disputed territory,’ can you please describe where that disputed territory is located.
Sure. If the camera would first just zoom in on this map?
To understand where this territory is located, the first thing you have to do is find the Appalachian Mountains. On this map, they are painted in light purple and as you can see, the run from north to south and are located parallel to the western edge of British colonies and inland from the eastern sea coast.
The next thing you need to do is find on this map the Mississippi River. It’s painted blue and it too runs from north to south.
Next up, you have to find the Ohio River. It’s headwaters, aka source, begin on the western slope of the Apalachian Mountains and runs southwestward to the Mississpi Rive.
In other words, the Ohio Valley is the upper half of what’s described n the map as the disputed territitory.
So your highnes if that’s the disputed territory, why do you think this territory, the territory that you just described, should belong to England?
It all boils down to the fact that England is entitled to this territory if only in retaliation for something called the Deerfield Massacre.”
And what’s that your highness?
The term Deerfield Massacre referrs to the French attack of an English town located in Deerfield, Massachusetts. In that attack, which took plaqce just before dawn, the French burned down part of the town, killed 47 villagers, and left with 112 settlers as captives, all of whom wete forced to march nearly 300 miles to Montreal. Sixteen were killed along the way, and two starved to death.
King Louis of France. Is this all true? Did the French actually do all this..
Yes. This is true, but keep something in mind. We are now living in the 1754 and this attack occured fifty years ago in 1704. So for King George to claim that England has a right to the territory west of the Appalachians becuase of something the French did fifty years ago, that’s absurd. It’s also dishonest. In other words, that’s not the real reason the British are claiming ownership of what King George is calling the dispute territory.
Ok King Louis, then what do you think is the real reason that the British are laying claim to this territory?
It all goes back to the fact since the English created their first permanent settlement in Jamestown in 1607, their population has increased and as their population has increased they have continually pushed westward seeking more and more land. In other words, they are claiming this territory for one simply reason. Their population is growing and they need more land. But the land they are looking at is our land. It’s land that was discovered, explored, and claimed by the French. They have no right to that land. Everything west of the Applachian Mountians is ours.
You say that land is yours? Are you kidding me? What have you done with that land? Build any homes? Engage in any farming? Put down any roads? Come to think of it, how many people do you have living there? By my guess, the French population in your New France doesn’t even numbered 75,000 with most of them being nothing but fur traders and fur trappers. So the truth is, you have done nothing there. Yet you claim it? If you really wanted that territory to be yours, you should have done something with it.
King George. Don’t you dare lecture me like that. Your people have repeatedly trespassed into our territory and no matter how many people we have there, or what we do with the land, you have no right to go west of the Appalachians. what we do with our land is none of your business.
All right gentlemen, we’ve now heard enough from both of you. Time to move on and hear from some our other guests.
Shawnee Tribal leader, who do you think should be viewed as the rightful owner of the territory located between the Mississippi River and the Appalachians Mountains
SHAWNEE TRIBAL LEADER
We do. At least when it comes to the Ohio River Valley.
The Ohio River Valley? Where’s that?
SHAWNEE TRIBAL LEADER
Why do you think you should be viewed as the rightful owner of the Ohio Valley
SHAWNEE TRIBAL LEADER
We were there first.
Ok you were there first. Let’s accept that as a truth. But you are allying with the French here, correct?
SHAWNEE TRIBAL LEADER
If you were in the Ohio Territory first, why ally with the French?
SHAWNEE TRIBAL LEADER
The French focus more on trading than on settling the Ohio Valley, so we see them as less of a threat to our land and resources. Besides, we have a lot in common with the French. For starters, many of us have converted to their relation. In addition, many of our females have married French fur tradeers.
Whoa. A lot here. French fur traders and intermarriage. Fur trading first. Over to you, French fur trader. What exactly is fur and how does it differ from pelt, skin, and hide.
FRENCH FUR TRADER
APUSH KEY CONCEPTS ADDRESSED
APUSH Key Concept 3.1(I):The competition among the British, French, and American Indians for economic and political advantage in North America culminated in the Seven years’ War (the French and Indian War), in which Britain defeated France and allied American Indians.
APUSH Key Concept 3.1(IA): Colonial rivalry intensified between Britain and France in the mid-18th century, as the growing population of the British colonies expanded into the interior of North America, threatening French–Indian trade networks and American Indian autonomy.
APUSH Key Concept 3.1(IB): Britain achieved a major expansion of its territorial holdings by defeating the French, but at tremendous expense, setting the stage for imperial efforts to raise revenue and consolidate control over the colonies.
SOURCES USED TO WRITE THE SCRIPT
Alberts, Robert C. “A Charming Field for an Encounter.” Charming Field, Divisions of Publications.
“Becoming George Washington: Unit 1: Young George Washington.” The National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 9 Apr. 2019.
Brooks, Rebecca. “Who Fought in the French and Indian War?” History of Massachusetts, WordPress, 10 June 2018.
Costly, Andrew. “BRIA 17 4 a Clash of Empires: The Fight for North America.” Constitutional Rights Foundation, Sept. 2001.
Editors, History.com. “French and Indian War.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 9 Nov. 2009.
“French and Indian War.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, 7 July 2001.
“Fort Necessity National Battlefield (U.S. National Park Service).” The National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 5 Dec. 2018
Norris, Adam. “APUSH Review: The French and Indian (7 Years War) War.” YouTube, 3 Aug. 2013.
“The French and Indian War Ends.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2 Mar. 2010.
“The French and Indian War: Lesson Plan.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association.
“The French and Indian War Unit 3 Conflict Begin.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
“Washington and the French & Indian War.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon.