In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, Britain needed a new imperial
design, but the situation in America was anything but favorable to change.
Long accustomed to a large measure of independence, the colonies were
demanding more, not less, freedom, particularly now that the French menace
had been eliminated. To put a new system into effect, and to tighten control,
Parliament had to contend with colonists trained in self-government and
impatient with interference. One of thefirst things that British attempted was
the organization of the interior. The conquest of Canada and of the Ohio
Valley necessitated policies that would not alienate the French and Indian
inhabitants. But here the Crown came into conflict with the interests of the
colonies. Fast increasing in population, and needing more land for settlement,
various colonies claimed the right to extend their boundaries as far west as
the Mississippi River. The British government, fearing that settlers migrating
into the new lands would provoke a series of Indian wars, believed that the
lands should be opened to colonists on a more gradual basis. Restricting
movement was also a way of ensuring royal control over existing settlements
before allowing the formation of new ones. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
reserved all the western territory between the Alleghenies, Florida, the
Mississippi River and Quebec for use by Native Americans. Thus the Crown
attempted to sweep away every western land claim of the 13 colonies and to
stop westward expansion. Though never ef…

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