America had a rough patch on its journey to independence, marked by wars and being at loggerheads with the colonists who sought to control the Native Americans. David Emory Shi documents the American independence journey in his book ‘America: A Native History.’ However, significant steps made by the Native American lies in the formation of the thirteen American states and the effort put into the American Revolution against the colonists. In the fourth chapter, Shi describes how the thirteen colonies were formed by relating the steps from mercantilism to the French-Indian war. In contrast, the fifth chapter highlights the causes, challenges, and successes that the continental Army went through in the American Revolution. Therefore, the two chapters provide a detailed insight into the journey from colonies to the formation of states and the American Revolution.
It begins with the formation of the 13 American states by showing how mercantilism benefited the British colonists. The British ensured that the economy of their colonies stagnated as they exported raw materials back to England for processing; hence there were no manufacturing industries in America during this period. Mercantilism also ensured that wealth remained within Great Britain by curbing direct trade with other countries such as France and Netherlands (Shi 160). All this while, the mother country, the Dominion of New England, showed New England a period of salutary neglect; this allowed the colonies to develop and sustain self-governance measures. Thus, the mercantilism law made the Native Americans hate the British colonists so much that they joined hands with the French to wage war against England.
The French-Indian war might be considered a turning point for the Native Americans who felt that the colonist from England had not to regard for them but only disrespect. This war was considered the First World War since it was a clash between France and England worldwide, with America being the epicenter (Shi 171). The British won the war, which took place for seven years from 1754 to 1763 but not before the damage was done, and other legislations fronted to strengthen the British rule in its North American colonies. After the war, the defeated French retreated and left North America; this gave the British the perfect opportunity to impose a colonial policy on the natives. The colonial policy was set because the war raised Britain’s debt levels; the policy stated that the colonies were to pay for war expenses and not rely on the imperial government.
Thus, the colonial policy gave the leeway for more taxes to be imposed in the colonies but paid by the natives. One such taxation law was the Stamp Act of 1765 which allowed the imperial government to impose more taxes, thus paving the way for an American revolution (Shi 181). Resistance was then witnessed; suppression of the opposition through violent means sparked more violence in the colonies. One grizzly incident resulting from the violence was the Boston massacre which started as a street fight between British soldiers and Native American patriots (Shi 189). The British responded to the violent protests by imposing more acts such as the Coercive Acts, which led to more chaos, making compromise unavoidable. The continental Army was then created to fight against the British soldiers under the leadership of George Washington.
The French joined to support the continental Army because they resented the British for sending them out of North America. The French, therefore, vowed to fight alongside the Native Americans until they achieved independence. As a result, the revolution was not only for the war but also a social one that changed many things culturally and from a social perspective. The women’s roles during the war were non-traditional; this never changed as they remained home even after the revolution (Shi 242). America finally became independent after a brutal battle with an inexperienced continental army that only had lackluster training.
Shi, David E. “From Colonies to States and The American Revolution.” America: A Narrative History, 11th ed., W. W. Norton, 2018, pp. 158-251.