Fred Anderson’s The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War is a condensed version of his larger book Crucible of War. Regardless of being a condensed version Anderson does a good job of laying out an image of the British North America before, during and after the war.
As the title might entail, Anderson attempts to show that the French and Indian War played a very crucial role for the future of ‘America’. More specifically, Anderson aims to show that the Seven Years War is directly connected to, if not responsible for, the later War for Independence. Britain, who had left its colonial subjects take care of themselves, asserted control over the colonies in an attempt to claim the Ohio territory—and later, French Canada.
Known outside of the United States as the Seven Years War, it pitted Britain against France globally: in Europe, Africa, India and the Pacific. The global conflict provided a smoldering fire for the events in the America. A trip into the Ohio, which was merely intended to be a diplomatic mission, added gas to the smoldering fire.
After the War, George Washington, who did not convince Forbes to build the road, to Fort Duquesne, through Virginia rather than Pennsylvania still set his sights on the west. The Americans helped to end France’s presence in America, and yet Parliament closed the door to the frontier. However, wealthy colonists such as George Washington were not about to be deterred from looking. Anderson makes it clear that the restrictions on westward movement, a standing military presence, and the refusal to recognize the colonists as full British subjects. “Americans who exulted in their Britishness, and who understood themselves as partners in a great transatlantic political community based on common allegiance, shared religious convictions, and devotion to English laws and liberties” (Location 2939). It is no wonder as to why the Americans felt betrayed by their government. Anderson tells us that Washington was even made to feel as though his status as a colonial officer, made him less than that of a British officer during the French and Indian War.
Many of the men who fought in the French and Indian War would later fight in the War for Independence. George Washington had made successful attempts to turn the colonial soldiers into disciplined units. Although it would eventually work on the colonists, in the early stages of the French and Indian War there was a distaste for the brutal nature of the British Military. British soldiers are soldiers by profession, and colonial militia are not. Washington, who gained favor with his men during the earlier war, would use his experiences as lessons for his success during the War for Independence. For example, there was a constant trend among the Europeans, which was the failure to recognize the benefit of Native American Allies. As early as Edward Braddock’s utter failure, Britain underestimated the potential that Indian warriors had. Later on during the French and Indian War, the French would push their Native American allies away as a well. Since the Native Americans were the best tool the French had, it was inevitable that the loss of these allies would allow the British to overwhelm the French, and end their political presence in North America.
One other lesson was learned that was very valuable to the Americans during the Revolution. The equipment and tactics for battle would not work through the European model. Things would work only through adopted Indian practices, mainly guerrilla warfare.