Article

The Unsettled Periphery: The Backcountry on the Eve of the American Revolution

William B. Hart

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199746705.013.0003

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Unsettled Periphery: The Backcountry on the Eve of the American Revolution

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In early 1774, Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, organized a 2,400-man militia led by John Connolly, a Pittsburgh magistrate, to raid several Shawnee and Mingo villages. They defeated the Shawnees at the battle at Point Pleasant and forced them to sue for peace. Some historians see Lord Dunmore's War as an epilogue to the Seven Years' War, which put an end to the decade-long British struggle to administer and control the backcountry. Others argue that Dunmore's campaign was a prologue to the American Revolution, one that aided and legitimized colonists' pursuit of property by supporting and encouraging white intrusion onto Indian lands. Whatever the significance of Dunmore's War, the fact remains that Britain's victory over France in the Seven Years' War triggered a wave of white westward migration as colonists took advantage of the power vacuum created by the collapse of the French empire in North America. Britain failed to contain that westward expansion. Instead, it angered westward-looking colonists and eastward-looking Indians, adding fuel to the Revolutionary movement.

Keywords: Lord Dunmore; Seven Years' War; American Revolution; Britain; France; Indians; colonists; migration; Shawnees

Article.  8131 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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