George Washington had a mission - convince the French to stay out of the Ohio River Valley. Unfortunately, after clashing with a French patrol, he was blamed for the killing of a French officer. The French struck back, trapping Washington's command in a small fort called Necessity. Forced to surrender, he was able to return to Virginia with his reputation battered but intact. Regardless, the event triggered the Seven Years War.
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We have made it to the most pivotal event of the eighteenth century in the North American colonies of France and Great Britain: The Seven Years War or The French and Indian War. What would start as a localized conflict, would shatter the tenuous peace between the two great powers. The long war would finally decide which European power would control what would become the United States. Moreover, the results of this war would create the conditions that ultimately lead to the American Revolution.
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As we reach the middle of the eighteenth century, France and Great Britain are at it again! Militia and volunteers from New England, in one of their greatest feats of arms, captured the great French fortress at Louisbourg. While the victory was abrogated with the peace treaty between Britain and France, it set the stage for the greatest conflict that colonies had ever seen - the Seven Years War.
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Our story continues with another chapter in the imperial wars of the eighteenth century. This episode takes our story south to the Florida Peninsula. British forces attempt to take the center of Spanish power in Florida, St. Augustine, and are rebuffed yet again. Please join us!
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As English colonies spread south, pressures over land and exploiting local Indian peoples as slaves, built up resentments and the desire to strike back. Hoping to put a stop to settlement, war broke out in the Carolinas. The destructive conflict upset colonial government in the Carolinas but diminished the Tuscarora and Yamasee power bases, allowing settlements to move west. Please join us!
We move deeper into the eighteenth century with the next major conflict between France, England, and Spain. Known as Queen Anne's War in North America, the roots of the conflict deal with issues on the continent related to who would occupy the Spanish throne. In the English colonies, many of the issues from the previous war remained unresolved and would fuel violence in New England and in the south. In spite of some success, after several failed expeditions into the heartland of New France, Canada survived. Join us!
As we move into the seventeenth century, North America became a battleground for the Empire. England and France battled for hegemony in North America using militia and, for the first time, professional forces from the continent. Join us!
One of the enduring traditions of our military past is the importance of militia. Without the benefit of professional soldiers, the first settlers depended on themselves to meet the security needs of the settlements in Virginia and Massachusetts. These institutions established organizations and traditions that are still with us today.
In this episode we shift our story north to Massachusetts Bay and New England. Settled ten years after Jamestown, the establishment of Plymouth and other settlements in New England triggered some of the bloodiest conflicts in the colonial era.
Establishing the English colony at Jamestown is where our story begins. Largely unprepared to build a sustainable colony and fearful of Spanish retaliation against the colony, the first decades of the settlement was beset with challenges. The Spanish threat never materialized, but conflicts with the local native populations did, establishing many of the patterns of warfare and institutions that govern American military history.
Welcome to the first episode of America at War. This episode provides a very broad overview of the importance of understanding the roots of our military institutions and some of the themes that we will encounter on our journey.