Military Struggles with European Nations - Essay Example

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The United States was born as a nation amid wars with the European powers that slowly, certainly allowed the new nation to consolidate its territory and develop its military strength so that it could drive the European powers off the continent and make them given up their dreams of empire in North America…
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Military Struggles with European Nations
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"Military Struggles with European Nations"

In this paper, it will be argued that in many ways the three wars were part of a single, protracted struggle that allowed the United States to drive from the continent the competing British and French powers that, had they not been defeated, may have derailed the new nation before its experiment in republican government ever had a chance to get off the ground. The participants, causes, and outcomes of the three conflicts will be reviewed briefly in order to show a certain progression from dependency and cooperation with the European powers early in the new nation’s history to an increasingly independent role on the continent that included both military and economic self-rule. The French and Indian War was fought largely between the British and the French, with the new American arrivals fighting on the side of the British and the Native American populations fighting on both sides of the conflict. The war represented a contest between the French and the British for supremacy of the rule of empire on the continent. It began in the St Lawrence River valley, and initial battles were fought near present-day Pittsburgh where rivers controlled by the French and British empires came together, evidencing an effort by both empires to control waterways, trade, and transportation. Borneman (2006) argues that the immediate end-result of the war was the establishment of the British Empire (p. 306), but points out that the long-term impact was the creation of an American fighting force led by George Washington -- who suffered defeats during the war but had been involved in the initial battle at Jumonville and gained highly valuable experience in commanding his forces (Cave, 2004, p.7). Additionally, the British conquest, in driving out the French and setting up a decades-long struggle with the Native American populations, cleared the way for American westward expansion and created a pretext for the American Revolutionary War by establishing a permanent British occupation and the institutionalization of taxes (to reimburse the British crown for fighting the war) that Americans deeply resented (Marston, 2005, pp. 1-2; Borneman, 2006, pp. 305-208). If the French and Indian War effectively removed the French from consideration as a continental power, its conclusion made it seem as though the British would have unopposed reign. Even the Spanish in Florida left the continent in the wake of the British rule, and the French Canadian populations came to identify solidly with the British crown. It might easily have resulted in the US simply becoming a part of the British power. However, the installation of the British troops in the new world was not as successful as might have been expected. The American states began to develop their own ideological justification for independence and the population rebelled against British taxes and the imposition of what they saw as unfair rule from an overseas despot (Marston, 2005, pp. 1-2). The American Revolutionary War began, therefore, out the ashes of that earlier conflict, with George Washington once again answering the call to lead the American forces against the British. Having fought alongside the British during the French and Indian War, he had come to know their tactics and devised successful Read More
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