The Proclamation of 1763 illustrated the control England had over America. Although the colonists fled England to get away from British control, they were still not free of it. The Proclamation of 1763 encouraged the colonists to declare their independence, to find the freedom they so desperately wanted. The Proclamation of 1763, issued on October 7, 1763, stated that the West was closed to the colonists. This was done to calm the fears of the Indians, who believed that the colonists would force them from their land as the colonists moved westward.
The Proclamation stated that all lands west of the heads of all rivers which flowed into the Atlantic Ocean from the West or Northwest were closed to colonists. This included the Ohio Valley and all of the territory from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River. (“Proclamation of 1763”, 2009, and Middlekauff, 2005) The British constitution declared the colonists subordinate from the time they arrived in America. The King’s ministers referred to the colonists as “children”, “plantations”, and “plants” of the English parent. These terms implied that the colonists had to be tended to, disciplined, managed, and made to obey.
This was not the freedom the colonists were looking for. It was like being in England, but without the close proximity. British troops were even sent to America to keep an eye on the colonists. The Proclamation was not the first attempt to reserve Indian lands for the Indians. In December 1761, the British Board of Trade had taken control back from colonial governors, forbidding them to grant lands to colonists if they would interfere with Indian rights. The Indians, however, did not see the move of the Proclamation and other attempts to reserve their lands as a benign proposition. The Indians began Pontiac’s Rebellion.
The Indians had had enough of being bribed with blankets, tools, and cloths and having white traders defraud them in the commerce of the West. By July, the Indians had captured all British military posts west of Fort Pitt, except for Detroit, and cut colonists’ settlements in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to pieces. This angered the colonists, of course, and the colonists kept moving westward. The Proclamation nor Pontiac’s Rebellion stopped the colonists from moving westward. The King said they could not have what they settled America for, and that did not sit well with them.
For example, Virginians settled in the West twenty years before, but were kicked out by the Indians. The Virginians insisted on moving back to their farms, however, the Proclamation of 1763 forbade them to do so. British troops tried to keep them out, but it was no use. The colonists were extremely bitter, and in late 1764 and early 1765, hundreds moved westward. (Middlekauff, 2005) The Proclamation of 1763 added to the drive for independence. The colonists settled America for freedom, to get away from the control of the King.
Then, the colonists were told, essentially, that they settled America for nothing because they were still going to be controlled by England. If someone is suddenly told that they cannot have something they worked hard to achieve, that individual wants it even more. The insistence of the King’s control over the colonists motivated the colonists to break free, once and for all, from the grasp. The colonists moved westward because they wanted to. They did not want to answer to the King any longer, and the British troops that were stationed in the colonies were no match for hundreds of bitter, angry people wanting to do what they pleased.
The Proclamation of 1763 aimed to essentially strip the colonists of the freedom they sought. The colonists, however, fought for what was rightfully theirs and moved westward despite the King’s orders. This is the greatness that America was built on, and one of the first reasons why Americans are free today. – (2009). Proclamation of 1763. The Declaration of Independence. 2009. 21 May 2009. http://www. ushistory. org/declaration/related/proc63. htm – Middlekauff, Robert. (2005). The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. 49, 52, 55-56.