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Royal Proclamation of 1763

The Compromise of 1763 How the Compromise of 1763 resolve conflict between Native Americans and settlersThe The Treaty of Paris, which marked the end of the French and Indian War, granted Britain a great deal of valuable North American land because they had won the war. The war had dragged on long enough, and the British public was weary of footing the bill. Moreover, the Native Americans, who had allied themselves with the French during the Seven Years’ War, continued to fight after the peace had been reached.

An example of the fights that the Native Americans started was called Pontiac’s Rebellion, a war launched by a group of Native Americans in the areas around the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, which in the end was an unsuccessful effort by the western tribes to get rid of the British. But the Native American tribes were able to take over and control a large number of the forts which commanded the waterways that were involved in trade within the region.The British had started making the Proclamation of 1763 before Pontiac’s Rebellion, but the conflict sped up the process. British officials hoped that the proclamation would help the Native Americans give in to British rule and prevent future hostilities.

In fact the Proclamation of 1763 defined the jurisdictional limits of the occupied territories of North America. It helped outline parts of the Frontier expansion in the American colonies and the Canadian colony of New France, which was a relatively new colony. The territory northeast of the St. John River on the Labrador coast was placed under the Newfoundland Colony. The lands to the west of Quebec and west of a line running along the Allegheny mountains became Native American territory, which was temporarily barred to settlement, to the disappointment of the land speculators of Virginia and Pennsylvania, who had started the Seven Years’ War to gain these territories.The proclamation of 1763 helped created a boundary line which was sometimes called a proclamation line between the British colonies on the east coast and Native American lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.

The boundary line was not intended to be a permanent separation between the colonists and the lands of the Native Americans, but rather a temporary boundary which could be and would be extended further west in a lawful manner. Also it was not designed as an uncrossable boundary; people were allowed to cross the line, they just were not allowed to settle past it. Its shape was defined by the waters that formed the watershed along the Appalachians. All the land that contained rivers that flowed into the Atlantic Ocean were for the colonists, while all the land that contained rivers that flowed into the Mississippi were reserved for the Native American population. The proclamation outlawed the private purchase of Native American land, which had often been a problem in the past. Instead, of the private purchases any future land purchases that were going to be made were made by Crown officials during a meeting with the Native Americans. Also, British colonials were not allowed to settle on Native American lands, and colonial officials were forbidden to give ground or lands without approval of the King.

The proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from Native Americans.British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary since the British government had already promised land grants to them before or during the Seven Years War. Many settlements had already existed beyond the proclamation line, some of which had been temporarily evacuated during Pontiac’s War, and there were already promised land claims that were yet to be settled. A good example is that George Washington and his Virginia soldiers had been granted lands past the boundary line created. Some of the American colonists joined with the land speculators in England to lobby the government to move the line further west. Their efforts were a success, and the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with the Native Americans. In 1768 the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour, followed in 1770 by the Treaty of Lochaber, opened much of what is now Kentucky and West Virginia to the British settlers.The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession of Native American land in North America, especially in Canada. The proclamation forms the basis of land claims of the Native American peoples in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is thus mentioned in Section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.The proclamation established the important precedent that the Native population had certain rights to the lands they controlled and occupied. It is “the first legal recognition by the British Crown of Aboriginal rights” and imposes a fiduciary duty of care on the Crown. The intent and promises made to the Native populations in the Proclamation have been argued to be of a temporary nature, only meant to appease the Native peoples who were becoming increasingly angry towards settlers trying to purchase their lands and were capable of becoming a serious threat to British colonial settlement.Some historians believe that “the British were trying to convince Native people that there was nothing to fear from the colonists, while at the same time trying to increase political and economic power relative to First Nations and other European powers.” Others argue that the Royal Proclamation along with the subsequent Treaty of Niagara, provide for an argument that “discredits the claims of the Crown to exercise sovereignty over First Nations” and affirms Aboriginal “powers of self-determination in, among other things, allocating lands.

The influence of the Proclamation of 1763 on the American Revolution has been interpreted in many different points of view. Many historians have argued that the proclamation had not been a major source of tension since 1768, since the previously mentioned treaties opened up lands for settlement. Other historians have argued that the colonial resentment of the proclamation contributed to the growing divide between the colonies and the mother country. Some historians argue that even though the boundary was pushed west in subsequent treaties, the British government refused to permit new colonial settlements for fear of instigating a war with Native Americans, which had been angered by colonial land speculators. George Washington had been given 20,000 acres of land in the Ohio region for his services during The Seven Years War. During 1770, George Washington lead the securing of the rights of him and his old soldiers in the French and Indian War, by advancing money to pay expenses in behalf of the common cause and using his influence in the proper quarters.

In August 1770, it was decided that Washington would make a trip to the western region, where he located tracts for himself and military comrades and he was eventually granted letters patent for tracts of land there. The lands involved were open to the people of Virginia under terms of the Treaty of Lochaber of 1770, except for the lands which were located 2 miles south of Fort Pitt, which people now know as Pittsburgh.In the United States, the Proclamation of 1763 ended with the American Revolutionary War because Great Britain ceded the land in question to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. Afterward, the U.S. also faced difficulties in preventing frontier violence, they eventually adopted policies which were similar to those of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

The first in a series of Indian Intercourse Acts was passed during 1790, this law prohibited unregulated trade and travel in Native American lands. During 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court case Johnson v. M’Intosh established that only the U.S. government, could purchase land from Native Americans. In the end this paper shows how the Proclamation of 1763 was a compromise that helped end conflict between frontier settlers and the Native Americans of North America.

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