Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Between May 1763 and the fall of 1764, Indians living west of the Appalachian Mountains wage a war they hoped would rid them of the growing menace posed by English military forces and colonial traders and settlers. These Anglo-Americans had begun to occupy the trans-Appalachian region in 1758 as French power in North America declined during the last years of the Great War for the Empire.;Historians since Francis Parkman have tended to deal with this Anglo-Indian war in two ways. First, the conflict has been interpreted in terms of a pan-Indian conspiracy led by a single visionary figure, Pontiac. This interpretation tends to ignore causation in favor of assumptions about Anglo-Indian relations rooted in concepts of civilization versus savagery and directs attention to the military conflict itself A second interpretation, represented in studies of British imperial politics during the eighteenth century, deals with the dynamics of Anglo-Indian relations only insofar as they relate directly to larger issues of imperial policies and administration. This London-Centered perspective precludes any understanding of events in America on their own terms. Neither of these general interpretations has placed the events of 1763-1764 in a context of on-going Anglo-Indian relations nor satisfactorily explores the reasons why these relations degenerated into a war that had ramifications both for those directly involved and the larger pattern of English and colonial frontier policies.;By looking at the conflict as the result of efforts by colonists, royal officials, and western Indians to deal with each other on several levels, a new interpretation based on an ethnohistorical approach to largely traditional sources emerges. In the wake of the French defeat, both Indians and Englishmen faced a number of pressing security problems generated by the radically altered political and economic balance of power. Far from being immediately hostile to the on-coming English, western Indians displayed a variety of strategies in their efforts to deal with the new invaders, strategies rooted in cultural values as well as past experience. Difficulties arose when English military leaders increasingly defined their solution to an expanded American empire in terms of reducing Indians to a level of impotence and manageability through trade regulation and armed force. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of author.) UMI.



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