Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
This thesis demonstrates through an epistolary reconstruction of Francis Fauquier’s governorship of Virginia that the colony’s governance from 1758 to 1763 was a catalyst for the British royal government’s move during the Seven Years’ War toward the imperial unification of Native American policy that culminated in the Proclamation of 1763.
Chapters 1 and 2 together present a prehistory of the Proclamation in which Virginia governance during the Anglo-Cherokee War precipitated the royal government’s transformation of its promise in 1758 to the Native American signatories of the Treaty of Easton—a promise that Britain would ban the colonies’ westward expansion—into policy in a royal edict in 1761. The Proclamation of 1763, therefore, was not Britain’s first such ban on the colonies’ westward expansion and, instead, was a culminating, rather than a standalone, policy.
Chapter 3 tracks Virginia’s westward expansion, under Fauquier’s governance, in the aftermath of Britain’s signing of the Treaty of Easton in 1758. Between 1758 and 1763, Fauquier abetted and eventually advocated Virginia’s westward expansion, despite the royal government’s instructions to him to stop it and ensure the colony’s compliance with the Treaty of Easton. The royal government responded to Fauquier’s expansionism with the Proclamation of 1763 and its associated political reforms to implement forcibly its ban on the colonies’ westward expansion and to prevent a governor like Fauquier from again undermining the royal government’s attempted imperial unification of Native American policy.
The Proclamation of 1763, therefore, was the royal government’s attempted remedy to a problem of imperial governance that the Seven Years’ and Anglo-Cherokee Wars exposed in Virginia under Fauquier: How could the royal government deal with uncooperative colonial administrators like Fauquier, on whom the British Empire depended for its effective governance in general and, especially amid a global war, for its security? The example of Virginia governance under Fauquier from 1758 to 1763 suggests that the obstacle to unified imperial policy for the royal government was not merely the disobedience of its colonial administrators, but also the provincial nature of the politics that they sometimes followed and thereby used to justify contravening the royal government's orders.
Oates, Rory, "Virginia Governance under Francis Fauquier during the Anglo-Cherokee War: A Catalyst for the Proclamation of 1763" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1598.
On-Campus Access Only