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[Detail] An advertisement from The Minnesota guide. 1869

2) Revolution and New Nation, 1754-1820s

The collection provides unique resources that can supplement a textbook study of the events leading up to the American Revolution, the war itself, and the subsequent building of a nation.

The British reduced colonial competition by defeating the French and their Native-American allies in the French and Indian War. You can learn more by examining instructions from King Louis XV written to his Lieutenant-General of New France in 1755. You can also refer to one of the Teachers Page lessons for George Washington's correspondence regarding his encounters with the French in the Ohio Valley.

Though united by their victory over the French, England and its colonists in America were soon at odds over the Proclamation of 1763. Search on Pontiac for a contemporary account of the uprising that led to the Proclamation of 1763 and then access the proclamation in its entirety. You can also get a sense of the complex relationship between the British and Native Americans during the Revolution by searching on Haldimand (a British general) for correspondence such as the following:

. . . they have long requested assistance & it has been faithfully promised these three years past, but a want of Provisions, the difficulty of Transporting them to such a Distance, & the prodigious consumption owing, not only, to the necessity of feeding the Indians while collected, but supporting Entirely all Women & Children of the Mohawk, Cayaya, and many of the Onondaga nations, whose villages have been destroyed by the Rebels, & who have taken refuge at Niagara, has rendered it totally impossible for me to afford them any, although so much the object of my wishes. From the inclosed letters I have not a doubt that unless a well timed assistance may prevent it, they will be forced into a neutrality, which with Indians is little better than a Declaration of War against the weakest Party. . . .

Retaining the Indians in our Interests has been attended with a very heavy expense to Government but their attachment, has, alone, hitherto preserved the Upper Country, & the Devastation they have made upon the Susquehanna and Mohawk Rivers has distressed the Enemy prodigiously. . . .

"General Haldimand To Lord George Germain" [Transcription]

Following the war, the new nation needed to assimilate its lands west of the states, called the Northwest Territory. Read Thomas Jefferson's plan for governing western territories which, though never put into effect, became the basis of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The collection also includes an 1887 address and an 1899 address which speak to the importance of the Northwest Ordinance in determining how the entire nation was built.