A Review Of Howard H. Peckham, The Colonial Wars: 1689 1762 Title: The Colonial Wars: 1689 1762 Author: Howard H. Peckham

1728 words - 7 pages

For most, the history of the United States begins with the American Revolution. But, what led up to that momentous decision to separate from Great Britain? From where did our Founding Fathers gather the confidence and strength to manage such a feat? In his book, The Colonial Wars: 1689-1762, Howard H. Peckham takes the reader through a timeline of the four great Colonial Wars and their battles, their heroes and their forgotten influence on American history. The militaristic and psychological changes the American colonists underwent gave the nation the self-reliance to revolt against the crown.Peckham begins by pointing out the fact that, for over eight decades, up until the beginning of King William's War in 1689, early American military history was limited to defense against the Indians. The colonists had to adjust to the stealthy hit and run, guerilla-type warfare common to the Indians. This frontier method of combat would be an advantage to the American colonists in this and future wars, including the Revolutionary War, for they would fight the French and their Indian allies within the same "sea of trees" they had fought their previous Indian aggressors. The American fighting style within the thick forest and on the rough terrain was a dramatic departure from the gentlemanly way of war typical of the British on the flat, empty European battlegrounds. When a militia was formed at the onset of King William's War, American colonists were able to demonstrate their fighting abilities against the French and their Abenaki Indian allies.On top of the changes in the fighting ability of the American military, the realization set in that cooperation was needed, first among the colonies and then among the combined British and American armies and the powerful British navy. The attempts at unification of the colonies for their common defense during King William's War proved to be a failure. The first intercolonial conference took place in New York in April of 1690. The plan was for a united invasion of Canada but many colonies faltered. Virginia's House of Burgesses refused to interact because of its new lieutenant governor's grudge with New York's governor. Rhode Island only sent money and Philadelphia could do nothing while without a governor. A second conference was called three years later but the absent colonies were an excuse for the attending not reaching an agreement. The only successful unification was among Massachusetts Bay, Maine and Plymouth to form a royal colony in 1692. The steps taken to try and form a unified colonial system were the precursors to eventual revolution.Much like the attempts at colonial cooperation, cooperation between the army and navy was a dismal failure as well. Sir William Phipps' naval expedition to Quebec wound up being a fruitless venture that cost many lives and Massachusetts Bay over fifty-thousand pounds. But still, British military leaders foresaw the limitless possibilities of a coordinated land-sea attack.The...

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