In 1754, France had a strong relationship with a
number of Native-American tribes in Canada and along the Great Lakes. It
controlled the Mississippi River and, by establishing a
line of forts and trading posts, controlled a great crescent-shaped
empire stretching from Quebec to New Orleans. Given
this, the French threatened not only the British Empire but also the
An armed clash between a band of French
regulars and Virginia militiamen took place in 1754. The Virginia force,
by a young George Washington, was unsuccessful in
expelling the French from Fort Duquesne and the Ohio region. The
government attempted to deal with the conflict by
calling a meeting of representatives from New York, Pennsylvania,
and the New England colonies. The Albany Congress, as
it came to be known, met with the Iroquois in Albany, New York, in order
to improve relations with them and secure their
loyalty to the British.
The delegates also declared a union of the
American colonies "absolutely necessary for their preservation" and
adopted a proposal
drafted by Benjamin Franklin. This proposal became
known as The Albany Plan of Union. The Albany Plan suggested the future
direction of the colonies, but at the time, none of
the colonies accepted the plan. They were not prepared to surrender
the power of taxation or control over the development
of the western lands.
England's superior strategic position and her competent leadership ultimately brought victory in the conflict with France,
known as the French and Indian War. This war was also known as the Seven Years' War in Europe.
In the Peace of Paris (1763), France relinquished all of Canada, the Great Lakes, and the territory east of the Mississippi
to the British. The dream of a French empire in North America was over.