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This is gonna be one long answer. A big part of it was that the Seven years war drained a good part of England's treasury, which led the English to increase taxes to pay for new wars, which was the straw that broke the camel's back. The American colonies declared independence and the rest is history. –  American Luke Dec 2 '13 at 19:20
    
Truth - one of the reasons I extracted this from the original question was that it isn't something I could briefly summarize. But I think it is important. –  Mark C. Wallace Dec 2 '13 at 19:23
    
@AmericanLuke This is an interesting notion, but something is amiss here: which new wars exactly? As far as I know Britain was not involved in any major war between Seven Years and American Indep. So you might be arguing a bit circularly here, unless I am missing something. –  Felix Goldberg Dec 2 '13 at 22:02
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@AmericanLuke Surely, you mean Hessian. Prussian mercenaries is a sort of oxymoron, I think. And imho you still have to actually show that the taxes were intended to pay for wars - which I rather doubt at this stage. If you recall the facts presented in the classic account in The March of Folly the main purpose of the taxes was to assert the right of Westminster to tax the colonies at will in principle. That is - there was no real pressing need, but Parliament wanted to show who was the boss. –  Felix Goldberg Dec 2 '13 at 22:38
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@FelixGoldberg: My understanding is that England went into debt during the Seven Years War, and raised taxes to pay off the war-debt. Remember that England subsidized Frederick substantially from 1756-1763, and maintained a decent-sized Hanoverian Army during the conflict, as well as defeating the French in India, West Indies and North America. –  Pieter Geerkens Dec 2 '13 at 22:40

2 Answers 2

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The North American version of the Seven Years' War was the 1[French and Indian War]. And yes, it did set the stage for the American Revolution for at least three reasons:

  1. It provided a causus belli. The French and Indian War cost a lot of money, which the British tried to recoup by taxing the "Americans" of the Thirteen Colonies. The result was a battle cry of "no taxation without representation."
  2. It provided "grist for the mill." The Americans got a taste of fighting (and victory), and decided to test their wings against the mother country. The war also helped train a number of highly capable American officers, including William Prescott (Bunker Hill), Daniel Morgan (Saratoga and Cowpens), and above all, George Washington. A number of foreign officers schooled in the Seven Years' War, such as Baron Friedrich von Steuben, Baron Johan (Jean) deKalb, and John Peter Muhlenburg also officered the American armies.
  3. It set the stage for a favorable "reversal of alliances." The French and Indian War had pitted them against the British and the Americans. The American Revolution pitted the British, (and some Indians), against the Americans, French, and some French allies such as Spain and the Netherlands.
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There is an unobvious connection pointed out by Tarle: Before the Seven Years War the major threat for the colonists was the French in Canada who could conceivably mount an invasion and conquer the colonies (who hardly relished the prospect). The only sure protection against that was Britain. Once Britain had vanquished France and removed the ever-present threat of external invasion, it itself became the colonists' biggest problem.

Think of it as a Maslow-pyramid thing.

Where I differ from Tarle's analysis is that I don't think it was pre-determined from that point that the colonies should become independent. A touch of Burkean magnanimity and Britain might have kept America. But let's stop there, I am sliding into counterfactuals.

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Perhaps it was unobvious when Tarle first presented it, but it is quite obvious now. I have certainly recognized this, and seen it written about, for decades –  Pieter Geerkens Dec 2 '13 at 23:11
    
Well, perhaps I should have said - it was not obvious to me when I had first read id. Which was quite a while ago :) –  Felix Goldberg Dec 3 '13 at 7:31

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