Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality?

Futurist

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May 2014
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Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality? For instance, was there large-scale demand for the conquest of French North America before the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War) so that British colonists could settle there?

Also, was there always a large-scale desire among Americans to expand up to the Pacific ever since the US acquired its independence? Or did this desire only become widespread among Americans later on?
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,115
Portugal
Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality? For instance, was there large-scale demand for the conquest of French North America before the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War) so that British colonists could settle there?

Also, was there always a large-scale desire among Americans to expand up to the Pacific ever since the US acquired its independence? Or did this desire only become widespread among Americans later on?
The less expansionist British colonists stayed in the British Isles. The more expansionists went to a ship a sailed away between the waves to meet their destiny…
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,033
Iowa USA
Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality? For instance, was there large-scale demand for the conquest of French North America before the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War) so that British colonists could settle there?

Also, was there always a large-scale desire among Americans to expand up to the Pacific ever since the US acquired its independence? Or did this desire only become widespread among Americans later on?
"Large-scale desire... ever since the US acquired its independence"?

Considering the scale of the defeat inflicted on American forces at Battle of the Wabash, some seven or eight years after independence, no. Contemplating the settlement of the trans-Mississippi wasn't a practical project until the Old Northwest was pacified.

When you use the phrase large-scale desire, I have to think you are referring to popular opinion, rather than vision of the most nationalist of the well-educated.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,723
Dispargum
The British colonies had attacked Canada in previous wars. They never succeeded in conquering Canada until the British invested serious resources during the Seven Years War. The earlier wars saw the British colonies (with some British support) capture territory in Maine, Nova Scotia, New Foundland, and Labrador. Also unsuccessful attacks on Quebec.

I am unaware of American ambitions for a Pacific coast prior to the Louisiana Purchase, but Pacific ambitions were voiced immediately thereafter. Lewis and Clark set out with orders to find an overland route to the mouth of the Columbia River (Oregon). The War of 1812 was fought in the Oregon Country between rival British and American fur trapping companies. (The Americans lost there, too.)

From the earliest colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts there was always an expectation that more land and other resources would eventually be needed. It was common for Massachusetts Puritan couples to have eight or ten children.
 
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Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
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South of the barcodes
"Large-scale desire... ever since the US acquired its independence"?

Considering the scale of the defeat inflicted on American forces at Battle of the Wabash, some seven or eight years after independence, no. Contemplating the settlement of the trans-Mississippi wasn't a practical project until the Old Northwest was pacified.

When you use the phrase large-scale desire, I have to think you are referring to popular opinion, rather than vision of the most nationalist of the well-educated.

If you want a fun way to lose days down the rabbit hole, try the history guy.

He does a nice summary of the battle

 
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Jun 2017
599
maine
Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality? For instance, was there large-scale demand for the conquest of French North America before the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War) so that British colonists could settle there?

Also, was there always a large-scale desire among Americans to expand up to the Pacific ever since the US acquired its independence? Or did this desire only become widespread among Americans later on?
Yes and Probably.
The British colonists were aggressive not only against Native Americans but, also, against non-British colonies and non-British colonists.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Did British colonists in North America always have an expansionist mentality? For instance, was there large-scale demand for the conquest of French North America before the Seven Years' War (aka the French and Indian War) so that British colonists could settle there?

Also, was there always a large-scale desire among Americans to expand up to the Pacific ever since the US acquired its independence? Or did this desire only become widespread among Americans later on?
I think the expansion was driven by ordinary people wanting their own land. Remember back in those days most people were farmers.
It is a complex issue. I agree with M9Powell that much of the expansion westward was driven by individuals, who were sometimes moving into territories even before they became part of the U.S. Some, like Daniel Boone, got into trouble for entering unsanctioned lands.
Boonesborough | Kentucky, United States
Then there were states who had an eye toward the west, like Virginia and Pennsylvania who fought over western territory.
ExplorePAHistory.com - Stories from PA History
On the other hand, there were individuals who were ore than content with the 13 states and likely had little concern or care about expanding - at least in the first years of the Republic.
 
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