The Scratch of a Pen
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The Scratch of a Pen : 1763 and the Transformation of North America

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In this superb volume in Oxford's acclaimed Pivotal Moments series, Colin Calloway reveals how the Treaty of Paris of 1763 had a profound effect on American history, setting in motion a cascade of unexpected consequences, as Indians and Europeans, settlers and frontiersmen, all struggled to adapt to new boundaries, new alignments, and new relationships. Britain now possessed a vast American empire stretching from Canada to the Florida Keys, yet the crushing costs of maintaining it would push its colonies toward rebellion. White settlers, free to pour into the West, clashed as never before with Indian tribes struggling to defend their way of life. In the Northwest, Pontiac's War brought racial conflict to its bitterest level so far. Whole ethnic groups migrated, sometimes across the continent: it was 1763 that saw many exiled settlers from Acadia in French Canada move again to Louisiana, where they would become Cajuns. Calloway unfurls this panoramic canvas with vibrant narrative skill, peopling his tale with memorable characters such as William Johnson, the Irish baronet who moved between Indian campfires and British barracks; Pontiac, the charismatic Ottawa chieftain; and James Murray, Britains first governor in Quebec, who fought to protect the religious rights of his French Catholic subjects. Most Americans know the significance of the Declaration of Independence or the Emancipation Proclamation, but not the Treaty of Paris. Yet 1763 was a year that shaped our history just as decisively as 1776 or 1862. This captivating book shows why. Winner of the Society of Colonial Wars Book Award for 2006show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 144.78 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 13 halftones, 6 maps
  • 0195331273
  • 9780195331271
  • 914,076

Review quote

"The year 1763 was a pivotal one in American history, witnessing a peace treaty that set in motion enormous changes. The Scratch of a Pen looks at how 1763 laid the groundwork for the American Revolution, but it is far richer than that. With striking clarity and graceful prose, Colin Calloway explores every nook and cranny of this extraordinary year, revealing blunders, deceit, treachery, tragedies, and triumphs that would in time turn the world upside down and change America forever."-John Ferling, author of A Leap in the Dark and Adams vs. Jefferson "Forget the constitution and the Declaration of Independence: it was the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763 at the close of the French and Indian War, that set the stage for the birth of America."-Atlantic Monthly "A spellbinding tale of a year in American history.... In 1763, with the peace treaty that ended the French and Indian War, France and Spain handed over all the territory east of the Mississippi, as well as Canada, to the British. Calloway's enthralling chronicle follows the lives of settlers, Indians and immigrants as this new British rule affected them. He demonstrates convincingly that the seeds of the American Revolution were planted in 1763, as a near-bankrupt Britain began to impose heavy 'taxation without representation....' This first-rate cultural history, part of Oxford's Pivotal Moments in American History series, reveals that the events of 1763 changed not only the political geography of a nation but also its cultural geography, as various groups moved from one part of the country to another."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) "In this compact and beautifully crafted book, Colin Calloway shows how mid-eighteenth-century North America stood at the vortex of global conflict and how the Seven Years War reshaped the continent's human as well political geography. By seeing epic events through Native American eyes, as well as through the eyes of the Spanish, French, and English, Calloway captures the full continent-wide drama triggered by the end of the 'great war for empire' in 1763. A resoundingly successful book."-Gary B. Nash, author of The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America "A colonial revolution, Indian wars for independence, the cultural survival of a defeated empire...all here brought into sharp focus by Calloway's illuminating account."-Boston Globe "Colin Calloway's engaging and absorbing new book makes a persuasive case for adding 1763 to the short list of watershed years-among them 1492, 1607, 1776, 1861, 1929, and 1941-that have shaped America. Moving with ease from London and Paris to Detroit and New Orleans, from Indian villages to frontier settlements, from glorious visions to grubby realities, The Scratch of a Pen somehow never loses sight of the colorful cast of characters occupying center stage in that tumultuous time. These peoples come vividly to life in a fascinating tale full of profound consequences-intended, and otherwise-for the shape of things to come." -James H. Merrell, author of Into the American Woods "What makes Calloway's work significant is the way he tells the story. He covers a vast amount of material in a small amount of space yet manages to maintain its complex nuances without confusing the reader or obscuring the event. ...an excellent introduction to the complexity of early America. The book will give readers of all types the opportunity to understand a truly pivotal moment in American history." -Reviews in American History "An impressive achievement."-The International History Reviewshow more

About Colin G. Calloway

Colin G. Calloway is Professor of History and Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College. His many books on early American history include New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America and The American Revolution in Indian Country. His most recent work, One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark (2003), received the Ray Allen Billington Prize, the Merle Curti Award, and many other prizes, and was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of the Year.show more

Rating details

403 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 21% (83)
4 35% (142)
3 35% (142)
2 8% (32)
1 1% (4)
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