NO sooner was the long succession of French wars closed by the conquest of Canada, than American history entered on a new stage. Hitherto the contests had been waged between European powers for the possession of the various colonies, both the interests and the efforts of these colonies being of secondary importance. From this time on, however, the American settlements became themselves the chief factors in solving the problems of their own future, and the questions of policy hinged on the issues between them and the mother country.
The colonial system, which at this time was common to all seafaring European nations, was essentially vicious, and could not possibly last when the colonies grew in strength. England did not treat her colonies exceptionally ill; on the contrary, she behaved much better toward them than the other European nations of that day did to theirs. If she had not done so, the revolt against her power would have come far sooner; for no other nation had planted beyond the seas such a race of freemen as was growing up on the North Atlantic coast of America. They came