THE FATE OF A CONTINENT
Influences of War -- Causes of Seven Years' War -- Situation in New England -- Attitude of Colonies in the Struggle -- Evil Effects of the System of Defense -- Braddock -- Outline of the Campaigns -- Canada Conquered
IT was a matter of profound importance to the New Englanders, both intellectually and politically, that just at the time when they had reached the critical stage described in the last two chapters they were called upon to pass through that ordeal by battle which is always of deep influence upon the life and thought of a people. A prolonged war in which the economic and human resources of a society are taxed to their utmost markedly affects the relations of its members to one another, and involves for many a reëxamination of the theories upon which such relations are based. The experiences of all classes -- though the result is frequently not felt until some years later -- greatly stimulates their intellectual life. War lets loose disruptive forces which even when they do not threaten the destruction of the social fabric profoundly alter its structure. The popular political philosophy of any age is unconsciously an attempt to rationalize the already accepted economic and political ideas. In the period following war, therefore, the intellectual stimulus given by it prompts men to observe the altered social conditions and status created, and in endeavoring to provide a rational basis for the new outlook to orient an altered philosophy. All these factors, the influences of which are but too apparent to us today, may be seen shaping the events of the whole period from the outbreak of the Seven Years' War to the armed arbitrament of the dispute between England and her colonies.
It is interesting to note the intellectual ferment incidental to war at work in the youthful mind of one of the leading figures