Colonial Union : plans to unite the American colonies from 1696 to 1763


From 1696 through 1754, there were no less than eleven formal plans for a union of the British North-American colonies proposed. by a wide variety of sources, colonial and imperial. These formal proposals join an innumerable list of casual or informal calls for some sort of consolidated or union government. The idea of a united government of the American colonies is normally reserved for the middle to end of the eighteenth century but clearly the movement began long before that. Military ineffectiveness and shifting constitutional realities made union seem necessary to many observers. The colonies, as distinct and separate entities, were never able to cooperate in such a way as to allow them to wage a consistently successful war effort against the French in the various colonial wars. Additionally, Imperial officials were unhappy with this erosion of royal authority and saw union as an opportunity for reform. There was broad agreement on the need for union, though no comprehensive plan was ever adopted. The idea was debated in context of broader question on the future of the empire. Three main perspectives are discernable: imperial, localist, and provincial. These points of view had an important role in shaping the construction and debate over the plans for union. Ultimately, the goals of these different loose political groups were too divergent to allow for the implementation of a plan for union.


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Thesis Completion



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program



Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


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Honors in the Major Thesis

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