Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Rife, James Phillip URN etd-090999-172528 Title "So Calamitous a Situation": The Causes and Course of Dunmore's War, 1744-1774 Degree Master of Arts Department History Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Ekirch, A. Roger Committee Chair Baumgartner, Frederic J. Committee Member Thorp, Daniel B. Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 1999-09-09 Availability restricted Abstract"So Calamitous a Situation": The Causes and Course of Dunmore's War, 1744-1774
James Phillip Rife
Dunmore's War was the last colonial war in America before the Revolution.
This conflict was the culmination of nearly thirty years of intrigue and
violence in the so-called "Western Waters" of the trans-Allegheny region
of Virginia, which included the valleys of the Ohio River and its lower
tributary system. This thesis traces the origins of the war, and suggests
that, among other things, the provisions in the Royal Proclamation of 1763
for the westward extension of the Indian boundary line and soldier settlement
contributed mightily to the instigation of the war between Virginia and the
Shawnees. Indeed, Virginia's former provincial soldiers took advantage of the
waning authority of the royal government in the west to secure their bounty lands,
at the expense of the Shawnees and their allies in the Ohio Valley. Matters
reached a climax during the curious administration of Virginia's last colonial
governor, Lord Dunmore. Dunmore, who harbored his own western land ambitions,
allied himself with the soldiers and land speculators, and instituted policies
aimed at extending Virginia's jurisdiction over the Ohio Valley and Kentucky
against the directives of his superiors in London. Accordingly, the thesis
examines the royal governor's motivations, policies, and conduct in the events
leading up to the conflict. Finally, the thesis contributes a fresh, complete
narrative of the war itself, which has been lacking for some time in the field
of Virginia History.
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