Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Beyond

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was passed by the British as a way to deal with their newly acquired territory. It set the boundaries of Quebec and set aside most of the former French territory as Indian Territory.

This act set the boundaries of the new colony of Quebec as well as the Indian Territory west of the 13 Colonies. Quebec was given its own, separate government first under James Murray (1764-1768) and later under Guy Carleton (1768-1778).

Murray, however, did something surpising.

  • He allowed the colonists in Quebec to continue using French civil law.
  • He allowed the Catholic worship services to continue freely without any form of persecution.
  • He favored the resident French merchants over newly arrived British ones.

Quebec Act of 1774

Murray's action was surprising, but the British confirmed it in the Quebec Act of 1774.

  • This act confirmed that Catholics could freely practice their faith.
  • It set up French civil law for private legal matters and British commons law for public administration and criminal justice.
  • The oath of allegiance to the British crown was modified so that it no longer refered to the Protestant faith.
  • The territory of Quebec was also expanded to include part of the Indian Territory meaning that the colony of Quebec now blocked western expansion of th 13 Colonies.

The Quebec Act came to be seen by the American colonists as one of the Intolerable Acts. These acts are considered to be one of the direct causes of the American Revolution of 1776.

Questions to Think About

  1. Did the British no longer care about the Indians that they said they'd protect in the 1763 Proclamation?
  2. The British would have known that extending Quebec's territory would have annoyed the Americans. Why would they do that?
  3. Why were the British so generous to the French in Quebec, allowing them to live as they pleased without really bending to the English will?

What to do

Write a speech about the Quebec Act of 1774 as either

  1. a British official defending the Act
  2. or an irritated American attacking it.

In either speech you need to talk about

  1. why Catholics are tolerated in a Protestant empire.
  2. why the French Catholics of Quebec get the land west of the 13 Colonies.
  3. why the French of Quebec get to keep their own French civil law in the middle of a British empire.

Your speech

  1. should take about two minutes to deliver.
  2. should be filled with passion and fire. Be a demagogue.
  3. should be logical and orderly.
  4. should be entertaining.

Make a comic strip

  1. of at least six panels.
  2. that shows a British official telling the Americans about the Quebec Act and explaining the reasons behind the Act.
  3. that shows the American reaction to the Quebec Act.
  4. that has color and beauty and wonder.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.