The British General Edward Braddock and his young colonial aide George Washington are often portrayed as symbols of the antagonism brewing between Britain and her Colonies during the French and Indian War, which would soon burst forth in the form of the American Revolution. This is partly true, but their relationship and the relationship between Britain and America were and are much more complex than has often been portrayed in grade school history texts and Hollywood motion pictures. There was also something deeply human about their interaction that is often overlooked in favor of a more easily understood narrative that chooses sides rather than seeks out the middle way.Share
In February of 1755, Edward Braddock, a 62-year-old veteran of the prestigious Coldstream Guards and native of Perth, Scotland, was sent to North America to ostensibly “put the French in their place” and push them further west to make room for the expanding British colonies in the Ohio River Valley. The colonists themselves were enthusiastically behind this push for supremacy, and initially welcomed the regular troops sent from the Mother Country to aid them in the territorial struggle, known as The French and Indian War in America and The Seven Years War in Europe.
But problems arose almost immediately, involving the proper accoutrement of these newly arrived troops and misunderstandings on both sides. The British viewed the colonists, by and large, as low-life opportunists who tried to get best edge on every deal and refused to obey orders or conform to disciplinary regulations. The colonists, on the other hand, resented the pompous and bullying attitude of the British officers, including Braddock, who refused to acknowledge that the Americans could ever stand on equal footing with them in social, political, or military spheres. (Read more.)