Suggested Resources for George Washington and the French and Indian War from the Archivist

by Mary-Jo Kline

For additional information on the broader Seven Years’ War, of which the French and Indian campaigns were only a part, use this recent one-volume study:

  • Baugh, Daniel A. The Global Seven Years War, 1754–1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest. New York: Longman, 2011.

These authors study the war’s North American campaigns:

  • Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 17541766. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. First-rate. If you consult only one book, go to this one.
  • Mapp, Paul W.  The Elusive West And The Contest For Empire, 1713–1763. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Interesting study of ways that Europe’s ignorance of the geography of the American West distorted grand imperial designs.

The Digital History textbook entry on the Seven Years’ War is brief but to the point.

  • These focus on the campaigns in colonial Virginia and Pennsylvania and the Ohio Country:
  • Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 17201830. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  • Ward, Matthew C. Breaking the Backcountry: The Seven Years’ War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1754–1765. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.

If your students are interested in New France before the war, we recommend:

  • Brecher, Frank W. Losing a Continent: France’s North American Policy, 1753–1763. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998. Analyzes French policy in the Western Hemisphere in light of political, economic, and social conditions at home.
  • Eccles, W. J. The French in North America, 1500–1765. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998. Revised edition of a book first published in 1972 as France in America.
  • Moogk, Peter N. La Nouvelle France: The Making of French Canada: A Cultural History. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2000. Cultural history of French Canada.
  • Skinner, Claiborne A. The Upper Country: French Enterprise in the Colonial Great Lakes. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008. Lively book for the general reader.

On the Internet, the US Library of Congress and the French Bibliothèque Nationale de France have collaborated on France in America/France en Amérique, a bilingual digital library made available by the Library of Congress. It explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century.

Instead of referring you to this wonderful online reference source over and over again as different subjects arise, I’ll tell you now to go the Dictionary of Canadian Biography for excellent entries on Legardeur, the Marquis de La Jonquière, Duquesne de Menneville, John Forbes, Jumonville, Coulon de Villiers, and others:

George Washington and his brothers were incurable speculators in western lands, and the Ohio Company is only one example of their investments. I wish there were more up to date book-length studies for you:

  • Bailey, Kenneth P. The Ohio Company of Virginia and the Westward Movement, 1748–1792. 1939. Reprint, Lewisburg, PA: Wennawoods Publishing, 2000. This book is also available online (but who knows for how long) on
  • Procter, James, Alfred. The Ohio Company: Its Inner History. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1959.

There’s an informative entry on the Ohio Company in Ohio History Central, the Ohio Historical Society’s excellent online encyclopedia of the state’s history:

For Christopher Gist, one of the most fascinating figures on the pre-Revolutionary frontier, I can suggest only a book that’s long out of print:

Bailey, Kenneth P. Christopher Gist: Colonial Frontiersman, Explorer, and Indian Agent. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1976.

There’s more material on Legardeur:

  • Peyser, J. L.  Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre: Officer, Gentleman, Entrepreneur. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1996. Interesting “documentary biography.”

And this piece in the online Nova Scotia Scrapbook

For Governor Dinwiddie I’m forced to cite another out of print book:

Washington’s career in the French and Indian War has attracted many authors. These are among the best and most recent:

  • Axelrod, Alan. Blooding At Great Meadows: Young George Washington and the Battle that Shaped the Man. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2007. Dr. Crackel’s personal favorite.

This book is one of my favorites for younger readers inside and outside the classroom. I never tire of buying it for “junior” historians in my own family and circle of friends.  And I suspect that grownups in those families enjoy it as well. It does a superb job of introducing novices to the use of primary documents (in this case, Washington’s own letters and diaries) in learning about history:

  • Anderson, Fred, ed. George Washington Remembers: Reflections on the French and Indian War. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2004. The centerpiece of the book is Washington’s own 1786 memoir of his experiences in the War. This is supplemented by scholarly essays and other documents.

Library of Congress offers a series of lesson plans on Washington:

Lesson one is “Honor and Passion for Glory: George Washington in the Ohio Valley.” It draws on the George Washington papers at Library of Congress (part of the American Memory undertaking, of course).

You’ll find  a very brief entry on Fort Necessity in the Ohio History site.

At the National Park Service site for Fort Necessity, the “History and Culture” entry is brief. While the educational materials are good, they’re all geared to students who can tour the site.

Edward Braddock, Washington’s commander in the 1755 campaign, can be studied here:

  • Kopperman, Paul E. Braddock at the Monongahela. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003. Solid biography originally published in 1977.
  • And a brief entry at Ohio Central

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