History Ph.D. Dissertations


“British in Thought and Deed:” Henry Bouquet and the Making of Britain’s American Empire

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Peter Way

Second Advisor

Amilcar Challu (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Andrew Schocket (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Frank McKenna


This work examines how Colonel Henry Bouquet used the British fiscal-military state as a blueprint for military operations in colonial North America during the Seven Years' War (1756-63). Bouquet's military operations marked the peripheral projection of the British fiscal-military state onto American colonists and Native Americans on the imperial periphery. Inside the colonies, military mobilization involved marshalling provincial troops, quartering soldiers, requisitioning provisions, livestock, and farm equipment, and making military infrastructure, all of which led to varying degrees of friction between the army and colonial society. Bouquet sought to impose military power on Native society by controlling diplomacy, regulating trade and gift giving, and reclaiming White captives, with mixed results. Problematically, both colonists and Indians balked at these policies, marking the failure in the colonial world of what had proven to be efficient bureaucratic institutions inside Britain. This work broadens Military Revolution and state formation theories by examining how these process unwound in an imperial setting.

This work identifies variables in British America that did not obtain in the formation of European states. By bridging British imperial, colonial, and Indian historiographies, this work reports that militarization caused tensions between the British state and colonial and native peoples. Historians have not examined the Royal American Army as the catalyst for these tensions, overlooking important variables in empire making. Using path dependence and constitutional theories, this work reports that colonial society developed in ways that made it unable to cope with the fiscal, social, or tactical demands of modern warfare. Ethno-historians have pushed their field to "look east" from Indian Country, overlooking European and military historiographies. By merging Native and British historiographies, this work reports that Bouquet sought to militarize Indian Country in a way that undermined its culture and livelihood, generating a form of violent resistance that European state makers seldom encountered inside their own societies. In both colonial and Indian societies, cooperation with Bouquet led to subjugation. Colonials resisted subjugation through constitutional channels, and political and passive resistance; Native Americans resisted through the Cherokee War and Pontiac's War. Path dependence and violent resistance emerge as the two most important variables that account for Bouquet's inability to integrate North America into the British fiscal-military state during the Seven Years' War.