Blamed for losing the Thirteen Colonies and vilified in the Declaration of Independence, does King George III deserve this bitter legacy?
The crowds swarmed the gilded statue of King George III with the words of the newly signed Declaration of Independence ringing loudly in their ears. They shouted and jeered as they climbed the protective fence, slinging ropes over the king’s statue, pulling at them as it violently swayed from side to side. With an almighty crash, the statue came crumbling to the ground against a wave of cheers – no longer would Americans suffer under the tyrannical rule of King George and his British Empire.
Many of history’s biggest watershed moments have involved the tearing down of statues, a symbolic break for freedom at the end of oppressive rule.
Made of gilded lead, the fall of George’s statue was poetic in more ways than one as it was melted down and turned into 42,088 musket balls, used by the Continental Army against the king’s own forces.
The debate regarding George’s reign has raged ever since his lifetime, as the infamous king who not only lost the American colonies, but whose permanent descent into madness caused crisis within the British monarchy. But does George, the longest-reigning king in British history, really deserve to be remembered as a tyrant?
On the Path to War
Before taking a look at George’s involvement it is important to note that prior to the outbreak of the American War of Independence, discontent had been bubbling across the Thirteen North American colonies against the British Parliament for some time, thanks to the Seven Years’ War. The war, which had lasted from 1756 to 1763, had been extremely costly for Britain despite its victory over France and its allies.
Hoping to recoup some of the money that had been spent on the conflict, Parliament decided to tax the colonies on the grounds that the war had partly been fought to protect them from the French in Canada. Britain had also sent 10,000 troops to the colonies to defend the frontier near the Appalachian Mountains. The result was the Stamp Act, passed on 22 March 1765, which imposed direct taxes on the colonists for the first time in order to raise money for their defense.
French king Louis XV accepts defeat in the Seven Years’ War King George has gone down in history as a tyrant who lost America