Amer­i­can Tyrant

Blamed for los­ing the Thir­teen Colonies and vil­i­fied in the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence, does King Ge­orge III de­serve this bit­ter legacy?

All About History - - MEDIEVAL MEDICINE - Writ­ten by Jes­sica Leggett

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

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