King George III ruled over Great Britain during the American Revolution. He came to the throne at the end of the French and Indian War, which had left Britain with a lot of debt. The English decided to change their policies in the colonies and started imposing taxes, which enraged the American colonists.


Although King George III was not to blame for all of the bad decisions made by his Parliament, he appointed quite a couple of incompetent ministers. This resulted in some very inconsistent government policies which were seen as unfair and corrupt by the Americans. The King also suffered from bouts of insanity due to a lifelong illness, which may have influenced his judgement in how to handle the American colonies. A very famous quote by George was “The colonists must either submit or triumph” and triumphing was exactly what they did.


Keeping Up Appearances

George II was also very afraid that being lenient towards the Americans would just be taken as weakness.  He took the war personally and believed that Britain was fighting to protect the British constitution against usurpers. He did not see the Americans as patriots that were fighting for their rights.


For the king, his army’s defeat in 1781 at Yorktown was a difficult pill to swallow. Intitially, he prepared an abdication speech, but then decided to go along with peace negotiations after all and signed the Treaty of Paris in 1782.

This article is part of our larger resource on the Colonial America culture, society, economics, and warfare. Click here for our comprehensive article on Colonial America.

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