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King George III in the Declaration of Independence

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The Declaration of Independence, arguably the most important document in our history, was a statement of purpose. The declaration is divided into four sections, the first and most recognized is the preamble; in the preamble the colonies explain why it is necessary to issue a declaration. Second, it describes the inalienable rights of every man, which include: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The third section, which often times is overlooked, is a large list of grievances and accusations against King George III. The final section the colonies declare that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent. The section, which includes numerous accusations against King George III, is particularly noteworthy, and it is through these grievances that the most important laws embedded in the Constitution were derived. Some of the complaints against the king may seem strange or even trivial to today’s reader, but it must be remembered that the purpose of the Declaration was the molding of public opinion and not the recording of facts.

The accusation expressed against King George III that points to his tyrannical character expressed in the Declaration of Independence can be highlighted by the dissatisfaction with the imposition of taxes on the colonies without their consent, the act of cutting off all colonial trade with the outside world, and through the obstruction of justice by means of refusing to fulfill his obligation to establish justice and a righteous judicial system.

The writers of the declaration of independence blamed George III for the imposition of taxes against the colonies. This is simply another example cited as to why George III was a tyrannical king and ruler. There was no single that sparked this sudden accusation against King George III. The combination of such taxes as the sugar act, which faced great opposition because it required collection of the import duties on tea, forcing colonists to accept English taxation and hurting the business of merchants who were competitors of the East India Company. Also, such acts and taxes like the declaratory act, which virtually proclaimed England’s superiority over the colonies also invoked great disturbance. The stamp act, which taxed anything published, was possibly the most controversial tax, and consequently there were massive riots and internal dissention. In is noteworthy that none of these taxes were proposed to any of the colonial assemblies, they were simply passed by parliament and enforced in the colonies. The imposition of taxes by King George III without the consent or opinion of the colonies reinforces the belief that he was a tyrannical ruler.

The simple action of cutting off the colonies’ ability to trade with other countries was one of the central complaints of the colonies expressed in the Declaration of Independence. There was no single act that stated that the colonies could not trade with other countries; however, the mandated mercantilist economy imposed on the colonies was one that included provisions that prevented the colonies from trading with non-England countries. The English published and violently enforced a list of goods that could only be traded between the colonies and England. These items, called the enumerated articles hindered economic mobility of the colonies. In order to enforce the policy of enumerated articles writs of assistance were issues. These were in effect unwarranted search warrants, in which British soldiers could come into your house and search your home unannounced and without probable cause. King George’s lack of respect for economic mobility and his dictatorship authorization to impose the colonies with “his” economy reinforces the idea that his purpose as king was to establish himself as a dictator over the colonies, leading the colonists to accuse him as a tyrant.

King George III’s obstruction of justice is possibly the greatest reason to warrant the unrest of the colonies and also the leading reason why he is referred to, for good reason, as a tyrant. King George refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large regions of people, unless those people would renounce their right of representation in the legislature, a right that was invaluable to them, actions colonists referred to as, “…formidable to tyrants only.” A specific example of King George’s obstruction of justice occurred only a short time after the Boston Tea Party. A series of laws were passed under the direct demand of King George that became known as the intolerable acts, and can be deemed, “England last straw.” The intolerable acts were measures that curtailed the powers of the Massachusetts assembly and local town meetings, closed the port of Boston, required colonists to provide housing and supplies to British soldiers, and allowed the governor to move the trial of British officials from Massachusetts in capital cases for acts committed in the line of duty. Although King George without doubt performed numerous other actions that can be classified as obstruction of justice; however, the intolerable acts serve as sufficient evidence that he was not only a dictator but a cruel and harsh tyrant.

Although it is difficult to blame King George with 100% of the responsibility as to why the colonies “hated” England, he is without doubt the leading reason for their unconditional hatred. He was responsible for implementing taxes against the will of the colonies, he restricted the economic mobility of the colonies by mandating who and what they traded, and most noticeably he took no shame in abolishing democratic forums like the assembly in order to hinder innovative political ideology and prevent a revolution. And thus, the statement, “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history… of an absolute tyranny over these [colonies,]” is not only accurate but a fair and correct assessment of his character as a ruler.

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