What was the British view on the American Declaration of Independence (not the draft)? What were the main accusations against the British Crown?
There are a number of accusations made against the British Crown in the Declaration of Independence. They are mainly found in the last (and longest) section of the document. The gist of these accusations is that the British Crown was trying to take away the rights of the American colonists and reduce them to the status of slaves. As the Declaration alleges,
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.
Within this blanket accusation, there are a number of specific charges. Many of the charges are somewhat repetitive. Let us look at some of the most important.
First, the Declaration claims that the King has been refusing to allow laws to be passed that would help the colonies. It says that he refuses to approve laws created by the colonies and that he refused to allow his governors to pass laws that would be beneficial to the colonists.
Second, the Declaration alleges that the King has destroyed the colonies’ ability to govern themselves. It says that he has disbanded their legislatures and that he has set up new legislatures in places that are hard for delegates to get to. This has been done to give himself more power over the colonies.
Finally, the Declaration claims that the King has been actively doing things that would hurt the colonists. It says that he has kept standing armies in their cities. It says that he has sent “swarms” of government officials to harass the colonists. It says that he has cut off their trade and has waged war against them.
All of these were charges made against the British Crown in the final version of the Declaration of Independence. The British response to this was uneven. The King essentially threatened the colonies, saying that they were liable to be attacked if they did not recant. Among the people of Britain, there were those who supported the King and those who felt that the colonists had been treated unfairly.