The Grievances of the Colonists

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Why is King George III considered a tyrant?

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To answer this question, first you need to define and understand what the term tyrant means. A tyrant is typically described as “an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution.” These types of leaders are usually also cruel and ruthless in their disposition—think Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin....

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To answer this question, first you need to define and understand what the term tyrant means. A tyrant is typically described as “an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution.” These types of leaders are usually also cruel and ruthless in their disposition—think Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Should George III of England be placed in this category? That is debatable, and this discussion mainly stems from his handling and rule of the American colonies, as well as the mental illness he suffered from later in life.

Ascending to the throne in 1760, King George III of England ruled for 59 years. Early in his reign, he pushed for a quick end to the Seven Years’ War with France in North America. Then conflict began to ensure in the American colonies, in part due to decisions made by the leadership of George’s string of prime ministers. It was Prime Minister George Grenville who introduced the Stamp Act to gain income for the crown, a decision that riled the colonists and made them wary of the British leadership.

In 1770, with King George’s support, Prime Minister Lord North imposed the tea tax, leading to the infamous Boston Tea Party and the American colonists’ protests of “taxation without representation.” A full revolt began two years later with the American Revolution and the colonists’ wishes to be free from England, as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Although the document depicted King George as a tyrannical leader who should not have the right to rule the colonies, it was the British Parliament who was in charge of determining their policies, with George having a less influential role. In 1778, George began to experience episodes of insanity, and by 1811, his son took over as prince regent.

So these factors (the role of Parliament and his mental instability) play a large role in the tyrannical behavior attributed to King George III and should be considered when labeling him as such.

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