Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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Student Question

How would American colonists describe the King of Great Britain?

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The words people in the colonies would use to describe Britain’s King would depend on which side of the conflict they supported and how they viewed the various events occurring in the colonies. Those who supported the Patriots would likely call him a tyrant or a brute. They would say that he didn’t listen to the concerns of the people. They would point to some of the tax laws that were passed that, in the some of the colonists’ opinion, violated their rights as British citizens. They would say he didn’t want peace or respect the colonists. They would point to the rejection of the Olive Branch Petition as an example.

Those who were loyalists would describe the King in positive terms. They would say he was doing what the King was supposed to do. These were his colonies, and he could do whatever he wanted to do with the colonies. The King didn’t have to answer to the colonists if he didn’t want to do that. They also would have reverence for him because he was the head of the Anglican Church, which is the Church of England. Some of these people couldn’t imagine criticizing their religious leader even if they didn’t agree with everything he did. Additionally, some of the loyalists would have spoken kindly of the King because they worked for the British government.

Each person’s opinion of the King depended on how they viewed the various issues affecting the colonies. Also, their views were affected by which side they supported as well as their position in the colonies.

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