King George Iii: America’S Tyrant (Album)

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King George III assumed the throne in 1760 and ruled for 59 years—at the time, the longest reign of a British monarch. Unlike his father and grandfather, who hailed from the Electorate of Hanover, he was born and bred in Britain, and was a native speaker of English. He presided over victories in the Seven Years’ and the Napoleonic Wars, which made him popular with his subjects. This popularity did not extend to the American colonies. The Founders viewed him as a tyrant. It was the obdurate policies of George III that compelled the colonies to declare their independence. As Thomas Jefferson wrote on July 4, 1776, in the eponymous Declaration, George III “has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people” and intended to finish“ the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized nation.”

After losing the colonies, George III contemplated abdication, but decided against it. He famously went mad—for a few months in 1778 and 1804, and then for the last ten years of
his life. This penny, KM663, was issued from 1806-7.

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