Explains George III's role and policies during the American Revolution and Napoleonic Era.
Discusses George III's mixed legacy and whether criticisms of it are fair.
“I wish nothing but good; therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor and a scoundrel.” – King George III
When he died in 1820, King George III had presided over the longest reign by a monarch in England’s history and ruled the British Empire during one of its most turbulent and important periods, but he was remembered by the unappealing sobriquets "The Mad King” and ”The King Who Lost America". The British remembered him based on the fact that he began suffering serious mental illnesses by the end of his life, and he was even more despised in America, with Jefferson summing up the public opinion of the British king in a letter to then-ambassador John Adams: "We I hope shall be left free to avail ourselves of the advantages of neutrality: and yet much I fear the English, or rather their stupid king, will force us out of it. (...) Common sense dictates therefore that they should let us remain neuter: Ergo they will not let us remain neuter. I never yet found any other general rule for foretelling what they will do, but that of examining what they ought not to do."
Given George III’s descent into senility, and the fact that he was the monarch during the American Revolution, it was only natural that George III would be remembered those ways, but his reputation and legacy have been given a more objective and positive reexamination over the last few decades.
©2014 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors