George III. National Reform, and North America

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The book is a collection of Professor John L. Bullion’s published and unpublished essays on King George III’s impact on the origins and development of the American Revolution. They comprise the most extensive investigation and assessment of George’s relationship to his mother, the Dowager Princess of Wales Augusta, and her enduring influence upon his character and approach to politics. The essays also examine in detail his friendship with the Earl of Bute, both as a young protégé with his mentor and as a king with his minister. They are the most complete and compelling account of George’s early years in his preparation for “the true essential business of a king.” They establish how his development and studies contributed to the imperial crisis and the loss of most of Britain’s North American empire. In addition, Bullion’s careful examination of policy dilemmas reveal the difficulties Britain’s leaders faced.
Bute’s central role in the making of peace with the French and Spanish and in planning for Britain’s security, finances, and commerce during the postwar period are covered extensively. These essays fully show how and why the disastrous decisions on colonial policies in the early 1760’s were made. Other chapters shed new light on the king’s reactions to the armed struggle in America during 1775-1783 and the aftermath of defeat. The book closes with a poignant and hitherto unpublished account of the old monarch’s turn away from reform. By illustrating so vividly the mistakes and tragedies of his reign, this book will significantly alter historians’ understanding of George III, his family, his “dearest friend” Bute, and the politicians who acted with America’s last king.


“Dr. Bullion helps clarify the complex synergy between the amorphous –but often competing –pressures, interests and opinions that collectively advanced the progressive liberalization of national political life...The author’s pioneering research, meticulous assessment of the sources, and understanding of the important current discussions among historians makes his book an admirable example of how we should approach our task of reclaiming the past.”
Prof. Karl W. Schweizer,
Rutgers University

Table of Contents

Part One: Molding a Patriot King
“To Play What Game she Pleased without Observation”: Princess Augusta and the Political Drama of Succession, 1736-1756
The Origins and Significance of Gossip about Princess Augusta and Lord Bute, 1755-1756
“George, Be a King!”: The Relationship between Princess Augusta and George III
The Prince’s Mentor: A New Perspective on the Friendship between George III and Lord Bute during the 1750’s
Part Two: Learning Reform
From “the French and Dutch are more Sober, Frugal and Industrious” to the “Nobler” Position: Attitudes of the Prince of Wales Toward a General Naturalization and a Popular Monarchy, 1757-1760
“To Know this is the True Essential Business of a King”: The Prince of Wales and the Study of Public Finance, 1755-1760
A New Vision of Empire? Attitudes of George III and Lord Bute Toward North America, 1757-1760
Part Three: Financing War
The Monitor and the Beer Tax Controversy: A Study of Constraints on London Newspapers, 1760-1761
The Vote of Credit Controversy
Peace of War, 1762
Part Four: Ending War and Preparing for Peace
Securing the Peace: Lord Bute, the Plan for the Army and the Origins of the American Revolution
“The Ten Thousand In America”: More Light on the Decision On the American Army, 1762-1763
Security and Economy: The Bute Administration’s Plans for The American Army and Revenue, 1762-1763
Part Five: Consequences
“Truly Loyal Subjects”: British Politicians and the Failure to Foresee American Resistance to Parliamentary Taxation, 1762-1765
British Ministers and American Resistance to the Stamp Act, October-December 1765
Part Six: Retreating From Reform
Roads not Taken: Lord North’s Plan for Imperial Reform, 1775-76
The Ancien Regime and the Modernizing State: George III and the American Revolution
George III on Empire, 1783
From an Inhuman Custom to False Philanthropy: Attitudes of George III Toward Slavery and the Slave Trade, 1756-1807
“The Particular Habits of His Life”: Some Implications of the Legal Career of George Greenville
Escaping Boston: Nathanial Ware and the Beginnings of Colonial Taxation, 1762-1763

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