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England's Obstacles in The American Revolution

At the end of the Eighteenth Century, Great Britain had attained a magnitude of power and global influence, which led many Englishmen to assume, incorrectly, that a new Roman Empire had come about. A period of "prosperity and glory unknown to any other age" seemed to be opening for Great Britain and its colonies. Yet, in a few short years, through a war with its American colonies, it became evident the British Empire would eventually meet the same inauspicious decline and fall as the Roman Empire did centuries earlier (Miller 1). Britain faced a number of political problems in determining how to respond to the colonists. First, King George III saw the rebellion "as a private quarrel between himself and his ungrateful children, the American colonists" (Morris 32). Accordingly, he refused to allow outside mediators or professional politicians to develop exit strategies from the conflict, either by recognizing the independence of the colonies or developing terms of disengagement which were advantageous to Britain.

The King's personality was a definite obstacle in finding a pragmatic solution to the problems posed by the American colonies. "George III was a manic-depressive, rigid, moralistic, and censorious, he appeared to casual acquaintances to be equable and reserved, whereas his intimates knew him to be hot-tempered, tense, and loquacious, to bear grudges, and to make a virtue of obstinacy" (Morris 31). However, essayist Edmund Morgan asserts that George III's instability was not the real issue (23). According to Morris, "Anyone who has studied the papers of the monarch and of the public men of this era know that the King always had the last word, and that all major actions, military or diplomatic, awaited his personal dec...

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...sts also played a pivotal role. Furthermore, having fought a previous Civil War in the 1600's, England was not fully prepared to fight its own people once again. All of these causes along with the political tensions that existed within England greatly contributed to the difficulty she had in dealing with her American colonies. Thus, not one but a combination of interrelated factors affected the outcome of the conflict between the colonies and its mother country.

Works Cited

Dull, Jonathan R. A Diplomatic History of The American Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

Miller, John C. Origins of The American Revolution. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press Book, 1943.

Morgan, Edmund S. The American Revolution. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1965.

Morris, Richard B. The American Revolution Reconsidered. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1967.
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