George III of Britain: Popular with the People, but not with Parliament

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George III of Britain: Popular with the People, but not with Parliament

Although history has labeled King George III of Britain primarily as the “mad” king responsible for the loss of America, a closer look at the 1780s, the heart of his reign, proves George III to be a particularly effective monarch rather than the bungling idiot some scholars have dubbed him. George III’s effectiveness, during the 1780s, stemmed from his immense popularity with the common people, which lay in direct contrast to his lack of popularity with Parliament. The popularity that George III enjoyed with the masses was largely due to his personal integrity and moral character, and his lack of popularity with Parliament was a result of his desire to reclaim the monarchial power lost in the reigns of George I and II.

The popularity George III held with the masses ought to first be considered in light of his Hanoverian predecessors. Neither George I nor George II held the British throne in high esteem. In fact George I, the first of the Hanoverian monarchs, viewed his ascension to the British throne as little more than an opportunity to “enhance his prestige amongst the other Electors of the Holy Roman Empire” (Clark and Ridley 13). He also saw England as a means, with considerable resources, to ensure the safety of his beloved Hanover. This attitude of ambivalence resulted in George Is leaving the duties of running Great Britain to Parliament while the king acted as little more than a figure-head. George II acted likewise leaving the main governing of Britain to Parliament and failing to be a truly active monarch, instead indulging his attentions in wine and women rather than the politics of the day. Needless to say George III's desire to...

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...t for a private funeral. And “shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales shut for the occasion which spawned a vast array of sermons and homilies on the ‘sainted remains of our dear king” (Colley 94). King George III died a beloved and well-respected monarch whose popularity was unequaled in his time.

Works Cited

Bloy, Marjie. “The Age of George III.” A Web of English History. Jul. 2003. 10 Nov. 2003 <>.

Brooke, John. King George III. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972.

Clarke, John, and Jasper Ridley. The Houses of Hanover & Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Los Angeles: Cassell & Co, 2000.

Colley, Linda. “The Apotheosis of George III: Loyalty, Royalty and the British Nation 1760-1820.” Past and Present No. (Feb., 1984), 94-129.

White, R. J. The Age of George III. New York: Walker and Company, 1968.
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