British History 2:
From the French Revolution to World War II
Topic: "Majesties and Royal Highnesses"

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

Glossary: George II

Political Career:

When George II became king, his wife, who was a supporter of Robert Walpole, urged her husband to keep Walpole in charge. Walpole established the foundation of the modern constitutional monarchy: a Cabinet responsible to a Parliament, which was responsible to an electorate. However this system was far from democratic because the electorate mainly consisted of wealthy landowners and mercantilists. Though the Whig party was in charge, Tories attempted one last Jacobite rebellion in 1745, trying to bring another Stuart to the throne but the rebellion failed. The Scots were butchered by the Royal Army at Culloden Moor, in 1746. Walpole kept George II out of continental conflicts for the first twelve years of his reign until George declared war on Spain in 1739 which developed into a war like situation with France that could have possibly threatened Hanover, so George II negotiated peace with France to ensure Hanover's protection. In the 1750's England once again was at war with France, this time over imperial matters. Further war scenarios included North America and India. During the last years of his life George II was not interested in politics and the British involvement in the Seven Years' War was mostly overseen by Prime Minister William the Elder.

Personal Life:

George II was born on November 10th 1683 as the only son of George I and his wife Sophia. He spent his youth at the Hanoverian court and married Caroline of Anspach in 1705. The marriage was very devoted with three sons and five daughters. Caroline revived the traditional court life and also participated actively in her husband's governmental affairs until her death in 1737. George had three great passions: the army, music and his wife. He was the last British sovereign to command troops in the field against the French at Dettingen. George II was like his father; a truely German prince. Nevertheless he was able to absorb the English culture. He died of a stroke on October 25th, 1760 in the Palace of Westminster, at the age of 76.

 


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