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

by Laura Cenicola & Mareike Aumann

Glossary: George III

Political Career:

George III followed his grandfather George II and started his reign in 1760. In the first two decades of his reign he weakened the Whig party. His disease and his actions concerning the American Revolution ended his support and the power of the crown was given to the Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder. The Peace of Paris (1763) ended the Seven Years War with France. The Prime Minister put special emphasis on naval support in the colonial warfare. Due to George III's commitment to taxation on the American colonies for military protection, hostility between the colonies and Briatin boiled over in 1775. The colonies declared independence in 1776, but George continued war until America finally won in 1781. The Peace of Versailles (1783) forced Britain to acknowledge the United States of America. Accepting his defeat was hard on him and had a huge impact on his sanity. The new Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, decreased the power of the king; consequently George III drove Pitt from his office for three years. The peace with France lasted until England joined the alliance against French revolutionary forces. However by 1797 France dominated most of Europe and England faced them all alone. Peace was negotiated again in 1802, with the French remaining supreme on land and the British being supreme on sea. Napoleon Bonaparte took over as leader of France and the attacks on England started again in 1803. The acts of war continued until 1814 when finally Arthur Wellesley and Lord Horatio won the decisive battle of Cape Trafagar. Meanwhile England went to war again with the United States from 1812 to 1814 in order to try to force American men into serving the British naval forces.
In 1801 under a second Act of Union Ireland became a part of Great Britain (until 1920) and slave trade was abolished in 1807. Furthermore the population increased, agricultural and industrial methods were improved and a revolution in transport helped Britain to improve economic growth.

Personal Life:

George III was born in 1738 as the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta. He married Charlotte of Mecklinburg-Strelitz in 1761. The marriage was happy and blessed with fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. Unfortunately George suffered by prohyria, a maddening disease. Due to several attacks he eventually lost his grip on reality. He died blind, deaf and mad at Windsor Castle on January 29th in 1820, at the age of 81.

 


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