The Myth of English Tyranny in the Events Preceding the American Revolution
One could attribute the historical perception of King George III to none other than the great American patriot, Thomas Jefferson. In what has been termed "the world's greatest editorial," it was Jefferson who wrote that the King was guilty of "repeated injustices" and "the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states." Indeed, Americans have grown fond of thinking of King George III as the virtual archetype of a megalomaniacal ruler, but the evidence doesn't support this long-held view. Although King George instituted harsh economic policies on the American colonists, he was by no means tyrannical or a perpetrator of injustices.
Economic policies were the colonists' primary point of contention. England decided to handle their economy on the theory of mercantilism. Mercantillism dictated that wealth was power and that a colony's primary function was to serve the mother country as a supplier and a guaranteed market for exports. The most obvious manifestation of this was the Navigation Law of 1650 which limited American trade to only British vessels. Similar laws arose regarding tariffs and "enumerated" products. Yes, these policies were certainly harsh and perhaps unnecessary, but one must keep in mind that the American colonies were literally the property of Britain. They were funded by Britain, protected by Britain, and in fact the mercantilist policies benefited many of the colonists greatly. It was the principle of King George attempting to assert control over the colonists that truly angered them, but is that not the King's right?
On the surface, the colonists seemed to have a valid point in their immortalized mantra, "No taxation without representation." The Stamp Act, the Sugar Act, and the Townshend Acts seem to all be evidence of a severe over-taxation of the colon…