From "league & amity" to "absolute Tyranny": The History of Royal Government in the Declaration of Independence
Author: Steven Sarson, Jean Moulin University - Lyon 3
Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University
This is a hybrid event. The in-person reception will begin at 4:30 pm.
This paper argues that the Declaration of Independence was not antimonarchist in principle. The document’s conclusion’s “circumstances of our migration and settlement here” referred (as in Thomas Jefferson’s draft) to a “league & amity with” the British people through the colonists’ adoption of “one common king.” British monarchs subsequently largely abided by the terms of that “league & amity,” and it was only when George III attempted to impose “an absolute Tyranny” that colonists revolted. The subsequent creation of a United States Republic thus resulted from historical experience of “the present King of Great Britain” rather than from egalitarian ideology.
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