Confused as to the nature of America declaring independence from England? I thought it would be independence from Britain? No ?
- xyzzyLv 71 month agoFavourite answer
In the American lexicon "England" is often substituted for Great Britain. Similar to the use of "the States" instead of the United States. In the actual documents of independence it refers to Great Britain not England.
- MoriartyLv 71 month ago
In the 18th Century, the term "England" was often used to collectively refer to the whole of the British Isles and it's dominions abroad. This slowly changed when the newer "Great Britain" became more commonplace following the Union with Scotland in 1707.
However, the American Declaration of Independence was specifically addressed to King George III, whose main title was "King of Great Britain". But there was little King George could've done about it as, like the present Queen, he had little to no actual policy-making power in Britain - just like all English/British monarchs since 1689 and the introduction of The Bill of Rights which limited them to being a constitutional monarchy. Their power was restricted by law. George III had tried to influence Parliament during the early years of his reign and had actually made things "fairer" and provide those who could vote with a modicum of choice between parties when he backed the Tories; but when he was accused by the Whigs of "trying to act like an autocrat similar to Charles I", he stayed out of politics and only advised and provided his opinion when asked.
So why did the colonists direct the DOI at a King who could not change anything for them? Well, for two reasons:
Firstly, the rebels in the colonies (falsely) claimed they were not subject to Parliamentary edict. By rebelling specifically against Parliament, they would have had to, indirectly at least, acknowledge that Parliament DID in fact have authority over them. Which defeated their whole purpose.
Secondly, despite it being a document that has become shrouded in near divinity, the DOI had very little effect in what it attempted to do. Claiming independence doesn't automatically make it happen, or rather, saying doesn't make it so. When released the DOI was met around the world with a resounding yawn.
However, what it actually was, as the authors intended it to be, was a superb piece of propaganda and something the rebels could rally around. It was addressed to King George because they needed a "villain". Parliament were the body that made the laws and created the taxes, which was headed by the Prime Minister, Lord North and assisted by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, George Germain. But the average colonist didn't have a clue who these men were or what they looked like.
But the King on the other hand was instantly recognisable. There were statues and portraits of him everywhere and his face was on the coinage. Besides, when referring to Parliament, then as now, the term "the Crown" was often used which invoked images of the king. By directing the DOI at the "King of Great Britain", the rebels instantly had a figure to point at for the benefit of others as cause of their perceived troubles, a tyrannical "bad guy", which would act as a sort of recruiting drive.
- capitalgentlemanLv 71 month ago
A lot of people are confused by this, even today. As of 1707, England was no longer an independent country. I.e., after that, there was no "King/Queen of England." However, many people do not know that, even today. The UK has been the UK for a long time!
- MarliLv 71 month ago
I skimmed over the Declaration of Independence (url provided by blackgrumpycat). It was directed against the "King of Great Britain" first, and then against "Our British brethren" (Parliament, I assume)
(I know that George III had more personal powers than the present Queen has now, but surely he didn't have all the powers that Jefferson ascribed to him. It was a constitutional monarchy and Parliament was in control over legislation. What a long list of accusations against King George!)
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- bluLv 71 month ago
The DOI was addressed to King George III. As it relates to the difference between Britain, England and the UK, I suggest you educate yourself and draw your own conclusions. The people who live there love to critique others by splitting hairs. I think they disagree w/ each other. Some of them have accents so strong, they struggle to understand each other. It's like they're f/ different countries.
I call them Brit, they can call me Yank (4-letter words) ... no big deal to me.
- Anonymous1 month ago
George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820.
- Anonymous1 month ago
Well they thought the king was a tyrant so your confusion is understandable.
- LomaxLv 41 month ago
A lot of people over the years have used the terms England and Britain interchangeably (and wrongly).