King George III

"Knavery seems to be so much the striking feature of its [America's] inhabitants that it may not in the end be an evil that they have become aliens to this kingdom."

(1738 - 1820)

       When King George III of England issued the Proclamation of 1763 at the end of the 'French and Indian War," he was simply restating the principles long established and widely accepted by European monarchs in International law.  In his statment, the king insisted the only he had the right to enter into treaty negotiations with Indian leaders in sovereign-to-sovereign relationships in which land was purchased or exchanged.  Further, he drew a line on the map that followed the ridgeline of the Appalachian mountains and declared that all land to the west of that line was owned by the Indian nations.

      To colonial land speculators like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, this claim of authority was an unofficial declaration of war.  Washington argued that the Mad King had lost his mind, and Franklin went so far as to sail to London in hopes of getting the king to change his mind, but that was not to happen.

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     To the average citizen in the colonies, the king's declaration changed nothing in day-to-day life.  Conversely, the subequent taxation acts - the Stamp Act - enflamed the average colonists because it levyed a tax which they could ill afford, but the aristocracy shrugged these off as being little more than a passing nuisance.  Reactions from the citizens, however, made them realize that they could use this animosity to their benefit in fomenting a revolutionary spirit for independence from the king, and this is precisely what they did.  In many respects, once the king made his proclamation in 1763, it was only a matter of time before his subjects in the colonies in the New World revolted against his authority.

    The irony of this comes decades later once the new government is formed.  Now, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington are in control of their own destinies.  One of the first things they did was draft a clause in the Constititution which made it illegal for anyone but the federal government (excluding state governments) to engage in commerce with Native Nations.  In other words, the very authority they rebelled against in King George III was now a central legal tenet of the law of the land.  George III's proclamation had come full circles.  The many ironies presented by this brief period of history were not lost on the king, who noted: