From "league & amity" to "absolute Tyranny": The History of Royal Government in the US Declaration of Independence - 4/4 Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar at the MHS

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From "league & amity" to "absolute Tyranny": The History of Royal Government in the US Declaration of Independence

Author: Steven Sarson, Jean Moulin University - Lyon 3

Comment: Brendan McConville, Boston University

Tuesday, 4 April

5:00 PM

with an in-person reception at 4:30 PM

Free, Hybrid Event - hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society


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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