The effect of the loss of the American Colonies upon British Policy

Classic Pamphlet

W. R. Brock, last updated: 25th February 2014

An Empire in Ruins

(1) Problems of an Empire in ruins

Two weeks after Yorktown, but before the news of that disaster had reached England, George III wrote to Lord North that "The dye is now cast whether this shall be a great Empire or the least dignified of European states." England had not fought the war of the Revolution to secure a paltry revenue or to establish legalistic points, but because it held that the British power could not survive without the supremacy of Parliament over the whole of the Empire. Great as this power had become, modern history is littered with records of states which had grasped at greatness without the will or resources to maintain it. Dwarfed in Europe by the population of France and overseas by the possessions of Spain, Britain was engaged in a continuous struggle for survival; whether she could survive after the loss of the American colonies was the first and greatest problem which confronted her statesmen...

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