George III, the king who lost his North American empire to the American Revolution, has always had a bad press in the United States. The show-stopping portrayal of George as at once a comic and sinister character in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, is perhaps the most memorable recent slander of America’s last king. But that is just one among many such libels, writes Andrew Roberts, the celebrated British historian and author of well-received biographies of Churchill and Napoleon. In The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III, he laments that hardly a day passes without some publication in the United States holding up George III as a “power-mad little petty tyrant” who should be both hated and feared.

The many caricatures and censures of King George in the American press are popular legacies of the Declaration of Independence, which condemned him as “a Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant,” and someone “unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” They do not, however, represent modern scholarly opinion. Ever since the 20th-century studies by Sir Lewis Namier and his followers, most scholars ceased believing that George was an ignorant fool bent on subverting the constitution to become an arbitrary Stuart-like ruler. Deciding to ignore this scholarly opinion,

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