Proclamation of Rebellion

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A 1775 printing of the proclamation Kings Proclamation 1775 08 23.png
A 1775 printing of the proclamation

The Proclamation of Rebellion, officially titled A Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition, was the response of George III of Great Britain to the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill at the outset of the American Revolutionary War. Issued August 23, 1775, it declared elements of the American colonies in a state of "open and avowed rebellion." It ordered officials of the British Empire "to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion." The Proclamation also encouraged subjects throughout the Empire, including those in Great Britain, to report anyone carrying on "traitorous correspondence" with the rebels so that they could be punished.

Battle of Bunker Hill Early battle of the American Revoluntionary War

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, during the Siege of Boston in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. The battle is named after Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which was peripherally involved in the battle. It was the original objective of both the colonial and British troops, though the majority of combat took place on the adjacent hill which later became known as Breed's Hill.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence as the United States of America.

Thirteen Colonies British American colonies which became the United States

The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They declared independence in 1776 and formed the United States of America. The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.

The Proclamation was written before Colonial Secretary Lord Dartmouth had been given a copy of the Olive Branch Petition from the Continental Congress. Because the king refused to receive the petition, the Proclamation effectively served as an answer to the petition. [1]

William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth British politician

William Legge 2nd Earl of Dartmouth PC, FRS, styled as Viscount Lewisham from 1732 to 1750, was a British statesman who is most remembered for his part in the government before and during the American Revolution, and as the namesake of Dartmouth College.

Olive Branch Petition written to George III by the Second Continental Congress to avoid a full-on war between the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain

The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775 and signed on July 8 in a final attempt to avoid war between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies in America. The Congress had already authorized the invasion of Canada more than a week earlier, but the petition affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and beseeched King George III to prevent further conflict. It was followed by the July 6 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, however, which made its success unlikely in London. In August 1775, the colonies were formally declared to be in rebellion by the Proclamation of Rebellion, and the petition was rejected by Great Britain—even though King George had refused to read it before declaring the colonists traitors.

On October 27, 1775, North's Cabinet expanded on the Proclamation in the Speech from the Throne read by the King at the opening of Parliament. [2] The speech insisted that rebellion was being fomented by a "desperate conspiracy" of leaders whose claims of allegiance to him were insincere; what the rebels really wanted, he said, was to create an "independent Empire." The speech indicated that the King intended to deal with the crisis with armed force, and was even considering "friendly offers of foreign assistance" to suppress the rebellion without pitting Briton against Briton. A pro-American minority in Parliament warned that the government was driving the colonists towards independence, something that many colonial leaders had insisted they did not desire. [3]

The Second Continental Congress issued a response to the Proclamation on December 6, saying that while they had always been loyal to the king, the British Parliament never had any legitimate claim to authority over them, because the colonies were not democratically represented. Congress argued that it was their duty to continue resisting Parliament's violations of the British Constitution, and that they would retaliate if any supporters in Great Britain were punished for "favouring, aiding, or abetting the cause of American liberty." Congress maintained that they still hoped to avoid the "calamities" of a "civil war."

Second Continental Congress convention of delegates from the American Colonies

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An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed, or freely committed, by the people, subjects or citizens to their state or sovereign.

Parliament of Great Britain parliament from 1714 to 1800

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

The Proclamation and the Speech from the Throne undermined moderates in the Continental Congress like John Dickinson, who had been arguing that the king would find a way to resolve the dispute between the colonies and Parliament. When it became clear that the king was not inclined to act as a conciliator, colonial attachment to the Empire was weakened, and a movement towards declaring independence became a reality, culminating in the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

United States Declaration of Independence announcement by which the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and thus founded the United States

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

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Petition to the King

The Petition to the King was a petition sent to King George III by the First Continental Congress in 1774, calling for repeal of the Intolerable Acts.

References

  1. Pauline Maier, American Scripture (New York: Knopf, 1997), 24–25, 249–50.
  2. https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/amrev/shots/address.html
  3. Maier, American Scripture, 25.