George I

With 56 people closer in line to the throne than George I in 1714, the elector of Hanover was chosen for religio-political reasons. He was perceived to be a strong Protestant bulwark against the reimposition of the Stuarts. The Stuart family had been forcibly divided in the 1688 Glorious Revolution. Jacobites were still demanding the return of their Catholic branch of the family although this was anathema to the majority of Protestant Britain and in fact was made illegal by Parliament.

The 1701 Act of Settlement provided for the Hanoverians to take over should Anne have no direct heirs to succeed her. However, George's accession was deeply unpopular at first particularly in Scotland, Lancashire and the West Country. Although a Jacobite rebellion had the effect of rallying support for the Whigs. In fact the Tories would tarnished for their confused reaction to the rebellion. Traditionally the party of support for the monarch, they were divided over which monarch to support. In the end, they luke warmly supported the Hanoverians, but their dithering had the effect of giving the Whigs credibility in the eyes of George and so he turned his confidence towards them. The Eighteenth Century would be a period of political dominance for the more market orientated Whigs. This would also allow the Mercantile ideas of Imperialism to thrive.

The King never learned English and spent most of his time in Hanover. However, he took his responsibilities seriously. The fact that he was confident to allow the Whigs to rule on his behalf did much for cementing the Constitutional Monarchy in Britain. The partnership between King and Parliament would lay the foundations for a peaceful and prosperous Eighteenth Century - at least domestically.

George I
1660 in Hanover
1727 at Ippenburen, Osnabruk
Acceded to Throne
Further Reading
George I (Yale English Monarchs Series)
By Ragnhild Hatton
The Hanoverians: The History of a Dynasty
By Jeremy Black
Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court
By Lucy Worsley
Who's Who in Early Hanoverian Britain
By G.R.R. Treasure
David Starkey's Monarchy


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by Stephen Luscombe