Lord North : The Prime Minister Who Lost America
Author(s): Peter Whiteley
Lord North was in many ways a most successful politician. Prime Minister for an unbroken twelve years, his management of both parliament and of the business of government was adept. He enjoyed the confidence of King George III, not always an easy political ally, avoided factional strife (having no political following of his own), was notably uncorrupt and made virtually no enemies. In many ways he epitomizes the political outlook and aristocratic assumptions of the eighteenth century. He was equally fortunate in his private life, apart from always being rather short of money.He is, however, principally remembered for presiding over Britain's loss of her American colonies. Lord North: The Prime Minister Who Lost America is a scholarly but highly readable account of his life. It includes a full study of the American War of Independence, examining it from the perspective of the British Government as well as from the colonial standpoint. No senior politician had visited America, and few had proper knowledge or understanding of Americans. Too often the colonies were regarded as unruly and ungrateful children, with whom compromise was either a sign of weakness or the betrayal of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. His high-mindedness contributed to the final humiliation, as did ignorant over-confidence. Military defeat, to a country that had become preeminent in Europe by the end of the Seven Years' War, was not entertained as a possibility.