In light of today's commemoration of the movement for American independence, I thought we might take the time to compare and contrast the list of complaints we had back then about King George III and the complaints we have today against King George IV.
Here they are in full. Complaints about the old monarch in italics; comparisons for the new one are, fittingly, in a regular-folks font you'd like to have a beer with. They start off slow and small, but pick up some nice momentum midway through the list.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Refused his assent to laws? Well, the current king has done that both in whole and, more frustrating, in part. Check!
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
The language is a little arcane, but I think this series of events qualifies. Check!
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
Denying representation for a "large district of people"? Check.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
Unusual, uncomfortable, and distant? Sounds like the Crawford "ranch" to me. Check.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
We haven't had the Reichstag fire moment. Yet.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Well, on this one, King George IV has actually been encouraging more immigration, but his usual incompetence has ensured the issue won't be resolved for years now. We'll call this one a push.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
Obstruction of justice? Why does that sound familiar? Check.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
Well, the judges are certainly dependent on his will, but sadly, they haven't been bent to his will as much as other supposedly independent agents of the law. Check!
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
Multitude of new offices? Check. Harrassing our people? Oh, hell yes. Check.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
On this one, King George IV is in the clear.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
A rift between civilian leaders and military heads? Check.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
His assent to acts of pretended legislation? That sounds familiar. Check!
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
Well, sure. Not really a complaint anymore, but check.
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
Yeah, I think the current monarch is in the clear on this count.
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
He hasn't cut off trade with the rest of the world, but he's certainly made it harder to do business there and ensured our dollar won't go as far. Check!
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
This is clearly one sin that King George IV has not committed.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
Pfft. Trial by jury? How about depriving us of the writ of habeas corpus? Check!
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
Well, it's not exactly "us," but it's being done in our name, which is worse. Check.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
Abolishing our system of laws in a neighboring land? Check!
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
Altering fundamentally the forms of our government? So many places to cover with this one, but I think I'll settle with this small change. Check!
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
Hmmm. He hasn't exactly suspended the legislature, but he does tend to pull off some sneaky moves when the legislature is in recess. Check!
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
Abdicated government? Left us on our own? Check!
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
Ravaged coast? Burnt town? Lives destroyed? Heckuva job, kingy! Check!
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Let's see. We have the armies of mercenaries and we have the use of foreigners for cruelty & perfidy. Check and check!
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
Hmm. It's not exactly shanghai'ing travelers, but we do have soldiers and sailors kept in the service long past their terms and against their will. Check!
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
At first I didn't think this applied to King George IV at all, but on closer inspection, he has been working with the Indians and making them mad. Check!
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Ignored the people? Ignored their representatives? Check and check.
In the end, it looks like our King George matches up on 22 of the 27 charges against the last King George. That's more than an 80% match, and remember, that's simply judging the current monarch by the crimes of the last one. There's tons of shady stuff that King George IV has pulled off that King George III couldn't even comprehend, and we've barely even scratched the surface of Iraq, Enron, Halliburton, and all the rest.
So keep your chin up, George. You may have no way to escape your status as our Worst President Ever, but you could trade up to Most Hated Monarch if you really put your heart into it.