Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor

Aaron Ross Powell is Director and Editor of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, a project of the Cato Institute. Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org presents introductory material as well as new scholarship related to libertarian philosophy, theory, and history. He is also co‐​host of Libertarianism.org’s popular podcast, Free Thoughts. His writing has appeared in Liberty and The Cato Journal. He earned a JD from the University of Denver.

It’s Tuesday and that means a new ​Excursions​from George H. Smith. This week, Smith shows how the Coercive Acts led Americans to blame the king for the conspiracy to strip them of their rights and liberties.

Some nagging questions remained, however: Who was behind this conspiratorial plan? Given the changing faces of various administrations, what was the constant factor that accounted for the unremitting efforts to subordinate Americans to the sovereignty of the British government in “all cases whatsoever”?

After passage of the Coercive Acts in 1774, one answer became increasingly common, namely: The king himself was the culprit. It was not some power behind the throne, but George III – the despot who sat on the throne — who had been at the center of the conspiracy all along. The king was the constant in a sea of variables.