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The Augustan Age
George I (1714-1727)
• When Queen Anne died without an
heir, the parliament called the Duke
of Hanover=> his mother was the
granddaughter of king James I
• He became King with the title
• He spoke no English (only German)
and had to rely on the elected MPs
• Most MPs were Whigs=> they were
the most powerful
• The Tories instead wanted the
descendant of King James II to
govern England. They were called
Jacobites => Jacobus=James in Latin
• (they attempted two rebellions,
1715 and 1745, without success)
George II (1727-1760)
• His reign was marked by the
presence and influence of Sir Horace
Walpole. This one was a Whig
supporter, who became the First
Prime Minister and remained in
power for more than 20 years.
• The King gave Walpole the house at
10 Downing Street. Walpole
managed to govern England well
and peacefully, but after 1726 his
government was accused of
corruption. He lost the election in
1742 and resigned his office.
George III (1760-1801)
• His reign was marked by a
series of military conflicts,
the American War of
Independence and the
• He suffered from mental
illnesses later in his life.
• During his reign the Pitt
family governed as Prime
Ministers: William Pitt the
Elder (1766-68) and
William Pitt the Younger
Life during the Augustan age
• The political and intellectual
leaders saw the country as the
heir of the Augustan Rome=> it
meant a stable government, a
growing empire and material
• Coffee houses flourished in
towns. They were intellectual and
social centres for debates.
• Women were excluded from
political life and they constituted
the market for fiction.
• Britain was still a rural country
and the life expectancy was low.