It has been said that King George’s diary for July 4, 1776 states, “Nothing important happened today.” If this were true, it doesn’t actually say anything about the king’s view of a few people from the colonies declaring their independence from the kingdom. We, as Americans, want this myth to be true. It would be a blow to the English while inflating our own egos. Sadly though, it is just a myth. King George never kept a diary.
That being sad, let’s pretend that it is true; let’s pretend that the king kept a diary. Would his quote really say anything about how he felt about the colonies declaring their independence? With today’s technology, an age of instant communication, writing, “nothing happened” would be an important statement. But in the year 1776, we didn’t have the ability to communicate instantly. In order for the King to be told about the declaration, the message would have to be carried by hand, on a boat, across the Atlantic Ocean. And that is something that wouldn’t happen in a day. So, if we wanted to know what the king thought about the colony’s independence, we would have to look a few weeks later into the King’s “diary.”
What this myth really states is how far we have come in two hundred plus years. Today we have the ability to pick up a phone, even one that we have on our body, and make a call anywhere in the world. Today we have the ability to type a letter and send it to anyone and know that they will have it in a few moments (unless you work for CECOM). Today we have the ability to actually see whomever we are talking to, wherever they are in the world.
So, even though the King’s diary is a myth, maybe we should continue to look at what it says. Not so much for what it says about the Kings thoughts, but for what it says about today’s ability to communicate.