Disputes on Sovereignty During the American Revolution 297 At the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 most Britons and most white American colonists rejoiced in victory over the French in North America and took great pride in living in an empire of freeborn men, who possessed a wide range of civil liberties and lived under the rule of law. They attributed this success to the strength and virtues of the British constitution that had achieved the twin objectives of stability and liberty, while the French lived under an absolute monarchy. The British constitution was based on the principles of mixed government and a balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. A limited monarchy or mixed government had been achieved, after more than a century of disputes between crown and parliament, that combined the virtues of monarchy (decisive action), aristocracy (talented leadership) and democracy (a concern with civil liberties), while avoiding the vices of these three forms of government in their pure form, namely tyranny, selfish factionalism and mob rule, by locating ultimate power in the kingdom in the combined institutions of crown, House of Lords and House of Commons. Since 1689 parliament had been summoned every year to pass laws and raise taxes. These three institutions together controlled the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the kingdom. Whenever they were in sufficient agreement in this combined legislature, these three branches of government could raise the substantial loans and taxes needed to make Britain a much stronger state and to pass any law. Since 1688 parliament had met every year, but this development increased rather than diminished the power of the monarch. The crown accepted limits on its prerogative powers, but gradually learned how its immense patronage could be exploited to influence the composition of the two houses of parliament and to influence the laws parliament would pass and the taxes it would raise. The crown’s executive officers sat in one of the two houses of parliament and the kingdom’s senior judges and the bishops of the Church of England sat in the House of Lords. To maintain the balance between these three institutions, each had a particular