Thursday, October 07, 2004

All hail Emperor Norton!

Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico

Imperialism is easier than democracy. Declaring oneself emperor is easier than a presidential election. Was this early Californian on to something?

At the peremptory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the past nine years and ten months of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U.S., and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in the Musical Hall of this city on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

September 1859
During his reign, Emperor Norton abolished Congress, removed the governor of Virginia, dissolved the Republic, fired Abraham Lincoln, and banned the word "Frisco" - among his many declarations.

Tomb of Emperor Norton, San Francisco. [Photo: T. Lindner]

Read more about Emperor Norton, also view his Royal Majesty's Archives.

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