Norton I Declared Himself Emperor of the United States, and His Subjects Loved It 1

On July 16, 1860, 84 years after the American colonists signed the Declaration of Independence and officially stated their intention to form a union of their own, a decree was issued dissolving the United States of America entirely.

That Monday, San Franciscans woke up to a momentous proclamation: “Whereas, it is necessary for our Peace, Prosperity and Happiness, as also to the National Advancement of the people of the United States, that they should dissolve the Republican form of government and establish in its stead an Absolute Monarchy.”

It was something of a formality as the man behind the edict, the self-proclaimed Emperor Norton I, had already declared himself “Emperor of the United States” a year earlier, thus establishing the American monarchy. But he had allowed the United States democracy to continue, even as its representatives ignored his orders to attend meetings to revise the country’s laws.