When I travelled to Washington, D.C., I decided to pay attention to the imagery and symbolisms in the capital.
In the halls of the American History Mueseum, there is this statue of George Washington,
in a robe and holding a sword.
And then in the ceiling of the rotunda in the capital,
Washington is depicted among the gods of Rome.
甚至连特区中最高的建筑 华盛顿纪念碑 原计划也是要建的更加宏伟
Even the Washington Monument, the tallest structure in D.C., was meant to be even grander.
A six hundred foot tall obelisk surrounded by eight story tall pillars, and on top of that,
a statue of Washington himself on a chariot.
My point is that, if you went into Washington, D.C. with absolutely no previous knowledge,
you would think that this was the city of a king, or an emperor.
And this sparked an idea.
What if the United States had actually made George Washington a king?
What if the United States instead of becoming a republic, became a monarchy?
I will try my best to theorize about what possibly could’ve happened.
The American Revolution was a national experiment.
It was not only to bring forth a unique form of government without a king,
but one that united 13 traditionally, different colonies.
The thing about experiments is sometimes they don’t work out the way you want them to.
Keep this in mind throughout the entire scenario.
At the time that I’m discussing, the United States was not a superpower.
It was a fragile, weak nation.
When asking the question, what if America became a monarchy,
this isn’t ignoring the political atmosphere of the time.
如果说18世纪末 有一个最不适于国王生存的国家 那一定
If there was one country that would be the worst place for a monarch in the late eighteen century,
it was early America.
The United States had already fought a war and broken up with its king.
Anybody who wanted a king, would want good old George III.
Not a new George.
The United States didn’t even exist as a uniform body we think of it today.
The colonies were used to having their own laws and customs
for decades, maybe centuries.
That’s why the Articles of Confederation had as little unity as possible.
And after that failed, the replacement, the Constitution, was still controversial.
Because it was seen as giving a federal government too much power.
A king being crowned to rule thirteen separate regions,
is so out of character for the politics and culture of the time,
it has to be noted before I theorize what would happen.
America’s monarchy wouldn’t be impossible,
it could perhaps have its king yet only if quite a bit of events went differently,
the situation was dire enough, and, a whole lot of magic.
The Constitution as said earlier, was not the first plan for the first United States government.
This first government was ratified in the Articles of Confederation in 1777.
The federal government actually didn’t have money, and relied on the states to give it money,
which the states, unsurprisingly, didn’t.
总之 一个没有钱 没有军队 也没有目标的政府
To sum it up, a government with no money, no army, and no point,
led to incredible instability.
Rebellions forced the government to see that the nation couldn’t even fight its own wars,
without relying on militias.
The decision was made to revise the Articles.
And just like this script,
the Articles was scrapped, and a new, better document was chosen to be made.
A question was asked, could the U.S. retain its republican values, while remaining so large?
Republicanism had only been used in small regions.
Like towns or states.
人们相信 在更大的范围里 若不改变一部分价值观
It was believed, you couldn’t have a true republic on a large scale, like the U.S.,
without sacrificing some of these values.
You need a strong central government, with control over the states,
strong by 1780’s standards.
This was a debate, those who wanted the strong government were called Federalists,
Those who wanted less federal power were called Democratic Republicans.
So out of all of this, how would a possible monarchy even come into play?
Not very well.
Nobody wanted a monarchy,
and at no time did a drafter say “we should have a king”.
If there was a way a king could rise,
it’d be much like any autocrat coming to power:
a total failure of the current system, and a man looking for control.
In this alternate timeline, the Articles of Confederation is such a disaster,
that it hurts the entire concept of republic on a large scale.
The U.S. can’t regulate its own taxes; its economy is completely failing.
Central control seems like a far better option,
and most are willing for a change.
同时 一个超凡的战争英雄 乔治·华盛顿
In steps a charismatic war hero, George Washington.
愿意主持大局 他主张阻止这场危机 保护自由
willing to take charge, he proposes that the only way to stop the crisis,
to protect liberty itself, is a symbol of the revolution, installing a constitutional monarchy.
Hold on. Now, two things.
One, this is a complete character change of George Washington.
He wasn’t the type of man who wanted to be king.
He was always more humble about the position he was in.
Instead of saying “His Excellency”, he wanted people say Mr. President.
This is the type of man we are now talking about trying to be king.
Why have George Washington want to be king, if he never even wanted to?
Well, that’s the only way we’d even have a king.
Either George Washington, or nobody.
He was a national hero, and the only president elected unanimously by the electoral college.
If anybody would possibly be a king,
it would be him.
This alternate George Washington announces that a republic cannot work,
and a king must be the head of state.
It’s the only way to protect liberty.
Washington says that a king can protect the land owners’ liberty from the mob.
Now, imagining the founders agreeing with this
is a character assassination.
Nobody would have agreed to this.
But if their property was at stake so much, their lives on the line,
then perhaps, just perhaps,
they would maybe give in.
“But Cody!” you say.
“Why couldn’t George Washington just take control and lead an army to overthrow the government?”
Well, Jimmy. The U.S. had a standing army of 60 men.
And even if he did, you still have militias from every state.
Equaling, the country collapsing into civil war.
This is the only legal way that an alternate constitution is made.
And, so it is one with three branches.
The executive branch, but instead of a president, has a king.
It’s pretty much a tiny tweak to the rules.
Imagine a president that isn’t elected,
and is only out of office when he dies.
That’s the new government.
If all this fell into place,
then maybe, just maybe,
the United States could proceed.
I’m not saying it’s guaranteed.
It’s at least a slim chance.
George Washington is crowned George I of House Washington,
King of the United States.
He is crowned in the capital of his own name.
Immediately, this is met with global reaction.
The Revolution becomes… bittersweet.
Americans fought and died,
only to have a monarch on their continent.
It’s just simply hypocritical during a time that liberty was preached so much.
Overall, you start off this new nation
with a revolution that feels pointless.
As things get bad enough, as they did in young America, like a recession,
people may just look back to King George III and Britain, with nostalgia.
He was at least the rightful king.
And the colonies were stable under the crown.
The reaction around the world is not much better.
The U.S. isn’t just rebels with a new form of government anymore.
By having a monarchy,
it means they want to be equals to the royalty of Europe.
which is, a laughable concept to the monarchs.
European nobles had family lineage dating back hundred of years.
There’s old money to the system.
So when a country already perceived as backwards, decides to be an equal,
it’s either treated as a joke, or an insult.
Rebelling against the legal king,
to crown somebody of no noble birth,
harms the United States’ ability to form legitimate relationships
with the rest of the world.
In such a crucial time.
It also prevents the relationship between Britain and America to heal.
It’s a direct challenge to the historical authority of the British crown.
The United States is now run by a rogue, false king.
Why should he be treated as an equal?
This encourages the Brits to bully the weaker United States by the turn of the century.
The French, who overthrew their own king,
would feel insulted that the U.S. would turn their back on a republic.
So, the relationship with the French is even worse in this alternate scenario.
King George Washington, would rule over a confused nation.
He would die in 1797, leaving a fractured country behind.
Who would replace him?
George Washington had no children,
and is only stepson, died back in the war.
So, who would be the new king of the United States?
Washington’s step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis.
He is crowned as George II.
A man who has no further qualifications,
except for being kind of related to Washington.
This only weakens the legitimacy of the American crown.
The nation’s course is altered by the life of one man,
for decades at a time.
Not very stable.
This isn’t something that people would put up with.
By the 1810’s, Europe is finishing its war with Napoleon.
The United States has stayed on the sidelines for the entire time.
Britain didn’t focus much on the U.S., until at least,
the United States begins to be a threat, threatening Canada.
The U.S. had prospects on Canada, which is one of the reason why there is the War of 1812.
And in this alternate timeline,
the War of 1812 would still occur.
In our timeline this was a sideshow for Britain.
After fighting France,
they could’ve cared less about the conflict against the U.S.
Yet in this alternate timeline,
relationships are worse.
The United States had insulted the crown
by setting up an illegitimate king.
Perhaps even interacting with the House of Bonaparte, during the Napoleonic Wars
on a few occasions.
The British might have much more interest in revenge.
One that they could actually try in.
By now, the American people wouldn’t be united.
The United States has become nothing more than a dominion of a king,
keeping control over independent states that didn’t really want him.
This tarnishes the very idea of a national government.
The United States, and United Kingdom, go to war.
而英国人派出了更多的人 装备 和船只前往北美
And the British send far more men, equipment, and ships, to North America.
The Americans may have a standing army,
yet they’re no match against the force that just fought against Napoleon.
The British burn Washington, D.C.,
sending the government into exile.
And devastate the Americans.
The people, already demoralized,
began calling it quits on the country.
The spirit of revolution,
has been… dead for a while; this was the final nail.
What was the point, if America was just
gonna be another monarchy?
因此 在华盛顿特区沦陷后 各州就会分裂出去
So states would simply break away after the fall of Washington, D.C.
Central authority only brought a king, so by doing the exact opposite:
leaving the union, this could be seen as an act of liberty.
Perhaps some states join back into the British Commonwealth.
Perhaps some join Canada.
Overall, the United States just breaks up.
It was a national experiment,
one that was betrayed by men,
who wanted to make this new nation ruled by a king.
Overall, it was just one big hypocrisy
that tainted the revolution.
And the very idea that was the United States of America.
This flag becomes one not of revolution,
but a reminder of the federal system that failed
and became the burden on the states.
Of course, this is simply one possible outcome.
Could it have worked if America had crowned a king?
but, it was just so different than the ideology of the time,
I don’t see it working any better than just being a confused mess.
We’ll never know for sure what would happen if history had changed.
But, it’s fun to theorize!
This is Cody of AlternateHistoryHub.
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This is Cody, of AlternateHistoryHub.