Could Washington have become king or dictator?

Mortimer Sellers msellers at ubalt.edu
Tue Sep 5 08:45:50 PDT 2006


Augustine Washington gave a very good talk to the Society of the
Cincinnati some years ago about who would be king today if George
Washington had accepted the monarchy when it was proposed at Newburgh.
The answer, of course, was that Augustine Washington would be the king.

 

The Society of the Cincinnati, made up of Continental army veterans,
would have been the nucleus of any American Caesarist movement.
Non-combatants, such as Thomas Jefferson, certainly feared this, but the
culture of the age among the educated Anglo-American leaders was so
thoroughly influenced by Roman republicanism and British
constitutionalism  that the Frenchified Jefferson himself later turned
out to be the greater threat to balanced government and the rule of law.
Latin Americans were also subject to French influence and to the Spanish
authoritarian tradition, which explains the wrong turn taken by their
military leaders.

 

In North America it was former soldiers, such as Washington and John
Marshall, who were the strongest advocates of constitutional government
and the rule of law.

 

 

 

 

  _____  

From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Judith Baer
Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 10:43 AM
To: 'bgpeabody at msn.com'; markstein at prodigy.net; lawcourts-l at usc.edu;
conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Could Washington have become king or dictator?

 

4) he had no immediate heir, which would certainly complicate any talk
of monarchy.

Bruce

 

Years ago--I know not where--I read something that suggested that
support for a hereditary monarchy was weakened by the fact that 3 of the
first 4 presidents had no son. This explanation does assume that
Jefferson and Madison were widely recognized as potential presidents in
1787, which seems plausible in hindsight. It gave me pause; I couldn't
help thinking of the exception and the future of his son.

 

Judy Baer

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