The Colonists Wanted Their King to Rule, Not Reign
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.

Photo: Rocha

The Colonists Wanted Their King to Rule, Not Reign


A major tenet of the American Creed is that all kings are tyrants. This is implied from the Declaration of Independence:

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.


But this is very much an oversimplification of the American colonists’ views of King George III and monarchy in general.

First and foremost, it must be noted that His Majesty’s subjects in the 13 colonies were very fond of their King.  Their grievances in the runup to the War for Independence were not mainly with him but with actions of Parliament. This is plainly evident in the colonists’ ‘Petition to the King’ of 1774 (for knowledge of which we are indebted to the monarchist Charles Coulombe’s book Star-Spangled Crown). A bit from the Petition, which indicts Parliament:

By several Acts of Parliament made in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years of your Majesty's Reign, Duties are imposed on us for the purpose of raising a Revenue; and the powers of Admiralty and Vice Admiralty Courts are extended beyond their ancient limits, whereby our property is taken from us without our consent; the trial by jury, in many civil cases, is abolished; enormous forfeitures are incurred for slight offences; vexatious informers are exempted from paying damages, to which they are justly liable, and oppressive security is required from owners before they are allowed to defend their right.

Both Houses of Parliament have resolved, that Colonists may be tried in England for offences alleged to have been committed in America, by virtue of a Statute passed in the thirty-fifth year of Henry the Eighth, and, in consequence thereof, attempts have been made to enforce that Statute.


What the colonists wanted was for King George III to place himself between Parliament and the colonies, to protect the latter from the former. The words of affection from the colonists towards their King in this Petition will probably offer a strong shock to those who accept the standard textbook account of [u]nited States history, but here they are nevertheless:

To a Sovereign, who glories in the name of Briton, the bare recital of these Acts must, we presume, justify the loyal subjects, who fly to the foot of his Throne, and implore his clemency for protection against them.

From this destructive system of Colony Administration, adopted since the conclusion of the last war, have flowed those distresses, dangers, fears, and jealousies, that overwhelm your Majesty's dutiful Colonists with affliction; and we defy our most subtle and inveterate enemies to trace the unhappy differences between Great Britain and these Colonies, from an earlier period, or from other causes than we have assigned. Had they proceeded on our part from a restless levity of temper, unjust impulses of ambition, or artful suggestions of seditious persons, we should merit the opprobrious terms frequently bestowed upon us by those we revere. But so far from promoting innovations, we have only opposed them; and can be charged with no offence, unless it be one to receive injuries and be sensible of them.

 . . .

Duty to your Majesty, and regard for the preservation of ourselves and our posterity, the primary obligations of nature and of society, command us to entreat your Royal attention; and, as your Majesty enjoys the signal distinction of reigning over freemen, we apprehend the language of freemen cannot be displeasing. Your Royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who, daringly interposing themselves between your Royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society, by abusing your Majesty's authority, misrepresenting your American subjects, and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries, too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your Majesty's repose by our complaints.

These sentiments are extorted from hearts that much more willingly would bleed in your Majesty's service. Yet, so greatly have we been misrepresented, that a necessity has been alleged of taking our property from us without our consent, "to defray the charge of the administration of justice, the support of Civil Government, and the defence, protection, and security of the Colonies." But we beg leave to assure your Majesty that such provision has been and will be made for defraying the two first artiticles [sic], as has been and shall be judged by the Legislatures of the several Colonies just and suitable to their respective circumstances; and, for the defence, protection, and security of the Colonies, their Militias, if properly regulated, as they earnestly desire may immediately be done, would be fully sufficient, at least in times of peace; and, in case of war, your faithful Colonists will be ready and willing, as they ever have been, when constitutionally required, to demonstrate their loyalty to your Majesty, by exerting their most strenuous efforts in granting supplies and raising forces.

Yielding to no British subjects in affectionate attachment to your Majesty's person, family, and Government, we too dearly prize the privilege of expressing that attachment by those proofs that are honourable to the Prince who receives them, and to the People who give them, ever to resign it to any body of men upon earth.

 . . .

We ask but for Peace, Liberty, and Safety. We wish not a diminution of the prerogative, nor do we solicit the grant of any new right in our favour. Your Royal authority over us, and our connection with Great Britain, we shall always carefully and zealously endeavour to support and maintain.

 . . .

Permit us then, most gracious Sovereign, in the name of all your faithful People in America, with the utmost humility, to implore you, for the honour of Almighty God, whose pure Religion our enemies are undermining; for your glory, which can be advanced only by rendering your subjects happy, and keeping them united; for the interests of your family depending on an adherence to the principles that enthroned it; for the safety and welfare of your Kingdoms and Dominions, threatened with almost unavoidable dangers and distresses, that your Majesty, as the loving Father of your whole People, connected by the same bands of Law, Loyalty, Faith, and Blood, though dwelling in various countries, will not suffer the transcendent relation formed by these ties to be farther violated, in uncertain expectation of effects, that, if attained, never can compensate for the calamities through which they must be gained.

We therefore most earnestly beseech your Majesty, that your Royal authority and interposition may be used for our relief, and that a gracious Answer may be given to this Petition.

That your Majesty may enjoy every felicity through a long and glorious Reign, over loyal and happy subjects, and that your descendants may inherit your prosperity and Dominions till time shall be no more, is, and always will be, our sincere and fervent prayer.

Source:  Ibid.

Unfortunately for the colonists of the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and New England, the kind of king they desired did not exist in England at that time.  Such a king had not existed since King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and gave their lands to various lords of the realm.  In doing so, he created a class of oligarchs more powerful than the king, though this would only become evident with the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688:

As time passed, however, the English tired of their revolution. It was not only that so traditionalist a nation as the English could not live forever without Christmas and the “smells and bells” of traditional religion (not to speak of drinking and dancing), which Cromwell banned. “As the millenium failed to arrive,” writes Christopher Hill, “and taxation was not reduced, as division and feuds rent the revolutionaries, so the image of his sacred majesty loomed larger over the quarrelsome, unsatisfactory scene… The mass of ordinary people came to long for a return to ‘normality’, to the known, the familiar, the traditional. Victims of scrofula who could afford it went abroad to be touched by the king [Charles II] over the water: after 1660 he was back, sacred and symbolic. Eikonoklastes was burnt by the common hangman together with The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates… The men of property in 1659-60 longed for ‘a king with plenty of holy oil about him’…”

 And yet the king’s holy oil was not the main thing about him from their point of view. Far more important was that he should suppress the revolutionaries, preserve order and let them make money in peace. A Divine Right ruler was not suitable because he might choose to touch their financial interests, as Charles I had done. For, as Ian Buruma writes, “there is a link between business interests – or at least the freedom to trade – and liberal, even democratic, politics. Money tends to even things out, is egalitarian and blind to race or creed. As Voltaire said about the London stock exchange: Muslims, Christians and Jews trade as equals, and bankrupts are the only infidels. Trade can flourish if property is protected by laws. That means protection from the state, as well as from other individuals.”

A constitutional ruler was the answer, that is, a ruler who would rule within strict limitations imposed by the men of property (who packed the Houses of Parliament) and drawn up in a constitution that was never written down, but was enforced by the power of tradition and precedent and the occasional mini-mutiny. And so even when, in 1660, after the failure of Cromwell’s republican experiment, King Charles’ son, Charles II, was allowed to occupy the throne, it was only on certain conditions, conditions imposed by the men of property. And after the “Glorious Revolution” in 1688, the English monarchy became officially constitutional – that is, subject in the last resort to the will of parliament.

Source:  Vladimir Moss,

The political situation in which the colonists found themselves was one of Parliamentary Supremacy, not that of the Crown.  Thus, when they asked King George III to overturn those laws of Parliament they thought unjust, he was powerless to help.  Exasperated by this, and fueled by an apocalyptic fervor that had been unleashed by the Protestant Reformation (see, e.g.,, and perhaps also manipulated by powerful interests in the colonies and elsewhere (, they went on to write the Declaration of Independence in 1776, in which the chief blame was laid at the King’s feet.  Instead of ‘Parliament has done this or that’, as in the 1774 Petition, the language became ‘He (the King) has done this or that’ in the 1776 Declaration.

And so the interregnum, as Mr Coulombe called it in his aforementioned book, began in the colonies/States.  But reality is beginning to catch up with them.  A people can no more rule themselves well without a king than a family can without a father.  Part of the phenomenon of Donald Trump, as Dr Matthew Johnson has pointed out, proves that men and women are monarchists at heart:  They want a king-like figure who is above the political fray to set things right.

Now the States are right back where they were before the American Revolution, pleading with their ‘king’ (Donald Trump) to rescue them from their government of oligarchs (globalist-dominated Congress, NAFTA, etc.).  But we must avoid two temptations this time: 1.) to hamstring the power of the new kings coming into power and 2.) to create a national king. 

The folk populating the various regions of the u. S. are too varied and their desire for self-rule too deeply rooted to allow one king to rule peacefully over all of them.  Mr Coulombe makes the case for a single American king over all 50 States (plus other territories) in Star-Spangled Crown, but it ultimately falls flat.  This is because a king must be an outgrowth of a people, an intimate, integral, organic part of their shared historical life, just as much the offspring of the land, the weather, the plants, the animals, the joys, the sorrows, and every other detail, great and small, of the national history as he is the offspring of his mother and father.  The description of Chateaubriand of the French king bears this out beautifully:

The memories of the old France, of religion, of our ancient ways and family customs, of the habits of our childhood, of our cradles and tombs, all of these are attached to the sacred word king.  It frightens no one.  On the contrary, it reassures them.  The king, the judge, the father: for a Frenchman they are all one.  He knows not what an emperor is: he knows neither the nature, form, nor limit of the power attached to this foreign title.  Yet he knows what is a monarch descended form [Louis IX] and Henri IV.  It is a ruler whose paternal power is regulated by institutions, tempered by customs, softened and made excellent by time, like a generous wine born of the soil of the fatherland and ripened by the French sun.

 . . .

We have a legitimate prince, born of our blood, raised among us, whom we know, who knows us, who has our customs, tastes, and habits, for whom we have prayed to God in our youth, whose name our children know as well as that of their neighbors, and whose fathers lived and died with our own.

Source:  ‘On Buonaparte and the Bourbons’, Critics of the Enlightenment, Christopher Blum, ed. and trans., Wilmington, Del, ISI Books, 2004, pgs. 27-8, 34

A single king over all 50 States could never be anything more than a cold abstraction because of the great variety of peoples, experiences, climates, etc.  Whichever region he came from (if he were even to be born in one of the States), he would necessarily be ‘their king’, while the others would eventually feel alienated from him.  It will be far better, then, for each region (which would become a separate nation) to have its own king, who would be king of all those people at once and of each State within the region individually (a good idea of Mr Coulombe’s given the strong tradition of States’ rights in u. S. history), and who would sum up in himself the customs, manners, history, etc. of the region.

So let the regalia of the King of the New England States (without part or all of Vermont and Maine, who would probably feel more at home in French Canada) be decorated with the crown and arrows of St Edmund the Martyr-King of East Anglia (+869), who would make a wonderful intercessor for New England, together with a ship and the sea, the loom and shuttle, the pea plant and the Bible.

Let the regalia of the King of the Southern States be decorated with the golden wyvern of the House of Wessex, for their Patron Saint Alfred the Great, King of England (+899), the Cross of St Andrew (for Scotland and the South in general), the harp (for Ireland), the cotton boll crossed beneath with corn and rice stalks, a horse, a Roman arch (for her classical heritage), the banjo (for Africa), and so on with symbols for Spain, France, and the Native Americans.  Truly, one can see a new symbol forming for the South (or at least for Southern royalty): The familiar Southern battle flag with its Cross of St Andrew (also known as the Southern Cross), with some adjustment made to the Masonic five-pointed stars, with a wyvern in the top field, a harp in the right, a banjo in the left, and the cotton, corn, and rice emblem in the bottom field (or something of this kind).

Let Alaska return to Russia and be ruled by a restored Tsar (may God grant that he will return one day soon).  Let the monarchy be restored in Hawai’i.  Let the Spanish Southwest be ruled by the King of Spain once again.  And so on for each region of the current union.

If the South hesitates, let Louisiana enthrone her own king, chosen from one of the descendants of the French kings.  She is quite comfortable living in the monarchical world.  Her French population never revolted against the kings who ruled over them, even during the disorders of the French Revolution across the Atlantic, even when ruled by Spanish kings.  Even today, she does not blush at associating with royalty.  The Spanish King and Queen were recently received warmly in New Orleans to celebrate the 300th anniversary of that city’s founding:

Her State symbol remains the fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the French Bourbon monarchy.

And her governor already has the character of a king:

The powers of the office of governor of Louisiana, especially since the passage of the present state constitution in 1974, are unremarkable.  But the power exerted by holders of the office has been nothing short of spectacular—all the more so given the limited actual powers that the office confers on these men who want to be king.

It is difficult to measure the actual power exerted by a governor over a state, but a wealth of evidence suggests that well beyond the reign of Huey Long, Louisiana governors have exerted extraordinary influence in state policy-making.

Source:  Wayne Parent, Inside the Carnival: Unmasking Louisiana Politics, Baton Rouge, La., LSU Press, 2004, p.67

Disorder and injustice will always creep in without a king.  The British colonists saw this; their descendants in the States are learning it now.  This is the time for them to say with Chateaubriand,

Let us then hear from all sides the cry that can save us, the cry that our fathers made to resound in misfortune as well as in victory, and that will be for us the sign of peace and happiness: Long live the king!

Source:  ‘On Buonaparte and the Bourbons’, p. 40

Author: Walt Garlington