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The ideas of the United States ever being a monarchy of any form would seem absurd today as history goes on. Today, republicanism is very common and monarchies are slowly being abolished from nations around the world. However, during the American Revolution, a majority of nations around the world used a form of monarchy as their government, varying from absolute to constitutional. Obviously, the United States would not settle with an Absolute Monarchy. Even Great Britain did not have an absolute monarchy during the revolution, albeit a powerful one. That leaves the question, what if the United States decided to add a monarchy as a branch of government?
It was very possible that the founding fathers could have selected a monarch for the United States. Colonel Lewis Nicola wrote a letter to George Washington proposing that Washington should become the nation's monarch. Gen. Washington decided against it and turned down the idea, however this did not rule out all potential monarchs for the United States. During the Constitutional Convention, either Gen. Wilhelm Von Steuben or Nathaniel Gorham offered Prince Henry of Prussia the title as King of the United States, however the offer was revoked before Prince Henry could reply. But imagine, what if the offer was not revoked? What if Prince Henry accepted the offer? What if there was a King of America?
Point of Divergence
In 1786, during the creation of the Constitution of the United States, General Wilhelm von Steuben suggested to Alexander Hamilton that Prince Henry of Prussia should become the King of the United States. Hamilton agrees to the idea and informs the prince about the offer. Prince Henry, knowing that he would not become King of Prussia, accepted the offer and traveled to the United States to attend the Constitutional Convention. The ideas of a monarchy split the convention in half, in whether or not to have a monarch. Staunch opponents, including Benjamin Franklin, believed that having a monarchy would bring tyranny similar to what was endured before the revolution. Those who supported a monarchy stated that a reigning monarch would ensure a long-term survival of the United States.
Soon after the debate of whether or not to have a monarchy, the powers of the monarchy were unclear. Alexander Hamilton supported the ideas of having an elective monarch with much power, while others supported a constitutional monarch. George Washington, being a supporter of a constitutional monarch with limited power, said that an absolute elective monarchy would be tyrannical and unjust, while a constitutional monarchy would ensure stability. Those in favor of a constitutional monarchy soon outnumbered those who support an absolute or elective monarchy.
In 1788, the Constitution of the United States is ratified, granting three equal branches of government. Prince Henry was crowned as King Henry in 1789, shortly after George Washington became President of the United States. The United States officially became a monarchy, with King Henry being its first monarch.
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