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The Emperor of the United States

Joshua Abraham Norton was born in 1818 in England and spent most of his life in South Africa until the death of his mother and father. He sailed west and arrived in San Francisco in 1849. After 10 years of living in San Francisco he became discontented with what he believed to be the inadequacies of the legal and political structures of the United States. So, on September 17, 1859, He declared himself emperor of the United States.

No one really knows why he did this. He had lost almost everything in the speculation of the rice market and maybe his mind broke. Maybe he did it as a practical joke, but he sent out a proclamation to the representatives in all the states ordering them to meet in San Francisco on February 1, 1860 to take of the evil in the country.

He order the army to depose the United States Congress.

In 1869, he declared that the Democratic and Republican parties both be abolished – is it me or is he is beginning to sound less and less crazy..

In 1872, he ordered that anyone who would desecrate the name of his beloved city San Francisco by calling it “Frisco” would owe the Imperial Treasury $25. I assume the Imperial Treasury was his bank account but I am not sure.

The people of San Francisco was amused by the Emperor of the United States and allowed him collect a small tax and issue his own currency. They all thought it was fun, but to Emperor Norton the First, it was serious. In fact, he would later add the title “Protector of Mexico” to his title.

He served as Norton the First, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico for 21 years, until his death in 1880. More than 10,000 people attended his service just to see what it would be like. He lived and died in his own delusion of grandeur.

People would say, “He wasn’t hurting anyone” and he might has even probably brought a smile to people and maybe even a little chuckle when they came across his path.

But make no mistake about it. Joshua A. Norton was never really the emperor. Had he really insisted on a confrontation with the United States government, he would have been disposed of rather quickly. More than likely, he would have been confined to an insane asylum for the rest of his life. accessed 04.30.2020 acccessed 04.30.2020


We might say, “this guys was nuts!” But the truth of the matter is that is the same place many of us find ourselves spiritually. There are those who have said they have asked Jesus into their lives but they are living their life on their own terms. In essence, they have declared themselves their own emperor. They are making crazy declarations and outrageous claims on things that they have no right over. If a person has Jesus in their life HE Is the KING! The is the emperor and for a believer to not live as Jesus as King is as crazy and ineffective as some dude saying he is the emperor of the United States!

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