Friday, December 5, 2008

The King We Never Had

This was linked by several people on my blogroll, but I saw it first from Wilson Revolution Unplugged:

The Man Who Would Be King

If George Washington had been made monarch, this Texas family might be American royalty today.

Lore has it that President Washington was so well liked after his Revolutionary victory that a group of citizens frustrated with the Continental Congress floated the idea of a coup-d'etat and the installation of King George and the creation of an American monarchy. But Washington, who believed that anyone (anyone!) might make for a good leader, staunched the idea and eventually relinquished his power as commander-in-chief.

Since then, genealogists have been pondering the possibilities had President Washington been a bit more power-hungry. As early as 1908, newspapers published accounts of history buffs who worked their way through the Washington family tree using rules of succession to determine the rightful heir to the theoretical American throne. But without the Internet, branches of the Washington tree would be lost in Ohio, say, or forgotten by lineage sleuths who couldn't quite decipher a family tree made complicated because Washington himself didn't have any children.

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