On this day 150 years ago, American history was changed forever. On that day, the United States got it's first emperor. It was September 17, 1859 when Joshua Abraham Norton, patron saint of Discordianism, sent the following letter to every newspaper in San Francisco:
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.And the rest, as they say, is history. A little over a year later he issued a decree dissolving the United States Congress. Later on he decreed that both the Catholic and Protestant churches ordain him Emperor. In 1872 he forever banished the word "Frisco" from the English language saving future San Franciscans from forever having to correct tourists. His illustrious reign lasted for a whole 21 years, almost completely unnoticed by the US government and it's army.
NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.
So, if you have the chance today raise a beer in honor of the first and last emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. Declare yourself emperor of your own little corner of the globe. And if you are in San Francisco, don't forget to go put some flowers on his grave.
(Tip of the imperial sword to yhnmzw for the reminder)