In light of the recent interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—a bunch of pure tabloid garbage, I might add—I thought it was a good time to thank our Founding Fathers for ending our allegiance to the British monarchy 245 years ago.
No human being or family is morally superior or is chosen by God to unilaterally rule over any of us. In America, our Founders rejected that flawed premise and had the radical idea that men should be self-governing and that the government should have only as much power as the people consented to.
Although the British monarchy was stripped of most of its powers, it is still the symbol of the British empire. As a believer in national sovereignty, I won’t criticize the British people for their system of government. If they want the monarchy to continue, then that is their prerogative.
But as an American, I can say (and I think that I speak for most of my fellow countrymen) that I reject rule by a monarchy or any other elites/ruling class.
And so did our Founders.
Thomas Paine was the leading writer railing against monarchy during the era of the American Revolution. His classic pamphlet, Common Sense, sold 500,00 copies—an extraordinary total given that the size of the country was estimated to be around just 2 million at the time— and is credited as being the most persuasive piece written to push American colonists to enlist and join up to fight off the shackles of King George lll.
Paine highlighted the absurdity of having a hereditary monarchy in the following passage in 1791:
“We have heard the Rights of Man called a levelling system; but the only system to which the word levelling is truly applicable, is the hereditary monarchical system. It is a system of mental levelling. It indiscriminately admits every species of character to the same authority. Vice and virtue, ignorance and wisdom, in short, every quality, good or bad, is put on the same level. Kings succeed each other, not as rationals, but as animals. It signifies not what their mental or moral characters are.”
Another leading critic of the institution of monarchy was philosopher John Locke. Locke was the man whose writings most influenced the Founders and passages in the Declaration of Independence were nearly identical to his writings in The Second Treatise of Government.
In that classic work, Locke wrote that “No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society .”
All of this is not to say that as an American I don’t value the “special relationship” between our country and Great Britain. We have accomplished great things together, including liberating a continent from tyranny…twice.
Winston Churchill should be made an honorary American for his partnership with America and his leadership during the Second World War. Naturally, cancel culture is coming for Churchill in Britain, too. This is not only an American problem.
Although I despise the institution of the monarchy, I do have respect for Queen Elizabeth ll who is approaching 70 years on the British throne. If there is to be a monarch, then a nation can’t do much better than her. She has taken her duties seriously and has been a great representative of the British people.
She also served her country as a driver and mechanic during the Second World War, and her father, King George VI, was a courageous man who refused to leave Buckingham Palace as the Nazi blitzkrieg rained down on London.
One can’t help but feel bad that for her that her family has caused her such drama given her personal character and adherence to protocol.
That being said, I am so glad we don’t have a monarchy here in the US and that we can just laugh from afar at the petty grievances of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
This is just one more reason why I am proud to be an American!