Norton I, Emperor of the United States of America

Emperor Norton's Picture
Image from ZPub's Emperor Norton page.

Joshua Abraham Norton (1819-1880)

Emperor Norton - Live Like Him
Joshua Norton, or as he preferred to be called, Norton I, proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859.

Althought a pauper, he was fed free in San Francisco's best restaurants.

Although a madman, he had all his state proclamations published in San Francisco's newspapers.

While rational reformers elsewhere failed to crack the national bank monopoly with alternate currency plans, Norton I had own private currency accepted throughout San Francisco.

When the Vigilantes decide to have a pogrom against the Chinese, and sane men would have tried to stop them, Norton I did nothing but stand in the street, head bowed, praying. The Vigilantes dispersed.

"When the proper man does nothing (wu-wei), his thought is felt ten thousand miles." - Lao Tse

Although a fool, Norton I wrote letters which were seriously considered by Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.

"You must take the bull by the tail and look the facts in the face." - W.C. Fields

Although a charlatan, Norton I was so beloved that 30,000 people turned out for his funeral in 1880.

"Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse. Hardly anybody understands Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton." - Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C.







Written by Mike Knauer. This page last modified March 27, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Mike Knauer.