Monarchy in the U.S.

Letters to the editor

Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2004

How well veiled is monarchy in the U.S.? When American colonists originally broke away from British rule, a small group of Tories suggested that Washington be made king (so they would be aristocrats). In 1796, when Adams won the presidency by two electoral votes, people were concerned about his outward fondness of monarchies. Twenty-eight years later, his son was voted into office by Congress even though his opponent, Jackson, had more popular and electoral votes.

John Quincy was an astute student and politician while growing up who enjoyed and favored Hobbes' treatises on governing found in Leviathan. In this text, Hobbes argues that a monarchy is the best form of rule for several reasons. One reason is how the succession of sovereign power is more stable in a monarchy because the sovereign can choose his heir and the method of succession. This heir is best instructed from youth to be an effective sovereign. This makes perfect sense to me from the perspective of sheer experience.

While names such as Roosevelt, Kennedy, Bush, and Murkowski may immediately come to mind, a closer look at politics in the United States will reveal a very small group of related people. As Americans, we have a propensity to vote for people that we know by mere namesake. We also romanticize the role of monarchial power through our fascinations with organized crime and shows like The Sopranos.

Gov. Murkowski has been under fire for the act of appointing his daughter to Congress. This act of nepotism more closely represents an operation of monarchy than our democracy. But if we are so adamantly against monarchial rule, why do we allow such nepotism to take place in government? And why has it been so successful?

Fact: There is a large portion of statesmen directly related to each other in American government. Is there some monarchial culture or value that has been passed down to us from colonial days? If all else was to be equal in a political race, I would bet that the candidate who is related to a known statesman will win every time. We vote to "keep it in the family." I bring these questions up for some critical thinking and reflecting. However, I understand that this might offend some so I will entertain and endure any questions or attacks.

Michael Heiman

Juneau



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