The Two Georges: The President and the King
A brief version of "The Two Georges' was presented in 1976 at a bicentennial degree-giving ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania. The notion that the presidency was also in some ways a monarchy has occurred to many people ever since 1789. Apart from my "Invention of the Presidency," mentioned on page 175, n. 25, I have paid some attention to the theme in various editions of a work first published in 1968, appearing in its most recent guise as The Presidency ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987) -- for example, 382-86, and also in the essay reprinted in the present volume, "The Presidential Elections of 1789 and 1792."
George Tom Paine III "Royal Brute of Great Britain," received a great deal of abuse during his lifetime. In Common Sense Paine argued both that the king was a clod and that he was or aimed to be an autocrat. In the Crisis papers and in other writings Paine continued to jeer and fulminate. He would ( Crisis I, December 1776), "make a whore of my soul" if he were to swear allegiance to the "sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish" George III, who on the day of judgment would seek to flee in terror when confronted by "the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America." Paine repeated the notion ( Crisis VI, October 1776) that at the final judgment George III would be consigned to hell.
Such violently accusatory language was typical of the war years. It was the theme of Jefferson's indictment in the Declaration of Independence ("A prince whose character is . . . marked by every act which may define a tyrant."). Benjamin Franklin, who delighted in hoaxes, concocted one in 1782, pretending to be John Paul Jones. There was however nothing playful in the remarks he