Episode15: Emperor of the United States

If you are not satisfied with the current government, simply become it yourself. That must be what Joshua Norton thought and proclaimed himself shortly Emperor of the United States. Or as the original German episode has it: the “Kaiser von Amerika”.



  1. The Emperor was on of San Francisco’s great holy fools. But aside from his one lunacy people who knew him claimed he was kind and very intellectual. The city’s attitude is reflected by the judge who presided over Emperor Norton’s trial for vagrancy. He commented “Norton has shed no blood, robbed no one, and despoiled no country, which is more than can be said for most fellows in the king line”. Nortons fake currency WAS accepted by several famous San Francisco restaurants. And the bills are considered highly collectible today

  2. Many thanks for the reference to the 2013 petition to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for Emperor Norton. After launching this petition, I founded The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to honor the life and advance the legacy of the Emperor through research, education and advocacy.

    We invite those who wish to learn more about Emperor Norton and about our efforts to visit our Web site at http://www.emperorsbridge.org.

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