I recently heard a rumor that George Washington was offered to become king of America, but refused instead wanting a Presidency; is this rumor true or is it just just that, a rumor?

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    There are always people with big mouths and bad ideas; there certainly was a discussion about how the President was to be addressed in official statements. He rejected being called "Your Majesty", as he was not a king. This may be the origin of the tale you have heard. Instead he went with "Mr. President", a more democratic moniker. Oct 8, 2016 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


An elaboration on my comment; the bad idea came from my distant cousin, John Adams!

How ‘His Highness’ George Washington Became ‘Mr. President’

  • IIRC, Mrs Washington wanted to be called "Lady Washington" - but I'm a mere Brit, stepping on the hallowed ground of Republicanism! grin
    – TheHonRose
    Oct 9, 2016 at 23:50
  • @thehonrose: a source would give your comment more meaning. Oct 10, 2016 at 0:19
  • I can't now find where I read that she desired it, but according to this she was known as "Lady Washington".
    – TheHonRose
    Oct 10, 2016 at 2:31

No, this is completely a myth.

There were many presidents prior to Washington, just not one that encompassed the entire United States. Some states had presidents that represented them during the revolutionary period (1774-1778) but prior to the formation of the U.S. federal government.

The idea of a rejection sounds good to modern readers, but the idea of a king was never entertained by the U.S. forefathers. They had, much to their credit and patriotism, more sense than that. The myth comes probably from correspondence with Lewis Nicola, at a much later date. Some letters he wrote to Washington eludes to the idea, but does not state it or spell it out.

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    This would be improved with some source references. Jul 23, 2017 at 9:06
  • I wouldn't say completely. It wasn't a forgone conclusion that the American system wouldn't immediately degenerate into a monarchy. Hence King George III's famous quote about Washington peacefully ceding power... "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." [paraphrase] Jul 24, 2017 at 18:23

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