England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ Explained
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England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’ Explained

August 26, 2019


You’ll see so much weirdness in this one
image that I want point it out to you bit by bit. So this is obviously a coronation ceremony. Specifically, it’s the coronation of William
and Mary in England, 1689. And that’s the first peculiarity. They’re being coronated as co-regents, co-monarchs-
sharing power between two in a role which we typically have in our head as a job for
one. So, a split crown and authority. Second oddity, one of those co-regents, William,
on the verge of being King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is neither English, Scottish,
or Irish- but rather, Dutch. But most history books will describe no great
war between England and the Netherlands in this period. So how did a Dutchman rise to share the throne? And last, the peculiarity I think most significant:
the document being held in front of them. It’s not what we might expect at a coronation:
a congratulatory letter, a religious text, or a royal poem- no. It’s a list of demands from the Parliament. It starts with complaints against the predecessor
King, James II, and then lists a series of desired limitations on the new monarch’s powers. Granted, it wasn’t technically required
William and Mary accept these limitations in order to ascend to the throne. Nonetheless, an odd way to greet your new
King and Queen- crashing their coronation to tell them what they shouldn’t do. It’s a lot to digest, but understanding
this mystery will allow us to focus on the foundation of power in the United Kingdom’s
political system. I’ll address the Dutchman first. William of Orange invaded England in 1688. A prince from the Netherlands crossing the
channel with a fleet of ships, landing in Brixham, and successfully marching his force
to Westminster to be crowned King is a deceptively simple explanation of what happened. That’s because William of Orange was invited
to invade. Though by nationality he was absolutely foreign,
he had a couple things going for him: Perhaps most important, he was a protestant at a time
when England’s King, James II, was catholic. Now James II enjoyed support from Catholics
within Ireland and Scotland, but sentiment in England was resoundingly anti-catholic
after years of religious violence between the two. They resented pushes by James II to normalize
catholicism in the Kingdom. They claimed that he suspended laws of Parliament
in order to so. They feared his drives to maintain a standing
army as the actions of a tyrant. And as a catalyst to their angst, James II’s
wife gave birth to a son in 1688- as critics saw it, a son who would continue the tyrannical
catholic dynasty over Protestant England. Which brings us to the second thing William
of Orange had going for him as an invader of the British Isles: he was also a part of
King James family; he was James’ son-in-law, the husband of Mary, a product of James first
marriage. So why would being in the hated king’s family
actually help? Well, the newborn and direct catholic heir
to the throne was a product of James’ 2nd marriage. By invading, removing James and his second
family, and installing himself, William of Orange broke the catholic part out of the
equation while still maintaining royal lineage through James’ protestant daughter and through
himself, her protestant husband. In a letter addressed to William of Orange
by seven powerful noblemen, each carrying a title like Earl, Bishop, or Lord, the state
of mind of English Protestants, particularly Protestant elites, came into view. This was 1688. They wrote to William,
“The people are so generally dissatisfied with the present conduct of the government
in relation to their religion, liberties and properties (all which have been greatly invaded)…It
is no less certain that much the greatest part of the nobility and gentry are as much
dissatisfied…And there is no doubt but that some of the most considerable of them would
venture themselves with your highness at your first landing…” Please Dutch Prince. Come depose our king, and bring his daughter
too. You might also notice two distinct, diverging
lines of reasoning here. We already mentioned religion. James wanted catholicism legally accepted
in English society, and his protestant opposition, ‘averse’ to what they called the ‘popish
religion’. The second line of reasoning seems to contradict
the first. They get on a ramble in the letter about Parliament
and end with this: “if things cannot then be carried to [the King’s] wishes in a Parliamentary
way, other measures will be put in execution by more violent means,”
Basically, the catholic king will continue to ask things of Parliament which Parliament
doesn’t want to give, and upon denial, he will usurp the Parliament with violence. Thus, the king is a tyrant, as they wrote,
‘religion, liberties and properties…greatly invaded’. I only mention this second line of reasoning
to you because, though mixed in with the religious stuff, their complaints about the king threatening
the legislative body proves important to our exploration. William receives the letter and agrees. What was astounding with William’s 1698
invasion was the lack of violence. Resistance would come from the Scottish and
Irish in the following years, but during the initial march, William and his 25 thousand
men quickly gained support on their way to London. As Professor Steven Pincus describes in his
brief history of the Glorious Revolution, “Common people, gentry, and nobility, disgusted
with James II’s government but fearing his power, soon found the courage to pour into
William’s camp and rise independently throughout England, offering both physical and financial
support,” William of Orange landed in England, marched
towards London, was greeted by cheering crowds and defecting soldiers of King James- who
then fled to France. At their own behest, William and Mary acceded
together as King William III and Queen Mary II, hence the picture with which we started. And we can now finally address that document-that
list of demands being read to them at their 1689 coronation. It starts with complaints against James II
on religious grounds: ‘subverting protestantism, affiliating with the Catholic church, disarming
protestants while arming Catholics’ This has been interpreted as the more conservative
part of the 1689 revolution. But then came, for our purposes, the more
interesting bits. They complained of the King: ‘Dispensing
and suspending laws without Parliament’s consent, using tax funds for purposes other
than what was intended by Parliament, maintaining a standing army without Parliament’s consent,
and by blocking free elections of Parliament…’ As John Locke might say, the social contract
was broken. Absolutism was under attack-not an uncommon
theme in 17th century English history, but now it would be codified. Late 1689: the Parliament creates a statute
form of their listed complaints and restrictions; they author and pass the Bill of Rights. Included were the aforementioned exclusive
powers of Parliament to create and terminate law, levy tax, and maintain an army. But also, a vague but precedent setting provision
for free elections of the Parliament and free speech within it. If the Magna Carta in 1215 was an attempt
to subject the King to his own laws- a foundation of limited government, this was now an Act,
almost 500 years later, that future lawmaking must go through an elected Parliament. The sovereignty, the crown of the monarch
was moving from the palace to the Parliament and would gather there through to our time. Hence where we get the controversial term,
Parliamentary Sovereignty, a concept which evolved after the revolution in 1689 and is
best described by constitutional theorist A.V. Dicey in his Introduction to the Study of
the Law of the Constitution. He writes, “Parliament thus defined has,
under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever: and, further,
that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override
or set aside the legislation of Parliament,” In layman’s terms which I’ve seen laid
out in a couple different places: ‘Parliament may legislate on any subject. No parliament can bind its successors or be
bound by its predecessors. No person or entity can challenge the validity
of an act of Parliament, ‘be they court or King,’ (Jago). In this model, the ‘checks and balances’
so inherent to the American Constitution simply don’t exist as we would recognize them. You and I could draw the American system like
this, with the Congress creating law, Executive enforcing law, and judiciary interpreting
law- each impacting the others, but acting independently. If we would attempt to do the same for the
United Kingdom, we would encounter great overlap, as everyone from the Prime Minister to the
Civil Service all serve at the pleasure of the majority in Parliament. The glorious revolution in 1698 led to an
institution with, if not complete sovereignty, expansive power in the United Kingdom- the
legal right to legislate on any topic without question. But Parliamentary Sovereignty doesn’t come
without criticism. Struggling a bit with the concept myself,
I grabbed a couple books from the library. This one, “Essentials of UK Politics,”
by Andrew Heywood has a digestible objection. He writes, “Parliament is not and has never
been politically sovereign. Parliament has the legal right to make, amend,
or unmake any law it wishes, but not always the political ability to do so. A simple example would be that Parliament
could, in theory, abolish elections, but this would be likely to result in widespread public
protests, if not popular rebellion,” Even if all this criticism is true-distinguishing
the legal right and the political ability of Parliament-in my opinion there’s still
no proper checks and balances. The American Supreme Court is an institution
we know to be a check on the President and the congress. The United Kingdom Supreme Court, by contrast,
was created by Parliament in 2005, and defaults to Parliamentary Sovereignty when making rulings. In short, the UK Constitution is malleable,
and that’s what makes it interesting. The result of England’s Revolution in 1689
was a document meant to create a wall of separation between the monarch and the legislature. And to an American observer, it does seem
like a radical concentration of power, one the writers of the American Constitution sought
to avoid by creating three coequal branches of government. But while American founders distinguished
their new system from the one developing in Westminster Palace, they embraced some of
its core messaging; and I think you’ll find the echo of the protests in the English Declaration
of Rights against King James reverberates in a familiar way on second listening: “unqualified persons have been returned
and served on juries…excessive bail… And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted,”
“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury,” “By raising and keeping a standing army
within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament,”
“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our
legislatures,” “and quartering soldiers contrary to law”
“quartering large bodies of armed troops among us,” “By violating the freedom of election of
members to serve in Parliament,” “For suspending our own Legislatures, and
declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever,” “Dispensing and suspending laws without
Parliament’s consent,” “He has refused his Assent to Laws…necessary
for the public good..” “By levying money for…another manner than
the same was granted by Parliament,” “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent,” “King James the Second having abdicated
the government,” “He has abdicated Government here.” Resistance to absolutism, limited government,
social contracts, taxation only with representation-ironically, the American Declaration of Independence,
the document meant to forever disconnect the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain,
actually reveals our common heritage.

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  1. The 100k Q&A is this Sunday! Other upcoming videos:
    1. A collaboration about..Nazis! :0
    2. Russia’s October Revolution
    3. A new, less edited series

  2. for some reason, i feel like i hate every action the anglo saxons did in england, starting from invading. the celts should have destroyed them and their germanic behaviour of "if northern europe is not catholic then i am not catholic."

  3. Your just European to us. Like we call anyone from central America, Mexicans. You can't even get out of the EU

  4. Oh. You skipped over the Second Amendment. In the English Bill of Rights, the Monarch was forced to reinstate weapons to protestants. These had at times been seized by James's men in Ireland where they feared Catholic uprising in the plantation of Ulster. In fact, these seizures were rare and barely warrant a footnote in most histories. But parliament later established a police force and a standing army to keep order and defend the nation from external threats and domestic rebellion. And it has over the last 150 years restricted firearms, requiring registration, permits, set conditions, and bans on the sale of certain weapons. When in 1997 parliament banned most handguns after 2 massacres in Hungerford and Dunblane, the ban was largely welcomed by the public at large. Parliamentary sovereignty at work. Contrast this with how the drafters of the US Bill of Rights wrote the Second Amendment. Historical analysis shows it was meant to ensure that states could form ad hoc militias. Which at the time was the same in England, as happened in the English civil war… armed civilians. So the monarch (or the Congress) had to allow the people to have guns. But the wording of the Second Amendment has been held by some to mean a constitutional right to arms. Supreme courts had over the years rejected that interpretation.. until the Roberts Court in recent decades gave it credence. And to change it requires a supermajority to overturn the Second Amendment. But most Americans have been hoodwinked into thinking that a personal right to arms has been baked into their constitution from the start, but that is not true. At least nobody in Britain thinks Brits have a constitutional right to arms despite the wording in the English Bill of Rights. America easily was able to set up a standing army, as Britain had done. And Britain's parliamentary sovereignty means that guns are largely not a feature of life in Britain. In 2016, just 29 homicides were carried out with a firearm in Britain. But in the USA, with a population 6 times greater than the UK the number is about 13,000 per year.. and 33,000 if you add in gun suicides and accidents. Every generation (about 25 years) about a million '(1 000 000) Americans die at the point of a gun on American soil. Needlessly. Two pieces of text with basically the same intent leading to vastly different outcomes.

  5. Yay for limited government, it went well for like 200 years and the Karl Marx came along and ruined everything, by exploiting self-pity he argued that big government was the only way forward and those of us who were not executed by some of the big governments formed in his wake, live on with the consequences of his insane 'utopian' nonsense to this day, constantly challenging our freedom by encouraging those with power to grab more power so they can make decisions on our behalf, cos we so dum we not do it ourselves… or so they think.

  6. Interesting point highlighted towards the end: the main difference between the UK and US constitutions is flexibility. The UK's constitution is conceptual – it does not exist on a single document but is enshrined in both a number of laws and political/legal conventions. The US's is 'set in stone' on a single document which (through a series of legal precedents) has come to be interpreted in a certain way. That interpretation is unlikely to change significantly over time, and the barriers put in place for any constitutional amendment or revocation make it politically impossible.

    Both systems are are a double-edged sword. Whilst the UK's flexibility allow it to better adapt to societal change, it leaves it open to abuse from unscrupulous politicians who feel comfortable undermining democracy for their own ends (Tony Blair, I'm looking at you). The rigidity of the US system allows it to withstand political shocks and interference better, but its unchanging nature tends to hold it back when it comes to moving on from outdated concepts ("a well-regulated militia necessary for the defence of the Union…").

    Nowhere's perfect, I suppose…

  7. William of Orange was also a grandchild of Charles I. His mother was the older sister of James II. In other words, William and Mary were first cousins.

  8. King William was Also One of the Few Blood Line Anglo Saxons Left in Europe ..England Effectively Reinstated an Anglo Saxon Crown after the Norman Conquest..This was a London Elitist & Parliament Sanctioned Military Coup Rather than a Revolution..London was Bankrupt & London would have Been Invaded by the Scottish Presbyterians & Alliance with the Irish Catholics as Well as Other Factions from the North of England & Wales…Without this London Led Military Coup London would have Been Undoubtedly Overrun..There is an Old Conservative Dictum…Everything Must Change In Order that Everything Remains the Same..IE..The Power in the Hands of the Few…Holland was the Worlds Strongest Colonial Power before this Event & Declined Soon After Leaving England Ruling the Waves..At the Cost of Millions of Lives All Over the British Isles..Its Almost been Written Out the History Books…I Wonder Why…

  9. Of course, William was a grandson of Charles I and a nephew of James II. When he married Mary, it was understood by English Crown, Parliament and populace, that William would be the next king, as he was not only the nearest male heir but also the husband to the eldest child of James II. So it wasn't really strange that William was invited to become King; parliament and the people simply had never expected James to beget a living son so late in life – he was in his fifties (which was pretty old in those days, especially after having lived a life of debauchery as he had done) and all his other children with his second wife (quite a lot!) had died in infancy. So it was understood by the populace that they only had to tolerate James for a few more years, even as things got gradually worse, because soon he would die and thoroughly protestant Mary would become Queen and William, by that time the protestant hero of a dozen battlefields, her King. But then James begot a little son and it looked as if he were to live…

  10. You forgot to point out that making a woman co-regent would be a bit out of the ordinary to begin with (Just ask Joanna the Mad, also known as Joanna the Conveniently Imprisoned for Madness).

  11. Amazing video! I'm a Brit, and even after research I still often find our constitutional arrangements to be somewhat chaotic, but this was definitiely one of the best explainations yet!

  12. Just to point out here in the U.K. we don't have a constitution just 800 years worth of acts of Parliament and a load of assumptions that keep things ticking.

  13. Hang on there m8. He was invited by only 7 members of parliament. So you can not say he was invited by the whole of England. That is like saying the Nazi's were invited to invade western Europe as there were a few Nazi's in those governments as well. Also if you get invited you don't bring about 21.000 heavily armoured troops on an armada of 500 ships ( actually that was several times the size of the armada ). I mean come on did they just come along for the coronation party? Not saying that the Brits were to fond of their king James II. Indeed I think most were glad to be rid of him. But sorry UK face it, this was a proper invasion.

  14. 1:14–1:17 Crashing their coronation by telling them what not to do…Hehe, one of those laws is probably "Please don't let the Netherlands (or worse, France) occupy England."

  15. WARNING! Carry on reading! Or you will die, even if you only looked at the word warning!
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  16. That is the British Constitution.The Bill Of Rights it's what they based the US constitution on.But I think the Vatican has overwritten a lot of the agreements over time.The Magna Carta was not approved by the Pope And the English Civil War was because the Stuarts were under control of the Vatican and that was why Parliament was at war with the Royalists they didn't want the Catholic absolute power over Parliamtary democracy.The whole point of the Magna Carta was to free the people from the dictatorship of the king.The Vatican have always tried to rule people through the Jesuits The Order Of Jesuits was founded after the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s where the Catholics persecuted Protestants .

    They were behind the Nazis and Communists and the Rothschild's centuries later .The Privvy Council is the Queens laws that Parliament has control over or should have being as England won the Civil War.The Glorious Revolution was a result of the return to the Absolute power of the Monarchy after the death of Oliver Cromwell and the Restoration of the Monarchy.This is why Brexit is essential in order to save freedom from the absolute power of Corporate bodies.The Crown is a Corporation.And the American Constitution was Amended in 1871 after the Civil War turned the Republic into a Corporate United States Of America.Its basically greed of democracy its like the money changers that Jesus lost his temper with in the temple.Those people created the First and Second World Wars in order to centralize power through Corporate bodies like the EU.

  17. HANG ON AGAIN….there was no great war between England and the Netherlands…WHAT books are you reading They had 3 wopping big ones in the span of 40 years. True the Brits like to ignore them as they lost 2 out 3 and the one they won was leaning towards a draw.

  18. Great video, only you've mentioned a 'UK Constitution', and there's no such thing. Instead we have a series of acts and edicts which legislate on the issues normally found in a constitution, but are easier to repeal than constitutional amendments. I think that, because we had the Glorious Revolution instead of a violent democratic revolution like in the US or France, no one ever felt the need to write a proper constitution. It's a bit of a left-field political issue, but we even have pressure groups calling for the establishment of a constitution as a hallmark of a modern democracy.

  19. Nice! Being Dutch, I find this fascinating. A Dutch prince of orange becomes king of England. Our ultimate victory, haha. But you should study the Dutch plakaat van verlatinghe. It was the Dutch republic that setup this political structure first that is much more akin to the american declaration of independence. https://youtu.be/u35ZWwMuqBs

  20. OMG. YOU JUST MADE MYWHOLE LIFE SO MUCH EASIER. AND IF I COULD KISS YOU I WOULDNT COS THAT WOULD BE WEIRD. BUT FIGURED I WOULD SAY IT ANYWAYS., THANKS SOOOOO MUCH !!!!!

  21. The main reason for Willem III (Dutch Stadtholder) to invade England was the fact that a Catholic English king would always be suspect of allying with the major superpower of the time: Louis XIV's Catholic France. In 1672, the Dutch Republic was invaded by the French, the German states of Münster and Cologne and by sea, the English navy. After the Dutch cut the dikes and inundated half the country, the enemy's armies were halted while Dutch Admiral Michiel de Ruyter defeated the Franco-Anglo navies. To make sure that England would never ally itself again with France, Willem III hatched a grand plan to have the English join the Protestant nations' resisting French dominance. The invasion's first phase went along without any true violence mainly because the English king James II panicked and abandoned his army, which subsequently defected to the Dutch invaders.

  22. USA has Article Five
    Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Altering the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments and subsequent ratification.

  23. You say American Declaration 1778 is based on English declaration of Rights 1689. I say it’s foundation on the Dutch “Acte van Verlatinghe” 1581.

  24. This is the most interesting explanation of the glories revolution I have ever seen. Great job!

  25. I would also add that the reflection of the Glorious Revolution IN the American Revolution was noted by Profs. Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood in the 1960s.

  26. Nice catch on the relevance of the Glorious Revolution and the English Declaration of Right to the formation of American government. This was the point at which the modern world as we know it was born, out of the fires and ashes of the Reformation and English Civil War, making the Enlightenment refinement possible. To anyone who is interested, I highly suggest Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. It shows many more developments of this era and how they set the stage for the world we live in today.

  27. I thought William of orange was Dutch like Her Maj Elizabeth Windsor is English. Bloody Germans…..you gotta watch them. lol.

  28. I don't know why this was left out as it's a main reason the two qualified to be co-monarchs, but William of Orange was the son of Mary, Princess Royal who sister to James II. So, in addition to being married to the daughter of the current monarch, he was also already third (fourth if you include James Francis Stuart, the Old Pretender) in line to the throne via his mother.

  29. Traitors sold out to a foreign King and got loot. The propaganda they printed is what the dumb fucks in england get taught as history.

  30. it is not the glorious revolution but rather the glorious betrayal!!! at best it is a revolution of palace hatched by the aristocracy at the worst it is a coup d'etat

  31. What was the name of king billys horse I'm form Belfast northern Ireland and we don't know the name of his horse lol

  32. Unfortunately in about 1972 unknown to most of the British Public at the time and denied by the then prime minister Edward Heath our sovereignty of Parliament in law was given to the European Commission under the EEC bill. Whenever UK law or European law had a discrepancy European law will always win, next followed are sea boundaries and many other things. Since then we've had a referendum backed by a act of Parliament the referendum bill. 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU the largest democratic decision the British have ever made, next a general election where both main parties Labour and conservative as manifesto pledges said they would pull us out of the European Union it's single market and customs Union. let us see what our Parliament actually does, it has tried very hard to delay things but I don't think it can stop this one.

  33. FYI – the right to bear arms is also in the English bill of rights – tho that led to random shootings eventually, so was got rid of many years later.

  34. Americans copie pasted the independence and bill of rights created by the dutch in the 16th century , so do a little more research before claiming it has its origins in the english bill of rights

  35. Although William iii's father was indeed dutch, his mother was Charles ii's and James ii's sister, and therefore a Stewart. His wife, Mary ii, was daughter of James ii, and hence, his first cousin. James ii, his father-in-law, was also his uncle.

  36. You are very stupid if you don't understand the Declaration of Right. Absolute monarchy is not the only form of monarchy, you idiot.

  37. Great video, Thank you. Dutch also provided a large part of the US declaration of independence. Large part of the declaration is a copy of the plakkaat van Verlatinghe 1581.
    .

  38. you are a bit slow …..the so called revolution was a putsch by vested interests …if it had just carved up engerland that would have been less than the english deserved anyway (damned devils of an evil race ) but the Scots and Irish were drawn even tighter into the stinking english maw …vile history of a colonial oppressor and the biggest theft by naked violence the world has ever suffered ….may they rot in their own arrogant stew

  39. Laws don’t magically enforce themselves.
    The US Supreme Court isn’t a check on the legislature or executive if the later simply choose to ignore the Supreme Court’s rulings (and what’s to stop the Supreme Court from being tyrannous, if it can say and do anything and always has the last word?)

  40. In practice parliament can implement any law it likes in theory the Monarch can deny a bill that has passed through both houses of parliament royal assent thus preventing it from becoming a law. However, this hasn't happened since, I think, 1801. I wish Her Majesty would use that power more often as it would introduce much more parity into our constitutional Monarchy which currently has a far too powerful parliament which doesn't like being held to account.

  41. The difference between usa constitution and british?
    Well the british wrote theirs to give jews power over the celts, the usa only got that way by ignoring the constitution.

  42. When studying the British Constitution, we do look at the American declaration of independence, since it is a shining example of Englishmen exercising their traditional English rights and privileges.

  43. That Bill of Rights suits you just fine. By the way Mary II looks just like Roxana of Bactria in that painting…

  44. William actually had a very strong claim to the thrown in his own right, his mother Mary Henrietta was the older sister of James II. This is why the cousins were crowned together and why he ruled solely after her death by his own right.

  45. I’m a historian and a teacher and all I can say is great job! It was informative, concise and clear. To the point, yet loaded with important information. Well done. I subscribed.

  46. The English bill of rights deeply influenced the American Declaration of Independence and the constitution. This is common historical knowledge. I don’t see it so much as copying but as improving, principles are timeless and eternal, that includes political principles.

  47. Parliament was NOT democratically elected by the common people, even the technically non Nobility who could vote were wealthy land owner. There is nothing actually Progressive about this "Revolution" it was the elite Aristocracy overthrowing a King because the King supported Religious Freedom. It was a Regressive "Revolution" by every standard.

    Many of the Founding Fathers actually looked back on this Revolution and sided with James II, before the Deceleration of Independence they were trying to ask the King to ac ton their behalf in defiance of Impairment. Many saw the Revolution as a Revolution against Parliament not the King and some did want to make America a Monarchy, some wanted Washington to be King but other considered offering the crown to the exiled Stuarts.. Alexander Hamilton wanted the President to be an Absolute Monarch in all be name.

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