Today’s post was written by National Archives volunteer Paul Richter. It is part of a series tracing the development of the Constitution in honor of the 225th anniversary of this document on September 17, 2012.
Have you ever dreamed of being addressed as King or Queen or Prince or Princess or Viscount or Duchess or Lord or Dauphin? If you are a U.S. citizen, don’t expect that dream to come true—the United States does not confer titles of nobility.
On Thursday, August 23, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention agreed to explicitly prohibit the new government from conferring such titles.
The restriction simultaneously emphasized the republican spirit throughout the Constitution and the deliberate difference from the government of Great Britain. The prohibition on conferring titles of nobility survives today in Article 1, Section 9, of the Constitution.
(If you still want to chase that dream, however, just prove yourself of great value to a nation that does not have an Article 1, Section 9!)