The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Filtering by Tag: Union

"To Dream of the Emperor Norton"

In January 1865 — back in his native New York for a year, after spending the previous five years in San Francisco — David Montross Gazlay debuted a new magazine that he called Gazlay’s Pacific Monthly. The purpose of the magazine was to evangelize an East Coast readership as to the virtues — and the opportunities — of the Pacific states and territories.

The inaugural issue of the Pacific Monthly featured a reprint of a charming item of literary humor originally published elsewhere — apparently in the early 1860s — and which includes a poignant reference to Emperor Norton.

As it happens, Gazlay and the Emperor had occasion to meet in February 1861, when both men attended a citizens’ meeting — called by San Francisco Mayor Henry Teschemacher — to plan a major pro-Union rally.

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Emperor Norton at a Pro-Civil Rights Lecture, March 1868

Emperor Norton’s on-point attendance at an early event of the Order of Freedom’s Defenders — a Unionist-Republican political club dedicated to preserving Lincoln's legacy; advancing Reconstruction; electing Grant as President; and securing the Constitutional protections necessary to guarantee the civil rights of African-Americans — can be seen as “of a piece” with the Emperor’s broader commitment to African-American equality.

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"I Will Hold That Flag"

Ever the "union man," Emperor Norton was as ecumenical in matters of politics as he was in matters of religion.

In a cameo appearance on the front page of the 21 February 1861 edition of the Daily Alta California newspaper, the Emperor needed only five crisp words to pin his pro-Union colors unmistakably to the mast. 

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