In October 1878 Joshua Norton-1
put His royal imprimatur upon a petition to amend California's Constitution
to grant women the vote. That was 12 years before Wyoming became
the first state to enact suffrage.
Herbert Asbury in The Barbary Coast (1933), His Highness
is said to be the source of the expression "Queen
for a Day." [San Francisco? How prophetic!]
He often bestowed royal titles of varying durations upon His citizens.
It was the Emperor's way of thanking those who'd done Him a courtesy
or of lifting a total stranger's sprits if it seemed the person
was having a particularly bad hair day.
Should one wonder how He knew someone He didn't
know was suffering a rough patch, it was because He talked to everyone.
Anyone could talk to him.
All chroniclers agree He walked San Francisco's streets as a daily
office, availing His presence broadly. His may have been the world's
most accessible government--if transparent to the point of insubstantial.
We see this as well in his 23 December 1875 Proclamation
in which he order the people of San Francisco to show courtesy
to strangers. That is, to say "Hey!" to
the new sailors in town who'd arrived on a Japanese Navy ship. The
decree illustrates two aspects of Norton-1's laudable character: