Why Not the Majesty of the People
************* GWI 3 *************
GWI 3-A The Majesty Of The People: Majesty, Strength, and Power is not in reference to our newly elected President, but was actually how the post revolutionary colonists wanted to be represented in the new established United States. A little tricky legend description in it’s intent because it is more of a New Nation Tribute to the people then a tribute to George Washington. GWI 3 is suggesting that our new unified United States will be the newest Rising Sun amongst the other established countries in the Heavenly Bodies. Just as the Morning Glory is for New Nation Tribute button 15.
George Washington himself was often spoken of in this era as, “The President of the Rising Empire.” The Gazette of the United States during the months of July and August of 1789, carried “Heated discussions” concerning the title by which our 1st Magistrate should be called. Some of the title offerings were, The Peoples Majesty, His Majesty, and my favorite, “The President of the United States” were all suggested. It should be pointed out that “His Majesty” would not be a title of nobility, but a title of Presidential Office Sovereignty regardless who holds the office. Meaning, the person who would be elected as President in the future would be a represented as, “The Majesty of the People,” of the newly unified United States.
This is the misconception by GWI button collectors who think the legend refers to George Washington as President. This is the real Truth is the legend in GWI 3 tributes power to the people. We established a federal government and democracy as a Representative Republic, and in that frame of thought the legend becomes better understood. The button represents a celebration and tribute to the people of the 13 states who united under the Strength of a federally adopted Constitution. Probably, the reason this New Nation button variant didn’t sell as many to the public. It was misunderstood under the light of a European Monarchy system of government, and for the people that understood it would be like buying a button that patted yourself on the back, instead of a button that Praised George Washington for his accomplishments in bringing us our new nation through the Revolution.
So, this title, “Majesty of the People” was suggested and put forth by the people of New England. In this part of the United States large crowds gathered when George Washington visited their cities and hometowns while on his inaugural tour in 1789. What is forgotten over the last two centuries is that humble citizens who understood class stratification would commonly use the expression, “Majesty of the People” when speaking of, and hailing our First revered President. So, here is the mis-understanding in the legend’s meaning for the modern day George Washington inaugural button collector. There is a complete mis-interpretation and understand of the intended meaning behind the legend. The people who were in charge of establishing the office of the President were capturing the dreams of a Representative Republic, and contemporary button collectors thought it was a tribute to George Washington for their love and respect for his accomplishments in providing a nation.
Where does the symbols of GWI 3 come from? We can reasonably hypothesis the whole Heavenly body and Morning Glory comes from ancient civilizations, but it doesn’t. This most likely originated from Prince Edward Stuart they young pretender of Scotland. This was taken from the Jacobite propaganda campaign to keep show his rightful place according to the beliefs of Devine Right of Kings. This homage was probably drafted from Ancient Egypt. Most likely from Akhanaten and his religious reform and divinity to the Sun God Aten. For the Scottish Gentry and Jacobites in Scotland and England the New Republic in the British Colonies in America is their triumphant conclusion over the Hanovarians and allowed them to ascend without social derogatory constraints to political and economic power since the dethronement of King James II in 1698. With the death of Prince Edward Stuart in 1788, it broke the unseen shackles of Royal bloodline loyalty to the House of Stuart. They like all Americans will now be in charge of their own destiny not tied to the European societal construct of Kingship and divinity.
GWI 3-A THE MAJESTY OF THE PEOPLE
Color: An Copper Red Patina with Greenish Yellow Encrustations.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Stamped and then Hand-Fashioned Afterward, Copper.
Variety Type: Triangle Notches in the Sun’s Triangle’s Pattern 1.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Specimen, Exceptional Planchet Condition, Strong Impressions Remain.
Obverse Button Analysis: The button still retains a nice image of the original depiction. The copper planchet is solid and flat, and shows no signs of metal fatigue or deterioration. The surface has been lightly polished by Cobb, but still has a bright luster with a nicely aged copper color tone. The Sun still holds a strong outline impression, but the sun’s face is worn smooth and unrecognizable. The surface does show some very thin light scratches, but they seem have mixed with in with the copper color tone over the years nicely. The Star like stippled pattern emanating from the sun still shows a strong image with good clear indentures within. The fine line rays striking outward toward the legend also have nice clear incuse lines. The rolling clouds under the sun shows some flat wear in spots and unfortunately they become mutt led. Meaning the circles blend into each other, and do not show individual swirls. The outside stippled ring still depicts a nice clear impression. The Roman Style Capital Letters are mostly worn flat in “MAJESTY OF THE”, and completely worn flat for “PEOPLE”. The outside edge is still intact without any bends or indents. The artful Separation Mark still retains a nice deep impression with a good clear image.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a loop shank. The shank was re-soldered.
Library Records Has Limited Information WI 3 A-1:
History: Yes Recorded Sales Price: Yes
Current Button Owner and Location: No
Harold Cobb/Descendants 1964 to 2003 Stacks Sale.~
Cobb purchased this from Jack Martin at the 1964 APIC convention in Hartford, Connecticut.
This was from The John Andrews Collection.~
GWI 3-A THE MAJESTY OF THE PEOPLE
Color: A Bright Brass Yellow with Orange Highlights.
Metal: Flat, 1-Piece, Impressed Design, Brass.
Variety Type: Triangle Notches in the Sun’s Triangle’s Pattern 2.
Present Condition: A Non Excavated Example, Strong Planchet Casting, Good Impressions.
Obverse Button Analysis: This button seems to be in superior condition for it’s age. This was donated by Reginald Hart to the Lightener Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. The button has a high luster, and still retains it’s original tone. The brass planchet appears to be solid and flat, and shows no waviness or shallow depressions. The surface has a few light scratches and abrasions, but nothing that detracts from any of the designs. The Sun’s face still holds a clear image, and is the only example known to do so. The sun’s triangles have a nice stippled outline with clear cross hatch impressions. The shooting rays show nice clear lines, with good deep impressions. The rolling clouds on the bottom are clearly outlined, and show clear swirling lines. The Roman Style Letters all have a nice deep impressions, and are easy to read. The artful separation mark has a deep stamp, and clearly shows the two arrows meeting the X in the middle.
Reverse Button Analysis: This is a flat one-piece button with a loop shank. The shank is original, straight, and intact.
Library Records Has Limited Information WI 3 A-2:
History: Yes Recorded Sales Price: No
Current Button Owner and Location: ~ Florida ~
Now resides in the Lightener Museum, St. Augustine, Fla.~
Previously part of the Reginald Hart collection.
Some of my research notes to draw conclusions from for all angles: April 2003
The button’s motif of the Sun God in the heavens can actually trace it’s origins back in history to ancient Egyptians and their sun god Ra (Re). Ra was considered to be the king of the gods, and the pharos who ruled were either patrons or considered direct decedents. But one has to note, there were actually many other ancient (religious) cultures and civilizations that worshiped either a Sun God or Sun Goddesses.
History’s list includes, Hittite-Arinna, Japan-Amaterasu, Hindu-Garuda, Iranian/Persian-HvarKhshaita, Celtic-Lugh, Greece-Hellos & then Apollo later, Western Africa-Liza, Mesopotamia-Utu(Shamash), Aztec-Tonatiuh, Norse-Sol(Sunna), and the Ancient Inca’s-Inti. The common denominator in all these various civilizations is that the Sun God reigns in the heavens with absolute power and they all used the avenue of religious supremacy over it’s populations. The early Egyptian pharos or later European kings either received their “absolute power” from the Gods, or they claimed to have some kind of direct lineage by their birth-right. This birthright in-turn grants them their absolute power in ruling over their people.
I believe the Catchphrase and Sun God depiction in GWI 3, would have emerged from three distinct cultures, Egyptian, Roman, and French. The former two, Egyptian and Roman would be the roots which established a foundational history for later date French and other European kings. One should be open to the notion that later date “Blue-Blood Royals” were automatically educated in this sovereign way of thinking. Thereby allowing future generational royals a way of perpetrating the false religious supremacy belief amongst it’s people. One can say the true key to keeping an indisputable dividing line between the ruling class and the population they govern over. As we move up the generational timeline, we can perpetuate this fallacy into their creation and association by the use of Masonic Lodges. A way for all these related royal blue bloods to control education and religious supremacy within the upper class and in-direct distant relatives. Even though Scotland and England had early foundational Masonry, France must be added to the mix because of several reasons. First, it had royal family ties by marriage within both countries. Second, in this era France had strong cultural arts and elitist influences in America during the Revolutionary War as well as throughout the Post-Colonial time period. As far as the Catchphrase and the Sun God in the Heavens symbolism portrayed on GWI 3, I believe that all three countries who’s Royals share an educational and religious foundation in Egyptian God and Roman history play a role in it’s true meaning. Even though the button itself was constructed with the intent of an insurance measure by Masonic Jacobites to place the Sovereign Birthright of the Bonnie Prince Charlie of Scotland over the Americas incase of a failed Republic. I am hesitant to use the word Masonic, but believe to be justified if collectors keep the association in context. Questions of who these engravers were and their beliefs must play a role in the determination of the Sun Symbol and catchphrase. To further on the conclusion, I also have surmised that other buttons made for the 1789 inaugural celebration: GWI 1, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24, 26, and GWI 28, were attributed to the propagation of this historical belief by the engravers. Meaning these also have hidden tribute symbolism layered subcutaneously to Scotland, England, Ancient Egypt, and Rome.
Insurance Policy for an Uncertain Era:
Context Era Quote: at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin, Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”
—in the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention.
One can only fathom the depth of Benjamin Franklin’s understanding of human nature in his explanation. This statement shows a strong understanding of what the nations new found freedom means when it is governed by it’s own people. One can even say it’s a double edge sword that has lasted until todays bitter war between Republicans and Democrats. The bottom line is that Dr. Franklin understood the abuse of power is part of human nature and it might force this new found Republic back to a monarchial rule.
Case in-Point 2: Washington was acutely aware that as the nation’s first president, he was setting precedents by defining the role of an elected national leader for citizens and legislators who were wary of executive power. As the single most visible figure in the new government, Washington had to define what it meant to be a president rather than a king, while infusing the office of the presidency with dignity, symbolism, and ceremony that would be appropriate in a republic. The entire nation scrutinized Washington’s every action, from his choice of clothing to his interactions with Congress. He was well aware of the importance of his actions. “I have no conception of a more delicate task, than that, which is imposed by the Constitution on the Executive,” he wrote, adding, “So necessary is it, at this crisis, to conciliate the good will of the People: and so impossible is it, in my judgment, to build the edifice of public happiness, but upon their affections.”
What is seldom told is that Washington found the factions of Congress to disastrous to work with, and limited his expose unless necessary. So I ask, were the creators of GWI 3, wise in their foresight of having a Heralding Scottish birth-right allusion behind America insignia incase of failure? If your a student of my work and this library’s findings then answer appears clear.
So, one we can easily conclude that these button engravers were privileged enough to have an education in the Engraved Arts along with a strong understanding of Royal lineage history and its ties in ancient cultures. Collectors should note, there was an underlying need for creating heralding symbolism for America’s nationality going forward. One can easily parallel my symbolic conclusions with other Operative Masons who had construction knowledge during this time period. We can see examples throughout Washington, D.C.’s architecture which have proven Masonic ties at all levels of construction. This led me to conclude that operative and speculative Masons of the era be it Scottish or York-Rite all shared mutual deep-seated personal beliefs in these ancient religious cultures. Not to veer off of tract, but indirectly should be associated with other foundational areas of America’s beginnings such as guiding and helping James Madison write the Constitution. Why is, “WE THE PEOPLE, in bold capital letters? Because this was the underlying realization that all educated Masonic brothers share a bond, and have a equal stake in forming the New Republic. The words actually allow the sovereignty or power of government to reside in the people.
There are other theories about GWI 3 symbolism which I do not agree with. So, to be fair the theory should be mentioned and entertained by collectors and historians. Some collectors believe the symbol was to induce George Washington to have a Monarchial system instead of a Republic. This notion would have had support by certain people who would have gained socially and economically from this kind of governmental system. A monarchy does not promote equality, and uses class division by birth-right, marriage, and education. A sovereignty that resides in a king (who is appointed by God and not the people) uses religion to ensures certain people with social and economic control over their governing populace. In my opinion, there is a social component that is missing from this theory that overweighs and turns the page in favor of a new kind of Republic. I believe there was to strong of an undercurrent unrest amongst the revolutionary population that would allow a system that was similar to the European Kings and their governing bodies. Also, and most importantly, there was an underlying push by Masonic Lodge members (Freemasons who were the Elites of the era) to base the New Republic on the scientific method of Geometry, Reason, and Beauty. This social / political movement was a far cry from the traditional government rule which was backed by religious doctrines and beliefs. I believe our founding fathers debated and understood the pitfalls of ancient religious based civilizations and afforded their new republic the equal means by it’s citizens to proclaim the rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
As Times Change, So Do Ruler’s Names:
In doing my research into ancient religious symbolism as depicted in GWI 3, and GWI 15, I had to note why these ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Romans changed the names of their sun gods who granted absolute power to the ruling or Royal family of the time. For Greece and Rome the original sun god was Apollo, but in a later period it changed to Sol Invictus. For Egypt it was Ra(Re), but then was later associated with Horus as Re-Horakhty. Also later combined with Amun as Amun-Ra, which is a solar creator god. The end-point here is what influenced America the most during the late 18th century for the freemason engravers outside of ancient civilizations? My conclusion was France over all other countries. Why? The first reason is because of the establishment of the Freemason lodges along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Lets look back through the lens of time to an earlier colonial period prior to the American Revolution. In 1732, the first Scottish lodge was officially organized in Bordeaux, which happen to be one of the oldest and most influential Masonic centers in France. The key aspect to note is that the Scottish Masonic membership included both Scottish and English Masons. By 1738, we see the formation and introduction of advance degrees of knowledge (Hauts Grades). In 1761, the Masonic authorities in France granted permission (Patent) to Stephen Morin of Bordeaux of France to bring the advance degrees to America. He established a system of 25 so-called higher degrees which were known as the, “Rite of Perfection.” This was established from 1763, forward in French controlled areas, but mainly in the West Indies. By 1767, other degrees were added until the Rite had the ritual structure of 33 degrees. It was at this time Stephan Morin deputized Henry Francken, who organized a Lodge of Perfection in Albany, New York. This would become the accepted Scottish Rite in America. During America’s Colonial period other deputies were appointed by Morin who organized Masonic groups which conferred the advance degrees of knowledge all along America’s Atlantic seaboard as well as South Carolina. Here lies my third cultural key to France’s influence in-scripted in the legend of GWI 3, “The Majesty of The People”. Even though these guilds were independent of each other, they still shared the same historical ancient histories of Egypt and Rome, but combined it with their Mason foundations which was the prominent world culture of the time. There are other threads of evidence to weigh in my conclusion being there was no official centralized supervision or control. The only common thread between all these Freemason lodges is that their authority came from Stephen Morin by way of Jamaica (which is in the French controlled West Indies) and Bordeaux, France. The only person who would be able to exude their authority over the creation of symbolism and meaning behind GWI 3 would be a person from the Royal Exiled bloodline of a King or a Hidden Royal Superior who would have been in favor of the Jacobite rebellion to form a new Republic in America over a Monarchial rule. To help a researcher understand clearly, the Freemason brothers in these lodges fought each other politically on which avenue is best for America’s future. A new Republic or a Monarchy like the one in France. Just as America is now with our electoral system that have two main parties battling in electing a President. It really doesn’t matter if a democrat or a republican wins the office, we are all American sons and daughters in unity at the end.
King Louis XVI is noted to be the Sun King: Le Roi Soleil
GWI button collectors in America are aware of the, “Vive le Roi & la Nation buttons that were produced after the French Revolution. But what most collectors fail to note is that earlier in French history Louis XIV (1638-1715) was known as the Sun King (” Le Roi Soleil”) by his subjects. It entitled him with the divine power of supremacy granted by the sun god. He was the Monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as the King of France and Navarre. Like earlier Egyptian Pharos, Louis the XIV’s divine power was thought to come directly from the sun god. Hence, his bloodlines demands the same obedience from his subjects as his grandfather did as, “the Sun King”. Unfortunately for Louis XVI, this title and obedience by his subjects dwindled in meaning, and by 1774 a change in the way the Monarchy ruled was taking root. As time quickly progressed, one of the contributing factors I believe would have been the American Revolution which demonstrated to the french people what America had gained by having a new republic over the British Empire & George III. This could have been an unknown undertone to the imprisonment of Lafayette. We know he was seen as an escape goat for Lois XVI’s troubles, and after his imprisonment was secretly offered his freedom if he forswear his republican principles. Anyway, after the French Revolution, Louis XVI was able to regain his popularity amongst his countrymen and for the first time the centuries old french slogan, “Le Roi Soleil” began to change on all patriotic memorabilia and buttons to a combination of phrases such as, “la Nation”, le Roi, “la Liberte”, which translates into: the Nation, the Law, the King & Liberty.
Paying Homage to Scotland ->X<- :
The last symbol I feel is crucial for understanding the button makers personal ideology and historical identity. As with all National Tribute and Jacobite buttons this symbol mostly goes by un-noticed to all collectors unless they are looking for a specific historical allegiance. The >X< symbol in the lower legend denotes the intent of the engravers by saying, “Everything is Scotland or Reverence to Scotland” in symbolism. I think the use of this symbol speaks volumes on how both factions within the engraver’s guild payed homage to Scotland and supported George Washington. According to history, a Christian apostle and the martyr Saint Andrew were crucified on an “X” shaped cross at Patras, in Achaea. Saint Andrew begged his executioners to turn the cross because he felt he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manor as Jesus Christ. The symbol first appeared during William I’s reign in 1180. The turned cross image was also depicted on seals in the late 13th century. An easy example for historical researchers to find would be on the Guardians of Scotland’s seal in 1286. By June of 1385, the Parliament of Scotland decreed that all soldiers serving in France shall wear a white Saint Andrews cross on both their front and backs for the purpose of identification. Here again we have another Scotish-French connection relating to the use of the symbolism on the button. In the 16th Century, Scotland adapted a white Saint Andrew’s Cross on a blue field. One can also say that this specific symbol adds herldry to the button as the Estoile does with George Washington Inaugurals.
Robert’s notes: One should note, that instead of using his image the “X” symbol is considered to be a direct association with St. Andrew’s (X) like the cross is with Jesus Christ. Also the shape of the cross changed slightly and took form of a Roman Numeral “X” in the late 14th century. Hence, allowing for an earlier Latin-Roman connection.
American Patriotism for the Common Post War Citizen: RE-Write in progress
Historical artifacts as depicted on other New Nation Tribute buttons as well as other patriotic memorabilia of the era, the symbolism of the Sun God of the Heavens could serve both colliding Masonic factions on a subcutaneous layer and serve the American Patriots who helped found their new country. It shows how America finally broke free from under the tyranny of the British Empire’s rule and restrictions. This is the underlying theme that benefited both the Scottish Jacobites and the native born American citizens looking for democracy. Both of these factions can use this symbolism to advance their agendas, but of course as we see for different reasons. The Jacobites can rule in this new country the way they see fit, and without paying any kind of tribute or adhering to the rules placed on them by the old Scottish-British families; that had controlled everything for thousands of years. To the American-born citizens who received no benefits due to their placement of social standing because of their origin of birth or lack of family bloodlines, the symbolism says that all Americans can choose their own destiny, and have an equal chance at prosperity without the burden of the Old British Empire’s rule and taxes.
The depiction can also double-fold to conjure-up American sentiment, and patriotism for the Revolutionary War patriot’s for their new founded country.
Thoughts and Conclusions:
To get at the truth, one must ask and answer four important questions. First, why would the engravers inscribe, “The Majesty of The People” for the inscription? It was common knowledge that George Washington was against having the title of, “King.” Second, who would benefit the most from George Washington accepting the crown over being President with a democratic system? Third and most important, what is the subcutaneous layer’s hidden meaning or agenda? I believe GWI 3 was made by a Master Mason who was in support of the exiled Jacobite Royal families that were originally from Scotland. The button was finished by Fellow-Craft members of the engraving guild that had deep seated ties to the French Mason lodge of Bordeaux, France and Stephen Morin in the French controlled West Indies. This button was made specifically to honor George Washington, and too coheres his decision on what America could be if he accepted the crown and ruled the country as a monarch like Louis the XIV the Sun King. The depiction of the sun also adheres to the ancient Egyptian and Roman religious concept of a monarch having the divine right to rule over their subjects. Here lies the key to the button’s symbol of authority and use. The inscription, “The Majesty of The People” supports the sun king’s recognized power over his subjects. I have come to believe there were certain families who wanted to retain their semi-sovereign nobility titles in America, and would have pressed Washington to be King. These aristocratic families would be against their mason brothers who were the exiled Jacobites who wanted to reinstate and carry forward their families power in society. This is the class of aristocrats that would benefit enormously from Washington being a King with sovereign powers over a democratic system of a new Scottish Jacobite Republic. So to conclude, I believe there were only a few of these GWI 3 buttons made in order to aid and give support for this monarchial notion. Perhaps at one point an opposing democratic aristocrat or guild member presented a GWI 3 to him, or the people around him. But one thing is for certain, this button would have represented what America would be if George Washington accepted the crown and title as King!
Robert Silverstein’s take on George Washington’s decision to burn all his personal journals and diaries: