The Death of Queen Elizabeth II: The American Conservative’s Perspective

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, photographed by Cecil Beaton to commemorate her coronation in 1953

September 10, 2022

It doesn’t take a monarchist to have a profound respect for the British monarchy. The death of Queen Elizabeth II is the end of an era, and as Americans, we ought to give our British cousins across the Atlantic our deepest condolences as well as our best wishes as King Charles III takes the throne.

Even here in the United States, which might as well be one of the most monarchy-hating countries on earth, we Americans ought to take a step back and appreciate the profundity of this moment; not only because Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch has passed, but also because as Americans, we ought to acknowledge the reality of the kindred blood still shared between the American Republic and her mother country Great Britain.

The United States was founded by Englishmen, and their decision to separate from Great Britain was not one made with haste or earnestness. The American “Revolution,” despite what many may ignorantly claim, was a struggle hardly resembling anything revolutionary, beside maybe the part about a republic. Even when the founders resolved that independence was now a matter of “when,” and not “if,” the general cultural affection for the many things so unmistakably British did not fade. 

(READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II Passed Away Peacefully, Age 96)

Indeed, the notion of men being born with certain, unalienable rights was not a new idea, even by 18th century standards—and it wasn’t merely something that started with John Locke, either. In fact, you can trace the intellectual bloodline of this line of thought all the way back to the Magna Carta in 1215. The stubborn insistence of one’s God-given rights in the case of America, is, indeed, deeply rooted in an ancient English tradition that would eventually inspire the American founders.

Of course, this is not to say that there aren’t distinct philosophical differences. The American struggle for independence was one deeply rooted in what was then a novel, liberal line of thought that directly opposed the ancient notion of a monarch’s divine right to rule. Today, we would call it classically liberal thought, and even the most liberal Europeans back then probably still harbored a great skepticism when considering the political viability of republics. The founders who framed the American Constitution were merely pursuing an alternative, highly experimental mode of government they felt could better meet the main goal: upholding the rights that all men were given by God at birth. This part of the American story is, indeed, unmistakably American, but the notion that men had God-given rights at all was a very English one.

Nevertheless, hardcore libertarian conservatives who chastise those on the right for showing any affection or esteem for the British monarchy, obnoxiously waving their “Don’t tread on me” flags, are ultimately ignorant of the actual philosophical origins of the revolution they claim to defend.

Appreciating the undeniable causal link between the United States and the British monarchy, even at times when they might seem utterly incomparable, doesn’t suddenly make you a monarchist. For these reasons, the British monarchy inevitably deserves a certain level of esteem and love from Great Britain’s distant American cousins.

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