September 17, 1859 Emperor Norton I of the United States is self-declared.
Joshua Abraham Norton (ca. 1815 – January 8, 1880), also known as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Norton I, was a celebrated citizen of San Francisco who proclaimed himself "Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico" in 1859. Some sources list his date of birth as February 14, 1819. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented. Norton also wrote to Queen Victoria, and he was referred to as His Imperial Majesty by local citizens and in the newspaper obituaries announcing his death.
Nearly 150 years ago San Francisco was proving its uniqueness. Today such a person would probably be imprisoned, committed, or simply ignored. For a person of this temperament that would be the equivalent of a death sentence. Let’s hope that if such a person exists today in San Francisco, the citizens there would tolerate him/her the same as their fore bearers did Norton I.
Though he was generally considered insane, or at least highly eccentric, the citizens of San Francisco (and the world at large) in the mid-to-late 19th century celebrated his presence, his humor, and his deeds—among the most notorious being his "order" that the U.S. Congress be dissolved by force, and his numerous decrees calling for a bridge to be built across San Francisco Bay. The King in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is reportedly modeled after him.
He is considered a saint by the followers of Discordianism and is referenced repeatedly in the seminal work of the religion, the Principia Discordia.