Notice of Revocation of Independence

Humorous proclamations reassert Great Britain's sovereignty over the U.S.

Beginning with the U.S. presidential election of 2000, humorists everywhere — and not just those fortunate enough to host late-night talk shows or write syndicated newspaper columns — began to poke fun at the process: They humorously suggested that the U.S. should revoke its independence, and again assign itself to Great Brittian's sovereignty.

Presidential Quandary

You may recall that the election ended, essentially, with a virtual tie between the candidates, Republican George W.Bush and Democrat Al Gore.

Weeks of recounting ballots from Florida, the highly contested state, could not seemingly produce a result. Finally, the Supreme Court weighed in and said the recounting should stop, thus awarding the presidency to Bush, who was slightly ahead in the recount at the time.

The disputed election produced a flood the emails that began circulating about November 2000. One of the funniest was a "Notice of Revocation of Independence," a sarcastic proclamation reasserting Great Britain's sovereignty over the U.S. due to the latter's evident inability to govern itself. Among the "new rules" it said Americans would have to follow:

  • Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.
  • You should declare war on Quebec and France if they give you any grief.
  • July 4th is no longer a public holiday: Nov. 8 — the date of the presidential election in 2000 — would be a new national holiday, but only in England. It would be called "Indecisive Day."

    "Revocation" Has Legs

    As is typical of folk humor, there were numerous versions of the text in circulation comprising the work of more than one anonymous author. But, since that election, the "revocation" has popped up on the internet in various forms over the years.

    For example, one internet posting from 2011, said that "in a fit of anger," her majesty Queen Elizabeth II issued the following letter to the citizens of United States of America:

    "In light of your failure to financially manage yourselves and inability to effectively govern yourselves responsibly, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

    Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy)."

    An earlier post, attributed to British humorist and actor John Cleese, offered a similar proclamation, that said in part:

    "To the citizens of the United States of America: In the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

    Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. ... Your new prime minister (will be) The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP, for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders."

    There's little to analyze about the above posts. But, with the current deep divisions in the United States, you can be sure you'll see more such viral revocations on social media and circulating on the internet, at least for the next several years.