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I'm wondering if a monarchy could technically become a State in the US (without switching to republic, obviously), according to US constitution and to US laws.

I.e., for the sake of the question, it doesn't matter if there are no suitable candidates right now. Just about an hypothetical monarchy sitting around over there, wishing to be part of the federation.

Of course it would have to renounce full sovereignty, obey federal laws, like other states do.

Is there anything specifically prohibiting such a thing?

Obviously assuming it would still allow the citizen to vote for a Governor, like other states do, while the Prince would either be a mostly ceremonial title, or it would have some sort of power but within reasonable limits.

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    You mean, like Hawaii did? It was a monarchy, but then it was overthrown, and a few years later gained statehood. – user1873 Sep 7 '15 at 13:51
  • @user1873 but it became a Republic before joining. It's more like "would they be allowed to join if they stayed a monarchy"? – o0'. Sep 7 '15 at 13:53
  • Does the US constitution say something to the effect that citizens have equal rights? – Anixx Sep 7 '15 at 14:21
  • @Anixx in certain matters, yes. In others, different people can have different rights. – phoog Oct 31 '18 at 18:28
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Article IV of the US Constitution says:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, [...]

So no, the Constitution explicitly forbids Congress from admitting a monarchy. States have immense latitude in the form of their republic, and the ultimate question of whether or not it is a republic is up to Congress, but if it's not a republic (im the judgment of Congress) it can't legally be admitted.

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    Though it can still be illegally admitted. – Quandary Sep 10 '15 at 8:32
  • @Quandary explain, please? – o0'. Sep 10 '15 at 15:16
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    @Lohoris While the Constitution requires the US government to guarantee a republican form of government to the states, if Congress decides to ignore that then it in fact gets ignored. That's true with everything in the Constitution, though -- if the people ultimately responsible for applying the law don't apply it, that's that (for instance, if the Supreme Court upholds a law saying "women can't vote," the law gets upheld even though it's unconstitutional). – cpast Sep 10 '15 at 15:38
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    @Ryathal It's up to Congress whether it's a republic, but I doubt it'd be considered a republic. States also can't grant titles of nobility, so there's that. – cpast Sep 10 '15 at 17:04
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    @Ryathal a constitutional monarchy is not a republic. – phoog Oct 31 '18 at 18:27
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14th amendment

The 14th amendment to the constitution says

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Along with the sections requiring that states have a republican form of government, this would preclude an absolute monarchy. A constitutional monarchy might be able to meet these standards.

Titles of nobility

In Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

So it may be possible that a monarchy could join the United States. But after the existing monarch dies, no one else could be appointed monarch as that would require granting a title of nobility.

Note that Section 9 says the federal government can't grant titles of nobility either.

  • Since "republic" generally denotes a form of government without a monarch, it is entirely unclear how a constitutional monarchy could have a republican form of government. Can you elaborate? Also, inheriting a title of nobility does not constitute a grant. It would only be if the monarch died without heirs that the monarchy would have to end. – phoog Oct 31 '18 at 18:23
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Since, depending on who is defining republic, a monarchy can at the same time be a republic (Plato) (Napoleon). So Congress gets to decide if the state constitution submitted for admittance is republican or not, and they could decide having a monarch is republican.

I do not think the supreme court would get involved in Congress exercising its constitutional power, unless the state constitution didn't carry certain democratic principles. This is unless a current state successfully changed their constitution into a monarchy then the supreme court would most likely rule against it based on current precedent and law.

  • Plato does not seem relevant, since he did not use "republic" (or "Δημοκρατία"/"Dimokratía") in the Greek. I also don't see evidence that Napoleon ever considered France or any other country to be a republic and a monarchy at the same time. – phoog Oct 31 '18 at 18:23

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