George Washington gained such fame as the hero of the American Revolution that people literally begged him to become king of the United States. He declined, of course, and set a precedent for the peaceful transition of power when he voluntarily left the presidency after two terms. What if he had accepted? What if the United States had become a monarchy with power passed down through the generations? Who would be king today? Ancestry.com claims to have answered that question. Washington died without a direct heir, but genealogists tracked four different family lines that grew out the greater Washington clan and found 8,000 people, now living, who can trace their ancestry back to the first president. But there can be only one king, and according to Ancestry.com's Megan Smolenyak, a retired regional manager for a building supply company "won the sweepstakes." Paul Emerson Washington, 82, of San Antonio, Texas, is the man who would be king. Not that he's upset about losing the throne. "He's always been a modest, soft-spoken person," his son told the Associated Press, adding, "the idea of one individual having supreme power over all others is an antiquated idea."
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from cliff1066.