Page 3 - Caesar Americanus

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Notes on Caesar Americanus
This is an amazing play.
It was written by David J. Dawson in 1968. It
reflects his interest in politics, history, and the
dangers of political power, as well as in drama.
It is, in part, a thought experiment about how
power could be seized in the United States, with
the help of “modern” technology. But it is mostly
a gripping story.
The President of the United States,
Andrew Carstairs, attempts to take over the
country, through the use of an extensive
communications network with which he can
organize all the state legislatures, and then
Congress, to repeal the 22nd Amendment to
the Constitution (which limits the President to
two full terms in office). To create a sense of
urgency, he orchestrates riots in the Capitol,
which demand “an immediate response” from
Congress, as well as a deluge of telegrams
from “concerned citizens”. He is murdered
in a conspiracy between a power broker and
the wife of the Vice President (without the
VP’s knowledge). Mobs descend on the White
House, where the Vice President tricks them into
revealing their thuggishness on national TV.
The play closes with his asking the country to
consider whether they want a dictator – or not.