Talk:List of Presidents of the United States

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This section is here to provide answers to some questions that have been previously discussed on this talk page.

Note: This FAQ is only here to let people know that these points have previously been addressed, not to prevent any further discussion of these issues.

Information.svg To view an explanation to the answer, click the [show] link to the right of the question.

Contents

Portraits[edit]

Why did someone replace the official White House portraits of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton with photographs of them instead? Is it because of a technical problem? I think the official portraits should be given for each president who has one (only George W. Bush and Barack Obama don't, as far as I know) - they provide a consistency in the representation of presidents on this page. Otherwise, there'd be no system to it - so why not just pick any old image for any of the presidents? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.8.143.103 (talk) 11:48, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

actually George W. Bush have a portrait http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PresidentGWB_OfficialPortrait.jpg http://www.npg.si.edu/collect/bushportraits.htm 24.50.192.181 (talk) 17:49, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

I know there's been a lot of confusion about this, but that's not the official White House portrait (which hasn't been unveiled yet and might not be for several more years). According to the Wikipedia article on presidential portraits, "The official White House portrait of George W. Bush has not yet been unveiled. However, Bush's portrait for the National Portrait Gallery was uncharacteristically released several weeks before his administration had ended. Painted by Robert A. Anderson, it was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2008. President Bush jokingly opened the unveiling with 'Welcome to my hanging', resulting in the room erupting in laughter. This was an official portrait commissioned by the White House, but funded by private donorship." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_portrait_(United_States)#George_W._Bush — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.8.143.103 (talk) 08:16, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

How about a picture of George W. Bush in a jacket and tie? I know that's an official portrait, but it (unfairly in my opinion) makes GWB look like the odd man out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.80.41.93 (talk) 15:41, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Apparently, the GWB portrait isnt the official White House portrait. That one will be unveiled today. --Evildevil (talk) 18:05, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

yeah the official one got revealed today.--24.50.192.181 (talk) 23:16, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Somebody's arbitrarily changed Reagan, both Bushes, and Clinton to photographs now as well. I don't know why some people can't leave well alone - the official White House portraits work very well as a consistent way to represent the presidents in the list because they *all* have a White House portrait (except for the sitting president, who has an official photograph). If you change Reagan through Bush 43 to photos, then there's no reason why any of the other presidents should be represented by their official portraits either. Either change it back and be consistent, or just have an "anything goes" policy where users can upload their favourite photos of each president and it changes all the time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.20.216.30 (talk) 18:54, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your query. If you look at the article's history, you'll see that the images in question appear to have been deleted from Wikimedia Commons because of licensing concerns. In the absence of adequately licensed replacements, it may be a choice between photographic image or no image at all. Rivertorch (talk) 19:18, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

There are a few entries that have the term "mint note portrait" followed by a dollar amount: Washington, Jefferson, Harrison, Clinton, and Obama. I tried looking the term up, but that exact phrase only seems to show up on this page. Does this term mean anything and if so, should the meaning be explained somewhere on the page?

daikiki 01:15, 6 September 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Daikiki (talkcontribs)

Obama[edit]

Unless I'm very much mistaken, Obama is not "of African-American descent". His mother was a white American, and his father a black Kenyan who, as far as I'm aware, never obtained US citizenship. Therefore Obama is African-American himself, but his ancestors were not. This point has been raised a couple of times above on this talk page, but without receiving any response. Unless anyone has any objection, I'll rephrase that part of the lede in a few days. Aridd (talk) 14:48, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

This point has been raised, with no alternative viewpoints given, several times. The only remark against changing it has been to discuss it on the talk page, and achieve consensus. I think it's reasonable to consider that consensus has been achieved, especially since the current wording is simply not correct. For the record, there is no ambiguity involved, so there can be no lengthy discussion. I would describe Obama as African-American, and not get into issues of descent. It's a little complicated, really, because we are all, if we go back far enough, of African descent; religious beliefs aside. Trishm (talk) 06:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
He calls himself African-American, as do most reliable sources. Read the FAQ on Talk:Barack Obama for a fuller explanation. --Coemgenus (talk) 13:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

"His mother was a white American, and his father a black Kenyan" If you allow for literal use of the phrase "African-American" then he would be, by definition, of African-American descent. If your father is Spanish and mother is Irish you would be of "Spanish-Irish" descent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.80.41.93 (talk) 15:38, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

That's not the common meaning of "African-American", though. When you say that someone is of "African-American descent", it means that one or both of their parents, or one or more of their grandparents, is African-American. None of Obama's (known) ancestors are African-American; his is the first generation of African-Americans in his family. I'm going to change the wording; it's been long enough. Aridd (talk) 21:24, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

It's a flat-out lie to call him the first "non-white president" when he is in fact half white.

There were (are) many who would respond that if it's only half, he can't claim to be "white." That is the significance of the man's heritage; only some few years ago, with his skin tone, hair and features, he would almost certainly have been denied social privileges routinely granted to whites in the U.S. Steveozone (talk) 03:45, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
The cited reference states he is "the first black president". Why don't we change it to that and leave it alone? Hoof Hearted (talk) 19:32, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

The sentence " Barack Obama, is the only president of African descent.[10]" is conjecture at best. Change the word "only" to "first". The way "only" is being used implies there will not be another. The revised sentence will read " Barack Obama, is the first president of African descent.[10]" It is noted that George Washington is counted as the "first" president. Tyler is the "first" vice president to assume the presidency. Warren Harding was the "first" elected after women gained voting rights. Dwight Eisenhower is the "first" president to have been legally prohibited from seeking a third term. The election of the first president of African descent is a place-mark in the history of the presidency and deserves to be noted accordingly as "first". JohnnyClubs (talk) 13:40, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

I've made the change you proposed. The previous wording was also problematic because its present tense indicated there might currently be other (American) presidents, instead of just one at a time. Mr. Obama is the only president, and the first one of African descent. Rivertorch (talk) 20:34, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I think this still leaves us with the issue that ALL modern humans are of African descent. I will change this to "recent African descent" and see what happens next ... Ordinary Person (talk) 05:54, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

File:John F Kennedy Official Portrait.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Image-x-generic.svg An image used in this article, File:John F Kennedy Official Portrait.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons in the following category: Deletion requests March 2012
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Switch to Photos![edit]

Those charicatures are an embarassment. You can't be serious that any of them are "official"?! Was the page hacked?

Dubya and JFK are particularly disturbing. Was the purpose of the cartoonist to mock them?

How about a respectful photo for all presidents where available? Uniformity is nice and all, but the current page borders on libel. 216.50.220.6 (talk) 05:25, 7 March 2012 (UTC)


Why is it that GW Bush is the only one depicted not wearing a tie and jacket? Was this just by chance? Was this at his personal request? Surely there are numerous photos of him wearing a tie and jacket. Once again, what was the purpose of choosing a casual photo of a president when all the rest are more formal?

Different presidents find favor with different people, I may have liked GW Bush's administration, or I may not. But whether or not a person favors a particular president, or their politics, they have ALL served as president. And they ALL should be afforded the same dignity. Keep in mind the Golden Rule--Treat others the way YOU want to be treated. Why is Wikipedia continually used as a tool for propaganda, some subtle, and some not so subtle? Should Wikipedia be an encyclopedia of "feelings", or facts?

--173.22.94.198 (talk) 14:17, 25 March 2012 (UTC) [User:Lance]

Let's get this list featured again[edit]

I want to get this list to featured list status again. I think that looking at some other FLs, like List of Prime Ministers of Canada and List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom can show us the general direction to take it. I'm starting work in my sandbox, but I'd be glad for other editors' suggestions along the way. -Coemgenus (talk) 17:46, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

File:REAGANWH.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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This is Bot placed notification, another user has nominated/tagged the image --CommonsNotificationBot (talk) 11:34, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 16 April 2012[edit]

it is traditional that those presidents who have died in office have their photos presented on a black background. This would include: , Harrison, Lincoln, Kennedy, Taylor, Harding, McKinley and Garfield. 97.112.241.51 (talk) 14:51, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Not done: That is a fine suggestion, but outside the scope of an edit request. If you would like to provide the photos, someone can replace them for you, unless there is a problem. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 16:24, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan Photos[edit]

Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan no longer have photos, instead there's a message that says "100px". Does anyone have the old photos or know where they were located? Enzio64 (talk) 22:21, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I am showing all pictures accounted for in both articles. swinquest (talk) 13:33, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

John Quincy Adams[edit]

He is belong to National Republican party but why there is no icon for that party? I think it is missing! I suggest someone makes it and put it in the article!65.128.159.201 (talk) 02:33, 25 April 2012 (UTC) I see now on the list John Quincy Adams is shown as a Democratic-Republican, he served from 1825 until 1829, according to the wikipedia page on the Democratic-Republican Party it dissolved in 1825 due to the eletion of 1824. Accordingly Adams belonged to the National Republican Party a succeeding party of the Democratic-Republicans. Thus, I am of the opinion that he should listed as a National Republican.

While he ran as a National Republican during his potential second term, during his time as president, he was in fact a Democratic-Republican, according to the wikipedia article on John Quincy Adams. In addition, most history books will list him as a Democratic-Republican, despite later becoming a National Republican. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bubbles02 (talkcontribs) 17:09, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Template[edit]

I'm working on a per-row template for this table, which will also emit metadata. Work in progress is at {{US-president-row}}, if anyone would like to help. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:01, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

22nd Amendment[edit]

In the article, it reads "Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected to the office of President (or Vice President) who has already served at least six years as President" (first paragraph). However, in the 22nd amendment, it says that no one should be elected twice and not that no one should be elected if he/she has already served six years (cf. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/22nd_Amendment_Pg1of1_AC.jpg). Name1234567890 (talk) 19:18, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

What Name1234567890 said! This article used to incorrectly talk about the 22nd ammendment limiting someone to ten years in office. I pointed out (on the talk page) that that's wrong, and suggested language (that was then used) to correctly reflect the limitations imposed by the 22nd ammendment -- that you can't be elected more than twice, and you can't be elected more than once if you've served more than two years of a term that someone else was elected to. So why was it changed to this "six years" construction, which is not what the Ammendment says? Get back to the accurate description of what the 22nd ammendment says. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.165.201.47 (talk) 20:06, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

And, at the risk of beating a dead horse, I should note that the article as currently written is wrong. Suppose: (1) Mr. A gets elected Vicen President; (2) The President dies 1/2 year into the term; (3) Mr. A succeeds to the presidency and serves the remaining 3 1/2 years of the term; (4) instead of running for President, Mr. A runs again for the Vice Presidency and gets elected; (5) The President dies 1/2 year into the term; (6) Mr. A succeeds to the presidency and serves the remaining 3 1/2 years of the term.

After that, Mr. A is still eligible to be elected President even though he has served 7 years.

So fix the darn article. There had been good wording that correctly reflected the 22nd Ammendment. I don't understand why that correct language was replaced by incorrect language. Geez! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.165.201.47 (talk) 20:12, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was No move. Cúchullain t/c 14:07, 10 August 2012 (UTC)


List of Presidents of the United StatesList of presidents of the United States – Per WP:CAPS and WP:JOBTITLES and MOS:CAPS, there's no need to capitalize the generic term "president" when it's not attached to the name of, or referring to, an individual; in the plural form, it certainly is not. This is fixed in Category:Lists of presidents of organizations, but when some articles were fixed in Category:Lists of presidents, some editors pointed to this one as precedent to keep the capitalization on others. It makes more sense to achieve uniformity by conforming to WP style than by going the other direction. If we start here, the others should be easy. Alternatively, if there's something special about "Presidents of the United States", we should acknowledge that (but there doesn't seem to be, as lower case in that phrase in very common in books). Dicklyon (talk) 06:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • Support as nom. Dicklyon (talk) 06:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as already said at Talk:List of Federal Presidents of Austria#Requested move. --Sundostund (talk) 10:36, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
    • But that's pure opinion without a reason, acknowledged as contrary to WP style; you said I think its aesthetically better to have capitalized form of titles that include the word "President". I have no desire to entangle myself into a discussion about WP rules (in this case, MOS:CAPS), I just don't think it will look good without capitalization. Dicklyon (talk) 03:10, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as already explained at Talk:List of Federal Presidents of Austria#Requested move. There are surely dozens of "List of Presidents" articles on Wikipedia that consistently capitalize the most senior titles like President (in List of Presidents of a country)—and titles like Church Father, or Ladies (nobility), that would be ambiguous if not capitalized. If you look at the US presidential web site, as pointed out in the Wikipedia talk page cited above, you'll see that the same headings are capitalized the same way there, too. The people who created all of the very many Wikipedia articles did it this way because it felt the most natural way to them. On capitalization, the Economist Style Guide cites Emerson as writing that, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”. People are generally grateful if editors quietly fix their typos, grammatical errors, and illogical writing—and make them look better. But a campaign to hammer down instances of British spelling or unambiguous British usage in British-related articles (for example)—like a campaign to hammer down "unauthorized use of capitals"—might only be considered petty, irritating, or insulting by the articles' authors. I'm sure that, if you took a poll, Wikipedia users would favor the present style, and not consider it either necessary or desirable to change dozens or even hundreds of article titles for such a petty reason. Wikipedia has bigger problems that need fixing. A little flexibility and generosity of spirit is called for. Some people might need it spelled out in great detail—Wikipedia policy is not to make a big deal of Article Capitalization or Job/Honorary Title Capitalization in the following cases... (listed)—but most people would surely rather see a bit more flexibility and tolerance than a lot more detailed and petty rules. Wikipedia is not the Hermann Hesse Glass Bead Game, after all. LittleBen (talk) 18:00, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per rationale of LittleBen, and explanations given at Talk:List of Federal Presidents of Austria#Requested move.--JayJasper (talk) 18:05, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as nicely stated by LittleBen. we are not talking about presidents, as in people who are some president of something, but the Presidents of the United States. It's not just a generic term, but the title of all these people.--Education does not equal common sense. 我不在乎 00:09, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • There are zillions of such articles, and implicitly this proposal is not just to have a bot change the article titles, it's proposing that an army of editors go through all the articles and "fix" the capitalization, such that words like President or Emperor are going to appear both capitalized and uncapitalized in the same article. The average user is going to be immensely irritated by this perceived inconsistency, and there are going to be endless edit wars, repeated reversions, and repeated threats of blocking people—just as there have been never-ending discussions on this page about capitalization. It's surely better to show a little flexibility than waste endless amounts of time on edit wars and on bullying people into quitting Wikipedia. There are lots of more productive ways of spending time than Capitalization Crusades. LittleBen (talk) 02:17, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
No bots are proposed or comtemplated. Editors can gradually work toward better compliance with MOS guidelines if they feel like it. The inconsistencies will reduce over time that way; the present inconsistencies are a bit annoying. Dicklyon (talk) 05:39, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
a) There are many sources that do not capitalize such titles because they are not considered proper names when used to describe a group of people and they are not considered honorifics except when preceding a person's name and b) the presidents of the Continental Congress were not presidents of the United States, so I see no reason for including them in the article whether we use upper or lower case. Jojalozzo 02:24, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Proper noun, Title, as described above. Blanket renaming of all "List of Presidents of Country X" has been initiated by this user.--MrBoire (talk) 18:34, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose As noted - we do not decapitalize proper nouns. Collect (talk) 19:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
    ?Confused at your statement.--Education does not equal common sense. 我不在乎 20:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support—No need to capitalize, not a proper name. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 20:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per published sources in main ...of Austria RM. In ictu oculi (talk) 14:28, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it's a proper noun. GoodDay (talk) 21:33, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per our consistent pattern of not capitalizing this sort of proper noun. --Coemgenus (talk) 21:46, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
    Did you mean for this to be a support? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 05:36, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
    Sorry, that "not" shouldn't be in there. I meant that it should stay as is, like other lists of this sort. --Coemgenus (talk) 13:53, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per scholarly publications -
Moxy (talk) 21:48, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, that last one even capitalizes "Presidents-elect". But I could easily match those with others that downcase it. More than 1/3 do so, according to books n-grams. That leaves it nowhere near the MOS:CAPS threshold of "consistently capitalized in sources". Dicklyon (talk) 00:08, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Its not the number that matters but WHO the author and publisher are. As seen at the Official site Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States. What we are looking for is scholarly and Official accounts of the Capitalization norm.Moxy (talk) 17:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
What makes you think we look for official accounts? Why would we do that? I want to echo Dicklyon's comment—these 3 sources (and your last comment!) have an extraordinary capitalization style "The former Illinois Congressman had arrived..."(Inaugural Addresses) etc. I don't think there's any reason we would want to follow them in particular on this question. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 17:35, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
OK so lets ignore the fact that 2/3 of publications and the Official site use the capitals - what do you suggest we use as examples?Moxy (talk) 17:40, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, don't ignore it. The point is that 1/3 or whatever use lowercase, so it seems clear that either is valid style. Hopefully we can all agree on that. This leaves the only question: which is our style here on Wikipedia? WP:JOBTITLES says lowercase, with the exceptions listed there, etc. Are you capitalizing "Official" on purpose? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 21:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Our policy has it right - as it should because its the normal rule in English (and is why most publications and the official site use it) - We must look at why more use it then not - I do believe we are all smarter then a 6th grader - and we will get it right in the end.Moxy (talk) 22:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Moxy (talkcontribs)
As discussed below, usage and style change with time. "This is absolutely true for eternity" does not apply to usage or style. It is important to be flexible when usage or style has obviously changed, and not threaten or attempt to block people who try to go with current usage or style, whether you think it seems "logical" or not. LittleBen (talk) 03:21, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, Moxy, your style guides are so last year! Don't you know 2012 is a big year for change, including grammar and style? But WP style is pretty stable; here's 10 years ago: [35]. Dicklyon (talk) 04:28, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
The n-gram you cite shows that you are proposing to deprecate what has ALWAYS been the preferred (more popular) usage, right? LittleBen (talk) 04:56, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Not at all. WP has no business deprecating styles that others use. We have our own style, described in the MOS, and it says that when capitalization is optional, as evidenced by usage in sources, we go with lower case. Dicklyon (talk) 05:02, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
LittleBen: Nobody is threatening you; please calm down. Moxy: I'm missing your point—are you saying that you think our style guide says to write "President of the United States" when it isn't a particular person? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 05:00, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I, too, am unclear on Moxy's comments, but the style guides that he cited all say to NOT capitalize the title unless it's attach to an individual's name (or one that says if you have an individual in mind, which would make it caps in "44th ..."). Obviously, styles vary, and other guides might say to always capitalize "President of the United States", but our MOS certainly does not suggest that. Dicklyon (talk) 05:11, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
List of Presidents of the United States is a list of particular people, right? LittleBen (talk) 05:19, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Sure it is. And List of counties in Wisconsin is a list of proper-named individual counties and List of kings of Persia is a list or proper-named individual kings. Your point is? Dicklyon (talk) 05:31, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
But there's no official thing called a "County in Wisconsin". The presidency is a named office; if that doesn't call for a proper noun, what does? Powers T 13:18, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support—unlike Moxy's English grammar workbook for dummies, cited above, the more authoritative texts in the language go with minimising unnecessary caps (Chicago MoS, Oxford). Plus WP:MOS. Tony (talk) 07:56, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
This could be - I dont have subscriptions to those 2 wed sites. Question Tony - does it say "When "President" is used as a proper noun, it is capitalized. When it is used as a common noun, it is not capitalized."? I have always found it odd that the two main sources for these things cant be seen by most of the population, thus most will follow the rules they can find. Would be nice if they both were more concern with educating the public with proper usage over making money by subscriptions. Britannica Online Encyclopedia has slowly come to realizes that having to pay for info has left them at the back of the pack. Moxy (talk) 17:52, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Would you be so kind as to link or quote the relevant bit of the MOS so we can know what you're thinking? Dicklyon (talk) 13:47, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
In WP:JOBTITLES "When the correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun (...)" --Enric Naval (talk) 13:51, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I see. But the example Louis XVI was King of France seems rather different from "List of kings of France", in which "kings of France" is not "treated as a proper noun". The "treated as" language is a bit vague, being passive and not saying who gets to decide how its treated, but being a plural about people, not the singular title of the office, seems to knock this one out of consideration as "the correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun", wouldn't you say? This is not about a plural in the sense of multiple offices, just a list of people who occupied that office. Indeed, book search shows that that example is rarely "treated as a proper name" in such contexts: [36]. In the POTUS case, books are more mixed, but there are plenty of good ones like this that don't cap it, because it's not view of a proper name in such contexts. Per MOS:CAPS and the rest of WP:JOBTITLES, we shouldn't either. Dicklyon (talk) 14:05, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
That search has only 3 sources, too few to make conclusions. You can replace "France" with "Spain" and reach the opposite conclusion[37], or use "Denmark" and say that it's 50/50 [38].
My interpretation is that every item in the list is capitalized as "President X", so the plural is also capitalized. I think that it's a very clear and straightforward argument. --Enric Naval (talk) 15:10, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
If the article were about the office, an alternative title would be List of the office of the Presidents of the United States but that makes no sense. I can see that the name of the office is in the title but that's just coincidence and doesn't mean the article is about the office. It's about the office holders who are given the job title president. Jojalozzo 15:13, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
The article is about President Kennedy, President Nixon, etc. It's about people who were President of the United States. --Enric Naval (talk) 22:59, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
You've got it right. The MOS supports capitalizing job titles when they precede a person's name (as in your examples) or for the formal name of an office such as "President of the United States" but it calls for lower case for job titles that are used by themselves as in "presidents of the United States". Jojalozzo 01:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
What? Enric Naval was clear, "Presidents of the United States", not "presidents of the United States", the MOS specifically states "When the correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun (e.g. King of France); it is correct to write Louis XVI was King of France but Louis XVI was the French king.", we are speaking about men who are/were all President of the United States, therefore Presidents of the United States, as opposed to American presidents.--Education does not equal common sense. 我不在乎 02:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
We need to be careful about how we are using the language. Titles like king and president are only capitalized when they precede a person's name (President Reagan) or in the formal name of the office (President of the United States) but when we're talking about the 44 presidents of the United States we do not capitalize it. There's no office called Presidents of the United States so that is not a reason to capitalize "presidents". This is a list of people who have held the office of President of the United States, that is, a list of all the presidents of the United States. Jojalozzo 03:45, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
The problem is, many books capitalize "a President of the United States"[39].
Many quote a passage from the US constitution: "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States"; they remove the caps from "Executive Power" but not from "President".
I don't think it's hard to go from the singular "a President of USA" to the plural "list of Presidents of USA". --Enric Naval (talk) 18:45, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I think depending on sources is problematic in this case. The constitution is a poor source here since it is written according to an out dated style intended for a different purpose than ours. Google searches don't help us much either since they do not match case and they do not distinguish between body text, titles, chapter headings, captions, etc. Many books use "a president of the United States" lower case. The MOS is there to solve such problems. Jojalozzo 19:14, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - In this usage "president" is a job title which MOS consensus has determined is a common noun. Jojalozzo 15:16, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, such common nouns aren't capitalised anywhere else on this site, so why giving the U.S. presidents more than the others? --The Evil IP address (talk) 19:16, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose WCCasey (talk) 06:18, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Please note, this isn't a vote. Without a reason for your opposition it will be given little weight in determining the outcome of the discussion. Jojalozzo 13:21, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
And also note that such notes by people who have opined here on the other side do not carry any weight either <g>. As a rule, once a large number of policy positions have been stated, it is unlikely that another person will come up with a different reason - the MOS can not even decide if "The Beatles" or "the Beatles" is corrent fgs. Collect (talk) 13:29, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I was unclear - I certainly didn't intend to suggest that only opposers need a reason, nor that there's any need to be original - even giving a reason that repeats a previous one indicates the you have an editorial position as opposed to a personal POV. Jojalozzo 15:53, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support: Titles like this, even of royalty (kings, dukes, emperors, etc.) are never capitalized except when they precede the name of a specific individual (President Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth II, but presidents of the United States, kings and queens of England). PS: I'm an American myself and I think it looks, well, kind of stupid and illiterate and "ugly American" for Americans to insist on capitalization of a job title like this simply because it's 'Merican, yee-haw. We're better than that. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:16, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
    • That's not even true! Have you never seen "Queen of the United Kingdom" capitalized? Heck "President of the United States" is capitalized in the Constitution. It's like "Secretary-General of the United Nations"; it's an official, proper title, not a descriptive phrase. Powers T 18:06, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
      • I assume you meant not in that question. When not referring to an individual, or maybe even sometimes when it is, yes, I've seen it NOT capitalized; here for instance; or here. Same with secretary-general of the UN. Dicklyon (talk) 18:15, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
        • I meant exactly what I wrote. I did not mean to say that the title is never uncapitalized, but to contradict SMcCandlish's assertion that the title is never capitalized. Powers T 21:30, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
          • Ah, yes, I see that I misinterpreted that exchange. I don't think he really meant "never"; probably he meant never within WP style. Dicklyon (talk) 00:33, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
            • But that's not true, either; as I noted above, all of our articles on the 43 presidents capitalize the term. Or check out Kofi Annan, where we capitalize "Secretary-General of the United Nations". Powers T 02:33, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
              • Sure enough, you're right. In fact, the first three president articles I checked, Lincoln, Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt, all included that phrase multiple times, with both upper and lower case president; so much for trying to say anything sensible about the state of WP styling. Dicklyon (talk) 04:07, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
                • Well, sure. But we have some President articles that are Featured and thus should (in theory) be more consistent, like Gerald Ford. You won't find a one that avoids capitalization. It's an official title of a specific unique office and is thus a proper noun. Powers T 13:32, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Proper name?[edit]

Is "President" a proper name? Is "President of the United States" a proper name? Those are are asserting "it's a proper name" would do well to clarify which they mean, and provide support in terms of sources, since MOS:CAPS says "Wikipedia relies on sources to determine what is a proper name; words and phrases that are consistently capitalized in sources are treated as proper names and capitalized in Wikipedia." I have proposed this move because I don't see consistent capitalization in sources. Dicklyon (talk) 06:59, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

"President", when used as a title before a person's name (or in "Mr./Madam President") is always capitalized. "President of the United States" is always capitalized when used to refer to the office established in the Constitution. I am stunned that these facts are even in question. Who is Barack Obama? He is the 44th President of the United States. Just look at the articles on the 43 mean who have served in the office; every single one of them capitalizes the name of the office. It is long-established and indisputable Wikipedia style to treat the name of this office as a proper noun, no different from "Secretary of State", "Prime Minister", or, heck, "Princess of Wales". Powers T 17:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
It turns out that it's not always capitalized; there are several examples given here in this discussion. The n-gram suggests that a fair chunk of the time, it is not capitalized. So I think it's pretty clear that either style is ok. This is not a question of it just being plain wrong to capitalize one way or the other; it is purely style. It's not like suggesting we move it to List of Prezidents of the United Steats. These arguments that we ought to capitalize it because it's a "proper noun" (sic) are off the mark. There might be other reasons to capitalize, but that can't be one, given how often it is lower-cased in books/etc. This should purely be a question of what fits best with Wikipedia's style. Assuming we don't want to place undue weight on local consensus, it seems pretty clear we ought to move it as suggested here; see WP:JOBTITLES. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 23:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm having trouble finding any citations in this discussion to cases where it is not capitalized. I assume that any such instances are generic references, rather than referring to the actual title of the office, which is a proper noun. It's capitalized in the Constitution, it's capitalized in every article we have on every president. "President" may not be a proper noun in most circumstances, but "President of the United States", when used to refer to the office, most assuredly is. Powers T 01:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Dicklyon has given several examples and an n-gram. Do these links not work for you? Try this? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 04:34, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Here is an example of "44th president of the United States" in what appears to be a serious book. Here is another. And another. How many do you want? Need some Nixon? In over 1/3 of all occurrences of "president of the United States" in books, the "president" part is lower case while the "United States" part is upper case, indicating that the authors have some idea about capitalizing proper names and decided that this is not one. In other styles, the "President" part is capitalized, as a form of emphasis or respect, mostly, or when it's attach to an individual's name and treated as part of a proper name. It's not that complicated. Dicklyon (talk) 04:45, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
The n-gram that Dicklyon cites suggests that he is proposing to forcibly deprecate what has ALWAYS been the preferred (more popular) real-world usage, right? LittleBen (talk) 05:00, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
You don't need to copy your notes here and up above; we see it up there; thanks. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 05:12, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Powers, can we stop talking about what capitalization the Constitution uses, please? ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 05:10, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I believe I've mentioned it exactly once. Is that too many times for you already? Powers T 13:16, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Powers: Britannica also writes it lowercase, following both our style guide and all the ones Moxy listed, which call for lowercase here. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 22:20, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


Note: We have Holy Roman Emperor and we do not place the "Emperor" there in lower case, even though "emperor" by itself is not a proper noun. the full title is a proper noun. We also have Vice President of the United States as an article. There is no need for this useless "title change" nonsense where so many articles could equally be brought into the fray <g>. All I can think of is the thousands of words on the "hyphen v. n-dash" uselessness. Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:21, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Those seem to conform to the consensus policy in WP:JOBTITLES: "When the correct formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun (e.g. King of France; it is correct to write Louis XVI was King of France but Louis XVI was the French king". That's quite different from the "List of presidents..." context, which is about the people, not the office. Dicklyon (talk) 16:37, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Opinions[edit]

Those who argue from their own opinions of aesthetics should clarify how that is relevant here, relative to policies and guidelines such as WP:CAPS and MOS:CAPS and WP:JOBTITLES. Otherwise, their opinions add nothing relevant to the considerations. Dicklyon (talk) 06:59, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

"President of the United States" is, in fact, a specific person at any point in time, and is generally capitalized. CMOS disagrees, but that it not binding where others capitalize the title. Where the office is indicated, the word "president" is not capitalized on its own in any MOS. Thus one writes "The powers of the president of the United States are defined in the Constitution" every time. Of course, I think it might be nice to add all the "presidents of the United States in Congress assembled" starting with Hanson. Care to add him? Collect (talk) 12:39, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I hear what you're saying, but I don't see that any of the capitalization provisions of WP:JOBTITLES would apply in the context of "List of presidents...", just as it does not in all of the "List of kings..." articles. Dicklyon (talk) 02:58, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Arguments based on "commonsense"[edit]

From the beginning, Wikipedia has always been the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit". However, some people have been creating mountains of rules and guidelines. It is grossly contradictory to say "... anyone can edit" and then add "... provided they learn and follow all the zillion policies, discuss what they want to do on talk pages, and get permission from the Grammar Gods". It's like starting with Orwell's "All the Animals are Equal" slogan and adding "but Some Animals are More Equal than Others". One person has suggested that the best way to fix Wikipedia would be to scrap the MoS—it's just too big and unwieldy. The most ridiculous aspect of MoS is the lengthy discussions of topics like "en-dash vs. hyphen". It's extremely difficult or even impossible for most people to see the difference, so a clear distinction needs to be drawn between essential rules and mere recommendations. The only justification for representing that something is a rule rather than just a recommendation or guideline is surely that (1) it's not controversial, (2) it will significantly improve the perceived quality of Wikipedia, as seen by real users, and (3) the rule is simple enough to be understood and remembered by a majority of Wikipedia editors.

Wikipedia is a diverse community that depends on cooperation, so one of the most important rules is "no fighting". Any topic or "rule" (like capitalization of List of Past Presidents of [country]) that is controversial enough to upset considerable numbers of real users—and result in edit wars for years to come—needs to be avoided or handled gently as a special case. LittleBen (talk) 14:41, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Nobody is restricting your ability to edit, or telling you how you must edit. The point of the style guide is to say what direction editors should go to achieve a more professional and uniform styling. When we try to go that direction, sometimes people like you who have other preferences object, but mostly the guideilnes like WP:CAPS and MOS:CAPS have had wide support, and mostly they get implemented without pushback. I think the reason you're pushing back here is simply because you're WP:HOUNDING me for pushing back on your attempts to insert distracting junk into the WP:AT policy page, no? Dicklyon (talk) 15:48, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I have already pointed out that following this rule results in both uppercase and lowercase appearing in the same "List of Presidents" article, which looks stupid (inconsistent and unprofessional) to most people—I cited the Chinese article where someone had tried to skirt the issue by rewriting "Emperor" as "monarch", which is even more stupid...
Despite all the people above saying that this is a special case and should be handled as such, you continue to argue that majority opinion is irrelevant, and that the MoS is the One True Religion that must be forcibly rammed down people's throats. You also continue to argue that anything in MoS is not a guideline but a law, and justifies revert wars and threats of blocking. Arguing that a special case should be added to MoS would take weeks or months, and just add more complexity to an MoS that is already so huge, detailed, and prescriptive as to be a liability. I think that it would be simpler just to apply a little commonsense. LittleBen (talk) 01:53, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
What would look bad about capitalizing President Obama but not president of the United States in the same article? It is done all the time in sources, like this book; or for President Nixon, thirty-seventh president of the United States, this book. Dicklyon (talk) 04:37, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
If a majority of users think that it looks bad, and a minority of grammar freaks disagree, the users have it. Fighting with users and other editors to impose your own viewpoint is disruptive behavior. LittleBen (talk) 05:50, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
There's no grammar issue here, just style. The relevant consensus of wikipedians is represented in WP:CAPS and MOS:CAPS. Dicklyon (talk) 05:59, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Both usage and style change with time, they are not fixed for all time in a dictionary or academic style guide. Up until a few years ago, "tidal wave" was more popular than the romanized Japanese word "tsunami". Now it's the reverse. Words change in meaning and usage: "a rubber" (in British English) becomes "an eraser" in America. "Mistress" used to be an innocent word. It's the same with style. Both usage and style migrate in the direction of simplicity and perceived naturalness. If two thirds of current sources agree on a given usage or style, it is inappropriate to try to force people to use a different style, or persist in edit wars and blocking people to force your viewpoint on other people. LittleBen (talk) 02:51, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it would be "inappropriate to try to force people to use a different style"; we don't force anyone. We allow editors to write as they please, and we allow other editors to improve it. The MOS specifies what style changes would be considered improvements. You don't need to do them, just don't war over them. Dicklyon (talk) 22:38, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
  • If you want to make a case for an exception for "president", used generically as in this title, make it. But otherwise, be prepared to cap every job title, down to "her Assistant told me she's unavailable" and "he got a job with the city as Garbage Collector". Consistency please. Tony (talk) 07:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
    • We no longer live in a Henry Ford world where, "you can have any color, so long as it's black." Changes in acceptable usage and style often come down to "political correctness"—it's perceived as more polite and/or politically correct to capitalize "job titles" when referring to top politicians and top church figures, but not to do this for Garbage Collectors (except maybe in Australian English?) LittleBen (talk) 08:27, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
      • That's quite a case you make: WP needs to be more PC and polite; but not to garbage collectors. Awesome. Dicklyon (talk) 22:36, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
        • Right, so we cap the jobs of pedophile apologists in the RCC ("the Archbishop of X"), but a working-class job gets no cap. Love it. Tony (talk) 00:16, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
          • There is a huge difference in most people's minds between mere "job titles"—like garbage collector—and "honorific (job) titles" like Emperor, King, Pope, or Governor General, which may be ceremonial or inherited titles that don't necessarily involve much work. That's real world, for better or worse, and I hope that you can get used to it. Of course Aussies can always reject the idea of having a Governor General. Attitudes are very much country specific. Wikipedia should be flexible and respect diversity of attitudes. Also please remember that academics who write style guides are always going to recommend that their titles—like Ph.D. or Doctor of Philosophy—are always capitalized, in whatever context, to show their great importance. LittleBen (talk) 10:29, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Other examples: Include the term "Chief Justice" generally internationally and also in US usage - where the term is capitalised generally also on Wikipedia, including general articles and in lists. The argument that "President of the United States" when referring to specific people, rather than the office in the Constitution, should be lc fails on that directly. Collect (talk) 12:12, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Capitalization of this phrase is similarly mixed in sources, we probably shouldn't capitalize it here, either. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 16:19, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, books like this one used mixed upper and lower case, following a logic equivalent to ours in WP:JOBTITLES. Dicklyon (talk) 17:05, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Articles of Confederation[edit]

In the Articles of Confederation the term president is mentioned only once, as head of the committee which acted on behalf of Congress when that body was not in session. The person was elected to preside over that committee and was therefore not actually President of the Congress.CharmsDad (talk) 16:46, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

If one looks at most by-laws and charters, the use of "president" with that ability is also found - and is generally called the president of that organizaton, not just "president of a committee which has no powers as a rule."

Incorrect statement[edit]

The statement in the first paragraph that "Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected to the office of President (or Vice President) who has already served at least six years as President (whether he or she was elected as President or succeeded to the office of President upon death, resignation, or removal of a prior President): is incorrect. Remove it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.165.48.50 (talk) 00:34, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Tell us why it's wrong. --Coemgenus (talk) 17:01, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

OK, I'll explain it. But you have me wondering if you actually read the 22nd Ammendment?

It's wrong because that's not what the 22nd ammendment says. The relevant part of the Ammendment says: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once." Now, I realize that that six-year language you have in the article is based on the idea of someone completing serving two or more years of someone else's term and then being elected once. That person is inelgible to be re-elected -- but his ineligibility does not result from serving six years. In fact, if he resigned after being elected, and only served the two years of someone else's term, he would still be ineligible to be elected a second time.

Or, look at it this way. Suppose the following (admittedly unlikely) sequence of events occurs: 1) Mr. A is elected Vice President. 2) The President dies a week into the term. 3) Mr. A succeeds to the Presidency and serves four years (minus one week). 4) Mr. A does not run for the presidency, but instead runs again for the Vice Presidency and wins 5) Again, the president dies a week into the term. 6) Mr. A again succeeds to the Presidency and serves another four years (minus one week).

Under the above scenario, Mr. A is still eligible to be elected President (since there's nothing in the Constitution to prevent it). But the article, as written, says that he is ineligible because he has served more than six years.

Getting away from all that, wouldn't it be best to simply have the article state what the actual restrictions are? Something like: "Since the ratification of the 22nd Ammendment to the United States Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected President more than twice. Furthermore, no one who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected may be elected more than once."

What's amazing here is that I've gone through this before. There was a time when this article had incorrect language stating that a person couldn't serve more than ten years. I pointed out that that was wrong, and suggested a change. The change was made, and for a time the article was correct. I have no idea why you guys went in and replaced correct language (no one can be elected more than twice) with incorrect language (no one who served at least six years can be elected).

I'll also note that this was pointed out above (in the "22nd Ammendment" section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.15.173.103 (talk) 04:56, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I have read that amendment. The way you choose to phrase it here is fine and, absent the spelling error, I'd support replacing the article language with it. Have at it! --Coemgenus (talk) 12:01, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I can't have at it. The page is locke for editing. Something about edit wars between partisans on both sides of the aisle around the time Obama took over from Bush. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.165.48.50 (talk) 13:06, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I've added your language. --Coemgenus (talk) 23:46, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 143.165.48.50 (talk) 11:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Move color to Party column?[edit]

Since the color code reflects the presidential political party, why don't we apply it to the background color of the "Party" column instead of the chronological "No." column? Like this:

No.
[n 1]
President Took office Left office Party Term
[n 1]
Vice President
1 Gilbert Stuart, George Washington (Lansdowne portrait, 1796).jpg George Washington
(1732–1799)
[1][2][3]
April 30, 1789 March 4, 1797 no party 1 (1789)   John Adams
2 (1792)
2 Adamstrumbull.jpg John Adams
(1735–1826)
[4][5][6]
March 4, 1797 March 4, 1801 Federalist 3 (1796) Thomas Jefferson
3 Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800.jpg Thomas Jefferson
(1743–1826)
[7][8][9]
March 4, 1801 March 4, 1809 Democratic-
Republican
4 (1800) Aaron Burr
5 (1804) George Clinton

Hoof Hearted (talk) 19:03, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Obamas picture does not fit[edit]

Can we get a better (painted) image of Obama? The current pic sticks out like a sore thumb.Δρ∈rs∈ghiη (talk) 19:28, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

There are official portraits, and those should be used here. The paintings are traditionally done, but since horse-and-buggy times the painted portrait for each president lags well behind a first photographic official portrait. The picture of Obama in the article is the official portrait. There may and probably will at some point be an official painted portrait, and at that point we likely should replace the picture. Steveozone (talk) 05:55, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

If Home State is a contentious column to add - then how about a column listing the last position before Presidency?[edit]

I know the issue of adding a Home State column to this list has been discussed before and the issue has either gone unresolved or the decision has been made to not include the home state of the presidents as a column in this list, since in some cases, the home state can be a fuzzy definition (is it state of birth, state of residency, etc). But I think an unambiguous addition to the list could be the person's last political (or otherwise) job before attaining the presidency (Senator of state XX? Governor of YY? Representative? Vice-President? Etc). Phloyd (talk) 08:38, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

The article List of Presidents of the United States, sortable by previous experience gives four previous positions and home state. WCCasey (talk) 06:55, 23 November 2012 (UTC)


the home state is the one the president was representing or living most of his life like Obama count as a President from Illinois and not Hawaii, or the first Bush count as a president from texas rather than Massachusetts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_place_of_birth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_by_place_of_primary_affiliation

--76.106.45.248 (talk) 22:50, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Electorally, what's important is not his birth state, but his state of residence at the time of the election. That's the logical state to include in the article. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:43, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

The column for the office held by the president at the time of election is currently titled "office"--change to "profession"[edit]

Having "office" as the column heading is rather vague, it seems like having "profession" or something like "prior occupation" would be less vague. Also, having it right after the information on the vice presidents makes it even less clear that this is referring to information about the president.

JonathanGodwin (talk) 14:12, 9 November 2012 (UTC)JonathanGodwin (talk) 09:07, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Change Obama's "Left office" date to make it clear he is the incumbent[edit]

Under the "Left office" column, for Obama, it lists "January 20, 2017". I suggest that this be changed to read: "Incumbent (term ends January 20, 2017)".— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mmorearty (talkcontribs) 7 November 2012

Partly done: not by me. Changed to simply "Incumbent" per standard. —KuyaBriBriTalk 19:15, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Miscellanous info[edit]

Would such a section be a problem? Clinton, Bush & Obama are the first 3 consecutive US Presidents to win reelection, since Jefferson, Madison & Monroe. Of course, should Obama serve out his second term, they'll become the first 3 consecutive US Presidents to serve two complete terms, since Jefferson/Madison/Monroe. GoodDay (talk) 01:42, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Re-elected Presidents[edit]

Perhaps we should remove President from the 'previous office held' columns, for the reelected Presidents. It might be confusing readers. GoodDay (talk) 13:08, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

On Jan. 25, 2013, I do NOT see President in "Previous Office" column, except for the 1893-1897 presidency of Grover Cleveland (remember he had 2 non-consecutive terms). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.63.16.20 (talk) 17:10, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

John Q. Adams[edit]

Adams did not win the electoral college vote, in 1824. In fact nobody won that vote in 1824, as nobody got a majority. Adams was selected President by the US. House of Representatives. Therefore, I'm removing Adams from the paragraph-in-queston. GoodDay (talk) 00:49, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

You're right, but I've usually seen the fact in question stated as FOUR presidents serving while losing the popular vote. I've added Adams back in while removing the electoral college bit. Hoof Hearted (talk) 15:30, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

official vacancies[edit]

There's an error regarding most of these pages that most people wouldn't know about. Even before the first death in office, a man does not become president until they are sworn in. So on April 5, 1841 and March 4, 1849, the office of president was vacant since the successor was not yet sworn into office. You can count those days to those persons, but you should at least include a note about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.138.51.3 (talk) 23:53, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Citation, please? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:56, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Grover Cleveland 2 painted portraits[edit]

did President Cleveland got 2 painted official portraits? because of his non consecutive terms like http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Grover_Cleveland%2C_painting_by_Anders_Zorn.jpg

which is different than the one portrait on this page.--76.106.45.248 (talk) 20:31, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Requested change for Zachery Taylor[edit]

The footnote to the right of him says that he had no office held prior to being President. The footnote furthers this by saying he was a "soldier" and makes it seem as if he came off the street and became President. In fact, he was a general in the army and served in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. Other military generals who proceeded to become President are marked as such, and it should say that Taylor was a general in the army versus saying "none". — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.120.193.102 (talk) 04:23, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done--JayJasper (talk) 06:47, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

George Washington is actually the 9th president of the USA[edit]

1781-1782: John Hanson served on the congress and then was elected president in 1781, making him the first elected president. George Washington himself congratulated him on being the first president after his election. Each term was 1 year until George Washington took an 8 year term.

1782-1783: Elias Boudinot(1740-1821) was a congressman from New Jersey

1783-1784: Thomas Mifflin(1744-1800) was a congressman from Pennsylvania, Speaker of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, President of Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council, and a Major General in the Continental Army.

1784-1785: Richard Henry Lee(1732-1794) was a Senator from Virgina that signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.


1785-1786: John Hancock(1737-1793) is famous for signing the Decoration of Independence with a very large signature. He was the first governor of Massachusetts.

June to November 1786: Nathaniel Gorham(1738-1796)served a short term and was more into Massachusetts Court.

1786: Arthur St. Clair(1734-1818) He became a Major General in the revolutionary war but lost his title after a bad retreat. He was appointed Governor of the Northwest Territory but disputes with Native Americans created a war and in 1791 he had the worst loss of Americans against Native Americans. He died in poverty.

1788 Cyrus Griffin(1736-1796): He resigned after the ratification of the US consitution made the old congress obsolete. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.197.207.234 (talk) 05:44, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Please re-read the lead and visit President of the Continental Congress.--William S. Saturn (talk) 09:49, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Presidents Elected more than once[edit]

Only 17 Presidents have been elected to the Presidency more than once (all twice, except Franklin D Roosevelt),

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Dwight D Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama.

Should this not be included in the article? This includes Grover Cleveland, who served two non-consecutive terms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by WillParker1979 (talkcontribs) 18:11, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Personally, I don't feel this adds any new information that isn't in the table. To have a sentence that lists 40% of the names in the table just seems like overkill. Now, if you wanted to add that only 2 times in history has the US had 3 consecutive 2-term presidents (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Clinton, Bush, Obama), I think that's a little more insightful. (Just one editor's opinion) Hoof Hearted (talk) 18:53, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 21 January 2013[edit]

Vice President Joe Biden's Senate Service is incorrect in "List of Presidents of The United States" wiki. It should be 1973-2009, not 2005-2009. 98.144.35.151 (talk) 16:49, 21 January 2013 (UTC)[10] 98.144.35.151 (talk) 16:49, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

That's Obama's Senate service, not Biden's. Ratemonth (talk) 17:25, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Closing request with no action taken, but I wonder if the last two columns in the table should switch places. It is a trifle confusing when one has scrolled down and can't see the column headings. Rivertorch (talk) 19:40, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Permit me to second the concern about the columns. Yes, the headings are lost off the top of the screen when you scroll down far enough, and there is confusion about that "Previous Service" column (referring to the President) in its present location due to the presence of a different individual's name (the Vice President) just left of there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.63.16.20 (talk) 17:08, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

I will submit an edit request, because the message you are reading is under the heading of an edit request which was not done. Is there a way of indicating "declined" for the above (Jan. 21) request?

Edit request on 23 January 2013[edit]

In referring to FDR, I have found:

"He is the only president to serve more than two terms and a constitutional amendment was passed to prevent that from reoccurring."

The suggested change is at the end of the item you are reading. First, let me explain:

This obviously refers to the 22nd amendment, but that amendment does not prevent all possible cases of serving more than 2 terms. At the end of his term on 20 Jan. 1969, Lyndon Johnson had served 1 full term and also the last 14 month's of J.F.K.'s unexpired term; AND L.B.J. (who had chosen not to run in 1968) was still legally eligible to be elected President once more. If, in addition, he had served a full term starting 20 Jan. 1969, he would have served more than 2 terms (would have been 2 terms plus those 14 months).

So try this in place of what I quoted earlier:

"He is the only president to serve more than two terms, and a constitutional amendment, affecting presidents after Harry Truman, was passed to limit the number of times an indivdual can be elected president."

128.63.16.20 (talk) 17:01, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Thanks for the suggestion. It does indeed provide greater clarity.--JayJasper (talk) 18:42, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

OK, thanks. Here is a summary of what I know about efforts to exceed what has since taken effect per 22nd Amendment:

-- Grant, after his 2 terms (1869-1877), sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1880, but that ended up going to Garfield.

-- Teddy Roosevelt served all but about 6 months of McKinley's unexpired 2nd term, then followed this with a full term. TR then ran in 1912 on what we know as the "Bull Moose" ticket, and I have seen it on Wikipedia that he was being considered for 1920 Republican presidential nomination, but this was nixed by his death in 1919. (That 1920 nomination went to Harding, whose campaign was for "return to normalcy".)

-- Truman started a run in 1952 but dropped out after poor showing in New Hampshire primary.

So FDR is the only person ever to exceed the limits now specified in 22nd Amendment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.63.16.20 (talk) 16:51, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 25 January 2013[edit]

In the Notes, I find:

"For the purposes of numbering, a presidency is defined as an uninterupted ..."

OK, but please fix the spelling of "uninterrupted".

128.63.16.20 (talk) 16:52, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Done RudolfRed (talk) 17:23, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 25 January 2013[edit]

In reading the edit request for Jan. 21 (a request which was declined), there was concern noted about the columns. Thus, I am submitting the request you are reading:

Please move the Vice President column, together with the color stripe indicating the party the VP was from, to the far right, changing places with the Previous Office column, and adjust the column headers accordingly.

(The person who submitted the Jan. 21 request was (understandably) confused by seeing the reference to President Obama's U.S. Senate service and thinking it was that of Vice President Biden. It wasn't helping matters that the column headers are lost off the top of the screen when you scroll as far down as President Obama.)

128.63.16.20 (talk) 17:02, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - Dianna (talk) 00:18, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Achievements[edit]

One of the recurring requests in this article's feedback is for a list of achievements, or highlights during a president's term. I had dismissed this as being too detailed for an overview summary list like this, and potentially introducing some non-neutrality. But I notice they do that fairly well on the UK Prime Minister list. Do you think we could do something like that here? Hoof Hearted (talk) 16:39, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 8 February 2013[edit]

Please change the name of President Clinton to William J Clinton instead of Bill Clinton. Jpc-kings (talk) 02:46, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done Please see WP:COMMONNAME.--JayJasper (talk) 02:50, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Someone has changed this; I'll go ahead and change it back, as well as removing initials not popularly used (ie. Barack H. Obama) for consistency with the naming of earlier presidents.  — TORTOISEWRATH 01:54, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Atchison[edit]

What about Atchison, who was perhaps acting president on March 4, 1849. While the claim is weak, I still think it should be noted as an aside. 202.179.19.24 (talk) 13:21, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

The section on Atchison's page, "President for One Day", says his term had actually expired before Polk's did, and he never took the presidential oath. As far as making a special footnote, I don't know, if we listed everyone on the Acting President of the United States page, it'd be our longest footnote yet! The lead states that the list doesn't include Acting Presidents, along with a link for those who are curious. I feel that's enough. Hoof Hearted (talk) 17:06, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Vice-Presidential Vacancies post 25th Amendment[edit]

I'm thinking the Vacant footnotes in the VP column under Nixon and Ford should be different than the ones used above that (n 3) as these occurred post-ratification of the 25th Amendment which is the "explanation" for these vacancies. I'm not the best with finding official wording, but perhaps something along the lines of the fact that the successor to the VP had not yet been named or was awaiting confirmation or something along those lines? It would make more sense to me than continuing the same spiel about how there was no mechanism for filling the void when the mechanism was in fact in place? Just a thought, something for those more involved in this article to look into. →ClarkCTTalk @ 09:27, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

"Presidents" instead of "presidents"[edit]

It is so disappointing to see such a mistake in the title of an article as prominent as this one and even worse to see such a mistake defended in a move discussion. It truly makes Wikipedia look amateurish. Surtsicna (talk) 12:32, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

The official title held by the individual is "President of the United States." As such, that title is a proper noun, being a title of a position held in office, so it should, in fact, be capitalized in the title of the list. Were the name "List of Presidents," that would be incorrect, as that is just a word.  — TORTOISEWRATH 01:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Citation overkill?[edit]

Is it really necessary to have three citations for each president? Wouldn't it suffice to have one or two for the list as a whole? There isn't exactly great controversy over whether Rutherford B. Hayes was ever the President of the United States.  — TORTOISEWRATH 01:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Five living presidents, not four[edit]

Jimmy Carter is also alive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.6.145.166 (talk) 18:09, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

The article states, correctly, that there are four living former presidents (Carter included). Obama is excluded because he is the incumbent.--NextUSprez (talk) 18:22, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

New Article Request[edit]

Could Wikipedia create an article about the former presidential candidates as well as Third-Party candidates?

It sounds like you are looking for List of United States presidential candidates. Note there are many other US presidential lists at Template:Lists of US Presidents and Vice Presidents (PS - don't forget to sign your posts) Hoof Hearted (talk) 15:19, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Barack is an IDIOT — Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.174.15.140 (talk) 18:01, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 4 June 2013[edit]

Harry Truman's middle name is S Therefore there should not be a "." after the S and his name should read as follows "Harry S Truman" not as "Harry S. Truman" Tsombanj (talk) 23:46, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

See the answer to Q4 under "Frequently Asked Questions" at the top of the page.--William S. Saturn (talk) 01:34, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

help[edit]

Can you make "list states" by president (similar by vice president)? Akuindo (talk) 13:05, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

I think you are looking for:
Hoof Hearted (talk) 15:45, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
Okay. The home states and place of birth from presidents => fix. but vice presidents is only home states but place of birth not there. Can you make "place of the birth" to the vice presidents?? Akuindo (talk) 10:10, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

lollllllllll[edit]

hi wiki team ihr seid alle soooo cool ich will nie so werden wie ihr — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.143.71.37 (talk) 09:05, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Comments to encourage the edit team[edit]

I just wanted to say that whoever coded the list of Presidents has got to be one of the best coders I have seen. Great job to the coder. Keep up the good work this is a very very very good article please make sure no one deletes it. Also have you all thought of making a list of alternate universe (Meaning like the Universe where President Bartlett is really POTUS) Presidents and Television/Movie Presidents, Might be pretty neat and educational by showing how things could had went. Just a thought not really a priority.

Magnum Serpentine (talk) 14:52, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

See Lists of fictional Presidents of the United States. Hoof Hearted (talk) 13:05, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Party Votes[edit]

First time I have looked at this article and I thought it had been vandalised, did adding the color-fest File:PartyVotes-Presidents.png actually have any relevance to the list and did it have a consensus or is it some sort of attack on the visual arts or some sort of protest against WP:ACCESS. MilborneOne (talk) 17:22, 16 January 2014 (UTC

I'm not a fan of the timeline chart either. Aside from the information overload and limited context, it seems to be qualifying how much a person was president. This is a list of presidents. Analysis of election results and the popular vote belongs at List of United States presidential elections by popular vote margin. Hoof Hearted (talk) 21:17, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree whole-heartedly with Hoof Hearted and MilborneOne. If you must keep the Blue stars on the Red Presidents, then you must add Red stars to the Blue Presidents elected without a majority of the vote. This would include almost half of the Democratic Presidents: Polk, Buchanan, Johnson (not elected at all), Cleveland, Wilson, Truman, and Clinton.Olsonjs444 (talk) 05:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, the graph uses stars to denote winners without a plurality, not necessarily a majority. But let's not forget, popular vote does not directly have anything to do with becoming president. As the title suggests, this article should be a list of presidents. If nobody objects, I will move the chart to List of United States presidential elections by popular vote margin later this month. Hoof Hearted (talk) 20:03, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Official portraits[edit]

Why aren't all the photos the official portraits? The Kennedy photo, for example, is not his official portrait, which can be seen here. AmateurEditor (talk) 06:08, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

At one time, the pictures from Presidential portrait (United States) were used on this list (note how different Kennedy's is). Although I don't see anything explicitly stating the reason for the change in the edit history, I suspect that a closer view of the faces was preferred for these smaller images - and I concede that is a better idea. As far as which picture we use here, it probably makes sense to use the same one from the individual president's article, such as John F. Kennedy's. But the bottom line is, as long as it clearly identifies the person, does it really matter which picture we use? What are your specific concerns with the photo currently on the list? Hoof Hearted (talk) 14:06, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that the current photo for Kennedy is an improvement over the painting, which makes it difficult to see his face and is in a notably different style than the rest. I also don't think there is any requirement here that only official photographs/portraits be used, although you could make an argument on neutrality grounds, probably. My concern is about consistency. Just as Kennedy's official painted portrait sticks out as unusual, so does the present photo. It's more evocative of a magazine shoot than a portrait. His official photograph is nice and has a more traditional facing-and-looking-at-the-camera pose, consistent with the other images, including the early paintings. It is a little more plain, granted, but I see that as a virtue in this context. AmateurEditor (talk) 22:12, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I like your picture too, but it appears to be copyrighted and I doubt it meets the conditions for fair use. Are there any images on Wikimedia that you like better? Hoof Hearted (talk) 18:24, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
My understanding is that, as a work of the US government, Presidents' official photos are not under copyright. I'm open to correction on that; I don't claim to be an expert. I have emailed the website I linked above for clarification, but wouldn't expect to hear back before next week, if ever. I did, however, find a version of Kennedy's official photo in Commons here. AmateurEditor (talk) 03:39, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
I have also found a copy of this portrait at Flickr Commons here, which says in the info box "No known copyright restrictions" and "This photo is Safe". I have added it to the article. AmateurEditor (talk) 00:47, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES[edit]

THE ENTRY OMITS WOODROW WILSON FROM THE LIST OF PRESIDENTS WHO ASSUMED OFFICE HAVING FAILED TO SECURE A MAJORITY OF THE POPULAR VOTE (ELECTION OF 1912) 174.1.136.149 (talk) 18:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done The 4 presidents listed are those that "lost the popular vote", not those that "failed to secure a majority". In 1912 Wilson won 41.8%, Roosevelt 27.4%, Taft 23.2% and Debs 6% - so Wilson did not lose the popular vote. Conversely in 2000 Bush had 47.9% to Gore's 48.4% -in 1888 Harrison 47.8% Cleveland 48.6% -in 1876 Hayes 47.9% Tiden 50.9% and 1824 Adams 30.9% and Jackson 41.4%. Arjayay (talk) 19:15, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Such a situation is not uncommon when there are 3 or more candidates. Having checked up, in addition to 1912 there are 6 other elections where the president who was elected, failed to score a majority:- 1842, 1856, 1860, 1892, 1968 and 1992, but in all of these, as in 1912, they did not lose the popular vote. Arjayay (talk) 19:26, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
You should also add 1844, 1848, 1880, 1884, 1916, 1948, 1960, & 1996 to your above list.--William S. Saturn (talk) 06:21, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 14 April 2014[edit]

[[Randriamampionona Solomon the first President of the United States of Africa|} 41.188.44.11 (talk) 13:25, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Cite error: There are <ref group=n> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=n}} template (see the help page).
Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).