- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (September 8, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801452988
- ISBN-13: 978-0801452987
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,037,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #801 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Canadian
- #1684 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > United States > American Revolution
- #3097 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States > Executive Branch
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Hardcover – September 8, 2014
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The Senate initially advocated that the Presidential title should be “His Highness the President of the United States of America, and Protector of their Liberties”. John Adams, who forcibly argued that the President needed a “respectable title” to be taken seriously by foreign powers, comes across as characteristically stubborn and seemingly impervious to criticism, thus earning the mock sobriquet “His Rotundity”. Fortunately for posterity, the Senate ultimately acquiesced to the desire of the House to have no official title and since then we now refer to the President simply as Mr. President. (Perhaps Madam President sometime in the future?) Ironically, George Washington was never addressed by the title Mr. President, but instead was addressed as "Sir", "General" or "Excellency"--the latter being his title as commander in chief during the Revolutionary War.
Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon has mined an impressive array of primary sources of newspapers in the public debates over the naming controversy and persuasively makes the case that this dispute was far more than just about the title of the President. Instead, the naming dispute was an early installment of the broader--and ongoing--partisan debate on the extent of Presidential power. This book is highly recommended for those interested in the early days of the new republic and the evolution of perceptions of power of the executive branch.
Every U.S. Citizen knows that our leader is the President of the United States, but it might be surprising for many to learn that all manner of titles were initially considered for the office. Some of them seem downright inconceivable when viewed in the context of today's world, where governments composed of elected representatives have almost completely supplanted the ages old style of governments headed by divinely appointed Monarchs. However, in 1789, this was not the case, and Dr. Bartoloni-Tuazon uses impressive and entertaining examples to capture the heady early days of the new republic when the debate raged over whether or not the presidency required additional adornments to give it the necessary gravitas to be taken seriously on the world stage.
Nowadays, it's hard to imagine addressing the President of the United States as “His Majesty, The President of the United States”, or “His Serene Highness, The President of the United States”, but this was completely new territory to folks in the late eighteenth century. Ultimately, as we all know, restraint won out and the relatively modest title of President of the United States was chosen. This incredibly readable and genuinely fun book is full of well chosen examples that illustrate both sides of the debate and allows the reader to experience the excitement, humor and acrimony of the debate. The writing style of Dr. Bartoloni-Tuazon is engaging, clear and well-paced. I highly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in American History or just a fascinating story.