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CHAT: Mr. President (was: Old Norse)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, June 19, 2000, 14:55
Padraic Brown wrote:

> Slick Willie can rightly be addressed as "your excellency" [...]
Absolutely not! (Unless you mean in his former role as Governor of Arkansas, where he may or may not have held that title -- see below.) The title of the President of the United States is "Mr. President" (so far, no adjustments for gender have been needed). The First Congress back in 1790 spent some time on this issue. They kicked around "His Serene Highness" and "His Elective Majesty" among other possibilities. George Washington replied by proposing titles for the Vice President that included "His Superfluous Excellency" and "His Rotundity" (John Adams was a fatty). Eventually the whole topic collapsed and we settled on simplicity. Governors are still "Your Excellency", at least in some states, because we inherited them from Great Britain. -- Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...> Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau, || Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || Und trank die Milch vom Paradies. -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)