Monday, February 20, 2012

Pick one and give reasons for your choice

Today in the United States is Presidents Day or President’s Day or Presidents’ Day.

Follow the instructions in the title of this post.

For extra credit, and without looking, name all 44 presidents in order and their terms of office. An example not only would be but is, or was, George Washington (1789 - 1797). Before you complain, remember that I could have asked you to name all 50 states and the year each one entered the union and to tell why you think Puerto Rico should or should not become the 51st state.

Readers who are not Americans (you know you you are), please name as many U.S. presidents as you can, from memory, and report the number in the comments. A helpful hint: Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston were never president. Also, write a paragraph explaining why your country should have a Prime Ministers (or Prime Minister’s or Prime Ministers’) Day if it doesn’t, and why it shouldn’t if it does.

Your next reading assignment, class, is here.


  1. I got all of them apart from those who were presidents during the nineteenth century and someone called George W. Bush. But the one I would pick is of course Barack Obama the current, gifted, humane, wise and eminently likeable holder of the office. Why do I pick him?
    a) He's a Democrat
    b) His Health Reform Bill
    c) He admires Queen Elizabeth II
    d) He embodies the world through his parentage and life story.
    e) He winds up the American right.

  2. It's hard say if or where the apostrophe should appear without knowing the context, but by instinct, I'd go for Presidents' Day.

    But how many can I name? In no particular order: Obama, Bush (Jnr), Clinton, Bush (Snr), Reagan, Carter,Johnson and Kennedy.

    It starts getting hazy now because they were before my time. But here goes: Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Coolidge, Harding, Jackson, Washington, Lincoln, Cleveland, Madison and Grant.

    I'm not sure why some should stick in my mind more than others, although I only know Warren Gamalial Harding because Al Stewart wrote a song about him.

    If I had to choose a favourite, it would be Lincoln who managed to be both a dreamer and a realist.

    Should we have a Prime Minusters' Day? I'm not sure what we'd do with it.

  3. Yorkshire Pudding, you are a very sick person.

    Shooting Parrots, starting with the 1921 election and coming forward to the present dat, you left out only four: Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford.

  4. You’ve set us a difficult task, Bob. I can recite the American presidents up to 1968 better than I can the English Prime ministers but after that I get a bit hazy. It would be all too easy to despise such as James Madison and Andrew Jackson, but we have to remember that they worked within the social parameters of their day and what we find abhorrent may have had different values then. I have a certain amount of sympathy for Franklin Pierce, and admire Lincoln for much the same reasons as Ian, but I think I would choose John Quincy Adams. Why? I admire the fact that he took his oath of office on a book of laws, eschewing the Bible in a deliberate attempt to separate the church from the state – something that I think would have caused a lot less confusion if it had been adopted by his successors. From his government came the American national banks, currency, leaps forward in technology and communication, the implementation of policies for nurturing academic success for all, the advancement of the arts and sciences and, without his own outspoken revulsion against slavery preparing the climate, it is unlikely that Lincoln would have been as successful with the Emancipation Proclamations as he was.

    So, now a question for you. Can you guess why I am I more familiar with the older presidents than I am with the newer ones? x

  5. Elizabeth, you had maybe an American grandmother? Or you majored in American History at university? Or you were an exchange student for a year in "the states"?

    Am I close?

  6. Oh dear, I'm very sick! I've got Obamaitis. Why are there men in conical hoods gathering in our garden? And why are they holding burning torches?

  7. I'm cross with myself for missing out Nixon and Ford.

    When I was quite young, I had a 'Vote for Nixon' given to me by my uncle who lived in California during the 1960n election.

    And, of course, Ford was famous for only being able to one thing at once, and then not terribly well.

  8. I steer clear of politics, but if I didn't, I'd be able to name them all, and would probably go along with sicko there...

  9. PS you didn't give me the option of saying why didn't want one when my country didn't have one anyway.

    PPS I hate the new word verification. It's really hard to read.

  10. Katherine, didn't mean to ignore your comments. Okay, I'll bite: Why don't you want a Presidents' or Prime Ministers' Day when your country doesn't have one anyway?