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Is it "President" or "president" of the United States?

Virtually every political observer who has used a pen or a keyboard in the past several decades has asked: is it "President" or "president" of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ? Should the office or institution be referred to as the "Presidency" or "presidency"? At first blush Adv. 1. at first blush - as a first impression; "at first blush the offer seemed attractive"
when first seen
, such questions appear rather humorous and insignificant. Symbolically, grammatical gram·mat·i·cal  
1. Of or relating to grammar.

2. Conforming to the rules of grammar: a grammatical sentence.
 capitalization capitalization n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and expenses as capital assets (property, equipment, fixtures) for accounting purposes. 2) the amount of anticipated net earnings which hypothetically can be used for conversion into capital assets.  reflects the importance of an office or title. Consequently, a change in the capitalization of a constitutional officer may reflect a shift in academic, journalistic jour·nal·is·tic  
Of, relating to, or characteristic of journalism or journalists.

, or public perception of that office. Hoekstra (1982) considers the importance of the introduction of the term "textbook presidency" but does not examine the related capitalization change we demonstrate has taken place over the past several decades.

A closer examination of these seemingly innocuous in·noc·u·ous
Having no adverse effect; harmless.

innocuous (i·näˈ·kyōō·
 observations about capitalization shows a change in common usage that apparently coincides with the evolution and state of the "Presidency" (or "presidency"). If we consider the "President" (or "president") of the United States to be both "a person" and "an institution," and if the Constitution intends the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to be coequal co·e·qual  
Equal with one another, as in rank or size.

An equal.

 institutions of government, one would expect to see the capitalization of "Congress" and "Supreme Court" and the "President." Yet that is not the current practice. Several examples from political science textbooks illustrate this inconsistency in·con·sis·ten·cy  
n. pl. in·con·sis·ten·cies
1. The state or quality of being inconsistent.

2. Something inconsistent: many inconsistencies in your proposal.
   The Congress could "check" the power of the president, the Supreme
   Court, and so on, carefully creating "balance" among the three
   branches. (O'Connor and Sabato 1997, 57)

   The Supreme Court can declare laws passed by Congress and signed by
   the president unconstitutional. (Burns et al. 2000, 25)

   Legally, the president can.., and Congress did not renew it... the
   Supreme Court declared that.... (Wilson 1986, 349)

Indeed, one recent monograph mon·o·graph  
A scholarly piece of writing of essay or book length on a specific, often limited subject.

tr.v. mon·o·graphed, mon·o·graph·ing, mon·o·graphs
To write a monograph on.
 has gone so far as to decapitalize the "presidency" in the title of the book: Foley fo·ley  
1. A technical process by which sounds are created or altered for use in a film, video, or other electronically produced work.

2. A person who creates or alters sounds using this process.
 and Owens's Congress and the presidency (1996).

The inconsistent capitalization of the title "president" of the United States and related titles is widespread in political science. It is common to see the decapitalized "president" simultaneously portrayed as the capitalized "Commander in Chief." For example, Dye (1994, 394) states, "As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States A term used to denote collectively all components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. See also United States Armed Forces. , the president is a powerful voice in foreign affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries.
." Similarly, Saffell (1981, 323) writes, "The Constitution confers upon the president the title of Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States."

It is a widespread practice to capitalize the "Speaker of the House" while decapitalizing the "president" of the United States. Consider Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry, who declare "the Speaker is also two heartbeats away from the presidency, being second in line (after the vice president) to succeed a president who resigns, dies in office, or is impeached" (Edwards, Wattenberg, and Lineberry 1998, 297) or Patterson, who asserts "the Speaker is often said to be the most powerful official in Washington, after the president" (Patterson 1997, 337). Why should the "second most powerful" official be symbolically printed in uppercase while the "most important" official appears in lowercase? Although capitalization of the "Speaker" is often justified on grounds of clarity (to avoid confusion with other "speakers" on the floor of the House; see Chicago Manual of Style 1993, 241), it is equally important to distinguish the "President" of the United States from other "presidents." After all, the "President" of the United States frequently addresses assemblages of college "presidents," corporation "presidents," association "presidents," "presidents" of other nation-states, and even other "presidents" in the U.S. Congress. For example, the "president" of the United States typically begins the State of the Union address “State of the Union” redirects here. For other uses, see State of the Union (disambiguation).
The State of the Union is an annual address in which the President of the United States reports on the status of the country, normally to a joint session of Congress (the
 with the following salutation: "Mr. President Mr. President can refer to:
  • A male President
  • Mr. President (radio series), a radio series featuring episodes from the lives of the Presidents of the United States
  • Mr. President (TV series), a 1987 TV series starring George C. Scott
  • Mr.
 ('Vice President' of the United States), Mr. Speaker, members of the United States Congress."

This article examines the semantic environment--the time frame and milieu--in which a grammatical shift from "President" to "president" took place. Before 1970, the uppercase referent ref·er·ent  
A person or thing to which a linguistic expression refers.

Noun 1. referent - something referred to; the object of a reference
 was the prevailing standard for leading political science monographs, introductory college textbooks, professional journals, popular periodicals, newspapers, and style manuals. Currently, the capitalized referent appears to be the exception rather than the norm. Consider some examples from leading political science textbooks and references that altered capitalization between the 1960s and 1980s.

Before: "Should the President be chosen by the Congress?" (Dahl dahl  
1. See pigeon pea.

2. or dal A thick creamy East Indian stew made with lentils or other legumes, onions, and various spices.
 1967, 86).

After: "Should the president be chosen by the Congress?" (Dahl 1972b, 123).

Before: "The Constitution provides that the President and Vice-President were elected by ..." (Sorauf 1968, 257).

After: "The Constitution provides that the president and vice-president were elected by ..." (Sorauf 1980, 258).

Before: Pocket Veto pocket veto
1. The indirect veto of a bill received by the President within ten days of the adjournment of Congress, effected by retaining the bill unsigned until Congress adjourns.

: The act of the President in withholding his approval of a bill after Congress has adjourned (Congressional Quarterly Congressional Quarterly, Inc., or CQ, is a privately owned publishing company that produces a number of publications reporting primarily on the United States Congress.  Almanac almanac, originally, a calendar with notations of astronomical and other data. Almanacs have been known in simple form almost since the invention of writing, for they served to record religious feasts, seasonal changes, and the like. , 1977, Glossary A term used by Microsoft Word and adopted by other word processors for the list of shorthand, keyboard macros created by a particular user. See glossaries in this publication and The Computer Glossary. ).

After: Pocket Veto: The act of the president in withholding his approval of a bill after Congress has adjourned (Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1978, Glossary).

Before: "The American Presidency is unique both as an office and as an institution" (Woll and Binstock 1972, 315).

After: "The American presidency is unique both as an office and as an institution" (Woll and Binstock 1984, 337).

This article examines the timing of the change in capitalization of the nation's highest office. We begin by examining political symbolism Political symbolism is symbolism that is used to represent a political standpoint. The symbolism can occur in various media including banners, acronyms, pictures, flags, mottos, and countless more. , the importance of the "President" as a national symbol, and the perceived status of that symbol as reflected in its capitalization. We propose a typology typology /ty·pol·o·gy/ (ti-pol´ah-je) the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type.


the study of types; the science of classifying, as bacteria according to type.
 for analyzing the grammatical changes that have occurred in leading political science monographs, introductory college textbooks, professional journals, popular periodicals, newspapers, and style manuals over the past three decades. We demonstrate that (1) noted political scientists--not journalists, grammarians, publishers, or politicians--have led this national trend in lowercase usage; (2) this lowercase preference essentially began during the Nixon administration and accelerated greatly after the Watergate scandal Watergate scandal

(1972–74) Political scandal involving illegal activities by Pres. Richard Nixon's administration. In June 1972 five burglars were arrested after breaking into the Democratic Party's national headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex in Washington,
; and (3) the original efforts to alter capitalization stemmed stemmed  
1. Having the stems removed.

2. Provided with a stem or a specific type of stem. Often used in combination: stemmed goblets; long-stemmed roses.
 from a desire to "de-imperialize" or "de-glamorize" the "presidency."

Political Symbolism, the "Imperial presidency Imperial Presidency is a term that became popular in the 1960s and that served as the title of a 1973 volume by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. to describe the modern presidency of the United States. ," and Capitalization

Symbols play a critical role in the lives of citizens. Symbols are objects or expressions that represent or stand for abstract things enabling us to simplify, categorize cat·e·go·rize  
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.

, prioritize pri·or·i·tize  
v. pri·or·i·tized, pri·or·i·tiz·ing, pri·or·i·tiz·es Usage Problem
To arrange or deal with in order of importance.

, and understand complex concepts, theories, and beliefs. Symbols come in many forms, including logos, flags, banners, songs, coins, poems, medals, maps, insignia in·sig·ni·a   also in·sig·ne
n. pl. insignia or in·sig·ni·as
1. A badge of office, rank, membership, or nationality; an emblem.

2. A distinguishing sign.
, clothing, numbers, words, slogans, and colors.

Symbols are particularly important for nation-states and politics (see Duncan 1968; Kendall and Carey 1970; Edelman 1971; Walker 1967). Lerner (1937, 1290) observed, "Men have always used symbols in the struggle for power." Political symbols serve a number of highly interrelated in·ter·re·late  
tr. & intr.v. in·ter·re·lat·ed, in·ter·re·lat·ing, in·ter·re·lates
To place in or come into mutual relationship.

 functions. They help citizens recognize political objects, make sense of politics, establish cultural values and morals, legitimize le·git·i·mize  
tr.v. le·git·i·mized, le·git·i·miz·ing, le·git·i·miz·es
To legitimate.

 regimes, and maintain existing order. Political symbols also enable citizens to identify members of their own group or nation, support beliefs, and reinforce stereotypes. Political symbols evoke e·voke  
tr.v. e·voked, e·vok·ing, e·vokes
1. To summon or call forth: actions that evoked our mistrust.

 emotions, shape attitudes, and stir feelings of pride, hope, and respect (Edelman 1964, Chapter 2).

How people react to a political symbol depends on their emotional tie to that object, as well as their understanding of how the symbol is viewed by other people. Reactions to symbols have both emotive e·mo·tive  
1. Of or relating to emotion: the emotive aspect of symbols.

2. Characterized by, expressing, or exciting emotion:
 or affective affective /af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.

1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions; emotional.

 and cognitive aspects (Elder and Cobb 1983, 37). People often learn the cognitive aspect of symbols from the media, in schools, and in daily living. The affective aspect is typically one of personal experience with the symbol. Additionally, the public responds to the use of symbols in evaluating and reacting to news and to events (Edelman 1964, 172).

Perhaps no other political symbol encapsulates so many of these elements as that of the "President" of the United States (McDonald 1994; Kallenbach 1966). When the "President" appears before television cameras, throws out the first baseball of the major league season, or bestows a medal upon a heroine, he becomes a personal symbol. Likewise, when he delivers his weekly radio address or enters to the trumpeting trum·pet  
a. Music A soprano brass wind instrument consisting of a long metal tube looped once and ending in a flared bell, the modern type being equipped with three valves for producing variations in pitch.

 of "Hail to the Chief," he becomes a verbal symbol. And when we see Air Force One, the Presidential Seal, the White House, or the entourage The e-mail program included in the Macintosh version of Microsoft Office. Combining the functions of Outlook with scheduling capabilities, Entourage was introduced with Microsoft Office 2001 for Mac, the first release of Office for OS X.  of staffers and Secret Service agents, the "President" exhibits both pictorial and authoritative symbolism Symbolism

In art, a loosely organized movement that flourished in the 1880s and '90s and was closely related to the Symbolist movement in literature. In reaction against both Realism and Impressionism, Symbolist painters stressed art's subjective, symbolic, and decorative

The scholarly community, of course, has long recognized this symbolic importance of the American "Presidency." For example, Rossiter declares "[the President] symbolizes the people" (Rossiter 1956, 6). "Like the flag," Koenig notes, "[the President] is the symbol of national unity, a focal point focal point
See focus.
 of loyalties, and the ceremonial chief of the nation" (Koenig 1968, 4). Similarly, Barber states, "The President is a symbolic leader, the one figure who draws together the people's hopes and fears for the political future" (Barber 1985, 2). Finally, Hinckley, who devoted an entire book to the subject, writes, "If symbolism is central to politics, it is clearly also central to the office of President as we understand it" (Hinckley 1990, 1).

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, this symbolism surrounding the office and powers of the "Presidency" came under close scrutiny. Led by Thomas E. Cronin (a political scientist), George E. Reedy reed·y  
adj. reed·i·er, reed·i·est
1. Full of reeds.

2. Made of reeds.

3. Resembling a reed, especially in being thin or fragile:
 (a journalist and presidential staffer), and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (a historian), political scientists began to question the "textbook" image of the "presidency" and challenge what they believed had become the "imperial presidency." Arguably ar·gu·a·ble  
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.

2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law.
, the leading article on this subject was Cronin's article, "Superman Superman

invincible scourge of crime. [Comics: Horn, 642–643]

See : Crime Fighting


superhero under guise of Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter.
, Our Textbook President." He first presented this groundbreaking work to a panel at the 66th annual meeting (1970) of the American Political Science Association The American Political Science Association (APSA) was founded in 1903 and is the leading professional organization for the study of political science, with more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries.  (among the discussants were Schlesinger and Reedy), then later published in the October 1970 issue of the Washington Monthly. In this article, Cronin, a White House Fellow during the mid-1960s, challenged textbook orthodoxy or·tho·dox·y  
n. pl. or·tho·dox·ies
1. The quality or state of being orthodox.

2. Orthodox practice, custom, or belief.

3. Orthodoxy
 by dispelling the image of presidential "omnipotence om·nip·o·tent  
Having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful. See Usage Note at infinite.

1. One having unlimited power or authority: the bureaucratic omnipotents.
" and offering a stern warning to those who unrealistically elevated the presidency. Cronin stated: "If the textbook presidency image has costs for the quality of citizen relationships with the presidency, so also it can affect the way presidents conceive of Verb 1. conceive of - form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case; "Can you conceive of him as the president?"
envisage, ideate, imagine
 themselves and their job" (Cronin 1970a, 54; see also Cronin 1970b).

In 1970, Reedy published his oft-cited The Twilight twilight, period between sunset and total darkness or between total darkness and sunrise. Total darkness does not occur immediately when the sun sinks below the horizon because light from the sun that strikes the atmosphere is scattered (both by the air itself and by  of the Presidency. Reedy, a journalist and a long-time aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Senate before moving with Johnson to the White House, examined the symbolic trappings of the presidency from an insider's perspective. Reedy (1979, 22-23) warned,
   The concept of the overburdened president represents one of the
   insidious forces which serve to separate the chief executive from
   the real universe of living, breathing, troubled human beings. It
   is the basis for encouraging his most outrageous expressions, for
   pampering his most childish tantrums, for fostering his most
   arrogant actions. More than anything else, it serves to create an
   environment in which no man can live for any considerable length of
   time and retain his psychological balance.

Subsequent monographs published by Schlesinger and Cronin echoed similar themes. In The Imperial Presidency, Schlesinger (1973) critically examined the powers and prerogatives of the modern chief executive (albeit using the uppercase "President") and warned that the growth and abuse of these extensive executive powers threatened to undermine America's most cherished values. The term "imperial presidency" itself became an important symbol in the lexicon of presidential scholars. Then, in The State of the Presidency (1975), Cronin carefully scrutinized the modern "presidency" in an attempt to peel back the layers of misconceptions Misconceptions is an American sitcom television series for The WB Network for the 2005-2006 season that never aired. It features Jane Leeves, formerly of Frasier, and French Stewart, formerly of 3rd Rock From the Sun.  that he believed had enshrouded the office and wrote, "The intent is to demythologize de·my·thol·o·gize  
tr.v. de·my·thol·o·gized, de·my·thol·o·giz·ing, de·my·thol·o·giz·es
1. To rid of mythological elements in order to discover the underlying meaning:
 the American presidency for the reader and to help him or her gain a more rigorous appreciation of its promise, performance, and limitations" (Cronin 1975, 2).

The seminal seminal /sem·i·nal/ (sem´i-n'l) pertaining to semen or to a seed.

Of, relating to, containing, or conveying semen or seed.
 writings of Cronin, Reedy, and Schlesinger, coupled with the growing cynicism Cynicism
See also Pessimism.


(444–371 B. C.) Greek philosopher and founder of Cynic school. [Gk. Hist.: NCE, 121]


churlish, sarcastic advisor of Timon. [Br. Lit.
 and public mistrust associated with President Richard M. Nixon, the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. , and the infamous Watergate scandal, spearheaded an entire new genre of professional and popular publications that made judicious ju·di·cious  
Having or exhibiting sound judgment; prudent.

[From French judicieux, from Latin i
 use of the term "imperial presidency." The term itself frequently became associated with the harsh criticism of Nixon and the sordid sor·did  
1. Filthy or dirty; foul.

2. Depressingly squalid; wretched: sordid shantytowns.

 Watergate fiasco. Cronin's (1980, 209) own words best encapsulate en·cap·su·late
1. To form a capsule or sheath around.

2. To become encapsulated.

 the significance of the "anti-imperialist" movement:
   The "imperial presidency" meant many things to many people. But it
   especially suggested the abuse and misuse of presidential power and
   it became an accepted term to describe presidential lying,
   transgressions against cherished notions of separation of powers. A
   growing skepticism set in as an increasing number of Americans lost
   confidence in President Nixon.... During the mid-1970s, the
   American public's attitude toward the government took on a deep,
   almost estranged cynicism.... Reaction to Watergate and Vietnam
   took two forms. Critics claimed irrefutable evidence that the
   presidency was isolated, autocratic and imperial. They charged too
   that the deceptions during Vietnam and corruptions of Watergate
   occurred because our checks and balances were inadequate and that
   too much power had been given to the presidency.

The theory of the "imperial presidency" has been the subject of much debate. However, scholars have largely overlooked and underappreciated one critical aspect of the imperial presidency: the alteration in the capitalization of various titles associated with the "presidency." Titles are symbolic expressions. Edelman (1964, 131) writes, "The terms in which we name or speak of anything do more than designate des·ig·nate  
tr.v. des·ig·nat·ed, des·ig·nat·ing, des·ig·nates
1. To indicate or specify; point out.

2. To give a name or title to; characterize.

 it; they place it in a class of objects, thereby suggesting with what it is to be judged and compared, and defined the perspective from which it is to be viewed and evaluated."

Furthermore, the decision to capitalize or decapitalize a title or word is, in itself, a telling form of symbolism that, again, may reveal as much about the title giver as it does the title itself (Lutz 1996, 47). For example, most writers, out of profound respect to monotheistic religions, use "God" instead "god." A hymn containing the capitalized words, "Thy," "Lord," or "Thee" (e.g., "I hear Thy welcome voice ... I am coming Lord, coming to Thee") suggests that the songwriter is, indeed, religious (Hartsough 1963, 217). Similarly, if an author purposely pur·pose·ly  
With specific purpose.


on purpose
USAGE: See at purposeful.

Adv. 1.
 and repeatedly capitalizes "Jews Jews [from Judah], traditionally, descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob, whose tribe, with that of his half brother Benjamin, made up the kingdom of Judah; historically, members of the worldwide community of adherents to Judaism. " and "Muslims" but simultaneously decapitalizes "christian," one might assume the writer to be anti-Christian.

Uppercase letters suggest an importance, as with capitalized names of persons and places. Thus, capitalization is not only a matter of grammatical rules Noun 1. grammatical rule - a linguistic rule for the syntax of grammatical utterances
rule of grammar

linguistic rule, rule - (linguistics) a rule describing (or prescribing) a linguistic practice
; it also reflects common practice and social status. Changes in capitalization of the same word over time indicate change in the meaning of that symbol. If social practice were to change and the proper names of certain persons or places were to shift from uppercase to lowercase, observers might infer that the importance of those persons and places had indeed diminished.

The institutions of American government are no exception. Each institution represents a combination of specific individuals, rules, traditions, history, and specific powers delineated de·lin·e·ate  
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of; sketch out.

2. To represent pictorially; depict.

 in the Constitution. The symbols used to present these institutions to citizens also indicate the importance of each institution. Even if citizens are unsure about the names of particular officeholders or their specific duties of office, the printed symbols of the Capitol, the Supreme Court Building, the Pentagon, or the White House represent these American institutions to the public.

Titles associated with these institutions also reflect status and standing, such as President George W. Bush, Chief Justice John Marshall, Reverend Jesse Jackson Noun 1. Jesse Jackson - United States civil rights leader who led a national campaign against racial discrimination and ran for presidential nomination (born in 1941)
Jesse Louis Jackson, Jackson
, Senator Barbara Boxer Barbara Levy Boxer (born November 11, 1940) is an American politician and the current junior U.S. Senator from the State of California.

A member of the Democratic Party, Boxer was first elected to the U.S.
, Attorney General Janet Reno Janet Reno (born July 21, 1938) was the first and to date only female Attorney General of the United States (1993–2001). She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993, and confirmed on March 11. , or First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. If these particular persons were to be called solely by their surnames or epithets instead of their officially designated titles, citizens might deduce de·duce  
tr.v. de·duced, de·duc·ing, de·duc·es
1. To reach (a conclusion) by reasoning.

2. To infer from a general principle; reason deductively:
 that these persons had lost their status. Capitalization indicates social status, respect, and standing, and any alteration from uppercase to lowercase initial could reflect a loss of status, respect, or standing. Perhaps this is why at least one leading style manual goes so far as to recommend the uppercase title when referring to the current occupant occupant n. 1) someone living in a residence or using premises, as a tenant or owner. 2) a person who takes possession of real property or a thing which has no known owner, intending to gain ownership. (See: occupancy)  of the White House (President George W. Bush) but the lowercase title for past officeholders (former president Jimmy Carter) (New York Public Library New York Public Library, free library supported by private endowments and gifts and by the city and state of New York. It is the one of largest libraries in the world.  Writers' Guide to Style and Usage 1994, 207-08).

What is accepted as proper use of vocabulary and grammar changes over time. New words and capitalization often (but not exclusively) emerge as a result of political pressures. For example, the "Feminist Movement" of the 1960s ushered in new titles (e.g., "Ms." and "chairperson chairperson Chairman The head of an academic department. See 'Chair.', Cf Chief. ") and a plethora plethora /pleth·o·ra/ (pleth´ah-rah)
1. an excess of blood.

2. by extension, a red florid complexion.pletho´ric

 of gender-neutral words. In the 1970s, political science authors and editors replaced "Founding Fathers" with "Founders" ("founders" or "framers"), "Congressmen" with "members of Congress," and "policemen" with "police officers." As another example, titles such as "Native Americans" and "African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. " gradually replaced less desirable titles in the American academic lexicon.

The grammatical evolution Grammatical evolution is a relatively new evolutionary computation technique pioneered by Conor Ryan, JJ Collins and Michael O'Neill in 1998[1] at the BDS Group in the University of Limerick, Ireland.  of Watson's Promise and Performance of American Democracy between the first (1973) and fourth (1981) editions illustrates the impact of these political and social movements This is a partial list of social movements.
  • Abahlali baseMjondolo - South African shack dwellers' movement
  • Animal rights movement
  • Anti-consumerism
  • Anti-war movement
  • Anti-globalization movement
  • Brights movement
  • Civil rights movement

Before: "Beard's classic study ... suggests that the Founding Fathers wrote ..." (1973, 34).

After: "Beard's classic study ... suggests that the Founders wrote ..." (1981, 32).

Before: "Contemporary congressmen resemble those described ..." (1973, 331).

After: "Contemporary members of Congress resemble those described ..." (1981, 287).

Before: "While many Negroes bettered themselves economically ..." (1973, 507).

After: "While many blacks bettered themselves economically ..." (1981, 479).

Before: "Moreover, significant minorities ... American Indians American Indians: see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the; Natives, Middle American; Natives, North American; Natives, South American. , the poor ..." (1973, 22).

After: "Moreover, significant minorities ... Native Americans, the poor ..." (1981, 25).

Before: "Of course, the conflict between the Presidency and the Congress ..." (1973, 410).

After: "Of course, the conflict between the presidency and the Congress ..." (1981, 358).

Before: "The President also.... As Commander in Chief ... the Chief Executive ... (1973, 562).

After: "The president also.... As commander in chief ... the chief executive ..." (1981, 594).

Few would doubt that Watson's decision to substitute the "more acceptable" gender and racial referents in the later publication was spawned by changing social and political norms. Similarly, Watson was likely motivated by a sense of changing social and political norms when he decided to decapitalize the "presidency" and "president." Indeed, in numerous conversations with his colleagues over the years, Watson made it perfectly clear that he agreed with Wiley's editorial decision to change gender and racial titles out of respect for women and ethnic minorities. However, Watson, a noted presidential scholar, also believed that the editorial decision to decapitalize the "presidency" and "president" reflected the growing trend by political scientists to "de-imperialize" the office in the wake of Watergate (Casey 2000; Yarwood 2000).

In sum, titles and the capitalization or decapitalization of those titles are important political symbols that frequently change with the times. Although it is interesting to study the manner in which important political titles have been capitalized or decapitalized over the years, it is equally critical to examine the persons responsible for altering the grammatical convention and the semantic environment in which these changes take place. The semantic environment includes not only the title but the writer, the writer's intentions, the targeted audience, and any events that may be associated with this title. We now turn to the semantic environment in which leading political scientists have transformed the uppercase "President" to the lowercase "president."

Political Scientists and Capitalization: A Typology

Any cursory cur·so·ry  
Performed with haste and scant attention to detail: a cursory glance at the headlines.

[Late Latin curs
 examination of published works by political scientists over the past three decades suggests that a significant change in capitalization has occurred with respect to the office of "President." Although not each and every book or article published by political scientists prior to 1970 employed the uppercase referent (for exceptions, see Greenstein 1965; Tugwell 1967), before the Nixon administration it is clear that the vast majority of political science monographs, textbooks, and articles employed the uppercase "President." For example, the pre-1970s classic presidential monographs bear this out. Rossiter (1956, 19) noted that "the President is the American people's one authentic trumpet trumpet, brass wind musical instrument of part cylindrical, part conical bore, in the shape of a flattened loop and having three piston valves to regulate the pitch. , and he has no higher duty than to give a clear and certain sound." Also, in 1956, Corwin and Koenig wrote that "virtually all Presidents who have made a major impact on American history have done so in great degree as legislative leaders" (1956, 83). Later, Koenig (1968, 3) observed that "the President also lives within the limits of his own political skills and personality." Roseboom's history of the chief executive began with remarks about "General George Washington as the first President of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.

The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long.
" (1957, 1). Neustadt (1960, 6) exclaimed that "in form all Presidents are leaders, nowadays." Kallenbach wrote that "the President, as well as every state governor, plays a role in the governmental scheme" (1966, 272). However, beginning at the outset of the Nixon administration and accelerating after the Watergate scandal, there is a noticeable shift toward the decapitalized referent. The leaders of this movement appear to be Cronin and Reedy. Ironically, Schlesinger, who coined the phrase "imperial presidency," uses the uppercase "President" throughout (e.g., "What this country needs is a little disrespect for the office of Presidency") (1973, 441).

Skeptics might suggest that the lowercase titles that appear in Cronin's and Reedy's seminal works A seminal work is a work from which other works grow. The term usually refers to an intellectual or artistic achievement whose ideas and techniques have been adopted or responded to in later works by other people, either in the same field or in the general culture.  are the product of editorial policy rather than author discretion. This was not the case. Indeed, it appears both Reedy and Cronin made conscious decisions to decapitalize the "president." In an interview, Cronin explained that he had "to overcome serious editorial obstacles in order to de-capitalize the 'president'" (Cronin 2000). Note that in the October 1970 issue of the Washington Monthly in which Cronin's article, "Superman, Our Textbook President," first appears, all other articles in that issue employ the uppercase referent. Moreover, this highly quoted article was later reprinted in the Washington Monthly's anthology, where editors took the liberty to "re-capitalize" Cronin's lowercase appellations (Cronin 2000).

Regarding The State of the Presidency, Cronin revealed in a telephone interview that he "fought a hard battle" to overcome publisher Little, Brown's established grammatical policy. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Cronin, "Yes, I purposely de-capitalized the word 'president' but my decision was not ideological ... I have profound respect for the institution, but it was my way of de-glamorizing the office" (Cronin 2000). Additionally, Cronin reasoned that "if one refers to U.S. 'senators' or 'representatives' in lowercase, then it is only fitting that U.S. 'presidents' also be de-capitalized" (Cronin 2000).

The mere fact that it is difficult to find a post-Watergate American government textbook that does not make reference to the "textbook presidency" or the "imperial presidency" is testament to the concept's impact. We are not alone in this belief. In his 1982 analysis, Hoekstra demonstrates that these same critics of the "textbook presidency," particularly Cronin, played a leading role in the way the "presidency" is viewed not only by political scientists but by the general public (Hoekstra 1982, 159-67). Hence, there is every reason to suspect that this effort to decapitalize the "presidency" may extend well beyond the discipline. More specifically, we believe that these "anti-imperialists" strongly influenced the way newspapers, popular periodicals, and even style manuals now treat the "presidency."

To demonstrate just how influential these "anti-imperialist" political scientists have been in altering established grammatical rules and usage for capitalization, we analyzed the content of six types of publications over time to determine whether and when the publications changed from "President" to "president." The categories were: (1) political science monographs, (2) introductory college American government textbooks, (3) political science journals, (4) popular periodicals, (5) newspapers, and (6) style manuals and reference books.

We cast our observations and data-collection net wide. We examined all the American government textbooks we, or our colleagues, used in classes or had received from publishers. The thirteen textbooks described in Table 1 are representative of the American government textbook market, which is estimated to consist of about twenty different textbooks each year. The fourteen political science journals listed in Table 1 are the universe of the top journals in our discipline. The eleven periodicals were chosen purposively to include the three most widely read news weeklies and several magazines with declared ideological orientation. Finally, Table 1 includes two national newspapers and a leading regional newspaper. We examined the physical or microfilmed copies of all publications in Table 1. We did not use digital reproductions Digital reproduction is one form of data reproduction which is based on the digital data model. The advantage of digital reproduction of data over analogue reproduction is its lossless quality.  available on the Internet.

Our unit of analysis is "publications" or "works"--not particular authors per se. This is because publications involve editors and publishers, not just authors. Publications have style manuals dictating capitalization and other conventions that authors are expected to follow. Additionally, as indicated below, individual authors may not be consistent in their use of "President" or "president" even between and among their own sundry sun·dry  
Various; miscellaneous: a purse containing keys, wallet, and sundry items.

[Middle English sundri, from Old English syndrig, separate.
 publications. Even Cronin's co-edited reader, with Rexford G. Tugwell, The Presidency Reappraised(1974), uses the uppercase "President." We suspect that Cronin deferred to his senior co-editor and acceded to grammatical convention in this particular publication.

Each publication was classified according to a typology of presidential capitalization. The primary symbol is "President," although in the case of presidential monographs and textbooks we examined the use of other symbols, namely "Presidency," "Presidential," "Vice President," "Chief Executive," and "Commander-in-Chief." Figure 1 shows the time flame demarcating the change from uppercase to lowercase president for four patterns. Each publication may be grouped into one of the following four categories:

* "Relegators" (meaning to "relegate rel·e·gate  
tr.v. rel·e·gat·ed, rel·e·gat·ing, rel·e·gates
1. To assign to an obscure place, position, or condition.

2. To assign to a particular class or category; classify. See Synonyms at commit.
" or consign consign v. 1) to deliver goods to a merchant to sell on behalf of the party delivering the items, as distinguished from transferring to a retailer at a wholesale price for re-sale. Example: leaving one's auto at a dealer to sell and split the profit.  subjects to a lesser position or status) are publications whose authors/editors/publishers either initially employed "president" or subsequently changed "President" to "president" during the Nixon or Ford administrations (1969-1977). These are the tradition breakers, the grammatical trailblazers, or trendsetters. We group the Ford administration with the Nixon administration for the very reason that President Gerald R. Ford served as "Vice President" during the Watergate hearings and completed Nixon's unexpired term.

* "Modulators" (meaning to "modulate To insert a data signal into a carrier wave or direct current. See modulation. " or adjust or alter their views or positions over time) include publications whose authors/editors/publishers switched from "President" to "president" after the Ford administration (1977 and later). The modulators are those who appear to follow the relegators and go with the grammatical flow.

* "Vacillators" (meaning to "vacillate" or swing indecisively in·de·ci·sive  
1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute: an indecisive manager.

2. Inconclusive: an indecisive contest; an indecisive battle.
 from one course of action to another) are publications that have oscillated between "President" and "president" (1) before, during, or after the Nixon/Ford administrations or (2) who employed both words in the same publication.

* "Preservers" (meaning to "preserve" or protect established traditions and symbols from injury, harm, or denigration den·i·grate  
tr.v. den·i·grat·ed, den·i·grat·ing, den·i·grates
1. To attack the character or reputation of; speak ill of; defame.

) are publications whose authors/editors/publishers consistently maintained the use of "President" before and/or during and after the Nixon and Ford administrations (1969 through 1976--technically, of course, the Ford administration did not end until noon, January 20, 1977; however, for simplicity, we will use 1976 as the point of demarcation). These are the grammatical traditionalists who have maintained the integrity of the political symbol.


Table 1 is a summary of the evidence of a shift in capitalizing the "President." Leading examples of each type of publication are classified as falling into one of the four categories of the typology. Although there is variation in capitalizing the presidency among political science monographs, textbooks, and scholarly journals, Table 1 shows emphatically em·phat·ic  
1. Expressed or performed with emphasis: responded with an emphatic "no."

2. Forceful and definite in expression or action.

 that the shift from "President" to "president" appears in academic outlets well before it appears in popular periodicals, prominent newspapers, and even leading style manuals such as the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times Style Manual and the Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)

Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
 Stylebook style·book  
A book giving rules and examples of usage, punctuation, and typography, used in preparation of copy for publication.
. The lone exception appears to be the Chicago Manual of Style, but even that publication did not significantly alter its rules on capitalization until the outset of the Nixon administration. Thus, academic political scientists were on the cutting edge of this symbolic movement to decapitalize the "president"; in a sense, they were the trendsetters and opinion leaders, not followers followers

see dairy herd.
, of social practice.

Table 1 summarizes examples of presidential-related monographs, textbooks, academic articles, and newspaper articles within each category. Scholars are encouraged to apply this typology to any book or article in their personal collections.

Presidential Monographs. Table 1 identifies the most notable subjects of our study--the presidential monograph "relegators." These represent the first books published during the Nixon-Ford administrations that consistently used the decapitalized "president." Reedy's The Twilight of the Presidency (1970), Cronin's The State of the Presidency (1975), and Polsby and Wildavsky's Presidential Elections (1976) are the leading examples. Both the Reedy and Cronin books, discussed earlier, employ the lowercase referent from first editions on, whereas the Polsby and Wildavsky book changed from uppercase to lowercase within our established time frame (that is, during the Ford administration).

The Polsby and Wildavsky election monograph provides the single most compelling illustration in this study. In the preface to the third edition (1971), Polsby and Wildavsky employ uppercase referents, but downshift down·shift  
v. down·shift·ed, down·shift·ing, down·shifts

1. To shift a motor vehicle into a lower gear.

2. To reduce the speed, rate, or intensity of something.

 to the lowercase referents in the fourth edition (1976). The two prefaces are identical except for the decapitalization and the date of completion. Compare and contrast these two passages carefully:

Original: "This book is about the winning of the Presidential office. In spite of the great and lonely eminence eminence /em·i·nence/ (em´i-nens) a projection or boss.

caudal eminence  a taillike eminence in the early embryo, the remnant of the primitive node and the precursor of hindgut, adjacent
 of the Presidency, this office exists within a cultural and political tradition that guides and shapes the ways in which the Presidency is won and, later, the ways in which the Presidential power is exercised" (Polsby and Wildavsky 1971, iii).

Revised: "This book is about the winning of the presidential office. In spite of the great and lonely eminence of the presidency, this office exists within a cultural and political tradition that guides and shapes the ways in which the presidency is won and, later, the ways in which the presidential power is exercised. August 8, 1974." (Polsby and Wildavsky 1976, xviii).

The preface to the 1976 edition is dated August 8, 1974--the day Richard Nixon announced his resignation.

Table 1, second column, shows the "modulators," presidential monographs that initially used "President" but changed to lowercase, but after the Nixon-Ford administrations. Wayne's The Road to the White House (2001) is notable here because the first edition appeared in 1980, a few years after the practice of lowercase "president" had appeared. Wayne employed "President" in 1980 but then switched to "president" in later editions. Hargrove's works offer the most dramatic shift in this category. Although the second Hargrove work is not a direct, revised edition of the first, the theme, formatting, and message are so strikingly similar that we have included it for contrast. Finally, note how Alexander's Financing Politics (1980) changed from "Chief Executive" to "chief executive" over the two editions.

The third category in the capitalization typology, "vacillators"--those publications that are inconsistent--is empty for political science monographs. We did not find a single authored monograph that uses both "President" and "president," although there are textbooks and edited readers, such as Wildavsky's Perspectives on the Presidency (1975), which reprinted previously published articles using the punctuation punctuation [Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and  of the original publication.

Table 1, fourth column, presents examples of "preservers," political science monographs that maintain the use of the uppercase "President" in subsequent editions. "Preservers" include Barber's Presidential Character and Neustadt's Presidential Power, two classic works of political science that are well known outside the discipline. Interestingly, "preservers" also includes Congress and the Presidency, written by Polsby (1976), who co-authored Presidential Elections with Wildavsky, which is a significant "relegator," discussed above. Although each "preserver" in Table 1 employs the uppercase "President," there are some variations regarding other symbols. For example, Barber's and Neustadt's books use the hyphenated hy·phen·at·ed  
1. Having a hyphen: a hyphenated adjective.

2. Often Offensive Of or relating to naturalized citizens or their descendants or culture.
 "Vice-President," whereas Koenig's and Asher's texts are dehyphenated. Note too the use of the adjective adjective, English part of speech, one of the two that refer typically to attributes and together are called modifiers. The other kind of modifier is the adverb. , "Presidential." Barber's is the only text we found that maintained the uppercase "Presidential." The Asher and Neustadt texts employed lowercase "presidential" over the time period, whereas the Koenig book shifted from upper- to lowercase.

Table 1 also presents examples of each category of the capitalization typology for introductory American government college textbooks. The very first introductory textbooks to decapitalize the "president" appear to be Dye and Zeigler's The Irony of Democracy (1970) and Dahl's Democracy in the United States (1972a). These two books differ in their pedagogy. Dahl's approaches the study of American politics from a "polyarchy" perspective, whereas Dye and Zeigler view it from an "elite" perspective.

Dye and Zeigler's Irony of Democracy: An Uncommon Introduction to American Politics represented a distinct break from the standard, mainstream, institutions approach found in contemporary college American government textbooks. Although they write that "The Irony of Democracy is not necessarily 'anti-establishment,' " Dye and Zeigler quickly note that their objective was to challenge "the prevailing pluralistic plu·ral·is·tic  
1. Of or relating to social or philosophical pluralism.

2. Having multiple aspects or parts: "the idea that intelligence is a pluralistic quality that ...
 ideology" (1970, vii). Paradoxically, we label The Irony of Democracy as a "relegator" text because it primarily utilizes the lowercase "president"; however, as will be seen, we also designate it as a "vacillator" because there are also numerous instances where the uppercase "President" appears in the text, particularly the 1970 and 1972 editions.

The Dahl text was originally entitled en·ti·tle  
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.

2. To furnish with a right or claim to something:
 Pluralist Democracy A pluralist democracy describes a political system where there is more than one centre of power. Democracies are by definition pluaralist as democracies allow freedom of association although pluralism exists in many societies where democracy has not yet developed.  in the United States (1967), and it contained the uppercase "President." In 1972, perhaps in reaction to criticism of the "pluralist plu·ral·ist  
1. An adherent of social or philosophical pluralism.

2. Ecclesiastical A person who holds two or more offices, especially two or more benefices, at the same time.

Noun 1.
" perspective by "elite" theorists, Dahl changed the title of this introductory text to Democracy in the United States, adopted the hybrid "polyarchy" theory, and employed the lowercase "president" (1972a, vii). Then, in his third edition (1976), Dahl continued the lowercase usage and devoted an entire chapter to "The Crisis of the Imperial Presidency" (Chapter 13) in which he details the Watergate crisis. Perhaps most telling is the following footnote Text that appears at the bottom of a page that adds explanation. It is often used to give credit to the source of information. When accumulated and printed at the end of a document, they are called "endnotes."  (his number 21) that underscores the impact that the "anti-imperialist" literature may have had on Dahl's writing:
   In previous editions, I also emphasized the excessive demands of
   the office in terms of time and energy--the workload of the
   presidency. Two recent accounts by White House insiders have
   persuaded me that this aspect of the presidential burden has been

Dahl (1976, 147) acknowledged that both Reedy (1970), who was press secretary and special assistant to Johnson, and William Satire satire, term applied to any work of literature or art whose objective is ridicule. It is more easily recognized than defined. From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises—vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry,  (1975), who was a White House speechwriter speech·writ·er  
One who writes speeches for others, especially as a profession.

 for Nixon, flatly reject the view that the president is "overworked" in the ordinary sense.

Three other American government texts are "relegators." They are Ripley's American National Government and Public Policy (1974), Katznelson and Kesselman's The Politics of Power: A Critical Introduction to American Government (1975), and the omnipresent om·ni·pres·ent  
Present everywhere simultaneously.

[Medieval Latin omnipres
 Government by the People (Burns et al. 2000). Both the Ripley and Katznelson-Kesselman texts, although short-lived, make conspicuous references to the "imperial presidency" and Cronin. For example, the Ripley text states: "Thomas Cronin Thomas Cronin is a noted political scientist and educator. He served as President of Whitman College from 1993-2005.

Before that he taught at Colorado College (1979-1983), Princeton University (1985-1986), and The University of North Carolina (1967-1970).
 has questioned the picture of the president presented in most textbook accounts" (1974, 115), and the Katznelson-Kesselman text contains a long quotation concerning the "president" that begins: "Thomas Cronin's description is useful" (1975, 220). The latter text deserves special attention. Burns and Peltason's Government by the People has been a mainstay in college classrooms for years. Through its eighth edition (1972), Government by the People used the uppercase referent. However, in the ninth edition (1975), when Cronin joined the Burns and Peltason team, the "presidency" chapter in the 1975 edition was totally revised and, for the first time, bore Cronin's characteristic decapitalized referents. Government by the People (now in its eighteenth edition) continues to rank among the top-selling books ever. Given its financial success, it seems axiomatic ax·i·o·mat·ic   also ax·i·o·mat·i·cal
Of, relating to, or resembling an axiom; self-evident: "It's axiomatic in politics that voters won't throw out a presidential incumbent unless they think his challenger will
 that other textbook authors, editors, and publishers would attempt to emulate Government by the People--including its grammatical usage.

Today, it is nearly impossible to find a newly published, college American government textbook that uses the uppercase referent. Frantzich and Percy's American Government: The Political Game (1994) may be the lone exception. In stark contrast, it appears that most high school American government textbooks still apply the uppercase referents. Among the leading high school textbooks are: Hardy's Government in America (1988-1989), McClenaghan's Magruder's American Government (1988-1989), and Remy's United States Government: Democracy in Action (1994). Most notable is the fact that, unlike all other texts we examined, Remy (1994, 445) is the only one that decapitalizes "speaker of the house" but capitalizes "President" (e.g., "The speaker of the house becomes President and nominates someone for Vice President").

A long list of textbooks are "modulators," those that switched capitalization after the Nixon-Ford years. "Modulators" include a veritable "who's who Who’s Who

biographical dictionary of notable living people. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 922]

See : Fame
" of American government textbooks. Among them are Cummings and Wise's Democracy under Pressure; Freeman's Power and Politics in America; Parenti's Democracy for the Few; Ranney's Governing; Ripley's A More Perfect Union; Weisberg's Understanding American Government; and Woll and Binstock's America's Political System. Although each of these works modulated mod·u·late  
v. mod·u·lat·ed, mod·u·lat·ing, mod·u·lates
1. To adjust or adapt to a certain proportion; regulate or temper.

 from "President" to "president," there remains considerable variation with respect to "commander-in-chief' versus "commander in chief' and "vice-president" versus "vice president." Nevertheless, despite these minor variations, it is clear the lowercase "president" is now the convention among introductory political science textbooks.

Table 1 presents two examples of a "vacillator" textbook. The first is the aforementioned a·fore·men·tioned  
Mentioned previously.

The one or ones mentioned previously.


mentioned before

Adj. 1.
 Irony of Democracy by Dye and Zeigler. Although Irony of Democracy was among the first textbooks to use the lowercase referent, there are also numerous instances where the uppercase "President" appears. For example, in one paragraph, Dye and Zeigler write, "This action nearly led to the President's censure A formal, public reprimand for an infraction or violation.

From time to time deliberative bodies are forced to take action against members whose actions or behavior runs counter to the group's acceptable standards for individual behavior. In the U.S.
 by Congress" and "Many presidents have been forced to discard" (p. 229). Later, they write, "It is interesting to note that because the President's elite advisors shared" and "The president of the United States is central to the elite structures" (p. 229). The second text we classify as a "vacillator" is The Politics of American Democracy (1971-1977) by Irish and Prothro and, later, Richardson, which employed the uppercase "President" in early editions, switched to lowercase "president" in the sixth edition (1977), then resumed the uppercase "President" in the seventh and final edition (1981)--all with the same publisher (but perhaps with different editors).

In a 1973 book review, Margolis described two of the books in Table 1, and three others not included here, as representing a "new genre of introductory texts in American government." Margolis also wrote: "All of them reject the pluralist explanation of American politics which have dominated standard textbooks for the past two decades. Four of the five are highly critical not just of the pluralist explanation, but of the American political system" (Margolis 1973, 457). Symbolically, this increased frequency of lowercase "president" appears to coincide with the emergence of the more critical perspective of successful textbooks, although the correlation is far from perfect. In sum, with the rare exceptions of these "preservers," it appears that the vast majority of political science textbooks in the post-Nixon era tend to comport See COM port.  with the innovation and diffusion diffusion, in chemistry, the spontaneous migration of substances from regions where their concentration is high to regions where their concentration is low. Diffusion is important in many life processes.  pattern established by the "anti-imperialists."

Content Analysis

Political science monographs and textbooks were not the only publications affected by the trend toward decapitalization. A close examination of leading newspapers, popular periodicals, style manuals, and professional journals reveals that political scientists were, indeed, on the cutting edge of the decapitalization movement. Unlike the presidential studies monographs and introductory political science textbooks, it is difficult to find the full range of presidential referents (e.g., "chief executive" and "commander-in-chief') in each and every newspaper, popular periodical periodical, a publication that is issued regularly. It is distinguished from the newspaper in format in that its pages are smaller and are usually bound, and it is published at weekly, monthly, quarterly, or other intervals, rather than daily. , or professional journal article concerning the presidency. For simplicity, we confined con·fine  
v. con·fined, con·fin·ing, con·fines
1. To keep within bounds; restrict: Please confine your remarks to the issues at hand. See Synonyms at limit.
 our analysis of these publications to the primary symbol--"President" or "president." The methodology used was a content analysis of articles that contained the word "President" or "president." More specifically, we identified the demarcation between the last article in each publication that employed the uppercase "President" and the first article in that same publication that used the lowercase "president."

For example, using the American Journal of Political Science The American Journal of Political Science is published by the Midwest Political Science Association. It was formerly known as the Midwest Journal of Political Science. It is one of the most prestigious scholarly journals of political science and publishes articles on all areas of  (AJPS AJPS American Journal of Political Science ), the line of demarcation line of demarcation
A zone of inflammatory reaction separating gangrenous from healthy tissue.
 between the upper and lower referent is between 1974 and 1975. The last AJPS article using uppercase "President" was Longley's "McNamara and Military Behavior," with the sentence "The Constitution provided that a civilian (albeit the President) serve as Commander in Chief" (1974, 3). The first AJPS article using the lowercase "president" was Hershey and Hill's article titled "Watergate and Preadults' Attitude toward the President," with the sentence "Finally we will explore the relationship between perception of Watergate and preadults' attitudes toward the president" (1975, 706).

The same procedure was employed for political science journals, news periodicals/ political commentary, leading newspapers, and style manuals, dictionaries, and political science reference materials.

Political Science Journals, We identify three political science journals in Table 1 as "relegators"--those that switched to the lowercase during the early 1970s, indeed, during the Nixon administration. They are the Annals an·nals  
1. A chronological record of the events of successive years.

2. A descriptive account or record; a history: "the short and simple annals of the poor" 
 of the American Association American Association refers to one of the following professional baseball leagues:
  • American Association (19th century), active from 1882 to 1891.
  • American Association (20th century), active from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997.
 of Political and Social Scientists (Annals), AJPS, and Polity. As noted below in Figure 2, the Annals decapitalized in 1972, Polity followed a year later, and the AJPS adopted lowercase in 1975. The first article to employ lowercase "president" in the AJPS is Hershey and Hill (1975), which examined the effect of Watergate on preadult pre·a·dult
Of or relating to the period preceding adulthood or the adult stage of the life cycle.
 political attitudes.

Only two journals in our survey may be classified as "preservers": Public Administration Quarterly (PAQ PAQ Position Analysis Questionnaire
PAQ Previously Asked Questions
PAQ Plan d'Action Qualité
PAQ Palace Acquire (intern; USAF)
PAQ Project Assessment Quotation
PAQ Process Average Quality
) and Public Administration Review (PAR). These are journals that maintained the uppercase "President" before, during, and after the Watergate scandal. A plausible hypothesis for their maintaining tradition is that scholars tend to stress the importance of whatever it is that they study. And because the primary focus of PAQ and PAR is the "Presidency" and the administration of government, it seems only natural for those journals to elevate el·e·vate  
tr.v. ele·vat·ed, ele·vat·ing, ele·vates
1. To move (something) to a higher place or position from a lower one; lift.

2. To increase the amplitude, intensity, or volume of.

 their subject matter. However, Administration and Society falls into the next category--the "modulators."

We classify six journals as "modulators," as indicated below. These are American Politics Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, Journal of Politics, Publius, State Government, and Administration and Society. Each of these professional journals decapitalized after the Nixon-Ford administrations. For most, the demarcation occurred in the late 1970s and, with only the exception of Administration and Society, took place before the early 1980s.

Many political science journals are inconsistent in capitalizing the "president" (or "President"). Whether a result of sloppiness, editorial ambivalence ambivalence (ămbĭv`ələns), coexistence of two opposing drives, desires, feelings, or emotions toward the same person, object, or goal. The ambivalent person may be unaware of either of the opposing wishes. , or author discretion, many leading journals alternate between the uppercase and lowercase styles. These include: American Political Science Review The American Political Science Review (APSR) is the flagship publication of the American Political Science Association and the most prestigious journal in political science.  (APSR APSR American Political Science Review
APSR Asia Pacific Society of Respirology (Tokyo, Japan)
APSR Alabama Para Spiritual Research
APSR Axial Power Shaping Rod
), Presidential Studies Quarterly, Political Science Quarterly, and Political Research Quarterly (formerly Western Political Quarterly). To demonstrate the nature of the inconsistency in capitalization during the 1970s and 1980s, Table 2 presents a sampling of entries from the APSR and Presidential Studies Quarterly, perhaps the most likely outlets for presidential research. Despite initiating the lowering of the "p" in president, political scientists were not uniform in their practice.


News Periodicals/Political Commentary. We also categorize popular news periodicals and political commentary according to their capitalization style. There are no periodicals that are "relegators" in Table 1. Indeed, we are unable to locate a single periodical that used lowercase "president" before, or switched to lowercase "president" during, the Nixon-Ford administrations. Likewise, we found no periodicals that are "vacillators" in their capitalizing style. Again, this bolsters our contention that it was the political scientists who influenced the journalists rather than the other way around.

There are a number of periodicals that have maintained the uppercase "President." These publications capture the full ideological spectrum of American politics and include The Progressive, The Nation, and Time on the liberal-to-moderate side; Congressional Record A daily publication of the federal government that details the legislative proceedings of Congress.

The Congressional Record began in 1873 and, in 1947, a feature called The Daily Digest was added to briefly highlight the daily legislative activities of each House,
 and National Journal in the moderate camp; and National Review and Reader's Digest Reader's Digest

U.S.-based monthly magazine. Founded by DeWitt and Lila Wallace, it was first published in 1922 as a digest of articles of topical interest and entertainment value condensed from other periodicals.
 on the moderate-to-conservative perspective.

We found many news periodicals that modulated and changed from "President" to "president" long after the Nixon-Ford years. The earliest modulator Modulator

Any device or circuit by means of which a desired signal is impressed upon a higher-frequency periodic wave known as a carrier. The process is called modulation. The modulator may vary the amplitude, frequency, or phase of the carrier.
 was The New Republic, which changed in 1979. Other notable modulators include Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report

Weekly newsmagazine published in Washington, D.C. U.S. News was founded in 1933 by David Lawrence (1888–1973) to cover important domestic events; he founded World Report in 1945 to treat world news. The two magazines were merged in 1948.

Newspapers. Three leading newspapers--Boston Globe, Washington Post, and New York Times--are moderators. The first newspaper among the group that modulated was the Washington Post, switching in early 1978, followed by the Boston Globe in 1986. Note that the New York Times did not adopt the lowercase "president" until November 1999.

Style Manuals, Dictionaries, and Political Science References. Finally, we examined presidential capitalization in leading style manuals, dictionaries, and political science reference sources. Arguably, the three leading style manuals are the New York Times Manual of Style, U.S. Government Style Manual, and Chicago Manual of Style. The New York Times Manual of Style, as revealed below, recommended uppercase "President" in 1976 but a lowercase "president" in its newly revised and edited 1999 update. This change is now reflected in the New York Times, the New York Times, The

Morning daily newspaper, long the U.S. newspaper of record. From its establishment in 1851 it has aimed to avoid sensationalism and to appeal to cultured, intellectual readers.
 nation's "newspaper of record." The U.S. Government Style Manual has never abandoned the uppercase referent. Yet, we have found examples where political scientists quote official governmental documents but editorially insert the lowercase "president" within those quotations.

The Chicago Manual of Style (1969) was the first to recommend the lowercase "president." Earlier editions of the Chicago Manual of Style permitted the uppercase referent; most recent editions recommend the lowercase usage. Of course, it might be argued that some editors and scholars have been influenced more by this style manual than by the "anti-imperialist" presidential scholars. This, indeed, may be the case. However, we do know that Cronin's decision to alter grammatical convention was based on conviction and independent of Chicago's editorial change. Additionally, other style manuals used by leading commercial presses continued to recommend the uppercase referent long after Chicago made its switch.

Although it is impossible to include each and every edition of each and every dictionary for analysis, the trend appears roughly the same: before the Nixon and Ford administrations, dictionaries employed the uppercase referent; after that time, some switched to the lowercase referent. More importantly, the majority of dictionaries that we examined continue to employ the uppercase reference to the "office of the President of the United States."

The last subject of our examination is political science reference material. The analysis reveals four works that reflect the ambivalence of the discipline with respect to capitalization. In the "preserver" category is Piano and Greenberg's The American Political Dictionary (1962-1963) that has continued to employ the uppercase "President" throughout the entire period. In the "modulator" camp are Peltason's Corwin and Peltason's Understanding the Constitution (1949) and Barone, Ujifusa, and Matthews's Almanac of American Politics (1978); both references employed the uppercase but later switched to the lowercase referent in later editions. As a case in point, Barone et al. write (1978, v), "In November 1976 American voters decided to elect a new President and the old Congress." Yet, in 1980, the same authors note: "The upshot was that the American public was force to admit that, for once, it had failed to choose an honest and fair minded man president. ... The presidency is of course the focus of our policies" (p. xii). A final example is the 2000 edition of Scott and Garrison's The Political Science Student Writer's Manual (2000) that "vacillates" between upper- and lowercase within the book itself.

Figure 2 is a timeline showing the change in capitalization in twenty-four selected publications. The diffusion pattern from uppercase "President" to lowercase "president" is from political science publications to mass periodicals, and not the other way around. Of the ten earliest publications to lower the "p" in president, eight are academic political science publications; of the ten latest, eight are nonacademic periodicals. Prominent political scientists have, indeed, made a difference with respect to capitalization of the "presidency."


Prior to 1970, the overwhelming practice by grammarians, journalists, publishers, political scientists, and other scholars was to write "President." However, beginning in the early 1970s, standard procedure became increasingly muddied. As early as 1973, grammarian gram·mar·ian  
A specialist in grammar.


a person who studies or writes about grammar for a living

Noun 1.
 Hulon Willis observed, "Though capitalization is the most purely conventional of all aspects of writing, there is an elusiveness about its rules that constantly plagues all writers who want to be wholly 'correct' in their usage." Willis then noted that one of the most frequently asked questions of English teachers English Teachers (airing internationally as Taipei Diaries) is a Canadian documentary television series. The series, which airs on Canada's Life Network and internationally, profiles several young Canadians teaching English as a Second Language in Taipei, Taiwan.  concerns rules for capitalizing "President-president" (1973, 278).

The question of whether it is "President" or "president" of the United States continues to be of diverse and contradictory usage from grammarians, journalists, publishers, and political scientists. Although countless observers have offered divergent di·ver·gent  
1. Drawing apart from a common point; diverging.

2. Departing from convention.

3. Differing from another: a divergent opinion.

 opinions on why this particular office and officeholder of·fice·hold·er  
One who holds public office.

Noun 1. officeholder - someone who is appointed or elected to an office and who holds a position of trust; "he is an officer of the court"; "the club elected its officers for
 should or should not be capitalized, until now there has been no systematic research on this topic.

Printed words and titles are essential symbols, and the capitalization or decapitalization of those words and titles are conventions of grammar reflecting standing and meaning of those symbols. Change in capitalization is also a reflection of social and political practice, which invites examination and begs questions about the reasons and causes behind such change. Our study examined the semantic environment regarding the alteration in capitalization of our nation's highest elected official.

Before the 1970s, publications most generally employed the uppercase referent for the "President." However, beginning with the Nixon administration and accelerating in the decade after the Watergate scandal, this near-universal standard changed dramatically. Moreover, our study finds that it was neither journalists, grammarians, publishers, nor politicians but rather prominent presidential scholars (viz. Thomas Cronin and George Reedy) who led the nation's intellectual charge to make the lowercase "president" the rule rather than the exception. This grammatical relegation RELEGATION, civil law. Among the Romans relegation was a banishment to a certain place, and consequently was an interdiction of all places except the one designated.
     2. It differed from deportation. (q.v.) Relegation and deportation agree u these particulars: 1.
 represents, to a large extent, a desire by leading political scientists to make the office appear less "imperial." These alterations, we contend, stem from the desire by prominent political scientists to "deimperialize" and "de-glamorize" the office than any concerted effort to establish "grammatical correctness." What began as an effort to "de-imperialize" and "de-glamorize" the "swollen presidency" of the late 1960s and early 1970s by decapitalizing the office has now become common practice, something that is largely taken for granted Adj. 1. taken for granted - evident without proof or argument; "an axiomatic truth"; "we hold these truths to be self-evident"
axiomatic, self-evident

obvious - easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind; "obvious errors"

The decision in the post-Watergate period to decapitalize the "president" of the United States symbolically reduced the standing and respect directed toward the office. Although Cronin, Reedy, and other scholars provided a "reality check" in examining the "swollen textbook presidency," their arguments should be examined and either accepted or rejected by political scientists, authors, journalists, and the American people An American people may be:
  • any nation or ethnic group of the Americas
  • see Demographics of North America
  • see Demographics of South America
. The practice they started of decapitalizing the office should have received closer scrutiny before it was slowly adopted in other textbooks and periodicals. Evidently, political scientists do influence social convention.


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2. Sweeping or surging back again.

Adj. 1.
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For other people named David Wise, see David Wise (disambiguation).

David Wise (often also credited as Dave Wise or D. Wise) is a British video game music composer.
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For other people with the same name, see David Hill.
David Bennett Hill (b. August 29 1843, Montour Falls, New York - d. October 20 1910, Albany, New York) was a Governor of New York and a Bourbon Democrat.
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2. reverse

3. reversed

4. review

5. revision

6. revolution

1. revise(d)

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Western Illinois University For another university which uses the abbreviation "WIU", see Webber International University

Main article: Western Illinois Leathernecks


University of Missouri-Columbia

Richard J. Hardy is chair and professor of political science at Western Illinois University. He teaches and researches political socialization Political socialization is a concept concerning the “study of the developmental processes by which children and adolescents acquire political cognition, attitudes and behaviours” (Powell, 2003, p. 20). , civic leadership, civil rights, and constitutional law.

David J. Webber is an associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, specializing in American public policy and state polity making.
Presidential Typology by Publication

                          Relegators                 Modulators
                        Switched from               Changed from
                         President to               President to
                     "president" during the     "president" after the
                          Nixon-Ford                 Nixon-Ford
Type/Publication        Administrations            Administrations

Political science  Thomas E. Cronin's The     Erwin C. Hargrove's
  monographs         State of the Presidency    Presidential Leadership
                   Nelson W. Polsby and       Frank J. Sorauf's Party
                     Aaron B. Wildavsky's       Politics in America
                     Presidential Elections   Stephen Wayne's Road to
                   George E. Reedy's The        the White House
                     Twilight of the          Herbert E. Alexander's
                     Presidency                 Financing Politics
Political science  J. M. Burns and J. W.      Milton C. Cummings and
  textbooks          Peltason, with T.          David Wise's Democracy
                     Cronin's Government        under Pressure
                     by the People            Kenneth Prewitt and
                   Robert A. Dahl's Democracy   Sidney Verba's An
                     in the United States       Introduction to
                   Randall B. Ripley's          American Government
                     American National        Austin Ranney's Governing
                     Government and Public    Richard A. Watson and
                     Policy                     Michael Fitzgerald's
                   Ira Katznelson and Mark      Promise and Performance
                     Kesselman's The            of American Democracy
                     Politics of Power
Political science  American Journal of        American Politics
  journals           Political Science          Quarterly The Journal
                   Annal Polity                 of Politics Foreign
                                                Affairs Publius State
Periodicals                                   The New Republic Newsweek
                                                Congressional Quarterly
                                                National Journal
                                                National Review U.S.
                                                News & World Report
Leading                                       New York Times Washington
  newspapers                                    Post Boston Globe
Style manuals/     The Chicago Manual of      AP Stylebook
  references         Style                    Almanac of American
                                              New York Times Style

                      Alternated between            Preservers
                         President and         Maintained "President"
                     "president" during and     during and/or after
                     after the Nixon-Ford         the Nixon-Ford
Type/Publication        Administrations           Administrations

Political science                             James David Barber's The
  monographs                                    Presidential Character
                                              Louis W Koenig's The
                                                Chief Executive
                                              Richard E. Neustadt's
                                                Presidential Power
                                              Nelson W. Polsby's
                                                Congress and the
Political science  Marian D. Irish, James W.  John Ferguson and Dean
  textbooks          Prothro, and Richard J.    McHenry's American
                     Richardson's The           Federal Government
                     Politics of American     Kenneth M. Dolbeare and
                     Democracy                  Murray J. Edelman's
                   Thomas R. Dye and L.         American Politics
                     Harmon Zeigler's The     Stephen E. Frantzich and
                     Irony of Democracy         Stephen L. Percy's
                                                American Government:
                                                The Political Game
Political science  American Political        Public Administration
  journals           Science Review            Quarterly
                   Presidential Studies      Public Administration
                     Quarterly                 Review
                   Political Science
                   Western Political
Periodicals                                  Congressional Record The
                                             The Progressive Reader's
                                               Digest Time
Style manuals/                               U.S. Government Style
  references                                   Manual
                                             Plano's Dictionary of
                                               Political Science

Inconsistency within American Political Science Review and Presidential
Studies Quarterly

             American Political Science Review

1973  Edward R. Tufte         "The Relationship between
                                Seats and Votes in
                                Two-Party Systems"
1974  Steven J. Brams and     "The 2/3's Rule in
        Morton D. Davis         Presidential Campaigning"
1975  Edward R. Tufte         "Determinants of the
                                Outcomes of Midterm
                                Congressional Elections"
1976  George C. Edwards III   "Presidential Influence in the
                                House: Presidential Prestige
                                as a Source of Presidential
1976  Joel D. Aberbach and    "Clashing Beliefs with the
        Bert A. Rockman         Executive Branch: The
                                Nixon Bureaucracy"
1976  A. Miller, W. Miller,   "A Majority Party in Disarray:
        A. Raine, and           Policy Polarization in the
        T. Brown                1972 Election"
1977  Samuel Kernell          "Presidential Popularity and
                                Negative Voting"
1978  Samuel Kernell          "Explaining Presidential

            Presidential Studies Quarterly

1980  Michael G. Krukones     "Predicting Presidential
                                Performance through
                                Political Campaigns"
1982  Douglas J. Hoekstra     "The Textbook Presidency
1985  David H. Burton         "The Learned Presidency:
                                Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson"
1989  Jack E. Holmes and      "Our Best and Worst
        Robert E. Elder         Presidents"
1989  John A. Davis           "Book Review"
1993  R. Gordon Hoxie         "Democracy in Transition"
1994  James A. Davis and      "The President's Party"
        David L. Nixon

             American Political Science Review

1973     LXVII,    "The larger swing ratio in
          no. 2      on-year elections generally
                     benefits the President's
                     party" (548)
1974    LXVIII,    "would be eliminated if the
          no. 1      president were elected by
                     direct popular vote" (113)
1975      LXIX,    "In this study, we seek to
          no. 3      explain the magnitudes of
                     the national midterm loss
                     of the President's party"
1976       LXX,    "Among these are the
          no. 1      President's party leadership"
1976       LXX,    "The latter course, especially
          no. 2      when the President threatens
                     the interests.... Any
                     aggressive president who
                     wishes to" (468)
1976       LXX,    "The nation was led by a
          no. 3      popular, largely
                     non-partisan president and a
                     government only dimly
                     perceived as divided" (753)
1977      LXXI,    "As a result, the President's
          no. 1      party loses congressional
                     seats" (45)
1978     LXXII,    "Students of public opinion
          no. 2      have noticed ... the public
                     tends to rally behind the
                                president" (512)

          Presidential Studies Quarterly

1980   Vol. 10,    "This study indicates that
          no. 4      Presidents successfully
                     executed ... their campaign
                     pledges while in office"
1982   Vol. 12,    "That the President is the chief
          no. 2      catalyst" (159)
1985   Vol. 15,      "The learning of many
          no. 3      American presidents is, in
                     fact, one of the neglected
                     aspects of that high office"
1989   Vol. 19,    "They ranked thirty-six
          no. 3      presidents in order of
                     greatness" (530)
1989   Vol. 19,    "The fact is, however, that
          no. 4      what these two Presidents
                     did was" (847)
1993   Vol. 23,    "We have entrusted much to
          no. 1      the President" (29)
                     "The greatest of those
                     presidents" (29) "Lincoln is
                     the role model of
                     Presidential greatness" (29)
1994   Vol. 24,    "The president's party is a"
          no. 2      (363)
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Author:Hardy, Richard J.; Webber, David J.
Publication:Presidential Studies Quarterly
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2008
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