Politics

"When You Have Been President of the United States, Everyone Knows It. You Can Afford To Be Modest."

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Mr. Presidents

In this week of presidential pomp and circumstance, with former presidents thick on the ground, some words of wisdom from Miss Manners. After noting that George Washington had a slight preference for "His High and Mightiness" over the more egalitarian "Mr. President," she writes:

One might have thought that the world had grown somewhat more casual since the 18th century. And a lot less interested in honorifics. But apparently we have also been growing more pompous. We now have four living former presidents addressing one another as Mr. President, and a citizenry worried that it would be disrespectful to follow George Washington's rule.

Read the whole protocol primer here.