President of the United States of America/Talk

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Sorry for the poor formatting; I got the list from http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/. Looks like they've got more info, and I'd bet that info is in the public domain and therefore copyable?


An important question. Could you research this and report back?


The info at that site seems to come from copyrighted sources. information here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/copyright.html

I can find no link between that address and http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/, however they are in the same folder and clearly contain information on the same subjects mentioned in the book on the U.S. presidents. The info above may fall under the Feist v. Rural decision, i.e. that factual information, even in collections, in many instances is not copyrightable. I guess the question would be whether any of the "expressive" content of the author is present here; you should probably ask Lee Daniel Crocker, as it seems to be an area he's knowledgeable in.

The actual text of the biographies there is indeed copyrighted by the WHHA, a non-governmental entity that is entitled to own copyrights, and so you can't copy any of that text. Simple factual information like where a president was born, what other offices he may have held, the names of his family members, etc. can certainly be learned from that site and written up here in your own words. There is no "creative selection" or "creative presentation" problem because we're including every president, in natural order, and presenting the information in our own way. Copyrights apply to "creativity", not "research". --LDC


Is Andrew Johnson considered a Republican?


So, it seems to me that it would be nice for this list to be in chronological order. That would require the presidents under the Articles to come before the presidents under the Constitution. Does anyone have any objections? -- EdwardOConnor

Well, since those guys weren't really Presidents of the United States (under the most common interpretation of what it means to really be the President of the United States), it makes sense to have them listed as they are, in a side-note. Perhaps they should even be moved to a separate page. --Jimbo Wales

I guess I don't understand the common interpretation then. What it not the United States that won indepenence from Britain? It seems strange to think that it came about upon ratification of the Constitution, many years later. Mere anarchy was not loosed upon the land in the interim. (Note that it would be correct to say that I'm attacking a strawman here. :]) It seems to me that any reasonable interpretation of the phrase "president of the United States of America" has to take into account that both American governments have had such a position. Would it be correct to not list Arthur Griffith before Eamon de Valera on a hypothetical "Presidents of Ireland" page, merely because he was not president under the current Constitution? -- EdwardOConnor

Perhaps keep them in a separate list, but put that separate list before the "traditional" president listing? Aitchison was really briefly the President, so he should probably stay on this page no matter what ultimately happens to the others.

This sounds reasonable to me. -- EdwardOConnor


Why are religious affiliations on the main list page? On a president's own page, sure, but on the main page? Party affiliation makes sense, but here, religion is no more relevant than shoe size, IMO. -- RjLesch

Agreed. -- EdwardOConnor
Religious affiliation is indeed more relevant than shoe size or boxers or briefs (MTV viewers' voting criteria notwithstanding :-). One's religion can give insight into one's philosophy, worldview, etc. As for why I added them -- I did it because I happened to have collected the list out of an almanac several years ago. <>< tbc

I think this claim needs to be shown, not merely told. I'd be interested to see an explanation of how Nixon's Quakerism influenced his decision to bomb Cambodia, for example. But until then, I think religious affiliation should be removed or moved somewhere else. - Tim

<AOL>Me too!</AOL>. Seriously, I think this gives prominence to a politician's religious beliefs beyond what they deserve. In any case, just listing somebody as, say, Catholic, says nothing about whether they were actually devout or just turned up to church on Sunday for the cameras. Oh, and if I recall my American history correctly wasn't Lincoln Jewish (thus making "none" more than slightly inaccurate)- another example of why this listing shouldn't be here. --Robert Merkel
No, Lincoln became a Christian at Gettysberg. See Tbc/Abraham Lincoln.

But in the same vein, listing someone as "Republican" doesn't tell you if he was a devoted party hack or just someone in whose lap the nomination fell because nobody else was available/willing to run at the time - see Zachary Taylor for an example.

Here's an analogy for you. When listing the winners of a season MVP award, do you list the team they play for, or their religion? --Robert Merkel