George Washington goes down in historical past as certainly one of the most liked presidents of all time, largely due to his character. When he was simply 16 years previous, the future president copied some etiquette guidelines that appear to have had a serious impression on his sense of morality and civility. The Washington Publish reviews that these “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” got here from an English translation of a 16th-century Jesuit treatise.
Our first president might have adopted these guidelines, dubbed George Washington’s guidelines of civility by later generations. However many presidents, together with Donald Trump (web page 18), have damaged Washington’s guidelines over the years.
- 1 1. Thomas Jefferson
- 2 2. John Quincy Adams
- 3 three. Andrew Jackson
- 4 four. William Henry Harrison
- 5 5. Zachary Taylor
- 6 6. Abraham Lincoln
- 7 7. Ulysses S. Grant
- 8 eight. William Howard Taft
- 9 9. Woodrow Wilson
- 10 10. Harry S. Truman
- 11 11. John F. Kennedy
- 12 12. Lyndon B. Johnson
- 13 13. Richard Nixon
- 14 14. Gerald Ford
- 15 15. Invoice Clinton
- 16 16. George W. Bush
- 17 17. Barack Obama
- 18 18. Donald Trump
1. Thomas Jefferson
- In workplace: 1801 to 1809
- Rule that he broke: “Think before you speak. Pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily but orderly and distinctly.”
It’s extensively believed that Thomas Jefferson was scared of public talking. So it appears protected to say that Jefferson in all probability wasn’t nice at delivering speeches — and certain didn’t comply with George Washington’s to “pronounce not imperfectly.” The Thomas Jefferson Basis notes that we don’t know what number of of Jefferson’s written speeches he truly delivered in public. Jefferson delivered two inaugural addresses that have been described as so quiet they have been solely partially audible, and he delivered his annual addresses to Congress in writing.
Subsequent: This president liked to go skinny-dipping.
2. John Quincy Adams
- In workplace: 1825 to 1829
- Rule that he broke: “Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half-dressed.”
The etiquette guidelines that George Washington copied out warned towards strolling round half-dressed or bare. However an extended line of presidential skinny-dippers has disregarded that rule. One instance? John Quincy Adams, whom New Republic characterizes as “the founding father of skinny-dipping.” His morning routine concerned a unadorned dip in the Potomac River. And as New Republic notes, he didn’t maintain the ritual secret from Washington insiders — together with journalists, who knew precisely the place to seek out him.
Subsequent: This president taught his parrot to curse.
three. Andrew Jackson
- In workplace: 1829 to 1837
- Rule that he broke: “Use no reproachful language against any one, neither curse nor revile.”
Andrew Jackson goes down in historical past as considered one of the most foul-mouthed presidents. So in fact, he broke George Washington’s rule towards cursing and utilizing coarse language. A person who fought duels, outfitted the White Home with spittoons, and beat a would-be murderer together with his cane, Jackson probably stunned nobody by sometimes uttering obscenities. What did shock individuals was the string of obscenities that his pet parrot let unfastened throughout the former president’s funeral.
Subsequent: This president delivered the longest inaugural handle — and died shortly thereafter.
four. William Henry Harrison
- In workplace: 1841 to 1841
- Rule that he broke: “Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.”
William Henry Harrison broke the rule about holding your speeches brief together with his record-setting inaugural tackle, which exceeded eight,000 phrases. Harrison additionally holds an unlucky document as the shortest time period in workplace, as he died solely a month after taking workplace. As Historical past explains, “the man with the shortest White House tenure delivered the longest inaugural address in history, which may have been his undoing.” It took Harrison an hour and 45 minutes to ship his speech on a chilly March morning — and he caught a chilly that developed right into a deadly case of pneumonia.
Subsequent: This president didn’t gown neatly.
5. Zachary Taylor
- In workplace: 1849 to 1850
- Rule that he broke: “Wear not your your clothes foul, ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least, and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.”
Zachary Taylor is one in every of a number of presidents who broke George Washington’s guidelines about dressing neatly. Taylor dressed sloppily, with The Presidential Ham reporting that he merely wore no matter was snug. The publication notes that “even as a soldier, [Taylor] typically appeared in a hodgepodge of civilian and military dress.” He was additionally farsighted and walleyed, so he wore studying glasses and sometimes squinted.
Subsequent: This president spoke about disagreeable topics, together with unusually prophetic goals.
6. Abraham Lincoln
- In workplace: 1861 to 1865
- Rule that he broke: “Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table. Speak not of melancholy things as death and wounds, and if others mention them change if you can the discourse. Tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.”
Abraham Lincoln fought medical melancholy his complete life, and didn’t precisely observe George Washington’s recommendation to keep away from talking of melancholy topics. The Atlantic notes that Lincoln’s buddies referred to him as profoundly melancholy. He typically wept in public. And he recited maudlin poetry. Moreover, he didn’t comply with the guidelines’ recommendation to keep away from discussing his goals. Lincoln advised his associates about goals that now appear unusually prophetic, together with two that appeared to predict his assassination.
Subsequent: This president didn’t have good style in buddies.
7. Ulysses S. Grant
- In workplace: 1869 to 1877
- Rule that he broke: “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘is better to be alone than in bad company.”
George Washington discovered that a gentleman ought to hold good firm. Many presidents complied with that rule, with one notably notable exception: Ulysses S. Grant. Grant infamously selected a Cupboard that turned suffering from corruption and scandal. U.S. Information explains that Grant named each incompetent and corrupt pals and associates to key jobs in his administration. Consequently, his presidency underwent a collection of embarrassing scandals as Grant naively enacted lax insurance policies that enabled businessmen to make tens of millions.
Subsequent: This president beloved to eat.
eight. William Howard Taft
- In workplace: 1909 to 1913
- Rule that he broke: “Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals, feed not with greediness. Cut your bread with a knife, lean not on the table neither find fault with what you eat.”
George Washington’s guidelines, like many different guides to civility, warned towards gluttony (and dangerous desk manners). However William Howard Taft didn’t pay attention. As the Miller Middle notes, Taft “typically ate a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, and mounds of pancakes for breakfast, leaving him sluggish for most of the morning.” The Village Voice studies that “There is no question that Taft was a glutton, and his tastes ran to lengthy meals featuring multiple meats, fishes, and fowls in rotation.”
Subsequent: This president didn’t all the time make rational selections.
9. Woodrow Wilson
- In workplace: 1913 to 1921
- Rule that he broke: “Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ‘is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature. And in all causes of passion, admit reason to govern.”
Although chances are you’ll know Woodrow Wilson for main America via World Warfare I or laying out a plan for the League of Nations. However Wilson didn’t fairly reside as much as George Washington’s guidelines about avoiding malicious conduct or letting rational considering information your actions. The New York Occasions notes that Wilson “claimed for the United States the right to speak for the peoples of the world.” And irrationally “convinced that he spoke for the voiceless masses, he was blind to the inconsistencies in his own behavior.” That included his actions to undermine racial equality at each flip.
Subsequent: This president famously misplaced his mood.
10. Harry S. Truman
- In workplace: 1945 to 1953
- Rule that he broke: “Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules moral before your inferiors.”
Whereas George Washington would doubtless have needed subsequent presidents to all the time keep their composure, presidents have misplaced their tempers many occasions over the years. One notable incident concerned Harry S. Truman, who The College of Virginia studies “penned a scorching rebuke” to a music critic who disliked a efficiency by Truman’s daughter. Truman wrote quite a few insults, even threatening, “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
Subsequent: This president wasn’t precisely discreet.
11. John F. Kennedy
- In workplace: 1961 to 1963
- Rule that he broke: “Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.”
The etiquette guidelines that George Washington copied down additionally taught that some issues are higher stored a secret — a lesson that John F. Kennedy disregarded on no less than a couple of events. Slate counts Kennedy amongst the presidents who’ve revealed categorized info to overseas governments. (The Kennedy administration revealed spy-plane photographs displaying Soviet missile positions in Cuba.) Moreover, Kennedy wasn’t precisely discreet about his philandering or what New Republic characterizes as his penchant for “taking outlandish risks after he entered the White House.”
Subsequent: This president routinely performed a imply joke on his guests.
12. Lyndon B. Johnson
- In workplace: 1963 to 1969
- Rule that he broke: “Show nothing to your friend that might affright him.”
When you might make many critiques of Lyndon B. Johnson’s character, certainly one of the most original considerations his defiance of Washington’s rule towards displaying a pal one thing which may scare him. Johnson routinely broke this rule by pranking advisers together with his Amphicar (an amphibious automotive inbuilt Germany in the 1960s). Enterprise Insider studies that the car seemed like an unusual vehicle. Johnson would supply to drive visitor round his ranch, then barrel the car down a hill right into a lake, telling passengers that the brakes had malfunctioned.
Subsequent: This president didn’t intend to shortly accomplish his marketing campaign guarantees.
13. Richard Nixon
- In workplace: 1969 to 1974
- Rule that he broke: “Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.”
Although George Washington’s guidelines warned towards making guarantees you’ll be able to’t maintain, many presidents did not maintain their marketing campaign guarantees. One straightforward instance? Richard Nixon. Nixon ran on a promise to finish the Vietnam Warfare. However to win the election, he wanted the struggle to proceed. So Nixon acted to stall the Vietnam peace talks earlier than he assumed workplace. After he turned president, Nixon expanded the warfare into Laos and Cambodia. And it wasn’t till 1973 that he settled for a peace settlement that would have been achieved in 1968.
Subsequent: This president had dangerous tooth (considerably like George Washington).
14. Gerald Ford
- In workplace: 1974 to 1977
- Rule that he broke: “Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.”
We don’t have something dangerous to say about Gerald Ford’s arms or fingernails. However as the Tuft College Dental Alumni Affiliation notes, Ford had famously dangerous tooth, defying Washington’s rule about maintaining one’s tooth clear. (Nevertheless, we expect Washington wouldn’t have a lot room to complain, as he appears to have worn a set of false tooth that included tooth pulled from his slaves.) Ford didn’t appear to get good dental care, and certain had periodontal illness.
Subsequent: This president selected the mistaken type of pastime.
15. Invoice Clinton
- In workplace: 1993 to 2001
- Rule that he broke: “Let your recreations be manful not sinful.”
George Washington’s guidelines warned that gents ought to select actions and hobbies which might be “manful” however not “sinful.” Invoice Clinton appears to have damaged with that recommendation by dishonest on his spouse with White Home intern Monica Lewinsky. The Atlantic notes that Clinton was “very credibly” accused of intercourse crimes in the 1990s, together with an alleged violent assault. “But Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced,” the publication notes, a phenomenon that had its personal penalties.
Subsequent: This president spoke hypocritically.
16. George W. Bush
- In workplace: 2001 to 2009
- Rule that he broke: “Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than precepts.”
George Washington’s guidelines warned towards hypocrisy, a lesson that George W. Bush didn’t appear to utterly perceive whilst Donald Trump took workplace. Vice famous that Bush hypocritically rebuked Trump for his “cruelty.” Bush’s personal report consists of horrible remedy of Muslim and Center Japanese detainees. Bush is liable for the Iraq Conflict and its dying toll in the tons of of hundreds. And he additionally enacted Islamophobic immigration insurance policies and surveillance packages. And as Slate explains, Bush additionally hasn’t acknowledged that “had there been no Bush, there’d be no Trump.”
Subsequent: Uncover the rule that Barack Obama broke.
17. Barack Obama
- In workplace: 2009 to 2017
- Rule that he broke: “Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others. If you see any filth or thick spittle, put your foot dexterously upon it. If it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.”
The record of etiquette guidelines that George Washington copied down included a rule towards killing bugs “in the sight of others.” Barack Obama famously broke this rule when he killed a fly in the center of an interview with CNBC. Many People discovered the incident humorous, and a few have been even impressed by Obama’s quick reflexes in shelling out of the pest. However as Politico notes, Individuals for the Moral Remedy of Animals (PETA) referred to as the incident an “execution,” and admonished Obama to point out compassion for even “the least sympathetic animals.”
Subsequent: Uncover the rule that Donald Trump broke.
18. Donald Trump
- In workplace: 2017 to current
- Rule that he broke: “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”
The Washington Publish notes that some assume George Washington triumphed by following the guidelines, whereas Donald Trump has prevailed by flouting them. One good instance? Trump routinely breaks Washington’s rule about displaying respect for others. Serving as “the first white president” in the well-known phrases of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Trump has used some fairly unpresidential rhetoric about black individuals, Muslims, Hispanics, and different teams. Even past what critics characterize as racist and Islamophobic feedback, Trump routinely insults individuals and teams of individuals on his Twitter account — kind of the reverse of what Washington would have suggested.
Learn extra: These American Presidents Have been Truly Horrible Individuals
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