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Old 03-23-2012, 06:33 PM
 
Location: A far, far better place
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Originally Posted by 6 Foot 3 View Post
Where did American founding fathers get the term President for head of U.S. state/government from?
Interesting question - the term 'President' was used for the person who was elected to preside over and moderate the First Continental Congress. Basically, the President was a creature of the Congress without any real power. This position lasted from 1774 thru 1788 and sixteen different men held the position during this time. President of the Continental Congress - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't have any direct information to back up this next point, but it is my belief that the term "President" was transferred onto the national government's head of state as defined by the U.S. Constitution simply via the fact that the title has been in use by the United States Congress for 15 years.

I do remember from David McCullough's biography of John Adams which stated that Mr. Adams did not care for the term 'president' as the term at that time was more commonly used for the presiding officer of small civic organizations and private social clubs and not for a national head of state. During his first term as Vice President Adams attempted to attach more grandiose adjectives to the title of President, which earned him a reputation from his peers as being an elitist.

Quote:
Had the term ever been used for a world leader before George Washington?
Discounting the 16 Presidents of the Continental Congresses, I don't believe so, but I'm basing that upon Adam's reasons for disliking the title.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Tropical Florida
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I appreciate all the good answers from everyone as i learned something new with the discussion on this thread subject that i'd started here. I'm going to go with Grandstander's take on the roman/latin term Praesidere meaning presides to which i believe that the 'founders' then dirived or anglicized the term President from.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Earth
12,012 posts, read 13,539,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6 Foot 3 View Post
I appreciate all the good answers from everyone as i learned something new with the discussion on this thread subject that i'd started here. I'm going to go with Grandstander's take on the roman/latin term Praesidere meaning presides to which i believe that the 'founders' then dirived or anglicized the term President from.
I would assume the term "President" for French judges comes from the Latin "Praesidere" as well. It was used in the ancien regime, and is still used as a title for judges.
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