Customs

Harry Truman: the 33rd or the 32nd President?


Harry_Truman-H

Any official list of presidents will show Harry Truman as the 33rd President of the United States. Not everyone agrees with this, however. The most notable dissenter as to the number assigned to the Truman administration was none other than Harry Truman, himself.

Truman, who was not averse to sharing his thoughts on any subject, disagreed with counting Grover Cleveland’s two non-consecutive terms. “If you count the administrations of Grover Cleveland twice because another President held office between Cleveland’s first and second term,” said Truman, “you might try to justify the designation of me as thirty-third President. But then why don’t you number all the second terms of other Presidents and the third and fourth terms of President Roosevelt, and where will you be? I am the thirty-second President.”

Despite this argument, the official proclamation, dated April 13, 1945, issued by President Truman on the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to Roosevelt as the thirty-second president.


Should there be a period after the S in Harry Truman’s middle name?

Read more fun facts about Presidents.

Read more fun facts about Harry Truman.

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