Person of the Year (called Man of the Year or Woman of the Year until 1999) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine Time that features and profiles a person, a group, an idea, or an object that "for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year".
The tradition of selecting a "Man of the Year" began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating the news makers of the year. The idea was also an attempt to remedy the editorial embarrassment earlier that year of not having aviator Charles Lindbergh on its cover following his historic trans-Atlantic flight. By the end of the year, it was decided that a cover story featuring Lindbergh as the Man of the Year would serve both purposes.
Despite the name, the title is not just granted to individuals. Pairs of people such as married couples and political opponents, classes of people, the computer ("Machine of the Year" in 1982), and "Endangered Earth" ("Planet of the Year" in 1988) have all been selected for the special year-end issue.
There have been several groups as Time Person of the Year, such as "The Peacemakers" (1993) and "The Ebola Fighters" (2014).
Since the list began, every serving President of the United States has been a Person of the Year at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge, in office at time of the first issue, Herbert Hoover, the next U.S. president, and Gerald Ford. Most were named Person of the Year either the year they were elected or while they were in office; the only one to be given the title before being elected is Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1944 as Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Force, eight years before his election. He subsequently received the title again in 1959, while in office. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times, first as president-elect (1932) and later as the incumbent president (1934 and 1941).
In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year. Women who have been selected for recognition after the renaming include "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley, and Sherron Watkins in 2002), Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono, in 2005), and Angela Merkel in 2015. Prior to 1999, four women were granted the title as individuals: three as "Woman of the Year"—Wallis Simpson (1936), Queen Elizabeth II (1952), and Corazon Aquino (1986)–and one as half of the "Man and Wife of the Year", Soong Mei-ling (1937). "American Women" were recognized as a group in 1975. Other classes of people recognized comprise both men and women, such as "Hungarian Freedom Fighters" (1956), "U.S. Scientists" (1960), "The Inheritors" (1966), "The Middle Americans" (1969), "The American Soldier" (2003), "You" (2006), "The Protester" (2011) represented on the cover by a woman, and "Ebola fighters" (2014). Although the title on the magazine remained "Man of The Year" for both the 1956 "Hungarian Freedom Fighter" and the 1966 "Twenty-five and Under" editions which both featured a woman standing behind a man, and "Men of the Year" on the 1960 "U.S. Scientists" edition which exclusively featured men on its cover. It wasn't until the 1969 edition on "The Middle Americans" did the title embrace "Man and Woman of the Year".
In 1949, Winston Churchill was named "Man of the Half-Century", and the last issue of 1989 named Mikhail Gorbachev as "Man of the Decade". The December 31, 1999 issue of Time named Albert Einstein the "Person of the Century". Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi were chosen as runners-up.
Despite the magazine's frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honor, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people. However, Time magazine points out that controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957), and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) have also been granted the title for their impacts.
As a result of the public backlash it received from the United States for naming Khomeini as Man of the Year in 1979, Time has since shied away from using figures who are controversial in the United States for commercial reasons, fearing reductions in sales or advertising revenue.
Time's Person of the Year 2001, immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks, was New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The stated rules of selection, the individual or group of individuals who have had the biggest effect on the year's news, made Osama bin Laden a more likely choice that year. The issue that declared Giuliani the Person of the Year included an article that mentioned Time's earlier decision to select the Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1999 rejection of Hitler as "Person of the Century". The article seemed to imply that Osama bin Laden was a stronger candidate than Giuliani, as Adolf Hitler was a stronger candidate than Albert Einstein. The selections were ultimately based on what the magazine describes as who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most. According to Time, Rudolph Giuliani was selected for symbolizing the American response to the September 11th attacks, and Albert Einstein selected for representing a century of scientific exploration and wonder.
Film-maker Michael Moore claims that director Mel Gibson cost him the opportunity to be Person of the Year alongside Gibson in 2004. Moore's controversial political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 became the highest-grossing documentary of all time the same year Gibson's The Passion of the Christ became a box-office success and also caused significant controversy. Moore said in an interview "I got a call right after the '04 election from an editor from Time Magazine. He said,' Time Magazine has picked you and Mel Gibson to be Time's Person of the Year to put on the cover, Right and Left, Mel and Mike. The only thing you have to do is pose for a picture with each other. And do an interview together.' I said 'OK.' They call Mel up, he agrees. They set the date and time in LA. I'm to fly there. He's flying from Australia. Something happens when he gets home... Next thing, Mel calls up and says, 'I'm not doing it. I've thought it over and it is not the right thing to do.' So they put Bush on the cover."
Another controversial choice was the 2006 selection of "You", representing most if not all people for advancing the information age by using the Internet (via e.g. blogs, MySpace YouTube, and Wikipedia).
Time magazine also holds an online poll for the readers to vote for who they believe to be the Person of the Year. While many mistakenly believe the winner of the poll to be the Person of the Year, the title, as mentioned above, is decided by the editors of Time. In the first online poll held in 1998, wrestler and activist Mick Foley won with over 50% of the votes. Foley was removed from the poll, and the title was given to Bill Clinton and Ken Starr, which led to outrage from the fans of Foley who mistakenly believed the winner of the poll would be the winner of the title. In 2006, the poll winner by a wide margin was Hugo Chávez, with 35% of the votes. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came in second. Time again ignored those results, not mentioning them in the announcement of the Person of the Year. Time continues to annually run an online poll for the "People's Choice", but stresses the decision on who the magazine recognizes is not made by the poll, but by the magazine's editors.
|1927||Lindbergh, CharlesCharles Lindbergh||1902–1974||In 1927, Lindbergh became the first person to fly a plane solo non-stop across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris.|
|1928||Chrysler, WalterWalter Chrysler||1875–1940||In 1928, Chrysler oversaw a merger of his Chrysler Corporation with Dodge before beginning work on the Chrysler Building.|
|1929||Young, Owen D.Owen D. Young||1874–1962||Young chaired a committee which authored 1929's Young Plan, a program for settlement of German reparations after World War I.|
|1930||Gandhi, MahatmaMahatma Gandhi||1869–1948||Gandhi was the leader of the India's independence movement. In 1930, he led the Salt Satyagraha, a 240-mile march to protest the imposition of taxes on salt by the British Raj.|
|1931||Laval, PierrePierre Laval||1883–1945||Laval was first elected Prime Minister of France in 1931. Laval was popular in the American press at the time for opposing the Hoover Moratorium, a temporary freeze on World War I debt payments that was disliked in both France and the US.|
|1932||Roosevelt, Franklin D.Franklin D. Roosevelt||1882–1945||Roosevelt won the 1932 US Presidential election by a landslide, defeating the incumbent, Herbert Hoover.|
|1933||Johnson, Hugh S.Hugh S. Johnson||1882–1942||In 1933, Johnson was appointed director of the National Recovery Administration, tasked by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to bring industry, labor and government together to create codes of "fair practices" and set prices.|
|1934||Roosevelt, Franklin D.Franklin D. Roosevelt (2)||1882–1945||Roosevelt was President of the United States from 1933 to 1945.|
|1935||Selassie, HaileHaile Selassie||1892–1975||Selassie was Emperor of Ethiopia in 1935, when Italian forces invaded Ethiopia, starting the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.|
|1936||Simpson, WallisWallis Simpson||1896–1986||In 1936, Simpson's relationship with King Edward VIII led the king to abdicate his thrones in order to marry her.|
|1937||Kai-shek, ChiangChiang Kai-shek||1887–1975||Chiang was Premier of the Republic of China at the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937.|
|Mei-ling, SoongSoong Mei-ling||1898–2003||Soong was wife of Chiang Kai-shek from 1927 until his death in 1975. Addressed as Madame Chiang Kai-Shek by the magazine, she was recognized together with her husband as "Man & Wife of the Year".|
|1938||Hitler, AdolfAdolf Hitler||1889–1945||As German Chancellor, Hitler oversaw the unification of Germany with Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938, after the Anschluss and Munich Agreement respectively.|
|1939||Stalin, JosephJoseph Stalin||1878–1953||In 1939, Stalin was General Secretary of the Communist Party and de facto leader of the Soviet Union. He oversaw the signing of a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany before invading eastern Poland.|
|1940||Churchill, WinstonWinston Churchill||1874–1965||Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain.|
|1941||Roosevelt, Franklin D.Franklin D. Roosevelt (3)||1882–1945||Roosevelt was President of the United States in 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor, declaration of war against Japan and resulting entry of the United States into World War II. The editors had already chosen Dumbo as their "Mammal of the Year" before the Pearl Harbor attack, but quickly changed it to Roosevelt afterward (and before it was published).|
|1942||Stalin, JosephJoseph Stalin (2)||1878–1953||By 1942, Stalin was Premier of the Soviet Union, overseeing the Battle of Stalingrad (1942–1943).|
|1943||Marshall, GeorgeGeorge Marshall||1880–1959||As United States Army Chief of Staff in 1943, General Marshall was instrumental in organizing US actions in World War II.|
|1944||Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower||1890–1969||General Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during 1944's Operation Overlord.|
|1945||Truman, Harry S.Harry S. Truman||1884–1972||Truman became President of the United States after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, authorizing the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.|
|1946||Byrnes, James F.James F. Byrnes||1879–1972||In 1946, Byrnes was United States Secretary of State during the Iran crisis of 1946, taking an increasingly hardline position in opposition to Stalin. His speech, "Restatement of Policy on Germany", set the tone of future US policy, repudiating the Morgenthau Plan economic policies and giving Germans hope for the future.|
|1947||Marshall, GeorgeGeorge Marshall (2)||1880–1959||Appointed United States Secretary of State in 1947, Marshall was the architect of the Marshall Plan.|
|1948||Truman, Harry S.Harry S. Truman (2)||1884–1972||Truman was elected in his own right as President of the United States in 1948, considered to be one of the greatest election upsets in American history.|
|1949||Churchill, WinstonWinston Churchill (2)||1874–1965||Proclaimed as the "Man of the half-century", Churchill had led Britain and the Allies to victory in WWII. In 1949, Churchill was Leader of the Opposition.|
|1950||The American fighting-man||Representing U.S. troops involved in the Korean War (1950–1953).|
|1951||Mossadegh, MohammadMohammad Mossadegh||1882–1967||In 1951, Mossadegh was elected as Prime Minister of Iran and expelled western oil companies, starting the Abadan Crisis|
|1952||Elizabeth II||Born in 1926||In 1952, Elizabeth acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom[a] upon the death of her father, King George VI|
|1953||Adenauer, KonradKonrad Adenauer||1876–1967||In 1953, Adenauer was re-elected as Chancellor of West Germany.|
|1954||Dulles, John FosterJohn Foster Dulles||1888–1959||As United States Secretary of State in 1954, Dulles was architect of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.|
|1955||Curtice, HarlowHarlow Curtice||1893–1962||Curtice was President of General Motors (GM) from 1953 to 1958. In 1955, GM sold five million vehicles and became the first corporation to earn US$1 billion in a single year.|
|1956||The Hungarian freedom fighter||Representing Hungarian revolutionaries involved in the failed 1956 uprising.|
|1957||Khrushchev, NikitaNikita Khrushchev||1894–1971||In 1957, Khrushchev consolidated his leadership of the Soviet Union, surviving a plot to dismiss him by members of the Presidium, and leading the Soviet Union into the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik 1.|
|1958||de Gaulle, CharlesCharles de Gaulle||1890–1970||De Gaulle was appointed Prime Minister of France in May 1958 and, following the collapse of the Fourth Republic and establishment of the Fifth Republic, was then elected President of France in December.|
|1959||Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower (2)||1890–1969||Eisenhower was President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.|
|1960||U.S. Scientists||Represented by George Beadle, Charles Draper, John Enders, Donald A. Glaser, Joshua Lederberg, Willard Libby, Linus Pauling, Edward Purcell, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, William Shockley, Edward Teller, Charles Townes, James Van Allen and Robert Woodward.|
|1961||Kennedy, John F.John F. Kennedy||1917–1963||Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States in 1961, ordering the failed invasion of Cuba by U.S.-trained Cuban exiles.|
|1962||John XXIII, PopePope John XXIII||1881–1963||John XXIII was head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1958 to 1963. In 1962, he volunteered as a mediator in the Cuban Missile Crisis, gaining praise from both sides. He also initiated the Second Vatican Council that same year.|
|1963||King Jr., Martin LutherMartin Luther King Jr.||1929–1968||A Civil Rights Movement leader, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.|
|1964||Johnson, Lyndon B.Lyndon B. Johnson||1908–1973||Johnson was elected in his own right as President of the United States in 1964, before securing the passage of the Civil Rights Act, declaring a War on Poverty and escalating U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.|
|1965||Westmoreland, WilliamWilliam Westmoreland||1914–2005||General Westmoreland was commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.|
|1966||The Inheritor||Representing a generation of American men and women, aged 25 and under.|
|1967||Johnson, Lyndon B.Lyndon B. Johnson (2)||1908–1973||Johnson was President of the United States from 1963 to 1969.|
|1968||The Apollo 8 astronauts||In 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 (William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell) became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, orbiting the Moon and paving the way for the first manned Moon landings in 1969.|
|1969||The Middle Americans||Also referred to as the silent majority.|
|1970||Brandt, WillyWilly Brandt||1913–1992||As Chancellor of West Germany, Brandt was acknowledged for "seeking to bring about a fresh relationship between East and West" through his "bold approach to the Soviet Union and the East Bloc".|
|1971||Nixon, RichardRichard Nixon||1913–1994||Nixon was President of the United States from 1969 to 1974.|
|1972||Nixon, RichardRichard Nixon (2)||1913–1994||As President of the United States, Nixon visited China in 1972, the first U.S. President to do so. Nixon later secured the SALT I pact with the Soviet Union before being re-elected in one of the largest landslide election victories in American history|
|Kissinger, HenryHenry Kissinger||Born in 1923||Kissinger, as Nixon's National Security Advisor, travelled with the President to China in 1972.|
|1973||Sirica, JohnJohn Sirica||1904–1992||In 1973, as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Sirica ordered President Nixon to turn over Watergate-related recordings of White House conversations.|
|1974||King Faisal||1906–1975||Faisal, King of Saudi Arabia, was acknowledged in the wake of the oil crisis of 1973–1974, caused by Saudi Arabia withdrawing its oil from world markets in protest at Western support for Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.|
|1975||American women||Represented by Susan Brownmiller, Kathleen Byerly, Alison Cheek, Jill Conway, Betty Ford, Ella Grasso, Carla Hills, Barbara Jordan, Billie Jean King, Carol Sutton, Susie Sharp, and Addie Wyatt.|
|1976||Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter||Born in 1924||In 1976, Carter was elected President of the United States, defeating incumbent President Gerald Ford.|
|1977||Sadat, AnwarAnwar Sadat||1918–1981||Sadat, as President of Egypt, traveled to Israel in 1977—the first Arab leader to do so—to discuss normalization of Egypt-Israel relations.|
|1978||Xiaoping, DengDeng Xiaoping||1904–1997||Deng overthrew Hua Guofeng to assume de facto control over China in 1978, as Paramount Leader.|
|1979||Khomeini, RuhollahRuhollah Khomeini||1902–1989||Khomeini led the 1979 Iranian Revolution, establishing himself as Supreme Leader.|
|1980||Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan||1911–2004||Reagan was elected President of the United States in 1980, defeating incumbent President Carter by a landslide.|
|1981||Wałęsa, LechLech Wałęsa||Born in 1943||Leader of the Polish Solidarity trade union and architect of the Gdańsk Agreement until his arrest and the imposition of martial law in December 1981.|
|1982||The Computer||Denoted "Machine of the Year" to herald the dawn of the Information Age.|
|1983||Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan (2)||1911–2004||In 1983, as President of the United States, Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada and championed the Strategic Defense Initiative.|
|Andropov, YuriYuri Andropov||1914–1984||Andropov, as Soviet leader, was a strong critic of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Andropov was hospitalized in August 1983 and died in 1984.|
|1984||Ueberroth, PeterPeter Ueberroth||Born in 1937||Ueberroth orchestrated the organization of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which involved a Soviet-led boycott.|
|1985||Xiaoping, DengDeng Xiaoping (2)||1904–1997||As Paramount Leader of China, Deng was acknowledged for "sweeping economic reforms that have challenged Marxist orthodoxies".|
|1986||Aquino, CorazonCorazon Aquino||1933–2009||Aquino was a prominent figure in 1986's People Power Revolution, being elected President of the Philippines.|
|1987||Gorbachev, MikhailMikhail Gorbachev||Born in 1931||As leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev oversaw Perestroika political reforms in 1987.|
|1988||The Endangered Earth||Planet of the Year, involving an aspect of Mother Nature.|
|1989||Gorbachev, MikhailMikhail Gorbachev (2)||Born in 1931||Acknowledged as "Man of the Decade". Gorbachev, as Soviet leader, oversaw 1989's first free Soviet elections before the fragmentation of the Eastern Bloc.|
|1990||Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush||Born in 1924||As President of the United States, Bush oversaw U.S. involvement in the Gulf War (1990–1991).|
|1991||Turner, TedTed Turner||Born in 1938||Founder of CNN.|
|1992||Clinton, BillBill Clinton||Born in 1946||Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992.|
|1993||The Peacemakers||Represented by Yasser Arafat, F. W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, and Yitzhak Rabin.
De Klerk, as State President of South Africa, oversaw Mandela's release from prison in 1990. The pair worked together to end the Apartheid system.
Arafat, as President of the Palestinian National Authority, and Rabin, as Prime Minister of Israel, signed the 1993 Oslo Accord, the first face-to-face agreement between Palestinian and Israeli authorities.
|1994||John Paul II, PopePope John Paul II||1920–2005||Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005.|
|1995||Gingrich, NewtNewt Gingrich||Born in 1943||Leader of the "Republican Revolution", a Republican party election landslide, which led to Gingrich being elected Speaker of the House.|
|1996||Ho, DavidDavid Ho||Born in 1952||Ho, a scientist, pioneered much AIDS research.|
|1997||Grove, AndrewAndrew Grove||1936–2016||In 1997, Grove was Chairman and CEO of Intel, recognized as a pioneer in the semiconductor industry.|
|1998||Clinton, BillBill Clinton (2)||Born in 1946||As President of the United States, Clinton was impeached in 1998 following the Lewinsky scandal. The Senate acquitted him of the charges.|
|Starr, KenKen Starr||Born in 1946||Starr, a lawyer investigating various figures within the Clinton administration, published his Starr Report in 1998, opening the door for the impeachment of Bill Clinton.|
|1999||Bezos, JeffJeff Bezos||Born in 1964||Bezos is founder and CEO of Amazon.com.|
|2000||Bush, George W.George W. Bush||Born in 1946||In 2000, Bush was elected President of the United States following an allegation of miscount in the Florida recount.|
|2001||Giuliani, RudyRudy Giuliani||Born in 1944||Giuliani was Mayor of New York City at the time of the September 11 attacks in 2001.|
|2002||The Whistleblowers||Represented by Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins.
In 2001, Watkins uncovered accounting irregularities in the financial reports of Enron, testifying before Congressional committees the following year. In 2002, Cooper exposed a $3.8 billion fraud at WorldCom. At the time, this was the largest incident of accounting fraud in U.S. history. In 2002, Rowley, an FBI agent, gave testimony about the FBI's mishandling of information related to the September 11 attacks of 2001.
|2003||The American soldier (2)||Representing U.S. forces around the world, especially in the Iraq War (2003–2011).|
|2004||Bush, George W.George W. Bush (2)||Born in 1946||In 2004, Bush was re-elected President of the United States, overseeing U.S. involvement in the Iraq War.|
|2005||The Good Samaritans||Represented by Bono, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.
Bono, philanthropist and member of the rock band U2, helped to organise the 2005 Live 8 concerts. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and richest person in the world, and his wife Melinda, founded the philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
|2006||You||Representing individual content creators on the World Wide Web.|
|2007||Putin, VladimirVladimir Putin||Born in 1952||In 2007, Putin was serving as President of Russia.|
|2008||Obama, BarackBarack Obama||Born in 1961||In 2008, Obama was elected President of the United States, becoming the first African-American U.S. President in January 2009.|
|2009||Bernanke, BenBen Bernanke||Born in 1953||Chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Financial crisis of 2007–08.|
|2010||Zuckerberg, MarkMark Zuckerberg||Born in 1984||Founder of social-networking website Facebook.|
|2011||The Protester||Representing many global protest movements — for example, the Arab Spring, the Indignants Movement, the Occupy Movement and the Tea Party movement — as well as protests in Chile, Greece, India and Russia among others.|
|2012||Obama, BarackBarack Obama (2)||Born in 1961||In 2012, Obama was re-elected President of the United States.|
|2013||Francis, PopePope Francis||Born in 1936||Elected head of the Roman Catholic Church in 2013, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.|
|2014||Ebola fighters||"Ebola fighters" refers to health care workers who helped stop the spread of Ebola virus disease during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, including not only doctors and nurses, but also ambulance attendants, burial parties and others.
Represented on the covers by Dr. Jerry Brown, the medical director at the Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, Dr. Kent Brantly, a physician with Samaritan's Purse and the first American to be infected in the 2014 outbreak, Ella Watson-Stryker, a health promoter for Doctors Without Borders who is originally from the United States, Foday Gallah, an ambulance supervisor and Ebola survivor from Monrovia, Liberia, and Salome Karwah, a trainee nurse and counselor from Liberia whose parents died of Ebola, as well as others mentioned in the article itself, such as Dr. Pardis Sabeti from the Broad Institute.
|2015||Merkel, AngelaAngela Merkel||Born in 1954||Chancellor of Germany since 2005, recognized for leadership in the Greek debt crisis and European migrant crisis.|
|2016||Trump, DonaldDonald Trump||Born in 1946||In 2016, Trump was elected President of the United States, the first time someone without a political or military background had won the office.|
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