The President of the United States' (POTUS) is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is thecommander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
The President of the United States is considered one of the world's most powerful people, leading the world's only contemporary superpower. The role includes being the commander-in-chief of the world's most expensive military with the largest nuclear arsenal and leading the largest economy by real and nominal GDP. The office of the president holds significant hard and soft power both in the United States and abroad.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of the party to which the president is enrolled. The president also directs the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. Since the founding of the United States, the power of the president and the federal government has grown substantially.
The president is indirectly elected by the people through the Electoral College to a four-year term, and is one of only two nationally elected federal officers, the other being the Vice President of the United States. TheTwenty-second Amendment, adopted in 1951, prohibits anyone from ever being elected to the presidency for a third full term. It also prohibits a person from being elected to the presidency more than once if that person previously had served as president, or acting president, for more than two years of another person's term as president. In all, 45 individuals have served 46 presidencies (counting Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms separately) spanning 46 full four-year terms. On October 30th, 2014, Francis J Underwood became the 46th and current president of the United States upon the resignation of Garrett Walker, the 45th president. President Frank Underwood will serve out the remainder of Former President Walker 's term until January 20th, 2017.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets the requirements to hold office. A president must:
- be a natural-born citizen of the United States; foreign-born American citizens who met the age and residency requirements at the time the Constitution was adopted were also eligible for the presidency. However, this allowance has since become obsolete.
- be at least thirty-five years old. Theodore Roosevelt, 42, was the youngest president in US history.
- have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.
Election process and terms
The president is indirectly elected by the people through the Electoral College to a four-year term, and is one of only two nationally elected federal officers, the other being the Vice President of the United States. A president must receive more than 270 electoral college votes in order to win an election. Ronald Reagan received 525 votes which is the most electoral votes of any other president.
A president can only serve two terms as president, which is 8 years. Franklin D. Roosevelt served four terms as president. He died while beginning his four term. After his death, congress passed an amendment which limits the power of terms a president can have.
William Henry Harrison served the shortest term, one month, because he died in office from pneumonia.
A president officially becomes president after being inaugurated on January 20. The president must be given the oath of office by the Chief Justice of the United States. It is traditionally held at the United States Capitol.
Powers of the president
These powers include:
- Enforcing laws passed by the United States Congress
- Creating a Cabinet of advisors
- Giving pardons or reprieves
With the agreement of the United States Senate he or she can:
- Make treaties
- Choose ambassadors to foreign countries
- Select Judges, and Justices of the Supreme Court
If the president dies/retires between elections or is otherwise removed from office, the Acting President will become president, who is usually the Vice President.
Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy were assassinated while in office. William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Warren G. Harding died from illness while president. John Tyler was the first Vice President of the United States to become president.
Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon's vice president, became president after Nixon resigned. Frank Underwood, Garrett Walker's vice president, became president after Walker resigned. Nixon and Walker are the only presidents to have resigned.
A president travels by either traveling on Air Force One, Marine One, or by the Presidential state car. At all times, the president is protected by Secret Service agents. Sometimes, the president may travel to Camp David for either relaxation or to do some work in peace.
List of Presidents of the United States
Main page: List of Presidents of the United States
Living former presidents
By a majority of historical sources by historians or by the American people; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are ranked high on polls.
Since Herbert Hoover, each president has created an institutional place known as a presidential library for preserving and making available his papers, records and other documents and materials. There are currently thirteen presidential libraries in the NARA system.
There are also presidential libraries maintained by state governments and private foundations, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by the State of Illinois.