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The federal constitutional republic of the United States of America is governed by three separate branches of power, namely:

  • The Legislative: Consisting of the two houses of the national bicameral legislature (the Senate and House of Representatives), that design federal laws and manage the republic.

  • The Judiciary: Consisting of the court system and judicial officers who interpret and enforce state and federal laws.

  • The Executive: Consisting of the president, vice president and cabinet members that serve as the executive arm of the government.

  • The original intent of separation of powers by our Founding Fathers was to ensure a natural system of checks and balances that will encourage the establishment a more efficient culture of governance with a strong emphasis on accountability, while minimizing the risks of the emergence of a dictatorial center of power inside the republic.

    The de-facto leader in this governing model was an elected President, whose responsibility and scope of authority were engraved in Article II of the Constitution. Despite the legendary all conquering powers often associated with the office, the powers of our presidents are actually quite limited. In fact, take away his role as the Commander In Chief of our "Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States," his position is largely ceremonial.

    His powers, as defined by the Constitution (excluding the always contentious implied inherent powers), are as follows:

  • Appointment of his vice-president and fifteen heads of executive departments (his cabinet)

  • The power to "grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment"

  • To make treaties with foreign nations, with the approval of at least two-thirds of the Senate

  • To nominate, with the approval of at least two-thirds of the Senate, "Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States"

  • During a Senate recess period, the President is allowed to appoint senior federal officials, but it must be approved by the Senate once they reconvened.

  • Presents the annual State of Union address to Congress.

  • On "extraordinary occasions," he may convene and adjourn the Senate and/or the House of Representatives.

  • Receive foreign ambassadors and ministers

  • Commission senior officers of the armed forces (with the rank of Major and above; lower ranks are conferred by the Secretary of Defense).

  • Sign bills into law (although unsigned bills can still be passed by the Senate with a two third majority)

  • Oversee that the laws of the nation are obeyed by its officials, and the judiciary and legislative branch.

  • It would not be remiss to say that, in fact, the Executive (and by extension, the presidency) is the least powerful branch of the United States government. Some have even likened the role of the president to that of the 'chief negotiator' of the federal government, as, by and large, the president and his advisors spends most of their days negotiating with members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The power of the president is only evident during times of war, as the president will inevitably take command of all military-related decisions. This extra-constitutional 20th century development of presidential muscle has often been attributed to the cumbersome and time consuming manner of the Congress' decision-making process.

    Despite the obvious limitations, the president remains without doubt the most powerful and influential figure in the country. He is the head of state and a living symbol of the nation, a figurehead of the ruling elite, a piñata for the proletariat and the object of veneration for the young. He sets the national agenda, harnessing the might and powers of the judiciary and legislative branches to create a better future (and now) for Americans, all the while guided by an unflinching core of righteousness and goodness.

    Their task is a thankless one, subject to an unending stream of criticisms that in some cases, cost them their very lives. Four American presidents were assassinated in office, while attempts were made on fourteen more. This site documents the life and times of the forty four Americans who have held the title of President of the United States of America. This is their story.

    Article. II

    Section. 1.

    Clause 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

    Clause 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    Clause 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President. (See Note 8)

    Clause 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    Clause 5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    Clause 6: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, (See Note 9) the Same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

    Clause 7: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Section. 2.

    Clause 1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    Clause 2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

    Clause 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Section. 3.

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    Section. 4.

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.


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