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The president of the United States (POTUS) is the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
and
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presi ...
of the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States of America
. The president directs the
executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, a ...
of the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
and is the
commander-in-chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Image:CIC-USS-CarlVinson-2001.jpg, A watchstander at her station in the combat information center of USS Carl Vinson, USS ''Carl Vinson'' in the ...
of the
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States of America. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, Uni ...

United States Armed Forces
. The power of the presidency has grown substantially since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. While presidential power has ebbed and flowed over time, the presidency has played an increasingly strong role in American political life since the beginning of the 20th century, with a notable expansion during the presidency of
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
. In contemporary times, the president is also looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global
superpower A superpower is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

superpower
. As the leader of the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP, the president possesses significant domestic and international hard and
soft power In politics (and particularly in international politics), soft power is the ability to attract co-option, co-opt rather than coerce (contrast hard power). In other words, soft Power (social and political), power involves shaping the preferences of ...
. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government and vests the executive power in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law and the responsibility to appoint federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers. Based on constitutional provisions empowering the president to appoint and receive ambassadors and conclude treaties with foreign powers, and on subsequent laws enacted by Congress, the modern presidency has primary responsibility for conducting U.S. foreign policy. The role includes responsibility for directing the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president also plays a leading role in federal legislation and domestic policymaking. As part of the system of
checks and balances Separation of powers refers to the division of a state (polity), state's government into branches, each with separate, independent power (social and political), powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict ...
, Article I, Section7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
federal legislation. Since modern presidents are also typically viewed as the leaders of their political parties, major policymaking is significantly shaped by the outcome of presidential elections, with presidents taking an active role in promoting their policy priorities to members of Congress who are often electorally dependent on the president. In recent decades, presidents have also made increasing use of
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
s, agency regulations, and judicial appointments to shape domestic policy. The president is elected indirectly through the
Electoral College An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeking or being considered for some kind of position; for example: * to be ...

Electoral College
to a four-year term, along with the
vice president A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationsh ...
. Under the Twenty-second Amendment, ratified in 1951, no person who has been elected to two presidential terms may be elected to a third. In addition, nine vice presidents have become president by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation. In all, 45 individuals have served 46 presidencies spanning 58 full four-year terms.
Joe Biden Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( ; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of th ...

Joe Biden
is the 46th and current president of the United States, having assumed office on January 20, 2021.


History and development


Origins

In July 1776, during the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from Thirteen Colonies, thirteen American colonies of British America in Continental Congress ...
, the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
, acting jointly through the
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British c ...
, declared themselves to be 13 independent
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
s, no longer under
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
rule. Recognizing the necessity of closely coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress simultaneously began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, and the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
to establish a
perpetual union The Perpetual Union is a feature of the Articles of Confederation, Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which established the United States, United States of America as a national entity. Under modern American constitutional law, this conc ...
between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for
ratification Ratification is a principal Principal may refer to: Title or rank * Principal (academia) The principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational insti ...

ratification
. Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the
Congress of the Confederation The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), ...
was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions, determinations, and regulations, but not any laws, and could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens. This institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of
Crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasure of South Korea. It is basically following the standard type of Silla's Crown. It was excavated by Swedish Crown Pri ...

Crown
and
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
ought to have functioned with respect to the royal
dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...

dominion
: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some formerly
royal prerogative The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege and immunity, recognized in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi- ...
s (e.g., making war, receiving ambassadors, etc.) to Congress; the remaining prerogatives were lodged within their own respective state governments. The members of Congress elected a president of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral
discussion moderator A discussion moderator or debate moderator is a person whose role is to act as a neutral participant in a debate or discussion, holds participants to time limits and tries to keep them from straying off the topic of the questions being raised in th ...
. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the later office of president of the United States, it was a largely ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies. With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another. They witnessed their
hard currency In macroeconomics Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devote ...
pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
commerce preyed upon by
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
n
pirates Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...
, and their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in
Annapolis, Maryland Annapolis ( ) is the capital of the U.S. state of Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia ...
, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms. When the
convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * Convention (meeting), meeting of a (usually large) group of individuals and/or companies in a ...
failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states,
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
. Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
and
Edmund Randolph Edmund Jennings Randolph (August 10, 1753 September 12, 1813) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advis ...
succeeded in securing
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (
Rhode Island Rhode Island (, like ''road''), officially the State of Rhode Island, is a state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as ...
did not send delegates) brought with them an accumulated experience over a diverse set of institutional arrangements between legislative and executive branches from within their respective state governments. Most states maintained a weak executive without veto or appointment powers, elected annually by the legislature to a single term only, sharing power with an executive council, and countered by a strong legislature.
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
offered the greatest exception, having a strong, unitary governor with veto and appointment power elected to a three-year term, and eligible for reelection to an indefinite number of terms thereafter. It was through the closed-door negotiations at Philadelphia that the presidency framed in the
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...
emerged.


Development

As the nation's first president, George Washington established many norms that would come to define the office. His decision to retire after two terms helped address fears that the nation would devolve into monarchy, and established a precedent that would not be broken until 1940 and would eventually be made permanent by the Twenty-Second Amendment. By the end of his presidency, political parties had developed, with
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
defeating
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
in 1796, the first truly contested presidential election. After Jefferson defeated Adams in 1800, he and his fellow Virginians
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
and
James Monroe James Monroe (; April 28, 1758July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. ...
would each serve two terms, eventually dominating the nation's politics during the
Era of Good Feelings The Era of Good Feelings marked a period in the political history of the United States that reflected a sense of national purpose and a desire for unity among Americans in the aftermath of the War of 1812. The era saw the collapse of the Federali ...
until Adams' son
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

John Quincy Adams
won election in 1824 after the
Democratic-Republican Party The Democratic-Republican Party, also referred to as the Jeffersonian Republican Party and known at the time under various other names, was an American political party founded by Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – J ...
split. The election of
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of ...

Andrew Jackson
in 1828 was a significant milestone, as Jackson was not part of the Virginia and Massachusetts elite that had held the presidency for its first 40 years.
Jacksonian democracy Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily locat ...
sought to strengthen the presidency at the expense of Congress, while broadening public participation as the nation rapidly expanded westward. However, his successor,
Martin Van Buren Martin Van Buren ( ; born Maarten van Buren (); December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 8th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of t ...

Martin Van Buren
, became unpopular after the
Panic of 1837 The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis A financial crisis is any of a broad variety of situations in which some financial assets suddenly lose a large part of their nominal value. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many financial crises we ...
, and the death of
William Henry Harrison William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773April 4, 1841) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 9th president of the United States in 1841. Harrison died just 31 days after his inauguration, and had the shortest pres ...

William Henry Harrison
and subsequent poor relations between
John Tyler John Tyler (March 29, 1790January 18, 1862) was the 10th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the F ...

John Tyler
and Congress led to further weakening of the office. Including Van Buren, in the 24 years between 1837 and 1861, six presidential terms would be filled by eight different men, with none winning re-election. The Senate played an important role during this period, with the Great Triumvirate of
Henry Clay Henry Clay Sr. (April 12, 1777June 29, 1852) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a gove ...

Henry Clay
,
Daniel Webster Daniel Webster (January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852) was an American lawyer and statesman who represented New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...

Daniel Webster
, and playing key roles in shaping national policy in the 1830s and 1840s until debates over slavery began pulling the nation apart in the 1850s.
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
's leadership during the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
has led historians to regard him as one of the nation's greatest presidents. The circumstances of the war and Republican domination of Congress made the office very powerful, and Lincoln's re-election in 1864 was the first time a president had been re-elected since Jackson in 1832. After Lincoln's assassination, his successor
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
lost all political support and was nearly removed from office, with Congress remaining powerful during the two-term presidency of Civil War general
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
. After the end of
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
,
Grover Cleveland Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837June 24, 1908) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only president in American ...

Grover Cleveland
would eventually become the first Democratic president elected since before the war, running in three consecutive elections (1884, 1888, 1892) and winning twice. In 1900,
William McKinley William McKinley (January 29, 1843September 14, 1901) was the 25th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...
became the first incumbent to win re-election since Grant in 1872. After McKinley's assassination,
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
became a dominant figure in American politics. Historians believe Roosevelt permanently changed the political system by strengthening the presidency, with some key accomplishments including breaking up trusts, conservationism, labor reforms, making personal character as important as the issues, and hand-picking his successor,
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...

William Howard Taft
. The following decade,
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Woodrow Wilson
led the nation to victory during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, although Wilson's proposal for the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
was rejected by the Senate.
Warren Harding Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was the 29th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The presid ...
, while popular in office, would see his legacy tarnished by scandals, especially
Teapot Dome The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery Bribery is defined by '' Black's Law Dictionary'' as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public ...

Teapot Dome
, and
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
quickly became very unpopular after failing to alleviate the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
.


Imperial Presidency

The ascendancy of
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
in the election of 1932 led further toward what historians now describe as the Imperial Presidency. Backed by enormous Democratic majorities in Congress and public support for major change, Roosevelt's
New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinar ...
dramatically increased the size and scope of the federal government, including more executive agencies. The traditionally small presidential staff was greatly expanded, with the
Executive Office of the President Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief e ...
being created in 1939, none of whom require Senate confirmation. Roosevelt's unprecedented re-election to a third and fourth term, the victory of the United States in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, and the nation's growing economy all helped established the office as a position of global leadership. His successors,
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...
and
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term " ...
, were each re-elected as the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
led the presidency to be viewed as the "leader of the free world," while
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
was a youthful and popular leader who benefitted from the rise of television in the 1960s. After
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
lost popular support due to the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
and
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
's presidency collapsed in the
Watergate scandal The Watergate scandal was a major List of federal political scandals in the United States, political scandal in the United States involving the Presidency of Richard Nixon#Administration, administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon from 19 ...
, Congress enacted a series of reforms intended to reassert itself. These included the
War Powers Resolution The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) ( 50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) is a federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is f ...
, enacted over Nixon's veto in 1973, and the
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (, , ) is a United States federal law The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the United States Constit ...
that sought to strengthen congressional fiscal powers. By 1976,
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state an ...

Gerald Ford
conceded that "the historic pendulum" had swung toward Congress, raising the possibility of a "disruptive" erosion of his ability to govern. Both Ford and his successor,
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
, failed to win re-election.
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
, who had been an actor before beginning his political career, used his talent as a communicator to help re-shape the American agenda away from New Deal policies toward more conservative ideology. His vice president,
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
, would become the first vice president since 1836 to be directly elected to the presidency. With the Cold War ending and the United States becoming the world's undisputed leading power,
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
,
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
, and
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
each served two terms as president. Meanwhile, Congress and the nation gradually became more politically polarized, especially following the 1994 mid-term elections that saw Republicans control the House for the first time in 40 years, and the rise of routine
filibusters A filibuster is a parliamentary procedure where one or more members of Parliament or Congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal. It is sometimes referred to as "talking a ...
in the Senate in recent decades. Recent presidents have thus increasingly focused on
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
s, agency regulations, and judicial appointments to implement major policies, at the expense of legislation and congressional power. Presidential elections in the 21st century have reflected this continuing polarization, with no candidate except Obama in 2008 winning by more than five percent of the popular vote and two — George W. Bush and
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective reci ...

Donald Trump
— winning in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote. Both Clinton and Trump were impeached by a House controlled by the opposition party, but the impeachments did not appear to have long-term effects on their political standing.


Critics of presidency's evolution

The nation's
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
expected the
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
—which was the first branch of government described in the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
—to be the dominant branch of government; they did not expect a strong executive department. However, presidential power has shifted over time, which has resulted in claims that the modern presidency has become too powerful, unchecked, unbalanced, and "monarchist" in nature. In 2008 Professor Dana D. Nelson expressed belief that presidents over the previous thirty years worked towards "undivided presidential control of the executive branch and its agencies". She criticized proponents of the
Unitary executive theory The unitary executive theory is a theory of United States constitutional law which holds that the President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of ...
for expanding "the many existing uncheckable executive powers—such as executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements—that already allow presidents to enact a good deal of foreign and domestic policy without aid, interference or consent from Congress". Bill Wilson, board member of Americans for Limited Government, opined that the expanded presidency was "the greatest threat ever to individual freedom and democratic rule".


Legislative powers

Article I, Section1 of the Constitution vests all Right of initiative (legislative), lawmaking power in Congress's hands, and Ineligibility Clause, Article 1, Section 6, Clause2 prevents the president (and all other executive branch officers) from simultaneously being a member of Congress. Nevertheless, the modern presidency exerts significant power over legislation, both due to constitutional provisions and historical developments over time.


Signing and vetoing bills

The president's most significant legislative power derives from the Presentment Clause, which gives the president the power to veto any Bill (law), bill passed by
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
. While Congress can override a presidential veto, it requires a Supermajority#Two-thirds vote, two-thirds vote of both houses, which is usually very difficult to achieve except for widely supported bipartisan legislation. The framers of the Constitution feared that Congress would seek to increase its power and enable a "tyranny of the majority," so giving the indirectly elected president a veto was viewed as an important check on the legislative power. While
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
believed the veto should only be used in cases where a bill was unconstitutional, it is now routinely used in cases where presidents have policy disagreements with a bill. The veto – or threat of a veto – has thus evolved to make the modern presidency a central part of the American legislative process. Specifically, under the Presentment Clause, once a bill has been presented by Congress, the president has three options: # Sign the legislation within ten days, excluding Sundays—the bill Coming into force, becomes law. # Veto#United States, Veto the legislation within the above timeframe and return it to the house of Congress from which it originated, expressing any objections—the bill does not become law, unless both houses of Congress vote to override the veto by a Supermajority#Two-thirds vote, two-thirds vote. # Take no action on the legislation within the above timeframe—the bill becomes law, as if the president had signed it, unless Congress is adjourned at the time, in which case it does not become law (a pocket veto). In 1996, Congress attempted to enhance the president's veto power with the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, Line Item Veto Act. The legislation empowered the president to sign any spending bill into law while simultaneously striking certain spending items within the bill, particularly any new spending, any amount of discretionary spending, or any new limited tax benefit. Congress could then repass that particular item. If the president then vetoed the new legislation, Congress could override the veto by its ordinary means, a two-thirds vote in both houses. In ''Clinton v. City of New York'', , the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court ruled such a legislative alteration of the veto power to be unconstitutional.


Setting the agenda

For most of American history, candidates for president have sought election on the basis of a promised legislative agenda. Formally, Article Two of the United States Constitution#Section 3: Presidential responsibilities, Article II, Section 3, Clause 2 requires the president to recommend such measures to Congress which the president deems "necessary and expedient." This is done through the constitutionally-based State of the Union address, which usually outlines the president's legislative proposals for the coming year, and through other formal and informal communications with Congress. The president can be involved in crafting legislation by suggesting, requesting, or even insisting that Congress enact laws he believes are needed. Additionally, he can attempt to shape legislation during the legislative process by exerting influence on individual members of Congress. Presidents possess this power because the Constitution is silent about who can write legislation, but the power is limited because only members of Congress can introduce legislation. The president or other officials of the executive branch may draft legislation and then ask senators or representatives to introduce these drafts into Congress. Additionally, the president may attempt to have Congress alter proposed legislation by threatening to veto that legislation unless requested changes are made.


Promulgating regulations

Many laws enacted by Congress do not address every possible detail, and either explicitly or implicitly delegate powers of implementation to an appropriate federal agency. As the head of the executive branch, presidents control a vast array of List of federal agencies in the United States, agencies that can issue regulations with little oversight from Congress. In the 20th century, critics charged that too many legislative and budgetary powers that should have belonged to Congress had slid into the hands of presidents. One critic charged that presidents could appoint a "virtual army of 'czars'—each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House". Presidents have been criticized for making signing statements when signing congressional legislation about how they understand a bill or plan to execute it. This practice has been criticized by the American Bar Association as unconstitutional. Conservative commentator George Will wrote of an "increasingly swollen executive branch" and "the eclipse of Congress".


Convening and adjourning Congress

To allow the government to act quickly in case of a major domestic or international crisis arising when Congress is not in session, the president is empowered by Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 3: Calling Congress into the extraordinary session; adjourning Congress, Article II, Section3 of the Constitution to call a special session of one or both houses of Congress. Since
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
first did so in 1797, the president has called the full Congress to convene for a special session on 27 occasions. Harry S. Truman was the most recent to do so in July 1948 (the so-called "Turnip Day Session"). In addition, prior to ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twentieth Amendment in 1933, which brought forward the date on which Congress convenes from December to January, newly United States presidential inauguration, inaugurated presidents would routinely call the Senate to meet to confirm nominations or ratify treaties. In practice, the power has fallen into disuse in the modern era as Congress now formally remains in session year-round, convening pro forma sessions every three days even when ostensibly in recess. Correspondingly, the president is authorized to adjourn Congress if the House and Senate cannot agree on the time of adjournment; no president has ever had to exercise this power.


Executive powers

The president is head of the executive branch of the federal government and is Article Two of the United States Constitution, constitutionally obligated to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed". The executive branch has over four million employees, including the military.


Administrative powers

Presidents make numerous executive branch appointments: an incoming president may make up to 6,000 before taking office and 8,000 more while serving. Ambassadors, members of the Cabinet of the United States, Cabinet, and other federal officers, are all appointed by a president with the "United States Senate#Checks and balances, advice and consent" of a majority of the Senate. When the Senate is in recess for at least ten days, the president may make recess appointments. Recess appointments are temporary and expire at the end of the next session of the Senate. The power of a president to fire executive officials has long been a contentious political issue. Generally, a president may remove executive officials purely at will. However, Congress can curtail and constrain a president's authority to fire commissioners of independent regulatory agencies and certain inferior executive officers by statute. To manage the growing federal bureaucracy, presidents have gradually surrounded themselves with many layers of staff, who were eventually organized into the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Within the Executive Office, the president's innermost layer of aides (and their assistants) are located in the White House Office. The president also possesses the power to manage operations of the federal government by issuing various Presidential directive, types of directives, such as Presidential proclamation (United States), presidential proclamation and
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive Directive may refer to: * Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union * Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
s. When the president is lawfully exercising one of the constitutionally conferred presidential responsibilities, the scope of this power is broad. Even so, these directives are subject to Judicial review in the United States, judicial review by U.S. federal courts, which can find them to be unconstitutional. Moreover, Congress can overturn an executive order via legislation (e.g., Congressional Review Act).


Foreign affairs

Article Two of the United States Constitution#Section 3: Presidential responsibilities, Article II, Section 3, Clause 4 requires the president to "receive Ambassadors." This clause, known as the Reception Clause, has been interpreted to imply that the president possesses broad power over matters of foreign policy, and to provide support for the president's exclusive authority to grant diplomatic recognition, recognition to a foreign government. The Constitution also empowers the president to appoint United States ambassadors, and to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements between the United States and other countries. Such agreements, upon receiving the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate (by a Supermajority, two-thirds majority vote), become binding with the force of federal law. While foreign affairs has always been a significant element of presidential responsibilities, advances in technology since the Constitution's adoption have increased presidential power. Where formerly ambassadors were vested with significant power to independently negotiate on behalf of the United States, presidents now routinely meet directly with leaders of foreign countries.


Commander-in-chief

One of the most important of executive powers is the president's role as
commander-in-chief A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control Image:CIC-USS-CarlVinson-2001.jpg, A watchstander at her station in the combat information center of USS Carl Vinson, USS ''Carl Vinson'' in the ...
of the
United States Armed Forces The United States Armed Forces are the Military, military forces of the United States of America. The armed forces consists of six Military branch, service branches: the United States Army, Army, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps, Uni ...

United States Armed Forces
. The power to declare war is constitutionally vested in Congress, but the president has ultimate responsibility for the direction and disposition of the military. The exact degree of authority that the Constitution grants to the president as commander-in-chief has been the subject of much debate throughout history, with Congress at various times granting the president wide authority and at others attempting to restrict that authority. The framers of the Constitution took care to limit the president's powers regarding the military;
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
explained this in Federalist No. 69: In the modern era, pursuant to the
War Powers Resolution The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) ( 50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) is a federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is f ...
, Congress must authorize any troop deployments longer than 60 days, although that process relies on triggering mechanisms that have never been employed, rendering it ineffectual. Additionally, Congress provides a check to presidential military power through its control over military spending and regulation. Presidents have historically initiated the process for going to war, but critics have charged that there have been several conflicts in which presidents did not get official declarations, including
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
's military move into Panama in 1903, the Korean War, the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
, and the invasions of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989. The amount of military detail handled personally by the president in wartime has varied greatly.
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
, the first U.S. president, firmly established civilian control of the military, military subordination under civilian authority. In 1794, Washington used his constitutional powers to assemble 12,000 militia to quell the Whiskey Rebellion—a conflict in western Pennsylvania involving armed farmers and distillers who refused to pay an excise tax on spirits. According to historian Joseph Ellis, this was the "first and only time a sitting American president led troops in the field", though
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
briefly took control of artillery units in Burning of Washington, defense of Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812.
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
was deeply involved in overall strategy and in day-to-day operations during the American Civil War, 1861–1865; historians have given Lincoln high praise for his strategic sense and his ability to select and encourage commanders such as
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
. The present-day operational command of the Armed Forces is delegated to the United States Department of Defense, Department of Defense and is normally exercised through the United States Secretary of Defense, secretary of defense. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combatant Commands assist with the operation as outlined in the presidentially approved Unified Command Plan (UCP).


Juridical powers and privileges

The president has the power to nominate United States federal judge, federal judges, including members of the United States courts of appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. However, these nominations require Advice and consent#United States, Senate confirmation before they may take office. Securing Senate approval can provide a major obstacle for presidents who wish to orient the federal judiciary toward a particular ideological stance. When nominating judges to United States district court, U.S. district courts, presidents often respect the long-standing tradition of senatorial courtesy. Presidents may also grant pardons and Pardon#Related concepts, reprieves.
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state an ...

Gerald Ford
pardoned
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
a month after taking office. Presidents often grant pardons shortly before leaving office, like when
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
pardoned Patty Hearst on his last day in office; this is often Controversy, controversial. Two doctrines concerning executive power have developed that enable the president to exercise executive power with a degree of autonomy. The first is executive privilege, which allows the president to withhold from disclosure any communications made directly to the president in the performance of executive duties.
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continenta ...

George Washington
first claimed the privilege when Congress requested to see Chief Justice of the United States, Chief Justice John Jay's notes from an unpopular treaty negotiation with Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain. While not enshrined in the Constitution or any other law, Washington's action created the precedent for the privilege. When Richard Nixon, Nixon tried to use executive privilege as a reason for not turning over subpoenaed evidence to Congress during the
Watergate scandal The Watergate scandal was a major List of federal political scandals in the United States, political scandal in the United States involving the Presidency of Richard Nixon#Administration, administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon from 19 ...
, the Supreme Court ruled in ''United States v. Nixon'', , that executive privilege did not apply in cases where a president was attempting to avoid criminal prosecution. When Bill Clinton attempted to use executive privilege regarding the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, Lewinsky scandal, the Supreme Court ruled in ''Clinton v. Jones'', , that the privilege also could not be used in civil suits. These cases established the Precedent, legal precedent that executive privilege is valid, although the exact extent of the privilege has yet to be clearly defined. Additionally, federal courts have allowed this privilege to radiate outward and protect other executive branch employees, but have weakened that protection for those executive branch communications that do not involve the president. The state secrets privilege allows the president and the executive branch to withhold information or documents from Discovery (law), discovery in legal proceedings if such release would harm national security. Precedent for the privilege arose early in the 19th century when
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
refused to release military documents in the treason trial of Aaron Burr and again in ''Totten v. United States'' , when the Supreme Court dismissed a case brought by a former Union spy. However, the privilege was not formally recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court until ''United States v. Reynolds'' , where it was held to be a common law Evidence (law), evidentiary privilege. Before the September 11 attacks, use of the privilege had been rare, but increasing in frequency. Since 2001, the government has asserted the privilege in more cases and at earlier stages of the litigation, thus in some instances causing dismissal of the suits before reaching the merits of the claims, as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Ninth Circuit's ruling in ''Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.'' Critics of the privilege claim its use has become a tool for the government to cover up illegal or embarrassing government actions. The degree to which the president personally has absolute immunity from court cases is contested and has been the subject of several Supreme Court decisions. ''Nixon v. Fitzgerald'' (1982) dismissed a civil lawsuit against by-then former president Richard Nixon based on his official actions. ''Clinton v. Jones'' (1997) decided that a president has no immunity against civil suits for actions taken before becoming president, and ruled that a sexual harassment suit could proceed without delay, even against a sitting president. The 2019 Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election detailed evidence of possible obstruction of justice, but investigators declined to refer
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective reci ...

Donald Trump
for prosecution based on a United States Department of Justice policy against indicting an incumbent president. The report noted that impeachment by Congress was available as a remedy. As of October 2019, a case was pending in the federal courts regarding access to personal tax returns in a criminal case brought against Donald Trump by the New York County District Attorney alleging violations of New York state law.


Leadership roles


Head of state

As
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
, the president represents the United States government to its own people, and represents the nation to the rest of the world. For example, during a state visit by a foreign head of state, the president typically hosts a State visits to the United States, State Arrival Ceremony held on the South Lawn (White House), South Lawn, a custom was begun by
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
in 1961. This is followed by a state dinner given by the president which is held in the State Dining Room of the White House, State Dining Room later in the evening. As a national leader, the president also fulfills many less formal ceremonial duties. For example,
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...

William Howard Taft
started the tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in 1910 at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C., on the Minnesota Twins#Washington Nationals/Senators: 1901–1960, Washington Senators's Opening Day. Every president since Taft, except for
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
, threw out at least one ceremonial first ball or pitch for Opening Day, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, All-Star Game, or the World Series, usually with much fanfare. Every president since
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
has served as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America. Other presidential traditions are associated with American holidays. Rutherford B. Hayes began in 1878 the first White House egg rolling for local children. Beginning in 1947, during the Harry S. Truman administration, every Thanksgiving (United States), Thanksgiving the president is presented with a live domestic turkey during the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation held at the White House. Since 1989, when the custom of "pardoning" the turkey was formalized by
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
, the turkey has been taken to a farm where it will live out the rest of its natural life. Presidential traditions also involve the president's role as head of government. Many outgoing presidents since James Buchanan traditionally give advice to their successor during the United States presidential transition, presidential transition.
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
and his successors have also left a private message on the desk of the Oval Office on United States presidential inauguration, Inauguration Day for the incoming president. The modern presidency holds the president as one of the nation's premier celebrities. Some argue that images of the presidency have a tendency to be manipulated by administration public relations officials as well as by presidents themselves. One critic described the presidency as "propagandized leadership" which has a "mesmerizing power surrounding the office". Administration public relations managers staged carefully crafted Photo op, photo-ops of smiling presidents with smiling crowds for television cameras. One critic wrote the image of
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
was described as carefully framed "in rich detail" which "drew on the power of myth" regarding the incident of Patrol torpedo boat PT-109, PT 109 and wrote that Kennedy understood how to use images to further his presidential ambitions. As a result, some political commentators have opined that American voters have unrealistic expectations of presidents: voters expect a president to "drive the economy, vanquish enemies, lead the free world, comfort tornado victims, heal the national soul and protect borrowers from hidden credit-card fees".


Head of party

The president is typically considered to be the head of his or her political party. Since the entire House of Representatives and at least one-third of the Senate is elected simultaneously with the president, candidates from a political party inevitably have their electoral success intertwined with the performance of the party's presidential candidate. The coattail effect, or lack thereof, will also often impact a party's candidates at state and local levels of government as well. However, there are often tensions between a president and others in the party, with presidents who lose significant support from their party's caucus in Congress generally viewed to be weaker and less effective.


Global leader

With the rise of the United States as a
superpower A superpower is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

superpower
in the 20th century, and the United States having the world's largest economy into the 21st century, the president is typically viewed as a global leader, and at times the world's most powerful political figure. The position of the United States as the leading member of NATO, and the country's strong relationships with other wealthy or democratic nations like those comprising the European Union, have led to the moniker that the president is the "leader of the free world."


Selection process


Eligibility

Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 5: Qualifications for office, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for holding the presidency. To serve as president, one must: * be a Natural-born-citizen clause (United States), natural-born citizen of the United States; * be at least 35 years old; * be a Residency (domicile)#United States, resident in the United States for at least 14 years. A person who meets the above qualifications would, however, still be disqualified from holding the office of president under any of the following conditions: * Under Article One of the United States Constitution#Clause 7: Judgment in cases of impeachment; Punishment on conviction, Article I, Section 3, Clause 7, having been impeached, convicted and disqualified from holding further public office, although there is some legal debate as to whether the disqualification clause also includes the presidential office: the only previous persons so punished were three federal judges. * Under Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution#Participants in rebellion, Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no person who swore an oath to support the Constitution, and later rebelled against the United States, is eligible to hold any office. However, this disqualification can be lifted by a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress. There is, again, some debate as to whether the clause as written allows disqualification from the presidential position, or whether it would first require litigation outside of Congress, although there is precedent for use of this amendment outside of the original intended purpose of excluding Confederates from public office after the Civil War. * Under the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twenty-second Amendment, no person can be elected president more than twice. The amendment also specifies that if any eligible person serves as president or acting president for more than two years of a term for which some other eligible person was elected president, the former can only be elected president once.


Campaigns and nomination

The modern presidential campaign begins before the United States presidential primary, primary elections, which the two major political parties use to clear the field of candidates before their United States presidential nominating convention, national nominating conventions, where the most successful candidate is made the party's presidential nominee. Typically, the party's presidential candidate chooses a vice presidential nominee, and this choice is Rubber stamp (politics), rubber-stamped by the convention. The most common previous profession of presidents is lawyer. Nominees participate in United States presidential debates, nationally televised debates, and while the debates are usually restricted to the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic and Republican Party (United States), Republican nominees, Third party (United States), third party candidates may be invited, such as Ross Perot in the 1992 debates. Nominees campaign across the country to explain their views, convince voters and solicit contributions. Much of the modern electoral process is concerned with winning swing states through frequent visits and mass media advertising drives.


Election

The president is elected indirectly by the voters of each state and the Washington, D.C., District of Columbia through the Electoral College, a body of electors formed every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president to concurrent four-year terms. As prescribed by Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the size of its total delegation in both houses of Congress. Additionally, the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twenty-third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia is entitled to the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state. Currently, all states and the District of Columbia select their electors based on a popular election. In all but two states, the party whose presidential–vice presidential Ticket (election), ticket receives a Plurality (voting), plurality of popular votes in the state has its entire Slate (elections), slate of elector nominees chosen as the state's electors. Maine and Nebraska deviate from this practice, awarding two electors to the statewide winner and one to the winner in each List of United States congressional districts, congressional district. On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, about six weeks after the election, the electors convene in their respective state capitals (and in Washington, D.C.) to vote for president and, on a separate ballot, for vice president. They typically vote for the candidates of the Political parties in the United States, party that nominated them. While there is no constitutional mandate or federal law requiring them to do so, the District of Columbia and 32 states have laws requiring that their electors vote for the candidates to whom they are Promise, pledged. The constitutionality of these laws was upheld in ''Chiafalo v. Washington'' (2020). Following the vote, each state then sends a certified record of their electoral votes to Congress. The votes of the electors are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress, held in the first week of January. If a candidate has received an Supermajority, absolute majority of electoral votes for president (currently 270 of 538), that person is declared the winner. Otherwise, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives must meet to elect a president using a contingent election procedure in which representatives, voting by state delegation, with each state casting a single vote, choose between the top ''three'' electoral vote-getters for president. For a candidate to win, he or she must receive the votes of an absolute majority of states (currently 26 of 50). There have been two contingent presidential elections in the nation's history. A 73–73 electoral vote tie between
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
and fellow Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr in the 1800 United States presidential election, election of 1800 necessitated the first. Conducted under the original procedure established by Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 3: Electors, Article II, Section 1, Clause3 of the Constitution, which stipulates that if two or three persons received a majority vote and an equal vote, the House of Representatives would choose one of them for president; the would become vice president. On February 17, 1801, Jefferson was elected president on the 36th ballot, and Burr elected vice president. Afterward, the system was overhauled through the Twelfth Amendment in time to be used in the 1804 United States presidential election, 1804 election. A quarter-century later, the choice for president again devolved to the House when no candidate won an absolute majority of electoral votes (131 of 261) in the 1824 United States presidential election, election of 1824. Under the Twelfth Amendment, the House was required to choose a president from among the top three electoral vote recipients:
Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of ...

Andrew Jackson
,
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

John Quincy Adams
, and William H. Crawford. Held February 9, 1825, this second and most recent contingent election resulted in John Quincy Adams being elected president on the first ballot.


Inauguration

Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twentieth Amendment, the four-year term of office for both the president and the vice president begins at noon on January 20. The first presidential and vice presidential terms to begin on this date, known as United States presidential inauguration, Inauguration Day, were the Second inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, second terms of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
and Vice President John Nance Garner in 1937. Previously, Inauguration Day was on March 4. As a result of the date change, the first term (1933–37) of both men had been shortened by days. Before executing the powers of the office, a president is required to Recitation, recite the Oath of office of the president of the United States, presidential Oath of Office, found in Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 8: Oath or affirmation, Article II, Section 1, Clause8 of the Constitution. This is the only component in the inauguration ceremony mandated by the Constitution: Presidents have traditionally placed one hand upon a Bible while taking the oath, and have added "So help me God" to the end of the oath. Although the oath may be administered by any person authorized by law to administer oaths, presidents are traditionally sworn in by the Chief Justice of the United States, chief justice of the United States.


Incumbency


Term limit

When the first president, George Washington, announced in his ''George Washington's Farewell Address, Farewell Address'' that he was not running for a third term, he established a "two terms then out" precedent. Precedent became tradition after
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
publicly embraced the principle a decade later during his second term, as did his two immediate successors,
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
and
James Monroe James Monroe (; April 28, 1758July 4, 1831) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. ...
. In spite of the strong two-term tradition,
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
unsuccessfully sought a non-consecutive third term in 1880. In 1940, after leading the nation through the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
, Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a third term, breaking the long-standing precedent. Four years later, with the U.S. engaged in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, he was re-elected again despite his declining physical health; he died 82 days into his fourth term on April 12, 1945. In response to the unprecedented length of Roosevelt's presidency, the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, Twenty-second Amendment was ratification, adopted in 1951. The amendment bars anyone from being elected president more than twice, or once if that person served more than two years (24 months) of another president's four-year term. Harry S. Truman, president when this term limit came into force, was exempted from its limitations, and briefly sought a second full term—to which he would have otherwise been ineligible for election, as he had been president for more than two years of Roosevelt's fourth term—before he withdrew from the 1952 United States presidential election, 1952 election. Since the amendment's adoption, five presidents have served two full terms:
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In its broadest sense, the term " ...
,
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
,
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
,
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
, and
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
.
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
,
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
, and
Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective reci ...

Donald Trump
each sought a second term but were defeated.
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
was elected to a second term, but resigned before completing it.
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
, having held the presidency for one full term in addition to only 14 months of
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
's unexpired term, was eligible for a second full term in 1968, but he 1968 Democratic Party presidential primaries#Johnson withdraws, withdrew from the Democratic primary. Additionally,
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state an ...

Gerald Ford
, who served out the last two years and five months of Nixon's second term, sought a full term but was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 United States presidential election, 1976 election.


Vacancies and succession

Under Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution#Section 1: Presidential succession, Section1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, ratified in 1967, the vice president becomes president upon the Impeachment in the United States#Senate trial, removal from office, death, or resignation of the president. Deaths have occurred a number of times, resignation has occurred only once, and removal from office has never occurred. The original Constitution, in Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 6: Vacancy and disability, Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, stated only that the vice president assumes the "powers and duties" of the presidency in the event of a president's removal, death, resignation, or inability. Under this clause, there was ambiguity about whether the vice president would actually become president in the event of a vacancy, or simply Acting (law), act as president, potentially resulting in a special election. Upon the death of
William Henry Harrison William Henry Harrison (February 9, 1773April 4, 1841) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 9th president of the United States in 1841. Harrison died just 31 days after his inauguration, and had the shortest pres ...

William Henry Harrison
in 1841, Vice President
John Tyler John Tyler (March 29, 1790January 18, 1862) was the 10th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the F ...

John Tyler
declared that he had succeeded to the office itself, refusing to accept any papers addressed to the "Acting President," and Congress ultimately accepted it. This established a precedent for future successions, although it was not formally clarified until the Twenty-fifth Amendment was ratified. In the event of a double vacancy, Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 also authorizes Congress to declare who shall become acting president in the "Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the president and vice president". The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (codified as ) provides that if both the president and vice president have left office or are both otherwise unavailable to serve during their terms of office, the United States presidential line of succession, presidential line of succession follows the order of: speaker of the House, then, if necessary, the president pro tempore of the Senate, and then if necessary, the eligible heads of United States federal executive departments, federal executive departments who form the president's Cabinet of the United States, cabinet. The cabinet currently has 15 members, of which the secretary of state is first in line; the other Cabinet secretaries follow in the order in which their department (or the department of which their department is the successor) was created. Those individuals who are constitutionally ineligible to be elected to the presidency are also disqualified from assuming the powers and duties of the presidency through succession. No statutory successor has yet been called upon to act as president.


Declarations of inability

Under the Twenty-fifth Amendment, the president may temporarily transfer the presidential powers and duties to the vice president, who then becomes Acting president of the United States, acting president, by transmitting to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, president ''pro tempore'' of the Senate a statement that he is unable to discharge his duties. The president resumes his or her powers upon transmitting a second declaration stating that he is again able. The mechanism has been used by
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
(once),
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
(twice), and
Joe Biden Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( ; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of th ...

Joe Biden
(once), each in anticipation of surgery. The Twenty-fifth Amendment also provides that the vice president, together with a majority of certain members of the Cabinet of the United States, Cabinet, may transfer the presidential powers and duties to the vice president by transmitting a written declaration, to the speaker of the House and the president ''pro tempore'' of the Senate, to the effect that the president is unable to discharge his or her powers and duties. If the president then declares that no such inability exist, he or she resumes the presidential powers unless the vice president and Cabinet make a second declaration of presidential inability, in which case Congress decides the question.


Removal

Article Two of the United States Constitution#Section 4: Impeachment, Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution allows for the removal of high federal officials, including the president, from office for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors". Article One of the United States Constitution#Clause 5: Speaker and other officers; Impeachment, Article I, Section 2, Clause5 authorizes the House of Representatives to serve as a "grand jury" with the power to Impeachment, impeach said officials by a majority vote. Article One of the United States Constitution#Clause 6: Trial of Impeachments, Article I, Section 3, Clause6 authorizes the Senate to serve as a court with the power to remove impeached officials from office, by a two-thirds vote to convict. Three presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson in Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, 1868, Bill Clinton in Impeachment of Bill Clinton, 1998, and Donald Trump in First impeachment of Donald Trump, 2019 and Second impeachment of Donald Trump, 2021; none have been convicted by the Senate. Additionally, the United States House Committee on the Judiciary, House Judiciary Committee conducted an impeachment inquiry against Richard Nixon in Impeachment process against Richard Nixon, 1973–74 and reported three articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives for final action; however, he resigned from office before the House voted on them.


Compensation

Since 2001, the president's annual salary has been $400,000, along with a: $50,000 expense allowance; $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 entertainment account. The president's salary is set by Congress, and under Article Two of the United States Constitution#Clause 7: Salary, Article II, Section 1, Clause7 of the Constitution, any increase or reduction in presidential salary cannot take effect before the next presidential term of office.


Residence

The White House in Washington, D.C. is the official residence of the president. The site was selected by George Washington, and the cornerstone was laid in 1792. Every president since John Adams (in 1800) has lived there. At various times in U.S. history, it has been known as the "President's Palace", the "President's House", and the "Executive Mansion". Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901. The federal government pays for state dinners and other official functions, but the president pays for personal, family, and guest dry cleaning and food. Camp David, officially titled Naval Support Facility Thurmont, a mountain-based military camp in Frederick County, Maryland, is the president's country residence. A place of solitude and tranquility, the site has been used extensively to host foreign dignitaries since the 1940s. President's Guest House, located next to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House Complex and Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C., Lafayette Park, serves as the president's official guest house and as a secondary residence for the president if needed. Four interconnected, 19th-century houses—Blair House, Lee House, and 700 and 704 Jackson Place—with a combined floor space exceeding comprise the property. File:White House lawn (1).tif, White House, the official residence File:Camp David.jpg, Camp David, the official retreat File:President's Guest House.jpg, Blair House, the official guest house


Travel

The primary means of long-distance air travel for the president is one of two identical Boeing VC-25 aircraft, which are extensively modified Boeing 747 airliners and are referred to as ''Air Force One'' while the president is on board (although any U.S. Air Force aircraft the president is aboard is designated as "Air Force One" for the duration of the flight). In-country trips are typically handled with just one of the two planes, while overseas trips are handled with both, one primary and one backup. The president also has access to smaller Air Force aircraft, most notably the Boeing C-32, which are used when the president must travel to airports that cannot support a jumbo jet. Any civilian aircraft the president is aboard is designated Executive One for the flight.. White House Military Office. Retrieved June 17, 2007. For short-distance air travel, the president has access to a fleet of United States Marine Corps, U.S. Marine Corps helicopters of varying models, designated ''Marine One'' when the president is aboard any particular one in the fleet. Flights are typically handled with as many as five helicopters all flying together and frequently swapping positions as to disguise which helicopter the president is actually aboard to any would-be threats. For ground travel, the president uses the Presidential state car (United States), presidential state car, which is an armored limousine designed to look like a Cadillac sedan, but built on a truck chassis.New Presidential Limousine enters Secret Service Fleet
U.S. Secret Service Press Release (January 14, 2009) Retrieved on January 20, 2009.
The United States Secret Service, U.S. Secret Service operates and maintains the fleet of several limousines. The president also has access to Ground Force One, two armored motorcoaches, which are primarily used for Whistle stop train tour, touring trips. File:Cadillac One (September 2018).jpg, Presidential state car (United States), The presidential limousine, dubbed "The Beast" File:Air Force One over Mt. Rushmore.jpg, The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is on board File:Joe Biden visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland 01.jpg, Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard


Protection

The United States Secret Service, U.S. Secret Service is charged with protecting the president and the First family of the United States, first family. As part of their protection, presidents, First Lady of the United States, first ladies, their children and other immediate family members, and other prominent persons and locations are assigned Secret Service code name, Secret Service codenames. The use of such names was originally for security purposes and dates to a time when sensitive electronic communications were not routinely Encryption, encrypted; today, the names simply serve for purposes of brevity, clarity, and tradition.


Post-presidency


Activities

Some former presidents have had significant careers after leaving office. Prominent examples include
William Howard Taft William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857March 8, 1930) was the 27th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of ...

William Howard Taft
's tenure as chief justice of the United States and
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
's work on government reorganization after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
.
Grover Cleveland Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837June 24, 1908) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only president in American ...

Grover Cleveland
, whose bid for reelection failed in 1888 POTUS election, 1888, was elected president again 4 years later in 1892 POTUS election, 1892. Two former presidents served in Congress after leaving the White House:
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

John Quincy Adams
was elected to the House of Representatives, serving there for 17 years, and
Andrew Johnson Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 July 31, 1875) was the 17th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the pre ...

Andrew Johnson
returned to the Senate in 1875, though he died soon after. Some ex-presidents were very active, especially in international affairs, most notably Theodore Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover; Richard Nixon; and Jimmy Carter. Presidents may use their predecessors as emissaries to deliver private messages to other nations or as official representatives of the United States to state funerals and other important foreign events.
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...

Richard Nixon
made multiple foreign trips to countries including China and Russia and was lauded as an elder statesman.
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician, businessman, and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Par ...

Jimmy Carter
has become a global human rights campaigner, international arbiter, and election monitor, as well as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton ('' né'' Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 42nd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and ...

Bill Clinton
has also worked as an informal ambassador, most recently in the negotiations that led to the release of two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, from North Korea. During his presidency,
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
called on former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bush and Bill Clinton, Clinton to assist with humanitarian efforts after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. President Obama followed suit by asking Presidents Bill Clinton, Clinton and George W. Bush, Bush to lead efforts to aid Haiti after an 2010 Haiti earthquake, earthquake devastated that country in 2010. Clinton was active politically since his presidential term ended, working with his wife Hillary Clinton, Hillary on her Hillary Clinton 2008 presidential campaign, 2008 and Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign, 2016 presidential bids and President Obama on his Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign, 2012 reelection campaign. Obama was also active politically since his presidential term ended, having worked with his former vice president
Joe Biden Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. ( ; born November 20, 1942) is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of th ...

Joe Biden
on his Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign, 2020 election campaign. Trump has continued to make appearances in the media and at conventions and rallies since leaving office.


Pension and other benefits

The Former Presidents Act (FPA), enacted in 1958, grants lifetime benefits to former presidents and their widows, including a monthly pension, medical care in military facilities, health insurance, and Secret Service protection; also provided is funding for a certain number of staff and for office expenses. The act has been amended several times to provide increases in presidential pensions and in the allowances for office staff. The FPA excludes any president who was removed from office by Impeachment in the United States, impeachment. According to a 2008 report by the Congressional Research service:
Chief executives leaving office prior to 1958 often entered retirement pursuing various occupations and received no federal assistance. When industrialist Andrew Carnegie announced a plan in 1912 to offer $25,000 annual pensions to former Presidents, many Members of Congress deemed it inappropriate that such a pension would be provided by a private corporation executive. That same year, legislation was first introduced to create presidential pensions, but it was not enacted. In 1955, such legislation was considered by Congress because of former President Harry S. Truman’s financial limitations in hiring an office staff
The pension has increased numerous times with congressional approval. Retired presidents receive a pension based on the salary of the current administration's cabinet secretaries, which was $199,700 per year in 2012. Former presidents who served in Congress may also collect congressional pensions. The act also provides former presidents with travel funds and franking privileges. Prior to 1997, all former presidents, their spouses, and their children until age 16 were protected by the Secret Service until the president's death. In 1997, Congress passed legislation limiting Secret Service protection to no more than 10 years from the date a president leaves office. On January 10, 2013, President Obama signed legislation reinstating lifetime Secret Service protection for him,
George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the Un ...

George W. Bush
, and all subsequent presidents. A First Spouse of the United States, first spouse who remarries is no longer eligible for Secret Service protection.


Living former U.S. presidents

, there were five living former U.S. presidents. The most recent death of a former president was that of
George H. W. Bush George Herbert Walker BushSince around 2000 he was usually called George H. W. Bush, Bush Senior, Bush 41 or Bush the Elder to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American p ...

George H. W. Bush
(1989–1993), on November 30, 2018. The living former presidents, in order of service, are: File:Carter cropped.jpg, File:44 Bill Clinton 3x4.jpg, File:George-W-Bush edit.jpg, File:President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg, File:Donald Trump official portrait (cropped).jpg,


Presidential libraries

Every president since
Herbert Hoover Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Herbert Hoover
has created a Institutional repository, repository known as a presidential library for preserving and making available his papers, records, and other documents and materials. Completed libraries are deeded to and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); the initial funding for building and equipping each library must come from private, non-federal sources. There are currently thirteen presidential libraries in the NARA system. There are also presidential libraries maintained by state governments and private foundations and Universities of Higher Education, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by the State of Illinois; the George W. Bush Presidential Center, George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by Southern Methodist University; the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by Texas A&M University; and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by the University of Texas at Austin. A number of presidents have lived for many years after leaving office, and several of them have personally overseen the building and opening of their own presidential libraries. Some have even made arrangements for their own burial at the site. Several presidential libraries contain the graves of the president they document, including the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. These gravesites are open to the general public.


Timeline of presidents


Political affiliation

Political parties in the United States, Political parties have dominated Politics of the United States, American politics for most of the nation's history. Though the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
generally spurned political parties as divisive and disruptive, and their rise had not been anticipated when the U.S. Constitution was drafted in 1787, organized political parties developed in the U.S. in the mid-1790s nonetheless. They evolved from political factions, which began to appear almost immediately after the Federal government came into existence. Those who supported the Presidency of George Washington, Washington administration were referred to as "pro-administration" and would eventually form the Federalist Party, while those in opposition joined the emerging
Democratic-Republican Party The Democratic-Republican Party, also referred to as the Jeffersonian Republican Party and known at the time under various other names, was an American political party founded by Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – J ...
. Greatly concerned about the very real capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together, Washington remained Independent politician, unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his eight-year presidency. He was, and remains, the only U.S. president never to be affiliated with a political party. Since Washington, every U.S. president has been affiliated with a political party at the time of assuming office. The number of presidents per political party at the time they were sworn into office (arranged in alphabetical order by last name) and the cumulative number of years that each political party has been affiliated with the presidency are:


Timeline

The following Bar chart, timeline depicts the progression of the presidents and their political affiliation at the time of assuming office.


See also

* Outline of American politics


Notes


References


Further reading

* Ayton, Mel '' Plotting to Kill the President: Assassination Attempts from Washington to Hoover'' (Potomac Books, 2017), United States * Balogh, Brian and Bruce J. Schulman, eds. ''Recapturing the Oval Office: New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency'' (Cornell University Press, 2015), 311 pp. * * Lang, J. Stephen. ''The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia.'' Pelican Publishing. 2001. * Graff, Henry F., ed. ''The Presidents: A Reference History'' (3rd ed. 2002
online
short scholarly biographies from George Washington to William Clinton. * Greenberg, David. ''Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency'' (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015). xx, 540 pp
bibliography
* Leo, Leonard—Taranto, James—Bennett, William J. ''Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House.'' Simon and Schuster. 2004. * * Tebbel, John William, and Sarah Miles Watts. ''The Press and the Presidency: From George Washington to Ronald Reagan'' (Oxford University Press, 1985).
''Presidential Studies Quarterly''
published by Wiley, is a quarterly academic journal on the presidency.


Historiography and memory

* Greenstein, Fred I. et al. ''Evolution of the Modern President: A Bibliographical Survey'' (1977) annotated bibliography of 2500 scholarly articles and books covering each president
online


Primary sources

* Waldman, Michael—Stephanopoulos, George. ''My Fellow Americans: The Most Important Speeches of America's Presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush.'' Sourcebooks Trade. 2003.


External links


White House homepage
* hdl:10079/fa/beinecke.pres, United States Presidents Collection. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. {{Authority control 1789 establishments in the United States Articles which contain graphical timelines Presidents of the United States, Presidency of the United States, United States presidential history,