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survived through the too great power of the British King. Nevertheless, the delegates decided to give all the executive power to a single official, to be known as the President of the United States.

They also decided that a Vice President should be elected in the same way as the President, but should be given the sole duty of presiding over the Senate. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death, resignation, or inability to use the powers or do the duties of his office, the Vice President was given the right and duty of taking his place. The Constitution gave the Congress the right to decide what other officer should become President if both the President and Vice President should die or withdraw. From Figure 49 you can learn how the Congress has decided this important question.

The President is in fact the head of a very large executive organization, including 10 Departments, each with a cabinet member at its head, and also many independent agencies. Through them he does his duty in enforcing the provisions of the Federal Constitution and the laws made by the Congress, and in conducting Government business in the interest of all the people. He is the real leader of this great Nation,

The President lives in Washington in an official residence called the White House. There he has his executive offices as well as his home.

The Constitution provides that the President (1) must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, (2) must be at least 35 years old when he takes office and (3) must at that time have been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years. (See Figure 49.)

The President's term of office, as provided in the Constitution, is 4 years. The Constitution does not state how many terms a President may serve.

How Is the President Nominated?

Candidates for the office of President are chosen at conventions held by the principal political parties. (Review


Term of office-4 years.
Salary-$75,000 and allowances.
Election November of every fourth year.
Inauguration January 20 following election.
Elected-By the people through the Electoral College.
Qualifications Natural-born citizen at least 35 years old and at

least 14 years a resident of the United States. Succession to the office

1. Vice President.
2. Secretary of State.
3. Secretary of the Treasury.
4. Secretary of War.
5. Attorney General.
6. Postmaster General.
7. Secretary of the Navy.

8. Secretary of the Interior. Chief power and duty - To enforce the Constitution, the laws made by

the Congress, and treaties. Other powers

1. To veto bills.
2. To recommend measures to the Congress.
3. To call special sessions of the Congress.
4. To deliver messages to the Congress.
5. To appoint Federal judges.
6. To appoint representatives to foreign countries.
7. To appoint heads of the Departments and other important

8. To pardon criminals.
9. To carry on official business with foreign nations.
10. To be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy.

Figure 49

The President of the United States

chapter 12.) Each political party selects a city as the meeting place of its convention. It arranges to have its conventions meet in the early summer of the election year, and to have each of its State organizations send a group of delegates.

After the convention has elected its officers and committees and has adopted a platform of party principles, it is ready to nominate a candidate for President; and afterward one for Vice President. The chairman orders a roll call of the States. At this time the members of any State delegation, when the State's name is called, may nominate a candidate for President. After every State delegation has had an opportunity to offer the name of its candidate, all the delegates cast their votes for one or another of the nominees. The person thus chosen by the delegates becomes the party candidate for President to be voted on in the next November election.

How Is the President Elected?


Members of the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia did not think it wise that the people should vote directly for a President. So they wrote into the Constitution an “indirect method" of electing the President.

At the November election the voters of each State select as many Presidential Electors as the combined number of Representatives and Senators which that State has in the Congress. These electors have been nominated by the political parties for the sole purpose of voting for their party's candidates for President and Vice President. The electors from all 48 States become a group known as the “Electoral College”; but the whole group never meets, since the Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution directs that the electors shall meet in their own States to cast their votes. In this way the Electoral College chooses the President and Vice President. Really, the electors in each State are bound to vote for the candidates who have received the greatest number of votes in their State.


On the 20th of January which follows his election in November, the President begins his official duties with a ceremony called the Inauguration. It is customary for him to go to the Capitol to take his oath of office, which is administered to him by the Chief Justice of the United States.


“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The President usually makes an inaugural address, which is broadcast widely and is heard or read by millions of people throughout the Nation.


The Constitution says that the executive power of our National Government shall be legally delegated to a President of the United States of America. All other executive officers are responsible to him and receive from him the right to do executive duties as his delegates. The President and the Vice President are the only officers elected by the vote of the whole people.

The office of President of the United States is one of the most important and powerful in the world. In the first place, he must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed" and must manage the tremendously large organization which carries on our National Government. To do this he is given not only the authority to operate the Executive Branch of the Government, but also important powers in legislative and judicial matters. In Figure 49 you will find a list of many of the chief powers and duties of the President.

What Are His Powers in Legislative Matters? The President has the power to prevent any bill passed by the Congress from becoming a law, unless it is passed again, after his veto, by a favorable vote of two-thirds of the Members of each House. He may exert an influence on the Congress through his right to call it together in special session to consider and take action on any national problem which he considers important. In his annual and special messages to the Congress he may recommend that it shall pass laws which he believes the people need. And often in his public addresses he may advise the Congress indirectly.

The President, as the only officer (except the Vice President) elected by the whole people, is held responsible by the Nation for a general program to promote the welfare of the country. As head of his political party he may properly urge the members of his party in the Congress to support such a program.

What Are His Powers in Judicial Matters?

When vacancies occur, the President appoints Federal judges, including members of the Supreme Court of the United States. His appointments must, however, be confirmed by the United States Senate.

The President may grant a full or a conditional pardon to any person who has been convicted of breaking a Federal law, except in a case of impeachment. He may shorten the prison term or reduce the fine which has been imposed as punishment for a crime. He may delay an execution.

What Are His Executive Powers? The executive powers of the President are so numerous that it is impossible to mention all of them.

The President enforces the Constitution, treaties with other countries, and the laws made by the Congress. In doing so, he has to issue many rules, regulations, and instructions which are called Executive orders.

The Constitution provides that “the President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States."

This pro

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