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Year of its Department

Head of the Department creation by law 3. War.. The Secretary of War.

1789 4. Justice The Attorney General..

1789 5. Post Office_-- The Postmaster General ----- 1794 6. Navy--- The Secretary of the Navy------- 1798 7. Interior-----. The Secretary of the Interior--- 1849 8. Agriculture - The Secretary of Agriculture----- 1889 9. Commerce--- The Secretary of Commerce------ 1 1903 10. Labor.------ The Secretary of Labor ---- 1913 *Department of Commerce and Labor created in 1903 and made into 2 separate departments in 1913.

THE CABINET The 10 Cabinet members may hold office as long as they satisfy the President. Each Department head is responsible to the President, and the President is responsible to the country for each of them and the work of their Departments. The President may dismiss à Cabinet member at any time. A new President may choose to retain some of the experienced members of the previous Cabinet, but usually surrounds himself with advisers of his own choosing. He holds meetings of his Cabinet as often as he wishes. These meetings are not open to the public.

The Constitution makes no exact provision for a President's Cabinet. It provides that the President “may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the Executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices,” but it does not name the Departments nor describe their duties. The Cabinet is simply a council of advisers for the President, who are also heads of principal Departments, and this group or council has come to be generally accepted as part of our Government organization. The law fixes no special qualifications for Cabinet members.

Each Cabinet member has authority delegated to him by the President to manage his own Department. As an officer of the Federal Government, his duties extend to all parts of the country and he must have many assistants and advisers. His Department will be found divided into many divisions, bureaus, offices, or services, through which different parts of his work will be done. There are hundreds of these divisions in the 10 Executive Departments.

Let us consider the organization and chief objectives of each of the 10 Executive Departments.


The Secretary of State ranks as an executive officer next to the President and Vice President. He is the President's adviser on matters relating to foreign policy.

The general objectives of the Department of State are (1) to maintain friendly relations between the United States and foreign countries, as far as it is possible to do so, (2) to build up our foreign trade and commerce, and (3) to protect American citizens and their property abroad.

In carrying out these general objectives the Department of State performs the following tasks:

1. It supervises the Foreign Service of the United States, which includes our ambassadors, ministers, and consular officers, through whom the Department maintains the necessary contacts with foreign governments, and helps to protect American citizens and their interests abroad.

2. It aids in the making and enforcing of treaties and other agreements with foreign countries.

3. It issues passports to our citizens who wish to travel abroad.

4. It arranges for the reception by the President of foreign ambassadors and ministers.

5. It helps to decide whether a new foreign government should be recognized by the Government of the United States.

6. It gathers information about economic, political, and social conditions in foreign countries.

7. The consular officers of the United States in foreign countries examine the applications of citizens of foreign countries wishing to come to the United States as immigrants or nonimmigrants and, if the applicants are found to be admissible under our immigration laws, the consuls issue them the right kind of visas (permission to enter).

In addition to these tasks, the State Department publishes all Federal laws, treaties between the United States and foreign governments, and certain other official papers.


The general objectives of the Department of the Treasury are (1) to manage the financial affairs of the United States Government effectively, (2) to plan for the protection and increase of the Government's income, and (3) to protect the buying power of American money and the borrowing power of the Federal Government.

Among the many tasks performed by the Department of the Treasury in carrying out these general objectives are the following:

1. It supervises the collection of taxes for the Government.

2. It arranges to borrow money for the United States.

3. It supervises the payment of all bills and debts of the Government as directed by law.

4. It reports to both the Congress and the President on the financial condition of the Government.

5. It supervises the coining of money and the printing of paper money, bonds, and postage stamps.

6. Through the Coast Guard, it patrols the coasts to prevent smuggling of goods into the United States and to protect shipping.

7. It supervises the procurement and distribution of Government property and supplies.

8. It regulates the sale of alcohol and narcotics (habitforming drugs) in interstate and foreign commerce.

9. It operates the Secret Service.


The principal objective of the Department of War is to protect and defend our national safety. It also has control over a number of nonmilitary activities.


Among the many services rendered by the Department of War are the following:

1. It organizes, trains, and maintains the Army of the United States, which consists of the Regular Army, the National Guard while in the service of the United States, the Officers Reserve Corps, and other Reserve units.

2. It constantly works on the development of improved weapons and equipment, including military aircraft.

3. It helps to protect our coastlines, harbors, and borders in time of peace, and helps to defend the country in time of war,

4. It is responsible for the defense and operation of the Panama Canal and for the government of the Canal Zone.

5. It supervises the development of rivers and harbors and regulates the use of all navigable waters within the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

6. It aids in meeting flood-control problems and other emergencies.

7. It maintains the Military Academy at West Point and many schools for officers and enlisted men, including a Command and General Staff School, and the Army War College.


The Attorney General is the head of the Department of Justice, and as such, the chief law officer of the National Government. He represents the United States in legal matters generally, and gives advice and opinions when requested by the President or by the heads of the Executive Departments. He appears in the Supreme Court of the United States in cases of unusual importance. Frequently the services of the Department of Justice are used for the drawing up of new legislation, especially when it is about new and difficult problems.

The Solicitor General assists the Attorney General and acts under his direction. He appears for the Government in the Supreme Court of the United States. All appeal work in which the Government has an interest is under his

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