American President Is First Citizen

Topics: President of the United States, President, United States Constitution Pages: 3 (852 words) Published: May 13, 2002
The first citizen of a nation can be seen as an individual who is at the head of his institution and also one of his own citizens. It may seem ironic or even impossible that a person can assume such high standing while maintaining the typical image of his fellow men. But with the unique structure of the American Government and the many interesting facets of its President, the American Presidency can assume such roles. Since the military is headed by civilian control, the President's status as Commander-in-Chief declares him as one of and head of the civilian population. The American President is the leader of his political party as chief of party, the ceremonial head of the American Government as chief of state, and a representation of the American People as the Chief Citizen. But since the President's power is granted to serve his people, his status is also that which is in a way equal to or even subordinate to the citizens.
As Richard Neustadt explained, the President possesses "an extraordinary range of formal powers" and has "extraordinary status, ex officio…" . But at the same time, the President, despite his "powers" cannot obtain results merely by giving orders. Rather, his power derives from the "power to persuade" 1. As the first citizen of the nation, the President is not a dictator of his people. Instead of giving orders, he must work as a fellow citizen to persuade his people into agreeing with his plans. With the President's high status and influence, "what he could do tomorrow may supply today's advantage" 1. Clearly, the President exerts great influence on the lives of the citizens and they very well know that "at some time, in some degree, the doing of their jobs…may depend upon the President" 1. The President takes on the ultimate leadership role among his fellow citizens. But he also is very much a part of the civilian population since he is "dependent on their [citizens] knowledge, judgment, and good will." 1.

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