President of the United States
The President of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president and charges him with the execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. Since the founding of the United States, the power of the president and the federal government have grown substantially and each modern president, despite possessing no formal legislative powers beyond signing or vetoing congressionally passed bills, is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of his party and the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. The president is frequently described as the most powerful person in the world. The president is indirectly elected by the people through the Electoral College to a four-year term, and is one of only two nationally elected federal officers, the other being the Vice President of the United States. The Twenty-second Amendment, adopted in 1951, prohibits anyone from ever being elected to the presidency for a third full term. It also prohibits a person from being elected to the presidency more than once if that person previously had served as President, or Acting President, for more than two years of another person's term as President. In all, 43 individuals have served 55 four-year terms. On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama became the forty-fourth and current president. Origin
In 1783, the Treaty of Paris left the United States independent and at peace, but with an unsettled governmental structure. The Second Continental Congress had drawn up the Articles of Confederation in 1777, describing a permanent confederation, but granting to the Congress of the Confederation—the only federal institution created—little power to finance itself or to ensure that its resolutions were enforced. In part, this reflected the anti-monarchy view of the Revolutionary period; the new American system was explicitly designed to prevent the rise of an American tyrant. By the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental dollar had depreciated to the point of worthlessness. The viability of the federal government was threatened by political unrest in several states, efforts by debtors to use popular government to erase their debts, and the inability of Congress to raise revenue to pay off the public debts incurred during the war. The Congress also appeared unable to become a forum for productive cooperation among the States encouraging commerce and economic development. In response, the Philadelphia Convention was convened, ostensibly to devise amendments to the Articles of Confederation, but which instead began to draft a new system of government that would include greater executive power while retaining the checks and balances thought to be essential restraints on any imperial tendency in the office of the president. Individuals who presided over the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary period and under the Articles of Confederation had the title "President of the United States in Congress Assembled", often shortened to "President of the United States". However, the office had little distinct executive power. With the 1788 ratification of the Constitution, a separate executive branch was created, headed by the "President of the United States". This new Chief Executive role no longer bore the duties of presiding over Congress in a supervisory role, but the...
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