U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 8: The Presidency

Chapter Overviews

The office of the president has been developing over the last 200 years just as our nation has. During this time, the powers of the president have changed to match the needs of the changing country. Chapter 8 explores the powers, traditions, and roles of the president.

Section 1 deals with the duties of the president and vice president and how they work together. The president has a great deal of power and responsibility. For example, the Constitution makes the president commander-in-chief of the military. The vice president does not have as many powers as the president, but does have two major responsibilities. First, the vice president presides over the Senate and second, if the president is disabled, the vice president must fulfill the duties.

Section 2 discusses the Electoral College and the issues concerned with electing a president. Originally, it was decided that Congress would choose the president, but this method was dismissed because it violated the principle of separation of powers. Alexander Hamilton proposed an indirect method of election called the Electoral College. This system remains the method for electing a president and vice president.

Section 3 deals with the role of the cabinet and its relationship with the president. The president has the responsibility of appointing the secretaries that will head the executive departments. The Senate must then approve the appointees. Members of the cabinet act as advisers to the president, but also manage their executive department.

Section 4 introduces the various components of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and how they relate to the president. The EOP was created by Franklin D. Roosevelt in an effort to manage the many programs and services of the growing government. Today, each EOP agency varies in size from administration to administration, depending on the goals of the president.

US Government: Democracy In Action
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