The Executive Branch
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The Executive Branch. Checks & Balances For the Legislative & Executive Branches. Forty-four men have been president of the United States . . . Why are there only 43 different Presidents if there have been 44 presidents?. Grover Cleveland was the 22 nd and the 24 th President.

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The executive branch

Checks & Balances

For the Legislative & Executive Branches


The executive branch

Forty-four men have been president of the United States . . .

Why are there only 43 different Presidents if there have been 44 presidents?

Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and the 24th President


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The White House .

Home of the President

since 1801


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Article II of the US Constitution . . . .

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America . . .



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  • 35 years of age .

  • Natural-born citizen

  • Continuous residency in US for 14 years


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Two presidents have been impeached: .

Andrew Johnson &

William Jefferson Clinton

Neither executive was found guilty or removed from office

Nixon would have been impeached, but resigned

from office first


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Roles of the President of the United States . . . position of vice presidency or presidency


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Chief of State position of vice presidency or presidency

Represents the US in foreign matters; acts as a symbol of the US


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Example: President Roosevelt represented the United States at the Yalta Conference during The Second World War


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  • Chief Executive at the Yalta Conference during The Second World War

  • Head of federal bureaucracy:

  • 14 Cabinet Departments

  • Agencies, Independent Regulatory Commissions

  • Government Corporations


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The Cabinet of the President at the Yalta Conference during The Second World War


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  • Chief Diplomat at the Yalta Conference during The Second World War

  • Conducts foreign policy

  • Negotiates & signs treaties & trade agreements (Senate ratifies)

  • The president has the most power in foreign policy


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Example: President Bush met with Prime Minister Sharon to discuss the situation in the Middle East


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  • Chief Legislator: discuss the situation in the Middle East

  • Congress makes the laws

  • President may propose a legislative agenda

  • President signs/vetoes bills



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  • Commander-in-Chief 1964

  • He’s in charge of the US armed forces

  • He works closely with the Secretary of Defense & the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


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Example: President Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki


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  • Chief of the Party atomic bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki

  • He heads up his political party

  • He makes campaign speeches for Senators & Congressman in his party that are running for re-election

  • He also raises $$$ for his party


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Example: President Obama will campaign to re-elect Democratic Congressmen & women in 2017


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  • Chief Guardian of the Economy Democratic Congressmen & women in 2017

  • The president monitors unemployment, inflation, taxation, business an general economic welfare of the nation

  • If the economy does well, the President gets the credit


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Example: Clinton was elected in 1992 over Bush due to the failure of Bush to address economic problems


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  • Chief Citizen failure of Bush to address economic problems

  • Expected to be “the representative of all the people”

  • He is expected to take the high road and champion the public interest against the many different and competing private interests


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Example: President Reagan addressing the nation to explain his War on Drug Abuse, with First Lady Nancy, and how it was needed



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Example: President Wilson led the World in the aftermath of WWI, when he journeyed to France to discuss his 14 Points and to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles


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The Presidential Term WWI, when he journeyed to France to discuss his 14 Points and to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles


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  • Each presidential term lasts four years WWI, when he journeyed to France to discuss his 14 Points and to negotiate the Treaty of Versailles

    • The Framers debated between four years with possibility of re-elected or a single six or seven year term with no possibility of re-election

    • They agreed on a four year term

      • Hamilton wrote it was long enough for a president to “gain experience, demonstrate abilities, and establish stable policies”


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  • The Constitution does not state how many terms a president can serve

  • President Washington set the tradition of serving only two terms

    • Known as the “no-third-term tradition”

  • FDR was the only president to be elected to four terms (served 3 full)

  • The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, limited all presidents to two terms

    • Allows a president to serve up to two years of a predecessor's term, and still run for two terms of his own (for a total of 10 years)


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  • Many presidents, including Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan, called for the repeal of the 22nd amendment

    • Said they felt it was undemocratic because it put an arbitrary limit on the people’s right to decide on who should be President

    • Supporters of the 22nd amendment say it is a reasonable safeguard against “executive tyranny

    • Some presidents have urged for a single six-year term

      • Say one non-renewable term would take the pressure off from having to campaign for a second term, and allows him to focus on the demands of the office


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Presidential Succession called for the repeal of the 22

  • Presidential succession is the plan by which a presidential vacancy is filled

  • The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, made it clear that the Vice President will become President if the President is removed from office

  • The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 set the order of succession following the Vice President


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  • Sections 3 and 4 of the called for the repeal of the 2225th amendment provide procedures to follow when the President is disabled

  • The Vice President is to become acting President if:

    • The President informs Congress, in writing, “that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” or

    • The Vice President and a majority of the members of the Cabinet inform Congress, in writing, that the President is incapacitated


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The Vice Presidency called for the repeal of the 22

  • The Constitution only gives the Vice President two duties besides becoming President if the President is removed from office:

    • to preside over the Senate, and

    • to help decide the question of presidential disability

  • If the office of Vice President becomes vacant, the President nominates a new Vice President subject to the approval of Congress

  • Today, the Vice President often performs diplomatic and political chores for the President

  • John Garner (VP for FDR) said of his post, “the vice presidency isn’t worth a warm pitcher of spit”


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Presidential Selection: The Framers’ Plan called for the repeal of the 22

  • According to the Constitution, the President and Vice President are chosen by a special body of presidential electors

  • Originally, these electors each cast two electoral votes, each for a different candidate. The candidate with the most votes would become President, and the candidate with the second highest total would become Vice President


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The Rise of Parties called for the repeal of the 22

The electoral college is the group of people (electors) chosen from each State and the District of Columbia that formally selects the President and Vice President. With the rise of political parties in 1796, flaws began to be seen in the system


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The 12 called for the repeal of the 22th Amendment

  • The major change in the electoral college made by the amendment was that each elector would distinctly cast one electoral vote for President and one for Vice President

  • The 12th Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1804 following the election of 1800


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Presidential Nominations called for the repeal of the 22

TheRoleofConventions

  • TheApportionment & SelectionofDelegates

  • Parties apportion the number of delegates each State will receive based on electoral votes and other factors

  • Delegates are selected through both presidential primaries and the caucus-convention process.

  • ConventionArrangements

  • The convention system has been mainly built by the two major parties in American politics

  • Party national committees arrange the time and place for their party’s nominating convention


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Presidential Primaries called for the repeal of the 22

  • Depending on the State, a presidential primary is an election in which a party’s voters

    (1) choose some or all of a State’s party organization’s delegates to their party’s national convention, and/or

    (2) express a preference among various contenders for their party’s presidential nomination

  • Many States use a proportional representation rule to select delegates. In this system, a proportion of a State’s delegates are chosen to match voter preferences in the primary

  • More than half of the States hold preference primaries where voters choose their preference for a candidate. Delegates are selected later to match voter preferences


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The Caucus-Convention Process called for the repeal of the 22

  • In those States that do not hold presidential primaries, delegates to the national conventions are chosen in a system of caucuses and conventions

  • The party’s voters meet in local caucuses where they choose delegates to a local or district convention, where delegates to the State convention are picked

  • At the State level, and sometimes in the district conventions, delegates to the national convention are chosen


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The National Convention called for the repeal of the 22

A party’s national convention is the meeting at which delegates vote to pick their presidential and vice-presidential candidates

Party conventions accomplish three main goals:

(1) to officially name the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates,

(2) to bring the various factions and the leading personalities in the party together in one place for a common purpose, and

(3) to adopt the party’s platform—its formal statement of basic principles, stands on major policy matters, and objectives for the campaign and beyond


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Who Is Nominated? called for the repeal of the 22

  • If an incumbent President wants to seek reelection, his or her nomination is almost guaranteed

  • Political experience factors into the nomination process. State governors, the executive officers on the State level, have historically been favored for nomination. U.S. senators also have fared well

  • Many candidates come from key larger states. Candidates from states, such as California, New York, and Ohio, have usually been seen as more electable than candidates from smaller states


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The Electoral College Today called for the repeal of the 22

  • VotersdonotvotedirectlyforthePresident Instead, theyvoteforelectorsintheelectoral college

  • All States, except two (Maine and Nebraska), select electors based on the winner of the popular vote in that State

  • Electors then meet in the State capitals on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December and cast their votes for President and Vice President

  • On January 6, the electoral votes cast are counted by the president of the Senate, and the President and Vice President are formally elected

  • If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes (270), the election is thrown into the House of Representatives


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Flaws in the Electoral College called for the repeal of the 22

  • Therearethreemajordefectsintheelectoralcollege:

(1) It is possible to win the popular vote in the presidential election, but lose the electoral college vote. This has happened four times in U.S. history (1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000)

(2) Nothing in the Constitution, nor in any federal statute, requires the electors to vote for the candidate favored by the popular vote in their State

(3) If no candidate gains a majority in the electoral college, the election is thrown into the House, a situation that has happened twice (1800 and 1824). In this process, each State is given one vote, meaning that States with smaller populations wield the same power as those with larger populations.


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The Four Proposed Reforms called for the repeal of the 22

  • In the district plan, electors would be chosen the same way members of Congress are selected: each congressional district would select one elector (just as they select representatives), and two electors would be selected based on the overall popular vote in a State (just as senators are selected)

  • A commonly heard reform suggests that the electoral college be done away with altogether in favor of direct popular election. At the polls, voters would vote directly for the President and Vice President instead of electors

  • The proportional plan suggests that each candidate would receive the same share of a State’s electoral vote as he or she received in the State’s popular vote

  • The national bonus plan would automatically offer the winner of the popular vote 102 electoral votes in addition to the other electoral votes he or she might gain.


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Electoral College Supporters called for the repeal of the 22

Therearetwomajorstrengthsoftheelectoral collegethatitssupportersusefordefense:

  • It is a known process. Each of the proposed, but untried, reforms may very well have defects that could not be known until they appeared in practice

  • In most election years, the electoral college defines the winner of the presidential election quickly and certainly