President of the United States

President of the
United States of America
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
Flag of the President of the United States of America.svg
Official Portrait of President Donald Trump.jpg
Donald Trump

since January 20, 2017 (2017-01-20)
Executive Branch of the U.S. Government
Executive Office of the President
Style Mr. President
(informal) [1] [2]
The Honorable
(formal) [3]
His Excellency [4] [5] [6]
(international correspondence)
Member of Cabinet
Domestic Policy Council
National Economic Council
National Security Council
Residence White House
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer Electoral College of the United States
Term length Four-year term renewable once ( Amendment XXII)
Constituting instrument United States Constitution
Inaugural holder George Washington
Formation March 4, 1789
(228 years ago)
 (1789-03-04) [7] [8]
Salary $400,000 annually [note 1] [9]

The President of the United States (informally referred to as POTUS) [10] [note 2] is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. He directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

The U.S. President is considered to be the world's most powerful political figure, as the leader of the only contemporary global superpower. [11] [12] [13] [14] The role includes being responsible of the world's most expensive military with the second largest nuclear arsenal and leading the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP. The presidency holds significant hard and soft power both domestically and abroad.

In ordering the three branches of government, Article II of the Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement 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. [15] The president is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of the party to which the president is a member. The president also directs the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. [16] In addition, Article One of the United States Constitution assigns to the president the power to sign legislation into law or to veto it. Since the office of President was established in 1789, its power has grown substantially, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. [17]

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. [18] Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation. [note 3]

The Twenty-second Amendment prohibits anyone from being elected president for a third 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, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies (counting Grover Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms separately) spanning 57 full four-year terms. [19] Incumbent Donald Trump was elected on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The next presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.


In 1776, the Thirteen Colonies, acting through the Second Continental Congress, declared political independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution. The new states, though independent of each other as nation states, [20] recognized the necessity of closely coordinating their efforts against the British. [21] Desiring to avoid anything that remotely resembled a monarchy, Congress negotiated the Articles of Confederation to establish an alliance between the states. [20] As a central authority, Congress under the Articles was without any legislative power; it could make its own resolutions, determinations, and regulations, but not any laws, nor any taxes or local commercial regulations enforceable upon citizens. [21] This institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. [21] Out from under any monarchy, the states assigned some formerly royal prerogatives (e.g., making war, receiving ambassadors, etc.) to Congress, while severally lodging the rest within their own respective state governments. Only after all the states agreed to a resolution settling competing western land claims did the Articles take effect on March 1, 1781, when Maryland became the final state to ratify them.

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies. With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. [20] By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another. They witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, and their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. [20] Civil and political unrest loomed.

Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, Maryland, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms. When the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia. Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. [20] [22]

When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance ( Rhode Island did not send delegates) brought with them an accumulated experience over a diverse set of institutional arrangements between legislative and executive branches from within their respective state governments. Most states maintained a weak executive without veto or appointment powers, elected annually by the legislature to a single term only, sharing power with an executive council, and countered by a strong legislature. [20] New York offered the greatest exception, having a strong, unitary governor with veto and appointment power elected to a three-year term, and eligible for reelection to an indefinite number of terms thereafter. [20] It was through the closed-door negotiations at Philadelphia that the presidency framed in the U.S. Constitution emerged.

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中文: 美国总统