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United States Presidency
Mr. Manzo
United States Government
Federalist No. 70
• Sharp contrast to
Madisonian Model
• “Energetic Executive”
• Unity, duration,
provisions for support,
Constitutional powers.
• Positive government
Aaron Wildavsky, "The Two
Presidencies," in Perspectives on the
• The President of the United States of America, by
virtue of formally granted constitutional powers,
has several significant leadership roles. While
these roles are varied and diverse, they can
generally be divided into two large areas of
authority and responsibility: domestic policy and
foreign affairs. So distinct are the two realms of
presidential activity and so different are the
degrees of success within each that political
scientists generally refer to these two subdivisions
as the "two presidencies."
The Domestic Policy Presidency
• In the domestic arena, the
President, as Chief Executive,
has the formal constitutional
authority to oversee the
execution and implementation
of the law. The President also
has the ability to significantly
influence the legislative and
judicial branches. Through the
exercise of these powers, the
President can exert wide-spread
and long-lasting influence on
the domestic policies of the
The Foreign Policy Presidency
The Constitution establishes that
the President of the United States
shall be the Commander-in-Chief
of the armed forces. As such, the
President is the constitutional head
of the Army, Navy, Air Force and
Marines, commissions all officers
in the armed forces and appoints all
high-ranking military leaders, such
as the members of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. More significantly, while
the Congress has the authority to
"Declare War," Presidents since
Washington have "made war"
without explicit congressional
Article II Section 1 of the United States Constitution:
"The executive power shall be vested in a President of
the United States of America".
The presidency of the United States is perhaps the most
powerful position in the world. It carries enormous
power and responsibility. As Article II section 1 of the
US Constitution mentions, the president is the Chief
Executive of the United States i.e. he runs the country.
The formal requirements for the presidency is fairly
simple; actually there are only three such requirements.
The person
• • must be at least 35 years of age.
• must be a "natural-born'‘ citizen
• must have lived in the US for at least 14 years.
Elected Presidents
• The youngest
person elected
president was John
F. Kennedy. He was
43 years old. In
1980, Ronald
Reagan, at the age
of 69 became the
oldest person to be
elected president.
Who is a ‘natural-born'
citizen? Most people take
this to mean anyone
born on US territory.
Could a US citizen born
in a foreign country
become president? Some
experts say yes, others
disagree. Since all our
presidents have been
born on US soil, we will
never have a definite
answer until a US citizen
born outside the country
decides to run for the
presidency. Of course,
naturalized citizens are
United States Presidency
The fourteen year
residency requirement
does not have to be
consecutive. In other
words, an American
citizen could live here for
say 20 years, then lives
abroad for a number of
years and returns to the
United States and runs
for the presidency. Both
Herbert Hoover and
Dwight Eisenhower lived
several years outside the
US prior to being elected
Informal Requirements These you could refer to as the
"unwritten requirements."
1. All our presidents have been men.
2. First African – American President Obama 2008, is a women
3. Despite talk about their humble beginnings, most of our
presidents were born and raised in well-to do families. Some
of them, e.g.. George Washington FDR, John F. Kennedy,
Bush Family were extremely wealthy.
4. Most of our presidents attended college. Since the 1900, only
Harry Truman never had a college education.
• The President's Term
• There was much discussion at the Constitutional
Convention concerning the length of time that a
President should govern. Some delegates wanted a
three-year term, others six years and still a few wanted
a President for life. They finally settled on a four-year
term with the possibility of re-election. Note that
nothing in the original Constitution says that a president
was limited to only two terms.
It was George Washington, as the first President, who
started the two-term tradition. Every President since
then followed that "unwritten rule" until it was broken in
1940 by Franklin D. Roosevelt who won a third term
and a fourth term in 1944.
• Following the end of World
War II Congress proposed a
Constitutional Amendment
to limit the number of years
a President can serve. In
1951, the 22nd Amendment
was adopted. According to
this Amendment
• 1. A President cannot serve
more than two terms (eight
• 2. A President who takes
over from another President
and serves more than ten
years can be elected only
Presidential Pay
Presidential Pay History
Date established
September 24, 1789
March 3, 1873
March 4, 1909
January 19, 1949*
January 20, 1969
January 20, 2001
*A $50,000 expense account was implemented in 1949.
Presidential Perks
• Located at 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW in Washington, D.C.
As the office of the
President, the term White
House is often used
symbolically to refer to
the President's
administration, as in, "The
White House announced
today a major new health
care initiative."
Blair House
Blair House is the official
state guest house for the
President of the United
States. It is located at 16511653 Pennsylvania Ave
NW in Washington, D.C.,
opposite the Old Executive
Office Building of the
White House, off the
corner of Lafayette Park.
White House
In fact, the White House has:
132 rooms
35 bathrooms
6 stories
412 doors
147 windows
28 fireplaces
8 staircases
3 elevators
5 full-time chefs
5,000 visitors a day
a tennis court
a bowling lane
a movie theater
a jogging track
a swimming pool
Presidential Perks
Air Force One is the call sign of
any United States Air Force aircraft
carrying the President of the United
States of America.
Sleeping quarters, office areas, two
kitchens, a medical operating table
and pharmacy, communications
systems, telephones and television
sets, even workout rooms.
There is also space for the
president's family, staff and news
media. The plane can also be
operated as a military command
center in the event of an incident
such as a nuclear attack.
Operational modifications include
in-flight refueling capability and
anti-aircraft missile
Presidential Perks
• The President travels
around Washington in an
armored Cadillac
limousine, equipped with
bullet-proof windows and
tires and a self-contained
ventilation system in the
event of a biological
attack. When traveling
longer distances around
the Washington area, the
President travels aboard
the Presidential helicopter,
Marine One.
Marine One
Presidential Perks
• Camp David, Maryland, is the
U.S. Presidential retreat. It is
part of the Catoctin Mountain
recreational area. Camp David
has also often been used for
formal and informal discussion
between United States and
world leaders. Probably most
famous is the summit that led to
the peace agreement between
president Anwar Sadat of Egypt
and prime minister Menachem
Begin of Israel that was forged
here in 1978with U.S. President
Jimmy Carter known as the
Camp David Accords (1978).
Presidential Perks
• At all times, the President and
his family are protected by an
extensive Secret Service detail.
• Until the law was changed in
1997, all former Presidents and
their family were protected by
the Secret Service until their
death. The last President to
have Secret Service protection
for life is Bill Clinton. George
Walker Bush and all following
Presidents will be protected by
the Secret Service for a
maximum of 10 years after
leaving office.
Presidential Roles
Chief of the Economy
Chief Jurist
• President had the
power to pardon
criminals convicted of
Federal Law.
• Appoints Federal
• Senate approval
Presidential Roles
Leader of the Free World
• How is the President elected and reelected?
When voters go to the polls on election
day they think they are voting directly
for a President. But , strictly speaking,
they are not. In the United States,
citizens do not vote directly for a
president in the same way people do in
other countries. Our president is elected
by an Electoral College.
Federalist Paper
Hamilton No. 68
• "The Mode of Electing the President,"
• the "sense of the people", through the election of the electors to the
college, should have a part of the process. The final say, however, lies
with the electors.
• republic is still served, preventing individuals who are unfit for a
variety of reasons to be in the position of chief magistrate of the
country. corrupted individuals, associated with a foreign state, a person
who contains the faculties necessary to become President.
Electoral College
• What Federal laws govern the Electoral
College system?
• Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution
• 12th Amendment to the Constitution
• 23rd Amendment to the Constitution
• United States Code, Title 3, Chapter 1 (3
U.S.C. §§ 1 - 21)
Origins of the Electoral College
• At the Constitutional Convention in
1787, delegates disagreed on the
means of choosing the President.
1-Have Congress choose the president.
Rejected. Why? Similar to British ancestors
2-State legislatures select president.
Rejected. Why? State legislators are more informed.
3-Direct popular vote. Rejected. Why?
News on candidates, issues did not travel well through out
country. Uninformed masses do not know about politics.
4-Indirect election via a College of
• The result was yet another compromise. An
electoral college made up of a small group of
people called electors was set up to elect the
• Thus, when citizens vote on election day, they
are not voting directly for the person who is
running for the presidency.
• Instead, they vote for electors who in turn
elect the president. After the election, the
electoral college meets at State Capitols
around the country and elect the president.
• 1. Appoint Electors
The United States Constitution and Federal law do
not prescribe the method of appointment other than
requiring that electors must be appointed on the
Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In most
States, the political parties nominate slates of
electors at State conventions or central committee
meetings. Then the citizens of each State appoint the
electors by popular vote in the state-wide general
election. However, State laws on the appointment of
electors may vary.
• Legal Requirements or Pledges
Electors in these States are bound by State Law or by pledges
to cast their vote for a specific candidate:
• CALIFORNIA - 55 Electoral Votes
• State Law - § 6906
• MICHIGAN - 17 Electoral Votes
• State Law - §168.47 (Violation cancels vote and elector is
• NEW MEXICO - 5 Electoral Votes
• State Law - § 1-15-5 to 1-15-9 (Violation is a fourth degree
• OKLAHOMA - 7 Electoral Votes
• State Pledge / State Law - 26, §§ 10-102; 10-109 (Violation
of oath is a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $1000.)
• * VIRGINIA - 13 Electoral Votes
• State Law - § 24.1-162 (Virginia statute may be advisory "Shall be expected" to vote for nominees.)
• The Electoral College
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors. Here
is a simple way of remember this.
Electoral college = to the number of members in the
House of Representatives + the senate + 3.
435 + 100 + 3 = 538.
The three electors are from Washington DC (23rd
Amendment). Remember, Washington, D.C. is not a
state and as such, does not have any representatives in
either the House or Senate.
To win the presidency, a candidate needs to win a
majority of the electoral votes - 270.
The Electoral College
The map below shows the states that were won by George
Bush and Al Gore in 2000 Presidential election. Bush
won 271 electoral votes and Gore 266.
How does a state decide which
presidential candidate gets its electoral
• Most states use a "winner-take-all" system.
In other words, the candidate who wins the
majority of the popular votes in the state gets
all of that state's electoral votes.
• Only three States, Colorado, Nebraska and Maine,
do not follow the winner-takes-all rule.
• For example, in the 2000 Presidential
elections, George Bush received 2,912,790
popular votes in Florida while Al Gore got
• Bush received only 537 votes more than Gore,
yet he got all of Florida's 25 electoral votes. It
was Florida's electoral votes that gave Bush
the presidency.
Criticisms of the Electoral College
Safeguard or Stumbling Block?
• The Electoral College has come under severe criticisms over
the years. Many people have argued that it is an outdated
institution and should be abolished. Here are some of the
major criticisms.
1-The Electoral College is undemocratic because the people do
not elect the President directly.
2-Minority president elected
3-Faithless or renegade electors (protest or attention for an issue)
Electors may ignore will of voters.
4-Because of the electoral college candidates tend to ignore the
smaller states during their campaigning. Hence, the bigger
states have more weight in electing the President.
5-Third parties often have no chance at winning electoral votes.
6-Decrease in voter turnout due to apathy.
7-Failure to accurately project national will.
4- Perhaps, the most important criticism is this:
the candidate who wins the popular vote may not
necessarily become the President. This has happened
before in our history. Below, the table illustrates three
occasions on which the person who won the popular vote
did not become President.
President George Bush
Al Gore
Benjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
Rutherford B. Hayes
Samuel J. Tilden
• Bush, Harrison, and Hayes became Presidents even
though they all lost the popular votes.
Arguments for the Electoral College
The Electoral College, in recognizing a role for states in the
selection of the president, reminds us of their importance in our
federal system (federalism).
Framers did not want a country reflective of the majority will.
The Electoral College encourages more person-to-person
campaigning by candidates, as they spend time in both the big
cities and smaller cities in battleground states.
In close, contested elections, recounts will usually be confined
to a state or two, rather than an across-the-country recount that
might be required if we had direct election of the president.
The Electoral College, with its typical winner-take-all allocation
of votes, often turns a small percentage margin of victory into
one that appears much larger, thus making the victory seem
more conclusive and adding to the winner's perceived
Constitution works even when elections do not run smoothly in
the States.
It's fun on election nights to watch states light up in different
colors on television network maps of the U. S.
Who won the 1952 election?