POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

US President

The US President, also known as POTUS (President Of The United States) is both the head of state and the head of government of the United States of America. In addition, the US President is the head of the executive branch of government as well as the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

The office of US President is laid down in Article Two of the US constitution, clause 1 of which states “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America”.

As head of the executive, the US President possesses the following powers:

  • Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces
  • The power to enter into treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate
  • The power to make appointments with the advice and consent of the Senate - such as judges, cabinet ministers, and ambassadors

In addition to these powers, the office of US President comes with the following responsibilities:

  • Provide Congress with a periodic assessment of the “State of the Union” - which traditionally comes in the form of a speech on capitol hill.
  • To make recommendations to Congress the president deems “necessary and expedient”
  • To call an extraordinary session of Congress in times of crisis
  • To receive foreign representatives
  • To faithfully execute the laws of the United States of America

In order to be considered eligible for the office of US President, candidates must conform to the following criteria:

  • be a natural born citizen of the United States
  • be at least 35 years old
  • Have resided in the United States for at least the previous 14 years

Furthermore, US presidents may not be re-elected more than once, meaning they may only serve two four-year terms of office coming to a maximum of 8 years. 

US Presidents are elected through the electoral college system every four years alongside the US Vice President. The first US President was George Washington from 1789 to 1797. The current and 45th US president is Donald Trump.

See also: US Vice President, Executive Branch, Constitution

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