One of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington D.C. is the White House, where the President resides and his administration holds its meetings. The President, who is elected by the people, heads the Executive Branch together with his/her Cabinet.
The presidential term is four years, and since 1951 the President may only serve two terms in office. The presidential election is a long and somewhat complicated process, but to simplify and summarize in a few words: every fourth year there are primary elections where people from each state vote to nominate the candidates of the political parties. The nominated candidates campaign to gain the most votes before the final election, which takes place in November of the same year. Presidential candidates prepare for this race for years. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent to run a campaign, often coming from the candidate’s private funds.
In addition to being the leader of his/her political party and chief of the Executive Branch, the President cooperates with Congress. If Congress has a majority of senators and congressmen from the opposite party, he may find it difficult to get laws passed. The President also administers the budget and is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Further, he appoints judges, called justices to the Supreme Court, who the Senate later approves or disapproves. He works as the top diplomat in foreign affairs, negotiates international treaties, has meetings with ambassadors and ministers from other countries, and cooperates with NATO and the UN.
The President’s Cabinet includes the Vice President, senior officers and the heads of 15 executive departments. Cabinet members are appointed by the President, but must be approved by the Senate. Members of the Cabinet answer to the President alone, and they can sit in office only as long as the President requires.
Tasks and Activities
- How long is one presidential term?
- How many terms can a President sit for?
- Name some of the roles/duties of a President?
- In what month does a Presidential election take place?
- Who are the members of a President’s Cabinet?