States and Their Presidents

From the beginning the Founders were opposed to a lot of centralized government. Not all that surprising as they just threw off a monarchy. The Confederation was conceived as a loose group of semi-independent states, working in cooperation with each other. But not having a true Central government meant that states were getting into unnecessary disputes.

Article II of the Constitution covers the Presidency. While many of the Founders were wary of a strong Executive, others thought one was needed. The way it happened was the Electoral College that insured the President would be chosen be chosen by the consensus of the states according to their Representation and by a majority of them.

A President’s Powers: to appoint ambassadors, cabinet members and similar persons: to be commander in chief of the military. While cabinet members require Senate confirmation, the President can remove them unilaterally. Presidents can make treaties, subject to ratification by the Senate.

The requirements, considering all of the responsibilities given, are suprisingly small: Age 35, native born citizen, and resident of the United States for 14 years.

There have been ways to restrict the Presidency, mostly on the matter of tenure: The 20th Amendment changed the beginning of the term from March 4th to January 20th. The 22nd Amendment limits the number of terms to two, codifying the convention started with George Washington of only serving 2 terms. A President can serve 10 years: but only if they have served less than 2 years of someone else’s term. So far the only person who could have tried this was LBJ, who succeeded JFK during JFK’s last year, and could have run again in 1968 except for Vietnam. Could Gerald Ford have served two terms: 1968,and then run again in 1980?

Head of State and Head of Government

The President of the United States is pretty unusual for government: the Head of State and Head of Government. Heads of State handle the ceremonial aspect: Heads of Government handle the running of the Government. And in a lot of places they are two separate persons. But the Founders had so much faith in George Washington they did not concern themselves about having the two combined.

Now to the States:

Carol Duhart’s Politics and Civics


The States and the Constitution

States and the Constitution


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