The Constitutional Role of our President

Michael Chapman
Business Law A
December 9th, 1998

The President of the United States of America is said to be the most powerful man in the world. The things that he says, the way in which he says them, and the action he takes affects our world on a daily basis. No one individual exerts as much power and clout in the world than the President of the United States. The President is an individual with many roles to play. The President is our Head of State; he is our representative to the entire world. The President is the chief executive officer of the Federal Government. Another role that is not specifically written in the Constitution is that of \'Leader of the Party\', the political party in which the President belongs to. Finally, the President is Commander in Chief of the United States military.
Authority providing for the office of President is derived from the U.S. Constitution, which, in Article II, Section 1, states that "the Executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." The duties and qualifications of the President, term of office, mode of selection and remuneration, grounds and procedure for removal from office, and methods for replacement should the President not complete the term of office are deccribed in Article II of the Constitution, as well as in the 12th, 22nd, and 25th Amendments.
The first Presidential role to be examined will be that of Head of State. The President is the symbol of our country. He is to always represent all citizens of this country and our interests. The President directs U.S. foreign policy in its political, diplomatic, financial and commercial aspects. By provision in the Constitution the President may negotiate treaties, however, only with the "advice and consent of the Senate". However, by precedent and custom the President my negotiate executive agreements with foreign countries that have the force and effect of law and that do not require Congressional approval. The President receives ambassadors and other representative of countries and has the power of recognition. Of the many roles that the President has, this one is probably the most prestigious.
The President has a vast array of executive and administrative departments working for him. Currently there are 14 executive departments working for him: Department of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, and Veterans Affairs. There are also more than 20 administrative agencies such as NASA, FDIC, and the U.S. Postal Service. A separate entity of the Office of the President that serve as some of his closest advisors are those within the Executive Office of the President, comprising of the White House Office, Office of Management and Budget, Council of Economic Advisers, National Security Council, Office of Policy Development, etc., etc. As you can see the President has a plethora of people to advise him.
As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces the President has the powder to formulate and direct the military strategy of the worlds only remaining Super Power. In the view of many constitutional analyst, the President, as director of foreign policy and as Commander in Chief, has the power to create situations that can result in war, reducing to a formality the Constitutional provision vesting Congress with exclusive power to declare war. The Presidents power to use our military is the power that brings him the most respect from would be aggressors around the world.
The role that the President often plays is that of being Head of his respective Political Party. The President is some times referred to as Fundraiser in Chief because of the massive amounts of funds he is able to raise for his party. The President is always in line with the majority of the members of his party. While this is not a Constitutional role the President is ultimately required to be the Head of his Party to ensure the support of his party in the next election.
President Harry Truman said, "No one who has not had the responsibility can really understand what it is like…not even his closest aides or members of his family". President John Kennedy called it "a formidable, exposed, and somewhat