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After the Convention, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, and his collaboration with Alexander Hamilton produced The Federalist Papers , among the most important treatises in support of the Constitution.
After the ratification of the Constitution in , Madison won election to the United States House of Representatives. While simultaneously serving as a close adviser to President George Washington , Madison emerged as one of the most prominent members of the 1st Congress , helping to pass several bills establishing the new government.
For his role in drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution during the 1st Congress, Madison is known as the "Father of the Bill of Rights.
To oppose Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party , which became one of the nation's two first major political parties alongside Hamilton's Federalist Party.
After Jefferson won the presidential election , Madison served as Jefferson's Secretary of State from to In this role, Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase , which doubled the nation's size.
Madison succeeded Jefferson with a victory in the presidential election , and he won re-election in After the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against the United Kingdom , he led the U.
The war was an administrative morass, as the United States had neither a strong army nor a robust financial system. As a result, Madison came to support a stronger national government and military, as well as the national bank , which he had long opposed.
Historians have generally ranked Madison as an above-average president. He grew up as the oldest of twelve children,  with seven brothers and four sisters, though only six of his siblings would live to adulthood.
From age 11 to 16, Madison was sent to study under Donald Robertson, a Scottish instructor who served as a tutor for a number of prominent plantation families in the South.
Madison learned mathematics , geography , and modern and classical languages—he became especially proficient in Latin. At age 16, Madison returned to Montpelier, where he began a two-year course of study under the Reverend Thomas Martin in preparation for college.
Unlike most college-bound Virginians of his day, Madison did not attend the College of William and Mary , where the lowland Williamsburg climate—more susceptible to infectious disease—might have strained his delicate health.
Instead, in , he enrolled at the College of New Jersey now Princeton University , where he became roommates and close friends with poet Philip Freneau.
His studies at Princeton included Latin, Greek, science, geography, mathematics, rhetoric , and philosophy. Great emphasis was placed on both speech and debate; Madison helped found the American Whig Society , in direct competition to fellow student Aaron Burr 's Cliosophic Society.
After long hours of study that may have compromised his health,  Madison graduated in and remained at Princeton to study Hebrew and political philosophy under President John Witherspoon.
He returned home to Montpelier in early , still unsure of his future career. Biographer Terence Ball says that at Princeton:. In the early s the relationship between the American colonies and Great Britain deteriorated over the issue of British taxation, culminating in the American Revolutionary War , which began in In , Madison took a seat on the local Committee of Safety, a pro-revolution group that oversaw the local militia.
This was the first step in a life of public service that his family's wealth facilitated. At the Virginia constitutional convention, Madison supported the Virginia Declaration of Rights , though he argued that it should contain stronger protections for freedom of religion.
He collaborated with the Baptist preacher Elijah Craig to promote constitutional guarantees for religious liberty in Virginia. Madison served on the Council of State from to , when he was elected to the Congress of the Confederation.
The country faced a difficult war against Great Britain, as well as runaway inflation , financial troubles, and lack of cooperation between the different levels of government.
Madison worked to make himself an expert on financial issues, becoming a legislative workhorse and a master of parliamentary coalition building. However, their proposed amendment to allow Congress to impose tariffs failed to win the necessary ratification by all thirteen states.
Madison served in the Virginia House of Delegates from to He continued to correspond with Jefferson and befriended Jefferson's protege, Congressman James Monroe.
He criticized the tendency for delegates to cater to the particular interests of their constituents, even if such interests were destructive to the state at large.
In particular, he was troubled by a law that denied diplomatic immunity to ambassadors from other countries, and a law that legalized paper money. Madison believed this "excessive democracy" was the cause of a larger social decay which he and others such as Washington thought had resumed after the revolution and was nearing a tipping point— Shays' Rebellion was an example.
Along with Jefferson, he drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom , which guaranteed freedom of religion and disestablished the Church of England; the amendment was passed in Throughout the s, Madison advocated for reform of the Articles of Confederation.
He became increasingly worried about the disunity of the states and the weakness of the central government after the end of the Revolutionary War in Madison helped arrange the Mount Vernon Conference , which helped settle disputes regarding navigation rights on the Potomac River and also served as a model for future interstate conferences.
After winning election to another term in Congress, Madison helped convince the other Congressmen to authorize the Philadelphia Convention for the purposes of proposing new amendments.
But Madison had come to believe that the ineffectual Articles had to be superseded by a new constitution, and he began preparing for a convention that would propose an entirely new constitution.
As a quorum was being reached for the Philadelphia Convention to begin, the year-old Madison wrote what became known as the Virginia Plan , an outline for a new constitution.
Reflecting the centralization of power envisioned by Madison, the Virginia Plan granted the United States Senate the power to abrogate any law passed by state governments.
Nonetheless, with the assent of prominent attendees such as Washington and Benjamin Franklin , the delegates went into a secret session to consider a new constitution.
During the course of the Convention, Madison spoke over two hundred times, and his fellow delegates rated him highly.
William Pierce wrote that " In the management of every great question he evidently took the lead in the Convention The historian Clinton Rossiter regarded Madison's performance as "a combination of learning, experience, purpose, and imagination that not even Adams or Jefferson could have equaled.
Though the Virginia Plan was an outline rather than a draft of a possible constitution, and though it was extensively changed during the debate its use at the convention has led many to call Madison the "Father of the Constitution".
However, delegates from small states successfully argued for more power for state governments and presented the New Jersey Plan as an alternative.
In response, Roger Sherman proposed the Connecticut Compromise , which sought to balance the interests of small and large states.
During the course of the convention, the Council of Revision was jettisoned, each state was given equal representation in the Senate, and the state legislatures, rather than the House of Representatives, were given the power to elect members of the Senate.
Madison was able to convince his fellow delegates to have the Constitution ratified by ratifying conventions rather than state legislatures, which he distrusted.
He also helped ensure that the President of the United States would have the ability to veto federal laws and would be elected independently of Congress through the Electoral College.
By the end of the convention, Madison believed that the federal government would be too weak under the proposed constitution but he viewed the document as an improvement on the Articles of Confederation.
The ultimate question before the convention, Wood notes, was not how to design a government but whether the states should remain sovereign, whether sovereignty should be transferred to the national government, or whether the constitution should settle somewhere in between.
Even many delegates who shared Madison's goal of strengthening the central government reacted strongly against the extreme change to the status quo envisioned in the Virginia Plan.
Though Madison lost most of his battles over how to amend the Virginia Plan, in the process he increasingly shifted the debate away from a position of pure state sovereignty.
Since most disagreements over what to include in the constitution were ultimately disputes over the balance of sovereignty between the states and national government, Madison's influence was critical.
Wood notes that Madison's ultimate contribution was not in designing any particular constitutional framework, but in shifting the debate toward a compromise of "shared sovereignty" between the national and state governments.
The Philadelphia Convention ended in September , and the United States Constitution was presented to each state for ratification.
He convinced his fellow Congressman to allow each state vote upon the Constitution as formulated by the Philadelphia Convention, and remain neutral in the ratification debate.
Under the pseudonym Publius , Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay wrote 85 essays in the span of six months, with Madison writing 29 of the essays.
The articles were also published in book form and became a virtual debater's handbook for the supporters of the Constitution in the ratifying conventions.
Historian Clinton Rossiter called The Federalist Papers "the most important work in political science that ever has been written, or is likely ever to be written, in the United States.
Madison ensured that his writings were delivered to Randolph, Mason, and other prominent Virginia anti-federalists , as those opposed to the ratification of the Constitution were known.
When the Virginia Ratifying Convention began on June 2, , the Constitution had not yet been ratified by the required nine states.
New York, the second largest state and a bastion of anti-federalism, would likely not ratify it without Virginia, and Virginia's exclusion from the new government would disqualify George Washington from being the first president.
Arguably the most prominent anti-federalist, the powerful orator Patrick Henry , was a delegate and had a following in the state second only to Washington.
Initially Madison did not want to stand for election to the Virginia ratifying convention, but was persuaded to do so due to the strength of the anti-federalists.
Although Henry was by far the more powerful and dramatic speaker, Madison's expertise on the subject he had long argued for allowed him to respond with rational arguments to Henry's emotional appeals.
Randolph's switch likely changed the votes of several more anti-federalists. After Virginia ratified the constitution, Madison returned to New York to resume his duties in the Congress of the Confederation.
Madison then decided to run for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. At Henry's behest, the Virginia legislature created congressional districts designed to deny Madison a seat, and Henry recruited a strong challenger to Madison in James Monroe.
Locked in a difficult race against Monroe, Madison promised to support a series of constitutional amendments to protect individual liberties.
Early in his tenure, Madison was a principal adviser of President Washington, who looked to Madison as the person who best understood the constitution.
He set the legislative agenda of the 1st Congress and helped establish and staff the first three Cabinet departments. He also helped arrange for the appointment of Thomas Jefferson as the inaugural Secretary of State.
Though no state conditioned ratification of the constitution on a bill of rights, several states came close, and the issue almost prevented the constitution from being ratified.
In the 1st Congress he took the lead in pressing for the passage of several constitutional amendments that would form the United States Bill of Rights.
He also believed that the constitution did not sufficiently protect the national government from excessive democracy and parochialism, so he saw the amendments as mitigation of these problems.
On June 8, , Madison introduced his bill proposing amendments consisting of nine articles consisting of up to 20 potential amendments.
The House passed most of the amendments, but rejected Madison's idea of placing them in the body of the Constitution.
Instead, it adopted 17 amendments to be attached separately and sent this bill to the Senate. The Senate edited the amendments still further, making 26 changes of its own, and condensing their number to twelve.
On September 24, , the committee issued its report, which finalized 12 Constitutional Amendments for the House and Senate to consider.
This version was approved by joint resolution of Congress on September 25, In proposing the Bill of Rights, Madison considered over two hundred amendments that had been proposed at the state ratifying conventions.
While most of the amendments he proposed were drawn from these conventions, he was largely responsible for the portions of the Bill of Rights that guarantee freedom of the press , protection of property from government seizure, and jury trials.
While the original amendment failed, the guaranty of a civil jury trial in federal cases was incorporated into the Bill of Rights as the Seventh Amendment.
As the s progressed, the Washington administration became polarized among two main factions. One was led by Jefferson and Madison, broadly represented Southern interests, and sought close relations with France and westward expansion.
The other was led by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, broadly represented Northern financial interests, and favored close relations with Britain.
Hamilton's plan favored Northern speculators and was disadvantageous to states such as Virginia that had already paid off most of their debt, and Madison emerged as one of the principal Congressional opponents of the plan.
In return, Congress passed the Residence Act , which established the federal capital district of Washington, D. Madison objected to the bank, arguing that its creation was not authorized by the constitution.
After Congress passed a bill to create the First Bank of the United States , Washington carefully considered vetoing the bill, but ultimately chose to sign it in February With the passage of much of Hamilton's economic program, Madison came to fear the growing influence of Northern moneyed interests, which he believed would dominate the fledgling republic under Hamilton's plans.
Madison also lost much of his influence in the Washington administration, as Washington increasingly turned to Jefferson and Hamilton for advice.
When Britain and France went to war in , the U. The Treaty of Alliance with France was still in effect, yet most of the new country's trade was with Britain.
Madison and Jefferson continued to look favorably upon the French Revolution despite its increasingly violent nature, but Washington proclaimed American neutrality.
Madison believed that the United States was stronger than Britain, and that a trade war with Britain, although risking a real war by that government, would probably succeed, and allow Americans to assert their independence fully.
Great Britain, he charged, "has bound us in commercial manacles, and very nearly defeated the object of our independence.
He concluded, "it is in our power, in a very short time, to supply all the tonnage necessary for our own commerce".
Madison's harsh and unsuccessful opposition to the treaty led to a permanent break with Washington, ending a long friendship.
The debate over the Jay Treaty helped solidify the growing divide between the country's first major political parties. Those who supported the administration's policies took the name "federalist," and, under the leadership of Hamilton, coalesced into the Federalist Party.
In advance of the presidential election , Madison helped convince Jefferson to run for the presidency. Though he was out of office, Madison remained a prominent Democratic-Republican leader in opposition to the administration of Adams.
The Federalists created a standing army and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts , which were directed at French refugees engaged in American politics and against Republican editors.
In response, Madison and Jefferson secretly drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions declaring the enactments to be unconstitutional and noted that "states, in contesting obnoxious laws, should 'interpose for arresting the progress of the evil.
Jefferson went further, urging states to secede if necessary, though Madison convinced Jefferson to relent this extreme view.
Madison was married for the first time at the age of 43; on September 15, , James Madison married Dolley Payne Todd , a year-old widow, at Harewood , in what is now Jefferson County, West Virginia.
By August, she had accepted his proposal of marriage. For marrying Madison, a non-Quaker, she was expelled from the Society of Friends.
Dolley Madison put her social gifts to use when the couple lived in Washington, beginning when he was Secretary of State.
With the White House still under construction, she advised as to its furnishings and sometimes served as First Lady for ceremonial functions for President Thomas Jefferson, a widower and friend.
When her husband was president, she created the role of First Lady, using her social talents to advance his program.
She is credited with adding to his popularity in office. Madison's father died in At age 50, Madison inherited the large plantation of Montpelier and other possessions, including his father's slaves.
Madison had begun to act as a steward of his father's properties by Jefferson wanted to ensure that he controlled his administration 's foreign policy, and he selected the loyal Madison for the position of Secretary of State despite the latter's lack of foreign policy experience.
Along with Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin , Madison became one of the two major influences in Jefferson's cabinet. Early in Jefferson's presidency, the United States learned that Spain planned to retrocede the Territory of Louisiana to France, raising fears of French encroachment on U.
Though Napoleon had briefly hoped to re-establish a French empire in Louisiana and Saint-Domingue , which had rebelled against French rule, he ultimately turned his attention back to European conflicts.
Rather than selling merely New Orleans, Napoleon's government offered to sell the entire Territory of Louisiana. Despite lacking explicit authorization from Jefferson, Monroe and ambassador Robert R.
Many contemporaries and later historians, such as Ron Chernow , noted that Madison and President Jefferson ignored their "strict construction" of the Constitution to take advantage of the purchase opportunity.
Jefferson would have preferred a constitutional amendment authorizing the purchase, but did not have time nor was he required to do so.
The Senate quickly ratified the treaty providing for the purchase. The House, with equal alacrity, passed enabling legislation.
With the wars raging in Europe, Madison tried to maintain American neutrality, and insisted on the legal rights of the U. Neither London nor Paris showed much respect, however, and the situation deteriorated during Jefferson's second term.
After Napoleon achieved victory over his enemies in continental Europe at the Battle of Austerlitz , he became more aggressive and tried to starve Britain into submission with an embargo that was economically ruinous to both sides.
Madison and Jefferson also decided on an embargo to punish Britain and France, forbidding American trade with any foreign nation.
The embargo failed in the United States just as it did in France, and caused massive hardships up and down the seaboard, which depended on foreign trade.
The Federalists made a comeback in the Northeast by attacking the embargo, which was allowed to expire just as Jefferson was leaving office.
Speculation regarding Madison's potential succession of Jefferson commenced early in Jefferson's first term. Madison's status in the party was damaged by his association with the embargo, which was unpopular throughout the country but especially in the Northeast.
Randolph criticized what he saw as the Jefferson administration's abuses of power and sought to derail Madison's potential presidency in favor of a Monroe presidency.
Despite this opposition, Madison won his party's presidential nomination at the January congressional nominating caucus.
Upon his inauguration in , Madison immediately faced opposition to his planned nomination of Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin as Secretary of State, led by Sen.
Madison chose not to fight Congress for the nomination but kept Gallatin, a carry over from the Jefferson administration, in the Treasury Department.
The talented Swiss-born Gallatin was Madison's primary advisor, confidant, and policy planner. Congress had repealed the embargo right before Madison became president, but troubles with the British and French continued.
During the long and expensive war against France, many British citizens were forced by their own government to join the navy, and many of these conscripts defected to U.
Unable to tolerate this loss of manpower, the British seized several U. Though Americans were outraged by this impressment, they also refused to take steps to limit it, such as refusing to hire British subjects.
For economic reasons, American merchants preferred impressment to giving up their right to hire British sailors.
Seeking to split the Americans and British, Napoleon offered to end French attacks on American shipping so long as the United States punished any countries that did not similarly end restrictions on trade.
As the attacks on American shipping continued, both Madison and the broader American public were ready for war with Britain. Madison hurriedly called on Congress to put the country "into an armor and an attitude demanded by the crisis," specifically recommending enlarging the army, preparing the militia, finishing the military academy, stockpiling munitions, and expanding the navy.
The most serious problem facing the war effort was lack of unified popular support. There were serious threats of disunion from New England, which engaged in extensive smuggling with Canada and refused to provide financial support or soldiers.
Shortly after the United States declared war, Napoleon launched an invasion of Russia , and the failure of that campaign turned the tide against French and towards Britain and her allies.
These decisions added to the challenges facing the United States, as by the time the war began, Madison's military force consisted mostly of poorly trained militia members.
Madison hoped that the war would end in a couple months after the capture of Canada, but his hopes were quickly dashed. Their militias either sat out the war or refused to leave their respective states for action.
The senior command at the War Department and in the field proved incompetent or cowardly—the general at Detroit surrendered to a smaller British force without firing a shot.
Gallatin discovered the war was almost impossible to fund, since the national bank had been closed and major financiers in the New England refused to help.
After the disastrous start to the War of , Madison accepted a Russian invitation to arbitrate the war and sent Gallatin, John Quincy Adams, and James Bayard to Europe in hopes of quickly ending the war.
The United States had built up one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, though it had been partially dismantled under Jefferson and Madison.
Madison authorized many of these ships to become privateers in the war, and they captured 1, British ships. The death of Tecumseh in that battle represented the permanent end of armed Native American resistance in the Old Northwest.
Despite an American victory at the Battle of Chippawa , the invasion stalled once again. Winder attempted to bring together a concentrated force to guard against a potential attack on Washington or Baltimore, but his orders were countermanded by Secretary of War Armstrong.
Madison returned to Washington before the end of August, and the main British force departed from the region in September. Anticipating that the British would attack the city of New Orleans next, newly-installed Secretary of War James Monroe ordered General Jackson to prepare a defense of the city.
Additionally, both sides agreed to establish commissions to settle Anglo-American boundary disputes.
Madison quickly sent the Treaty of Ghent to the Senate, and the Senate ratified the treaty on February 16, This view, while inaccurate, strongly contributed to the post-war euphoria that persisted for a decade.
It also helps explain the significance of the war, even if it was strategically inconclusive. Madison's reputation as president improved and Americans finally believed the United States had established itself as a world power.
The postwar period of Madison's second term saw the transition into the Era of Good Feelings , in which the Federalists ceased to act as an effective opposition party.
The Federalists had been badly damaged by the Hartford Convention , in which a group of New England Federalists proposed a second constitutional convention.
Madison had presided over the expiration of the First Bank of the United States 's charter in In he signed a bill establishing the Second Bank of the United States.
In , pensions were extended to orphans and widows from the War of for a period of 5 years at the rate of half pay.
Madison urged a variety of measures that he felt were "best executed under the national authority," including federal support for roads and canals that would "bind more closely together the various parts of our extended confederacy.
I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling this bill with the Constitution of the United States. The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in Upon assuming office on March 4, , in his first Inaugural Address to the nation, Madison stated that the federal government's duty was to convert the American Indians by the "participation of the improvements of which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state".
Army to protect Native lands from intrusion by settlers, to the chagrin of his military commander Andrew Jackson. Jackson wanted the President to ignore Indian pleas to stop the invasion of their lands  and resisted carrying out the president's order.
When Madison left office in at age 65, he retired to Montpelier , his tobacco plantation in Orange County, Virginia , not far from Jefferson's Monticello.
As with both Washington and Jefferson, Madison left the presidency a poorer man than when elected. His plantation experienced a steady financial collapse, due to the continued price declines in tobacco and also due to his stepson's mismanagement.
In his retirement, Madison occasionally became involved in public affairs, advising Andrew Jackson and other presidents.
Madison helped Jefferson establish the University of Virginia , though the university was primarily Jefferson's initiative. He retained the position as college chancellor for ten years until his death in In , at the age of 78, Madison was chosen as a representative to the Virginia Constitutional Convention for revision of the commonwealth's constitution.
It was his last appearance as a statesman. The issue of greatest importance at this convention was apportionment.
The western districts of Virginia complained that they were underrepresented because the state constitution apportioned voting districts by county.
The increased population in the Piedmont and western parts of the state were not proportionately represented by delegates in the legislature.
Western reformers also wanted to extend suffrage to all white men, in place of the prevailing property ownership requirement. Madison tried in vain to effect a compromise.
Eventually, suffrage rights were extended to renters as well as landowners, but the eastern planters refused to adopt citizen population apportionment.
They added slaves held as property to the population count, to maintain a permanent majority in both houses of the legislature, arguing that there must be a balance between population and property represented.
Madison was disappointed at the failure of Virginians to resolve the issue more equitably. In his later years, Madison became highly concerned about his historic legacy.
He resorted to modifying letters and other documents in his possession, changing days and dates, adding and deleting words and sentences, and shifting characters.
By the time he had reached his late seventies, this "straightening out" had become almost an obsession. Additionally, the president may attempt to have Congress alter proposed legislation by threatening to veto that legislation unless requested changes are made.
In the 20th century, critics charged that too many legislative and budgetary powers that should have belonged to Congress had slid into the hands of presidents.
As the head of the executive branch, presidents control a vast array of agencies that can issue regulations with little oversight from Congress.
One critic charged that presidents could appoint a "virtual army of 'czars' — each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House".
If both houses cannot agree on a date of adjournment, the president may appoint a date for Congress to adjourn.
For example, Franklin Delano Roosevelt convened a special session of Congress immediately after the December 7, , Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and asked for a declaration of war.
As head of state, the president can fulfill traditions established by previous presidents. William Howard Taft started the tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in at Griffith Stadium , Washington, D.
Every president since Taft, except for Jimmy Carter , threw out at least one ceremonial first ball or pitch for Opening Day, the All-Star Game , or the World Series , usually with much fanfare.
The President of the United States has served as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America since the founding of the organization.
Other presidential traditions are associated with American holidays. Hayes began in the first White House egg rolling for local children.
Truman administration, every Thanksgiving the president is presented with a live domestic turkey during the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation held at the White House.
Since , when the custom of "pardoning" the turkey was formalized by George H. Bush , the turkey has been taken to a farm where it will live out the rest of its natural life.
Presidential traditions also involve the president's role as head of government. Many outgoing presidents since James Buchanan traditionally give advice to their successor during the presidential transition.
During a state visit by a foreign head of state, the president typically hosts a State Arrival Ceremony held on the South Lawn , a custom begun by John F.
The modern presidency holds the president as one of the nation's premier celebrities. Some argue that images of the presidency have a tendency to be manipulated by administration public relations officials as well as by presidents themselves.
One critic described the presidency as "propagandized leadership" which has a "mesmerizing power surrounding the office".
Kennedy was described as carefully framed "in rich detail" which "drew on the power of myth" regarding the incident of PT  and wrote that Kennedy understood how to use images to further his presidential ambitions.
The nation's Founding Fathers expected the Congress —which was the first branch of government described in the Constitution —to be the dominant branch of government; they did not expect a strong executive department.
Nelson believes presidents over the past thirty years have worked towards "undivided presidential control of the executive branch and its agencies".
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for holding the presidency. To serve as president, one must:.
A person who meets the above qualifications would, however, still be disqualified from holding the office of president under any of the following conditions:.
The modern presidential campaign begins before the primary elections , which the two major political parties use to clear the field of candidates before their national nominating conventions , where the most successful candidate is made the party's nominee for president.
Typically, the party's presidential candidate chooses a vice presidential nominee, and this choice is rubber-stamped by the convention. The most common previous profession of U.
Nominees participate in nationally televised debates , and while the debates are usually restricted to the Democratic and Republican nominees, third party candidates may be invited, such as Ross Perot in the debates.
Nominees campaign across the country to explain their views, convince voters and solicit contributions. Much of the modern electoral process is concerned with winning swing states through frequent visits and mass media advertising drives.
The president is elected indirectly by the voters of each state and the District of Columbia through the Electoral College, a body of electors formed every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president to concurrent four-year terms.
As prescribed by the Twelfth Amendment, each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the size of its total delegation in both houses of Congress.
Additionally, the Twenty-third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia is entitled to the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state.
On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, about six weeks after the election, the electors convene in their respective state capitals and in Washington D.
They typically vote for the candidates of the party that nominated them. While there is no constitutional mandate or federal law requiring them to do so, the District of Columbia and 30 states have laws requiring that their electors vote for the candidates to whom they are pledged.
The votes of the electors are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress, held in the first week of January.
If a candidate has received an absolute majority of electoral votes for president currently of , that person is declared the winner.
Otherwise, the House of Representatives must meet to elect a president using a contingent election procedure in which representatives, voting by state delegation, with each state casting a single vote, choose between the top electoral vote-getters for president.
For a candidate to win, he or she must receive the votes of an absolute majority of states currently 26 of There have been two contingent presidential elections in the nation's history.
A 73—73 electoral vote tie between Thomas Jefferson and fellow Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr in the election of necessitated the first.
Conducted under the original procedure established by Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which stipulates that if two or three persons received a majority vote and an equal vote, the House of Representatives would choose one of them for president; the runner up would become Vice President.
Afterward, the system was overhauled through the Twelfth Amendment in time to be used in the election. Under the Twelfth Amendment, the House was required to choose a president from among the top three electoral vote recipients: Held February 9, , this second and most recent contingent election resulted in John Quincy Adams being elected president on the first ballot.
Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment , the four-year term of office for both the president and vice president begins at noon on January As a result of the date change, the first term —37 of both men had been shortened by 43 days.
Before executing the powers of the office, a president is required to recite the presidential oath of office , found in Article II, Section 1, Clause 8.
This is the only component in the inauguration ceremony mandated by the Constitution:. I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Presidents have traditionally placed one hand upon a Bible while taking the oath, and have added "So help me God" to the end of the oath.
When the first president, George Washington, announced in his Farewell Address that he was not running for a third term, he established a "two-terms then out" precedent.
Precedent became tradition after Thomas Jefferson publicly embraced the principle a decade later during his second term, as did his two immediate successors, James Madison and James Monroe.
Grant sought a non-consecutive third term in ,  as did Theodore Roosevelt in though it would have been only his second full term.
In , after leading the nation through the Great Depression , Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a third term, breaking the self-imposed precedent.
Four years later, with the U. In response to the unprecedented length of Roosevelt's presidency, the Twenty-second Amendment was adopted in The amendment bars anyone from being elected president more than twice, or once if that person served more than two years 24 months of another president's four-year term.
Truman , president when this term limit came into force, was exempted from its limitations, and briefly sought a second full term—to which he would have otherwise been ineligible for election, as he had been president for more than two years of Roosevelt's fourth term—before he withdrew from the election.
Since the amendment's adoption, five presidents have served two full terms: Bush , and Barack Obama.
Both Jimmy Carter and George H. Bush sought a second term, but were defeated. Richard Nixon was elected to a second term, but resigned before completing it.
Johnson , having held the presidency for one full term in addition to only 14 months of John F. Kennedy 's unexpired term, was eligible for a second full term in , but withdrew from Democratic Primary.
Additionally, Gerald Ford , who served out the last two years and five months of Nixon's second term, sought a full term, but was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the election.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution allows for the removal of high federal officials, including the president, from office for " treason , bribery , or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson in , and Bill Clinton in Both were acquitted by the senate: Johnson by one vote, and Clinton by 17 votes.
Additionally, the House Judiciary Committee commenced impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon in ; however, he resigned from office before the full House voted on the articles of impeachment.
Succession to or vacancies in the office of president may arise under several possible circumstances: Deaths have occurred a number of times, resignation has occurred only once, and removal from office has never occurred.
Under Section 3 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment , the president may transfer the presidential powers and duties to the vice president, who then becomes acting president , by transmitting a statement to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate stating the reasons for the transfer.
The president resumes the discharge of the presidential powers and duties upon transmitting, to those two officials, a written declaration stating that resumption.
Such a transfer of power has occurred on three occasions: Ronald Reagan to George H. Bush once, on July 13, , and George W. Bush to Dick Cheney twice, on June 29, , and on July 21, Under Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment , the vice president, in conjunction with a majority of the Cabinet , may transfer the presidential powers and duties from the president to the vice president by transmitting a written declaration to the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate that the president is incapacitated —unable to discharge their presidential powers and duties.
If this occurs, then the vice president will assume the presidential powers and duties as acting president; however, the president can declare that no such inability exists and resume the discharge of the presidential powers and duties.
If the vice president and Cabinet contest this claim, it is up to Congress, which must meet within two days if not already in session, to decide the merit of the claim.
Section 1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment states that the vice president becomes president upon the removal from office, death, or resignation of the preceding president.
Speaker of the House, then, if necessary, the President pro tempore of the Senate, and then if necessary, the eligible heads of federal executive departments who form the president's Cabinet.
The Cabinet currently has 15 members, of which the Secretary of State is first in line; the other Cabinet secretaries follow in the order in which their department or the department of which their department is the successor was created.
Those department heads who are constitutionally ineligible to be elected to the presidency are also disqualified from assuming the powers and duties of the presidency through succession.
No statutory successor has yet been called upon to act as president. Throughout most of its history, politics of the United States have been dominated by political parties.
Political parties had not been anticipated when the U. Constitution was drafted in , nor did they exist at the time of the first presidential election in — Organized political parties developed in the U.
Those who supported the Washington administration were referred to as "pro-administration" and would eventually form the Federalist Party , while those in opposition joined the emerging Democratic-Republican Party.
Greatly concerned about the very real capacity of political parties to destroy the fragile unity holding the nation together, Washington remained unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his eight-year presidency.
He was, and remains, the only U. The number of presidents per political party at the time of entry into office are: The president's salary is set by Congress, and under Article II, Section 1, Clause 7 of the Constitution, may not be increased or reduced during his or her current term of office.
The White House in Washington, D. The site was selected by George Washington, and the cornerstone was laid in Every president since John Adams in has lived there.
At various times in U. The federal government pays for state dinners and other official functions, but the president pays for personal, family, and guest dry cleaning and food.
Camp David , officially titled Naval Support Facility Thurmont, a mountain-based military camp in Frederick County, Maryland , is the president's country residence.
A place of solitude and tranquility, the site has been used extensively to host foreign dignitaries since the s. Blair House , located next to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House Complex and Lafayette Park , serves as the president's official guest house and as a secondary residence for the president if needed.
The primary means of long distance air travel for the president is one of two identical Boeing VC aircraft, which are extensively modified Boeing airliners and are referred to as Air Force One while the president is on board although any U.
Air Force aircraft the president is aboard is designated as "Air Force One" for the duration of the flight. In-country trips are typically handled with just one of the two planes, while overseas trips are handled with both, one primary and one backup.
The president also has access to smaller Air Force aircraft, most notably the Boeing C , which are used when the president must travel to airports that cannot support a jumbo jet.
Any civilian aircraft the president is aboard is designated Executive One for the flight. For short distance air travel, the president has access to a fleet of U.
Marine Corps helicopters of varying models, designated Marine One when the president is aboard any particular one in the fleet.
Flights are typically handled with as many as five helicopters all flying together and frequently swapping positions as to disguise which helicopter the president is actually aboard to any would-be threats.
For ground travel, the president uses the presidential state car , which is an armored limousine designed to look like a Cadillac sedan, but built on a truck chassis.
The president also has access to two armored motorcoaches , which are primarily used for touring trips. The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is inside.
Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard. Secret Service is charged with protecting the president and the first family. As part of their protection, presidents, first ladies , their children and other immediate family members, and other prominent persons and locations are assigned Secret Service codenames.
Under the Former Presidents Act , all living former presidents are granted a pension, an office, and a staff.
The pension has increased numerous times with Congressional approval. Prior to , all former presidents, their spouses, and their children until age 16 were protected by the Secret Service until the president's death.
Bush , and all subsequent presidents. Some presidents have had significant careers after leaving office. Grover Cleveland , whose bid for reelection failed in , was elected president again four years later in Two former presidents served in Congress after leaving the White House: John Quincy Adams was elected to the House of Representatives, serving there for seventeen years, and Andrew Johnson returned to the Senate in John Tyler served in the provisional Congress of the Confederate States during the Civil War and was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives, but died before that body first met.
Presidents may use their predecessors as emissaries to deliver private messages to other nations or as official representatives of the United States to state funerals and other important foreign events.
Bill Clinton has also worked as an informal ambassador, most recently in the negotiations that led to the release of two American journalists , Laura Ling and Euna Lee , from North Korea.
Clinton has also been active politically since his presidential term ended, working with his wife Hillary on her and presidential bids and President Obama on his reelection campaign.
There are currently since January 20, five living former presidents. In order of office they are:.
Jimmy Carter age 94 since Bush age 94 since Bill Clinton age 72 since Bush age 72 since Barack Obama age 57 since Every president since Herbert Hoover has created a repository known as a presidential library for preserving and making available his papers, records, and other documents and materials.
Completed libraries are deeded to and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration NARA ; the initial funding for building and equipping each library must come from private, non-federal sources.
There are also presidential libraries maintained by state governments and private foundations and Universities of Higher Education, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum , which is run by the State of Illinois , the George W.
A number of presidents have lived for many years after leaving office, and several of them have personally overseen the building and opening of their own presidential libraries.
Some have even made arrangements for their own burial at the site. Several presidential libraries contain the graves of the president they document, including the Dwight D.
These gravesites are open to the general public. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the political talk radio channel, see P. For other uses, see President of the United States disambiguation.
For a list, see List of Presidents of the United States. Executive branch of the U. Government Executive Office of the President.
President   The Honorable . Head of State Head of Government. Constitution of the United States Law Taxation. Presidential elections Midterm elections Off-year elections.
Democratic Republican Third parties. Powers of the President of the United States. Suffice it to say that the President is made the sole repository of the executive powers of the United States, and the powers entrusted to him as well as the duties imposed upon him are awesome indeed.
For further information, see List of people pardoned or granted clemency by the President of the United States. Four ruffles and flourishes and 'Hail to the Chief' long version.
Imperial Presidency and Imperiled Presidency. United States presidential primary , United States presidential nominating convention , United States presidential election debates , and United States presidential election.
Electoral College United States. United States presidential inauguration. Impeachment in the United States.
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Phillips for the rapid transmission of press reports by telegraph. Truman ; Lyndon B. Johnson ; and Gerald Ford Tyler's policy priorities as president soon proved to be opposed to most of the Whig agenda, and he was expelled from the party in September Later, while president, Johnson tried and failed to build a party of loyalists under the National Union banner.
Near the end of his presidency, Johnson rejoined the Democratic Party. The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 26, Retrieved November 15, Retrieved September 4, The People Debate the Constitution, — New York, New York: A forgotten huge day in American history".
Retrieved July 29, Retrieved January 22, The History of Power". Proceedings of the American Political Science Association. Origins and Development 5th ed.
Its Origins and Development. The Making of the American Constitution. Commander in Chief Clause". National Constitution Center Educational Resources some internal navigation required.
Retrieved May 23, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. McPherson, Tried by War: United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on May 13, Retrieved February 25, About the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Federalist 69 reposting. Retrieved June 15, Archived from the original PDF on November 26, Retrieved December 15, No clear mechanism or requirement exists today for the president and Congress to consult.
The War Powers Resolution of contains only vague consultation requirements. Instead, it relies on reporting requirements that, if triggered, begin the clock running for Congress to approve the particular armed conflict.
By the terms of the Resolution, however, Congress need not act to disapprove the conflict; the cessation of all hostilities is required in 60 to 90 days merely if Congress fails to act.
Many have criticized this aspect of the Resolution as unwise and unconstitutional, and no president in the past 35 years has filed a report "pursuant" to these triggering provisions.
The President's War Powers". Retrieved September 28, Retrieved November 8, Presidents have sent forces abroad more than times; Congress has declared war only five times: President Reagan told Congress of the invasion of Grenada two hours after he had ordered the landing.
He told Congressional leaders of the bombing of Libya while the aircraft were on their way. It was not clear whether the White House consulted with Congressional leaders about the military action, or notified them in advance.
Foley, the Speaker of the House, said on Tuesday night that he had not been alerted by the Administration.
Retrieved August 7, Retrieved February 5, Noel Canning , U. United States , U. Olson , U. Retrieved January 23, But not since President Gerald R.
Ford granted clemency to former President Richard M. Nixon for possible crimes in Watergate has a Presidential pardon so pointedly raised the issue of whether the President was trying to shield officials for political purposes.
The prosecutor charged that Mr. Weinberger's efforts to hide his notes may have 'forestalled impeachment proceedings against President Reagan' and formed part of a pattern of 'deception and obstruction.Zudem ist man von Trump - vor allem - auch bereits alles gewohnt. Hat keiner der Kandidaten eine absolute Mehrheit der Wahlmännerstimmen also auf sich vereinigt, so wählt gegebenenfalls das Repräsentantenhaus den Präsidenten und der Senat den Vizepräsidenten. Ohne diese Unterstützung ist der Handlungsspielraum des Präsidenten stark eingeschränkt. Der Präsident kann, wenn der Senat nicht versammelt ist, eine Person ernennen, selbst wenn dafür die Senatszustimmung erforderlich wäre Recess Appointment. Seine Amtszeit war glück- und glanzlos. Ob das zur Steigerung der Blase medieninterner Scheinwelt führt oder neben offenbaren Demokratie- und Pluralitäts-Verlusten langfristig auch ein Fortschritt hin eine selbstkritischere Medienlandschaft sein kann, bleibt auch nach den Halbzeitwahlen dahingestellt. Kennedy oder Bezeichnungen wie Ike Dwight D. Der Wahlkampf zeigte erneut auf, was längst alle wissen: Denn mit dem Senat kontrolliert er weiter die US-Politik. Möglicherweise unterliegen die Inhalte jeweils zusätzlichen Bedingungen. So gesehen ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass Hillary Clinton nach ihrem Schwächeanfall ohne weitere Erläuterung zur Tagesordnung übergehen wollte. Fast alle republikanischen Staaten haben diese Amtsbezeichnung seither in Anlehnung an das amerikanische Vorbild übernommen.