Summary
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. The power of the presidency has grown substantially since the first president, George Washington, took office in 1789. While presidential power has ebbed and flowed over time, the presidency has played an increasingly significant role in American political life since the beginning of the 20th century, with notable expansion during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. In modern times, the president is one of the world's most powerful political figures – the leader of the only remaining global superpower. As the leader of the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP, the president possesses significant domestic and international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government and vests executive power in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law and the responsibility to appoint federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers. Based on constitutional provisions empowering the president to appoint and receive ambassadors and conclude treaties with foreign powers, and on subsequent laws enacted by Congress, the modern presidency has primary responsibility for conducting U.S. foreign policy. The role includes responsibility for directing the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president also plays a leading role in federal legislation and domestic policymaking. As part of the system of separation of powers, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation. Since modern presidents are typically viewed as leaders of their political parties, major policymaking is significantly shaped by the outcome of presidential elections, with presidents taking an active role in promoting their policy priorities to members of Congress who are often electorally dependent on the president.
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