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What Is the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government? | History

- There are three branches

of government in the US.

Legislative, executive,

and judicial. [MUSIC PLAYING]

The president heads the executive branch

and has unique powers, including

executive orders, vetoes, appointing

federal judges, and appointing the heads

of federal agencies, also

known as the president's cabinet.

He also acts as the commander-in-chief

of the military.

The cabinet, itself part

of the executive branch,

also acts as an advisory board

to the president with the chief executive

of each agency mostly known

as the secretary of their department.

But the president doesn't have

absolute power to make

these appointments.

The Senate wants a vote

to confirm the president's

appointees.

One example of the checks and balances

at work.

Cabinet members also make up

part of the presidential line

of succession in the event

that the current president becomes

incapacitated, resigns, dies, or is

removed from office.

First in line is the vice president, then

the speaker of the house,

and then the Senate president

pro tempore.

After that, we start down the line

of cabinet members.

The president also appoints the heads

of more than 50 independent federal

commissions as well as ambassadors

and federal judges.

Of course, those nominees

need to be confirmed by the Senate

as well.

Check and balance.

But the president also

checks Congress.

When Congress enacts bills,

the president either signs

the legislation into law

or rejects it through a veto.

The president also has the power

to pardon and grant clemencies

for federal crimes, except in cases

of impeachment on both the state

and federal level.

In the global sphere, the president

serves as the nation's

representative.

He can negotiate and sign treaties

with another nation, but it only becomes

ratified with the support of 2/3

of the Senate.

The president also has the power

to issue executive orders which allows

him to direct the actions of members

of the executive branch

without it having to be approved

by Congress.

But while Congress has no say when it

comes to executive orders,

the judicial branch, in the form

of the Supreme Court, does

have the power to overturn

an executive order.

But considering how much power

the president is given,

the eligibility requirements

for the office of the presidency

aren't very strict.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

The Constitution lists only

three requirements.

The president must be 35 years of age,

a natural born citizen,

and must have lived in the United States

for at least 14 years.

Presidents are limited to two

four-year terms as stipulated

by the 22nd amendment ratified in 1951.

Before that, two terms

was traditionally the limit

until President Franklin

Delano Roosevelt served four.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

In the US, we elect a new president

every four years through a system

called the electoral college.

This means when we go to the polls

to vote for president,

we actually vote for electors

who will cast their vote on our behalf.

While all of these rules

or stipulations may sometimes befuddle

us, they reflect how important

maintaining a balance of power

was to our founding fathers.

So while the president's power

has expanded as the United States has

grown as a force on the world stage,

the judicial and legislative branches

still keep the leader of the free world

in check.