Origins of the Presidency and Official Duties


What was the result of the debates regarding the presidency?

It was not until September 8, 1787, that the framers finally settled on the scope and definition of the executive office. A single leader, elected to a four-year term and eligible for reelection, with authority to veto bills enacted by Congress, would rule the nation. The president was also given command of the military and the power to appoint federal officials, subject to confirmation by the Senate. To ensure a balance of power, the legislative and judicial branches were given the ability to check presidential actions. The framers hoped this system of checks and balances would prevent the reign of a tyrannical executive. In addition to determining the executive’s powers, the framers established the methods of selecting the president. Concerned about the people’s ability to elect the president directly and cautious of giving full power to existing legislative bodies to select the president, they designed the electoral college, a group of presidential electors for each state who meet after the popular election to cast their ballots for the president and vice president.


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