The Executive Branch of Government

The executive branch of government refers to the offices of the president and vice-president of the United States. Like the legislative branch, the president and vice-president are elected by the people that they serve.

The president is the person that is responsible for running the government every day and is in charge of the entire U. S. military. The president does not make laws but is responsible for enforcing the nation's laws. The Constitution also gives the president the right to veto, or decline, any law passed by Congress.

The Constitution provides very little direction on how to do the job of president. It does state that a president must be at least 35 years old and the president must have been born in the United States, as well as lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years. Other than that, it was mostly left up to the nation's first president, George Washington, to decide how the office of president should operate. It was for that reason that Washington was hesitant to take the job but he felt a loyalty to the new country that elected him unanimously not once, but twice. He knew that every move he made would be historic. Today, presidents still follow many of Washington's examples, such as choosing a "cabinet," or a team of department leaders.

The vice-president is also part of the executive branch. He or she must also be qualified to be president because the vice-president could suddenly become president at a moment's notice. This could happen if a president become very ill, dies, resigns, or for some reason can no longer do the duties of the job. There may also be times, although they are rare, where the vice-president serves as the president of the Senate. In those cases, if the Senate has a tie vote on an issue, the vice-president casts the tie-breaking vote. Unlike the president, who lives in the White House in Washington, D.C. the vice-president lives in a mansion at the U.S. Naval Observatory. Both the president and vice-president have offices in the West Wing of the White House.


Related Links:
US Government
Social Studies


Educational Videos