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This page provides the text and interpreted text of Article 2 of the United States Constitution. It is part of our interactive Constitution.


What does it say?

1.) The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

2.) Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

3.) The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.

4.) The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

5.) No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

6.) In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

7.) The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

8.) Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: "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."

What does it mean?

1.) Clause 1 declares the executive power of the President and defines the length of a presidential term at four years.

2.) Clause 2 establishes the electoral college, a group of individuals chosen by voters of each state to elect the President and Vice-President. Each state has its own procedures for determining electors, but the number of electors is to be equal to the combined number of Senators and Representatives that states maintains in Congress.

3) Clause 3 established the procedures for the Electoral College and for Election Day. Originally, electors cast two votes for president and the presidential candidate who received the most votes became President and the runner up became Vice-President. As part of the 12th Amendment , however, electors now cast a single vote for the President and a single vote for the Vice-President. If no candidate receives a majority vote in the presidential election, the House of Representatives chooses a candidate from among the top three.

4.) Clause 4 allows Congress to choose a national date for Election Day. Currently, electors cast their votes on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December.

5.) Clause 5 enumerates the qualifications of the President. The President must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old, and an American citizen for 14 years.

6.) Clause 6 declares that in the case of the President’s death, resignation, or inability to perform duties, the Vice-President becomes President. If the case of a vacancy in both the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, Congress determines who will act as President until the next election or until the President or Vice-President is able to take their office again.

7.) Clause 7 establishes a presidential salary that must remain fixed during his term.

8.) Clause 8 requires the President to take the Presidential Oath before performing presidential duties. Usually the president is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In one of the strangest oath ceremonies in U.S. history, Calvin Coolidge was sworn to the presidency by his father, a justice of the peace, after the death of Warren G. Harding.


What does it say?

1.) The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

2.) He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

3.) The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

What does it mean?

1.) This clause declares the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief of the United States military.

2.) Clause 2 outlines the President’s power to make treaties and appoint officials. The President can make treaties with foreign nations provided that he has approval from two-thirds of the Senators present during proceedings. In addition, the President can appoint ambassadors and Supreme Court justices. The appointment of high officials such as Supreme Court justices requires the approval of onemore than half the Senators.

3.) Clause 3 allows the President to make temporary appointments without the approval of the Senate when the Senate is not in session.


What does it say?

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

What does it mean?

Section 3 requires the president to present a State of the Union addresses to Congress once per year. A State of the Union address is one in which the President reports on the status and current affairs of the nation. Today, the State of the Union Address is broadcast on prime-time television. In addition, the president may call "extraordinary," or unplanned meetings of Congress if he sees fit.

The President is also the government's top law-enforcing official and is expected to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed". He is also in charge of all military appointments and the reception of all foreign ambassadors.


What does it say?

The president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

What does it mean?

Section 4 declares that the President, Vice-president or other high governmental officials will be removed from office on impeachment if they are found guilty of various crimes such as treason, bribery (accepting money in exchange for a favor) or other unspecified crimes.


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