The Presidency (True Books, Government)
What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the
1. In May, 1787, how many delegates met in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, for the Constitutional Convention?
Fifty-five. George Washington was a delegate to and the President
of the Constitutional Convention. Other famous delegates were
Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.
The Constitutional Convention lasted four
months in the sweltering heat of a Philadelphia summer. Inside
the State House, the discussions were also heated. The delegates
engaged in many disagreements and compromises before a final agreement
On September 17, 1787, the plan for the
new government was signed by thirty-nine of the remaining forty-two
delegates. It was called the Constitution of the United States.
The Constitution was ratified in 1788. Did you know Delaware was
the first state to ratify the Constitution? Ratify means to accept.
2. What are the three
requirements for becoming President of the United States?
Every president must be born a citizen of the United States, must
have lived in the United States for at least fourteen years, and
must be at least thirty-five years old.
Anyone meeting the above requirements can
become president regardless of race or gender.
3. Who was the first
President of the United States?
George Washington. The word "president" comes from the word preside,
which means to "hold the position of authority." Washington served
two terms as president from 1789 to 1797.
4. How many years does
a president serve during one term?
The XXII Amendment of the Constitution
states a person can only serve two terms as president. It was
ratified in 1951. Did you know this is called term limits?
After a new president is elected, he or
she has about ten weeks between the election and inauguration.
During this time, he or she is called the president-elect. The
president-elect uses this time to chose a cabinet, organize a
staff, and prepare to move into the White House.
The president lives and works in the White
House which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington,
D.C. The White House has 132 rooms, a gym, movie theater, swimming
pool, tennis court, and bowling alley. Did
you know President John Adams, the second president,
was the first person to occupy the White House? He moved there
The president works in the Oval Office
in the West Wing of the White House. This office gets its name
from its oval shape. The president also spends time at Camp David,
a vacation home in Maryland. Did you
know it only takes thirty minutes to travel from the
White House to Camp David by helicopter?
When the president flies on an airplane,
it is called Air Force One. Today, Air Force One is a specially
The president is in charge of the executive
branch of the government. The executive branch has three parts:
1) the Executive Office of the President; 2) the Cabinet; and
3) Independent Agencies.
The president's Cabinet is in charge of
government departments. They include the Secretary of State, the
Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Transportation, and the
Secretary of Education. Cabinet members report directly to the
5. What day is the president
January 20. Every president is inaugurated (or sworn into office)
at noon January 20, following the election. The inauguration is
the ceremony that formally begins a president's term in office.
In 2000, George W. Bush was elected President
of the United States. He was sworn in as president at the inauguration
on January 20, 2001.
The president repeats the Oath or Affirmation
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that
I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the
United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve,
protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
6. Name ONE of the jobs
of the President of the United States.
In general, the president's job is to preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States. Here is a list of some
of the specific jobs of the president:
The president makes sure the laws of the country are followed.
The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Although the president is in charge of all military actions,
only the Congress can declare war. This is an example of "checks
and balances." The president is the only person who has authority
to use nuclear weapons.
The president can make treaties with other countries, as long
as two-thirds of the Senate also agree. This is another example
of "checks and balances."
The president can veto bills passed by Congress. However, the
Congress can override a presidential veto if two-thirds of both
the House of Representatives and the Senate vote to override
the veto. This is another example of "checks and balances."
What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the
Cabinet: Advisors to the president who head government
Constitution: Plan of government
by which the country is ruled
Election: Voting people into office
Inauguration: Formal beginning of
the president's term in office
Incumbent: Person who is currently
Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the
Following Questions for Your FREE
a. Which of the following Articles of the U.S.
Constitution establishes the Executive Branch?
a) Article I
b) Article II
c) Article III
d) Article IV
The Constitution of the United States is made up of seven Articles.
The first three Articles describe the three branches of government.
Article I describes the legislative branch. It consists
of the U.S. Congress which contains both the House of Representatives
and the Senate. Article II describes the executive branch.
It consists of the President and Vice President. Article III
describes the judicial branch. It consists of the U.S. Supreme
b. When is Election
It is the first Tuesday in the month of November.
Presidential elections take place every
four years. They begin with caucuses or primaries. In a caucus
or primary, states hold their own elections to vote for a Republican
candidate and Democratic candidate for president. Then the Republican
Party and Democratic Party hold its own convention in which they
nominate a candidate from their own party for president and vice
president. The United States has other political parties, including
the Reform Party and the Green Party.
The presidential and vice presidential
candidate then hit the campaign trail giving speeches, participating
in debates, and meeting people until election day.
Election day is always the first Tuesday
in the month of November. In 1996, the presidential election took
place on Tuesday, November 5. In 2000, the presidential election
took place on Tuesday, November 7.
c. What is the Electoral
The Electoral College is a group of people called electors who
make the final choice of who becomes president.
The number of electors from each state
is equal to the number of senators and members of the House of
Representatives from that state. Every state has two senators.
The number of Representatives varies for each state because it
is based on population. For example, California has two Senators
and fifty-two Representatives; therefore, California has fifty-four
electors. Delaware has two Senators and one Representative; therefore,
Delaware has three electors.
The electors then vote for president. Their
votes are determined by which candidate their state voted for
on election day. A presidential candidate must receive 270 out
of the 538 electoral votes in order to win.
d. Who protects the
President of the United States?
The Secret Service. Since 1901, the Secret Service protects the
president, the president's family, the vice president, and the
vice president's family.
Four Presidents of the United States have
been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln in 1865, James Garfield in
1881, William McKinley in 1901, and John F. Kennedy in 1963.
e. List the 43 U.S.
Presidents in chronological order.
2. John Adams (1797-1801)
4. James Madison (1809-1817)
5. James Monroe (1817-1825)
6. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)
7. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
8. Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
9. William Henry Harrison (1841)
10. John Tyler (1841-1845)
11. James K. Polk (1845-1849)
12. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
13. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)
14. Franklin Pierce (1853-1857)
15. James Buchanan (1857-1861)
17. Andrew Johnson (1865-1869)
S. Grant (1869-1877)
19. Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
20. James A. Garfield (1881)
21. Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885)
22. Grover S. Cleveland (1885-1889)
23. Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)
24. Grover S. Cleveland (1893-1897)
25. William McKinley (1897-1901)
26. Theodore Roosevelt
27. William H. Taft (1909-1913)
28. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
29. Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)
30. Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
31. Herbert C. Hoover (1929-1933)
32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
33. Harry S Truman (1945-1953)
34. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)
35. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
36. Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
37. Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974)
38. Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977)
39. James E. Carter (1977-1981)
40. Ronald W. Reagan (1981-1989)
41. George Herbert Walker Bush (1989-1993)
42. William J. Clinton (1993-2001)
43. George Walker Bush (2001-present)
f. Use five of the words
in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers will vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
Powell is a cabinet member.
I am studying about the Founding Fathers and the U.S. Constitution
in my history class.
My parents vote on Election
President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for
you, ask what you can do for your country" during his Inauguration.
President Bush is the incumbent
A president has the power to veto
g. Have a parent or friend give you
a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.
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