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President of the
United States of America
Flag of the President of the United States of America.svg
Seal Of The President Of The United States Of America.svg
Joe Biden official portrait 2013 cropped.jpg
Joe Biden

since January 20, 2021
Abbreviation POTUS
Member of
Residence White House
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer Electoral College
Term length Four years, renewable once
Constituting instrument Constitution of the United States
Formation June 21, 1788
(233 years ago)
First holder George Washington
Salary $400,000 annually

The president of the United States of America (often shortened to P.O.T.U.S.) is the chief executive of the United States. The office of president was created in the United States Constitution in 1788. The first president (George Washington) took office in 1789. The president is in charge of the executive branch of the United States government. The United States Constitution makes the president the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It also lists powers given to the President, though these powers have been expanded through practice over time.

Since the United States began as a slave holding society based on race, every president of the United States has been a white man except for Barack Obama, and at least 12 of the first 18 presidents owned slaves. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms in office, and is counted as the nation's 22nd and 24th president. There are currently five living former presidents. The most recent death of a former president was the death of George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018. He was also the most recently serving president to die.

On November 3, 2020, Joe Biden was elected to be the 46th president of the United States. He was formally inaugurated on January 20, 2021.


Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution sets the requirements to hold office. A president must:

Election process and terms

The president is indirectly elected by the people through the Electoral College to a four-year term, and is one of only two nationally elected federal officers, the other being the Vice President of the United States. A president must receive more than 270 electoral college votes in order to win an election. Ronald Reagan received 525 votes which is the most electoral votes of any other president.

A president can only serve two terms as president, which is eight years. Franklin D. Roosevelt served four terms as president. He died shortly after beginning his fourth term. After his death, Congress passed an amendment that limits the number of terms a president can have.

William Henry Harrison served the shortest term, one month, because he died in office from pneumonia.


A president officially becomes president after being inaugurated on January 20th. The president must be given the oath of office by the Chief Justice of the United States. It is traditionally held at the United States Capitol.

Primary functions

With the agreement of the United States Senate he or she can:

Living Presidents (from oldest to youngest)
President Date of birth Presidency
Jimmy Carter October 1, 1924 (1924-10-01) (age 97) 39 1977–1981
Joe Biden November 20, 1942 (1942-11-20) (age 79) 46 2021–
Donald Trump June 14, 1946 (1946-06-14) (age 75) 45 2017–2021
George W. Bush July 6, 1946 (1946-07-06) (age 75) 43 2001–2009
Bill Clinton August 19, 1946 (1946-08-19) (age 75) 42 1993–2001
Barack Obama August 4, 1961 (1961-08-04) (age 60) 44 2009–2017


If the president dies or retires between elections, or is otherwise removed from office, the Acting President will become president, who is usually the Vice President.

Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy were assassinated while in office. William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin Roosevelt died from illness while president. John Tyler was the first Vice President of the United States to become president.

Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon's vice president, became president after Nixon resigned. Nixon is the only president to have resigned.

Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump are the only presidents to have been impeached.


A president travels by either traveling on Air Force One, Marine One, or by the Presidential state car. At all times, the president is protected by Secret Service agents. Sometimes, the president may travel to Camp David for either relaxation or to do some work in peace.

List of Presidents of the United States

Living former presidents

State Funeral for President Bush 181205-D-DY697-252
The Living Presidents George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in 2018.

Presidential rankings

By a majority of historical sources by historians or by the American people; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton are ranked high on polls.

On the other hand; James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush are thought to be the worst.

Presidential libraries

Since Herbert Hoover, each president has created a institutional place known as a presidential library for preserving and making available his papers, records, and other documents and materials. There are currently thirteen presidential libraries in the NARA system.

There are also presidential libraries maintained by state governments and private foundations, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by the State of Illinois.

Several presidential libraries contain the graves of the president such as Richard Nixon at his library in Yorba Linda, California and Ronald Reagan at his library in Simi Valley, California.

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