President (Lat. prceses), an officer appointed or elected to preside over a tribunal, a company, an assembly, or a republic. The chief executive officer of the United States bears this title, and the second executive officer, the vice president, is by virtue of his office the president of the senate, and succeeds to the office of president of the United States on the death or disability of the regular incumbent during his term. The chief executives of Mexico and the republics of Central and South America, as well as of Switzerland, are also termed presidents, and Marshal MacMahon governs under the same title in -France. The president of the United States holds his office for the term of four years, beginning on the 4th day of March next succeeding the day of his election. He must be a native of the United States, at least 35 years old, and is chosen by electors who are themselves chosen by the people. Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to its number of senators and representatives in congress, who meet at their respective state capitals on the first Wednesday in January after their election, and transmit their votes to the president of the United States senate.
The votes are canvassed by the two houses of congress in joint convention, and the result declared, on the second Wednesday of February following the meeting of the electors. Under the original provisions of the constitution the person having the second highest number of votes for president became vice president; but the twelfth amendment (1804) provides for the separate election of those officers. The president's powers are thus fixed by the constitution of the United States, article II., section 2: " 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 offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. He shall have power, by and with the 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.
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." Section 7 of article I. requires that every bill which passes congress must have the president's signature to become a law, unless, after he has returned it to congress with his objections, two thirds of each house shall vote in its favor. The president's duties, as determined by article II., section 3, are to give to congress from time to time information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; to convene both houses on extraordinary occasions, and, in case of disagreement between them as to the time of adjournment, to adjourn them to such a time as he shall think proper; to receive ambassadors and other public ministers; to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and to commission all the officers of the United States, He can be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The presidents of the United States from the adoption of the constitution till the present time have been as follows: George Washington, 1789 to 1797; John Adams, 1797 to 1801; Thomas Jefferson, 1801 to 1809; James Madison, 1809 to 1817; James Monroe, 1817 to 1825; John Quincy Adams, 1825 to 1829; Andrew Jackson, 1829 to 1837; Martin Van Buren, 1837 to 1841; William Henry Harrison, March 4,1841, to April 4, 1841, when he died and was succeeded by John Tyler, the vice president, who held office till 1845; James Knox Polk, 1845 to 1849; Zachary Taylor, 1849 to July 5,1850, when he died and was succeeded by Millard Fillmore, the vice president, who held office till 1853; Franklin Pierce, 1853 to 1857; James Buchanan, 1857 to 1861; Abraham Lincoln, 1861 to April 15, 1865, when he died, and was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, the vice president, who held office till 1869; Ulysses S. Grant, 1869 to the present time (1875). It will be seen that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Lincoln, and Grant were each twice elected, and that Tyler, Fillmore, and Johnson succeeded to the office • from being vice presidents when vacancies occurred.
Three other presidents, John Adams, Jefferson, and Van Buren, were vice presidents previous to their election to the principal office.