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Explain the functions of departments or agencies of the executive branch in the governments of the United States and the state of Massachusett
See Special Topic pages on
The FBI in American Politics
Surveillance and the National Security Agency
The Executive Branch
"The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet.
The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.
The Cabinet and independent federal agencies are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws. These departments and agencies have missions and responsibilities as widely divergent as those of the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Social Security Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Including members of the armed forces, the Executive Branch employs more than 4 million Americans."
3 Branches of the Government
The Executive Branch
-The President is the head of state and the head of government of The United States of America. He or she is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
Barack Obama, 44th President
Joe Biden, 47th Vice President
click here for Hilary Clinton article
Click here for
lesson plan ideas around Poet Richard Blanco's poem
read at President Obama second inauguration in January 2013 as well as a brief history of inauguration poetry.
Women in the Executive Branch
Click here for background on
, the first woman to run for President in 1872.
A New Constitution for the United States of the World,
Victoria Woodhull Speech, 1870
Click for a link of Frances Perkins, the first ever female cabinet member
as Secretary of Labor during Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency.
Click here for a look into the political life of
, who in 1968 became the first black woman to win a seat in the House of Representatives, and in 1972 became the first black person(and first black woman) to run as a major party candidate when she did so for the Democratic party.
Her influence was particularly apparent in the 2008 presidential election, as both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both would have represented firsts if elected for the office of President that Chisholm herself tried to break.
The importance of her bid for the nomination in 1972
is also felt in both Bernie Sander's and Hillary Clinton's campaigns for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
with Shirley Chisholm as she reflects on her bid.
Go here for a
List of Female U.S. Cabinet Secretaries
Image to the right shows President Ulysses S. Grant on a platform is congratulated boisterously by an audience below of Carl Schurz, Whitelaw Reid and a spectrum of other men for vetoing the "inflation bill". Harper's Weekly, May 23, 1874
Overriding Presidential Vetoes
from The Civics Connection, University of Central Florida
defining the role of the commander in chief using quotes from the Constitution and former presidents.
Presidential Vetoes from Washington to Obama
from the American Presidency Project.
Washington Exercises First Presidential Veto, April 5, 1792
Congress Overrides Presidential Veto for First Time, May 3, 1845
Jackson Vetos Bank Bill, July 10. 1832
Grover Cleveland: The Veto President
Truman Defends Taft-Hartley Act Veto, June 20, 1947
I Forbid: Presidential Vetoes and American Indian Affairs, 1789-2000
from the University of Nebraska.
First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, 1864
The President's Cabinet
Currently the President's cabinet includes
Health and Human Services
Housing and Urban Development
for a brief look at how the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002
The Cabinet is an advisory body made up of the heads of the 15 executive departments.
Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the members of the Cabinet are often the President's closest confidants.
In addition to running
major federal agencies
, they play an important role in the Presidential line of succession — after the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and Senate President pro tempore, the line of succession continues with the Cabinet offices in the order in which the departments were created.
All the members of the Cabinet take the title Secretary, excepting the head of the Justice Department, who is the Attorney General.
The Agencies within the Executive Office of the President include:
Council of Economic Advisors
Council on Environmental Quality
Domestic Policy Council
National Economic Council
National Security Council
Office of Administration
Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Office of Management and Budget
Office of National AIDS Policy
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Office of the First Lady
Office of the Vice President
Office of the Second Lady
President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
President's Intelligence Oversight Board
President's Intelligence Advisory Board
United States Trade Representative
White House Office
White House Military Office
Legislative Powers of the President
The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.
With these powers come several responsibilities, among them a constitutional requirement to "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." Although the President may fulfill this requirement in any way he or she chooses, Presidents have traditionally given a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress each January (except in inaugural years) outlining their agenda for the coming year.
Click here for a YouTube clip that briefly describes the powers of the Executive Branch and the founders intentions
Office of the Budget
United States gross federal annual deficit or surplus from 1901 to 2006
National Priorities Project
for information about how the spending of the federal budget affects ordinary taxpayers.
Executive Departments of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Departments within the Executive Branch of Massachusetts include:
Executive office for Administration and Finance
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Office of Education
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Executive Office of Safety and Security
Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works
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