Skip to main content

U.S. Executive Branch-The President: Introduction

Overview of Presidential publications available at UC Berkeley

Free Public Access to Government Information

Free public access to United States government documents in a federal depository library is guaranteed by law (44 USC §1911).  While UC Berkeley houses one of the most comprehensive collections of U.S. government documents in the country, the Library is one of over a thousand Federal Depository Libraries across the United States, and one of several Federal Depository Libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Introduction to the US Presidency

The President's the broad powers of the office are outlined in the Constitution, Article II. The President's basic constitutional responsibilities include:

  • Act as Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy.
  • Make foreign treaties, with two-thirds consent of the Senate.
  • Appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court justices, and federal judges, with the approval of the Senate.
  • Deliver a State of the Union address to Congress.
  • Recommend legislation to Congress.
  • Convene Congress on extraordinary occasions.
  • Adjourn Congress, in cases of a disagreement about adjournment.
  • "Take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
  • Receive foreign ambassadors and ministers.

This authority is often promulgated through executive orders and proclamations, and memorandas. Both executive orders and proclamations can have legal effect. Generally, executive orders are used by a president to exercise executive authority to manage the operations of the Federal Government. Proclamations are often used to announce something ceremonial in nature such as 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

Contact Jesse

Jesse Silva

Need help with research?  Have a question about the collection or the UC Berkeley Library?  Here are three ways to get in touch with me: 

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.