President as a Chief of State - History

President as a Chief of State - History


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The President is the chief of State of the United States. As such, he or she entertains foreign dignitaries and is the official representative of the American people.

The President is the Chief of State of the United States. He or she entertains foreign dignitaries. The first President, George Washington, made sure that whenever he rode through the streets of Manhattan, he did so in an elaborate carriage. Americans have always looked to their President as the symbol of the nation. Whether issuing a proclamation, attending a diplomatic reception, or participating in a funeral, the President has always been the embodiment of the dreams and aspirations of the American people. Thus, President Kennedy, as a young and vigorous President with a young and beautiful wife, helped promote the feeling that America itself had new vigor. As Chief of State, the President has the world's biggest “bully pulpit.” He or she can address the American people and influence their opinions on many matters.


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List of presidents of India

The President of India is the head of state of India and the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The president is referred to as the first citizen of India. [1] [2] Although vested with these powers by the Constitution of India, the position is largely a ceremonial one and executive powers are de facto exercised by the prime minister. [3]

The president is elected by the Electoral College composed of elected members of the parliament houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and also members of the Vidhan Sabha, the state legislative assemblies. [2] Presidents may remain in office for a tenure of five years, as stated by article 56, part V, of the Constitution of India. In the case where a president's term of office is terminated early or during the absence of the president, the vice president assumes office. By article 70 of part V, the parliament may decide how to discharge the functions of the president where this is not possible, or in any other unexpected contingency. [2]

There have been 14 presidents of India since the post was established when India was declared as a republic with the adoption of the Indian constitution in 1950. [4] Apart from these fourteen, three acting presidents have also been in office for short periods of time. Varahagiri Venkata Giri became the acting president in 1969 after Zakir Husain, died in office. Giri was elected president a few months later. He remains the only person to have held office both as a president and acting president. [5] Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, is the only person to have held office for two terms. [6]

Seven presidents have been members of a political party before being elected. Six of these were active party members of the Indian National Congress. The Janata Party has had one member, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, who later became president. Two presidents, Zakir Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, have died in office. Their vice presidents served as acting presidents until a new president was elected. Following Zakir Husain's death, two acting presidents held office until the new president, V. V. Giri, was elected. When Giri resigned to take part in the presidential elections, he was succeeded by Mohammad Hidayatullah as acting president. [7] The 12th president, Pratibha Patil, is the first woman to hold the office, elected in 2007. [8]


Influence on American Diplomacy

Jackson provided Van Buren an entrée to foreign affairs. Jackson selected Van Buren as Secretary of State as a reward for Van Buren’s efforts to deliver the New York vote to Jackson.

As President, Jackson was hesitant to relinquish control over foreign policy decisions or political appointments. Over time, Van Buren’s ability to provide informed advice about domestic policies, including the Indian Removal Act of 1830, won him a place in Jackson’s circle of closest advisers.

Van Buren’s tenure as Secretary of State included a number of successes. Working with Jackson, he reached a settlement with Great Britain to allow trade with the British West Indies. They also secured a settlement with France, gaining reparations for property seized during the Napoleonic Wars. In addition, they settled a commercial treaty with the Ottoman Empire that granted U.S. traders access to the Black Sea.

However, Jackson and Van Buren encountered a number of difficult challenges. They were unable to settle the Maine-New Brunswick boundary dispute with Great Britain, or advance the U.S. claim to the Oregon territory. They failed to establish a commercial treaty with Russia and could not persuade Mexico to sell Texas.

Van Buren resigned as Secretary of State due to a split within Jackson’s Cabinet in which Vice President John C. Calhoun led a dissenting group of Cabinet members. Jackson acquiesced and made a recess appointment to place Van Buren as U.S. Minister to Great Britain in 1831.

While in Great Britain, Van Buren worked to expand the U.S. consular presence in British manufacturing centers. His progress was cut short when the Senate rejected his nomination in January of 1832.

Van Buren returned to the United States and entered presidential politics, first as Jackson’s Vice President and then as President. While serving as chief executive, Van Buren proceeded cautiously regarding two major foreign policy crises.


Tyler Serves Virginia

Tyler served in the Virginia legislature from 1811 to 1816, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1817 to 1821. Elected to Congress as a Democratic-Republican, the party founded in the early 1790s by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and James Madison (1751-1836), Tyler favored states’ rights and a strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, and opposed policies granting additional power to the federal government.

He returned to the Virginia legislature from 1823 to 1825, and was governor of Virginia from 1825 to 1827. (In this role, he delivered the state’s official eulogy for Jefferson, America’s third president, who died on July 4, 1826.)

Tyler represented his home state in the U.S. Senate from 1827 to 1836. During this time, he grew unhappy with the policies of President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), a Democrat who was in the White House from 1829 to 1837. In 1834, the Senate censured Jackson over issues surrounding his removal of government funds from the Bank of the United States. Two years later, in 1836, Tyler resigned from the Senate to avoid complying with the Virginia legislature’s instructions to reverse the censure vote. The ex-senator became affiliated with the Whig Party, which was established in the early 1830s in opposition to Jackson


8. Jimmy Carter - 74%

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr. was the President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. Throughout his time as president, he is known for creating two new departments at the cabinet level, the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. Prior to becoming president, Carter was the governor of Georgia. Some well-known aspects of his term of presidency include his efforts to encourage resolution between Israel and Palestine, and an attempt to reach and agreement with the then-USSR regarding nuclear weapons. He also helped to form a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Early in his presidency, there was a hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. They were released on Carter's last day as president. His approval rating reached its apex of 74% in March of 1977.


This online resource continues a long tradition in the U.S. Department of State of making retrospective data about principal officers and chiefs of mission available to the public. The 1873 edition of the Register of the Department of State presented the names of all American diplomatic representatives who had served in each country with which the United States had relations from 1789 to 1873. The 1937 edition of the Register presented a cumulative listing of all of the principal officers of the Department of State from 1789 to 1936. The Biographic Register (as the Register of the United States was renamed) of 1957 presented an updated listing of principal diplomatic agents of the United States from 1789 to 1956, together with a listing of the dates of service of Presidents of the United States and Secretaries of State. In 1973, the Department of State issued United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778−1973, which presented in tabular format a comprehensive historical listing of all United States Ambassadors, Ministers, Ministers Resident, Chargés d’Affaires pro tempore, and diplomatic agents. The publication also included a listing of principal officers of the Department. The Department published United States Chiefs of Mission, 1973−1974 (Supplement) in 1975 with addenda and corrigenda to the 1973 edition. United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778−1982 brought the full text to its second edition.

Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778−1986 issued by the Department of State in 1986, presented expanded listings based on previous Department publications and additional research and definition. Corrections were made to earlier listings, and information on major executive officers of the Department of State was greatly increased and rearranged. A revised edition, Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778−1988, was issued in 1988. The final print version of this publication was released in 1991, under the title Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission, 1778−1990. The transfer of this material online has not changed our office’s intent: to document the history of U.S. representation abroad and the chief policymakers in the Department of State. To that end, we have provided a chronological listing of principal officers—essentially all Department officers at the level of Assistant Secretary or above—and Chiefs of Mission. (See below for a discussion of the term, “Chief of Mission.”) These two categories require Presidential or Secretarial designation, and, in some cases, the approval of the Senate. We have made an attempt to comprehensively list all people selected for these positions, even if they were not approved by the Senate, died before taking office, declined the position, or were otherwise unable to serve. For that reason, the pages which list our Chiefs of Mission by country are split into two categories: “Chiefs of Mission” lists those who held the office, and “Other Nominees” lists those who did not.

Positions Included

This database includes officers of the Department who were Presidential appointees (appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate) and chiefs of bureaus who hold rank equivalent to Assistant Secretary of State. These include: Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, Under Secretaries, Deputy Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Counselors, Legal Advisers, Chiefs of Protocol, and certain administrators.

Other positions have, from time to time, been included in the database based on their particular circumstances. The complete lists of heads of the United States Information Agency (USIA), for example, are included. USIA was incorporated into the Department in 1999. Other Chiefs of Mission of particular historical interest have also been included.

Positions Excluded

This database does not include representatives, personal representatives, or special representatives of the President or Department of State Chargés d’Affaires or Chargés d’Affaires ad interim (except under certain circumstances) individuals holding diplomatic commissions jointly with other representatives special agents and other individuals on special missions high commissioners Chiefs of Mission in charge of special economic or aid missions liaison officers military governors or commanding officers of occupying forces or their political advisers delegates to international conferences or consular officers who held only consular commissions.

What is a Chief of Mission?

According to the Foreign Affairs Act of 1980 (Public Law 96−465, Section 102(3) (22 U.S.C. 3902)), a Chief of Mission is “the principal officer in charge of a diplomatic mission of the United States or of a United States office abroad which is designated by the Secretary of State as diplomatic in nature, including any individual assigned under section 502(c) to be temporarily in charge of such a mission or office."

The Chief of Mission is often—but not always—an Ambassador. There are currently three classes of diplomatic representation established by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 14: ambassador or nuncio (accredited to the Head of State) envoy, minister, or internuncio (accredited to the Head of State) and chargé d’affaires (accredited to the Minister of Foreign Affairs). These classes have a much longer lineage. Although not a signatory, the United States followed Annex 17 to the Congress Treaty of Vienna (March 19, 1815), which established rank and precedence of diplomatic agents (Ambassadors, Envoys, and Chargés d’Affaires). The Proces-Verbal of the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle (November 9, 1818), recognized Ministers Resident as an intermediate class between Ministers and Chargés d’Affaires.

The United States first used the rank of Ambassador in 1893, when Thomas F. Bayard was appointed Ambassador to Great Britain on March 30 of that year.

A “Chargé d’Affaires ad interim” refers to a diplomat temporarily acting for an absent Chief of Mission. This database tracks all Chargés d’Affaires and Chargés d’Affaires ad interim who served (1) for a continuous period of 12 months or more, (2) at the establishment or ending of diplomatic relations with a country, or (3) at the closure or opening of an embassy.

Database Contents

The type of information included for each entry varies based on the type of position. Entries will have some or all of these pieces of information:

Name When possible, the full name of the appointee has been included. Years of birth and death State of residency The appointee’s state or territory of legal residence at the time of the appointment is taken from the commission, nomination, or a contemporary official record of legal residence. If the residence was omitted from these sources, the entry does not appear. Some officers changed their legal residence during their careers in such cases multiple residences are listed. Career status (in the Foreign Service) The determination of which Chiefs of Mission were to be denominated as “career” officers posed a number of problems to the early compilers of this work, and continues to pose definitional challenges today. How early could Chief of Mission appointments be said to be of a career nature in view of the fact that until 1946 officers of the Diplomatic Service had to resign from the career services to accept appointment as Ambassador or Minister? Should an officer who had retired as a Foreign Service officer after a long career be considered a “career” officer when later appointed to an Ambassadorship? And what of an officer who had resigned from the Foreign Service after a brief career who was later appointed Chief of Mission? At the time the scope and format of this publication were being planned, a dozen such questions were submitted to the then-Director General of the Foreign Service. It was determined not to attempt to categorize Chiefs of Mission as “career” or “non-career” before the passage of the Act to Improve the Foreign Service on February 5, 1915 (38 Stat. 805), which restructured the Diplomatic and Consular Services. For Chiefs of Mission holding office as such at that date, it was decided to count as “career” those who had at least ten years of continuous diplomatic service under both Republican and Democratic administrations. For Chiefs of Mission appointed later, the term “career” was also applied to those who were at the time of appointment (or had previously been for at least five years) Foreign Service officers, Foreign Service information officers, or career officers in the Diplomatic or Consular Services. The term “career” was also applied to those few individuals who had served as diplomatic secretaries, who had then been commissioned before 1915 as Chiefs of Mission or as Presidential appointees in the Department of State, who were not serving as Chiefs of Mission in February 1915, but who were subsequently appointed or reappointed as such. The term “non-career” is used to designate all other appointees even though they may have been career officers in the civil or military services. Dates of service These dates are included on a position-by-position basis. Principal officers of the Department of State who are Presidential appointees have a date of appointment, date of entry on duty, and date of termination of appointment. Chiefs of Mission are considered to have entered on duty when they present their credentials to their host governments. An effort has been made to fix a date for the termination of the diplomatic mission of each representative vis-à-vis the host government and to describe briefly in each individual case (and as precisely as sometimes incomplete records permit) what action or event brought the mission to either a formal or a de facto close. In the nineteenth century it was customary for a Chief of Mission to present his own letter of recall in current practice most missions terminate in actual fact with the departure of the Ambassador from his or her post. In all periods there have been special circumstances (e.g., death, declaration of war, severance of diplomatic relations) which have brought some diplomatic missions to an end. It should be emphasized that the effective date of a Chief of Mission's resignation frequently does not coincide with the date shown here for the termination of his or her mission abroad. For those who were designated by the Secretary of State, the date of appointment is the same as the date of entry on duty. For Chargés d’Affaires ad interim, dates of service are listed from and to the nearest month.

Key Terms

Steps in Appointment

Nomination is the first step in the appointment process. The President submits the name of the person to be appointed to a high-level position to the Senate for approval by first the Foreign Relations Committee and then by the full Senate. Approval by the full Senate is called “confirmation.” The appointee is then commissioned. After taking the oath of office, he or she enters on duty. Chiefs of Mission, however, are considered to have entered on duty when they present their credentials to their host governments.


Early life

Grant was the son of Jesse Root Grant, a tanner, and Hannah Simpson, and he grew up in Georgetown, Ohio. Detesting the work around the family tannery, Ulysses instead performed his share of chores on farmland owned by his father and developed considerable skill in handling horses. In 1839 Jesse secured for Ulysses an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and pressured him to attend. Although he had no interest in military life, Ulysses accepted the appointment, realizing that the alternative was no further education. Grant decided to reverse his given names and enroll at the academy as Ulysses Hiram (probably to avoid having the acronym HUG embroidered on his clothing) however, his congressional appointment was erroneously made in the name Ulysses S. Grant, the name he eventually accepted, maintaining that the middle initial stood for nothing. He came to be known as U.S. Grant—Uncle Sam Grant—and his classmates called him Sam. Standing only a little over five feet tall when he entered the academy, he grew more than six inches in the next four years. Most observers thought his slouching gait and sloppiness in dress did not conform with usual soldierly bearing.

Grant ranked 21st in a class of 39 when he graduated from West Point in 1843, but he had distinguished himself in horsemanship and showed such considerable ability in mathematics that he imagined himself as a teacher of the subject at the academy. Bored by the military curriculum, he took great interest in the required art courses and spent much leisure time reading classic novels. Upon graduation Grant was assigned as a brevet second lieutenant to the 4th U.S. Infantry, stationed near St. Louis, Missouri, where he fell in love with Julia Boggs Dent, the sister of his roommate at West Point. They became secretly engaged before Grant left to serve in the Mexican-American War (1846–48) and married upon his return.

In the Mexican-American War Grant showed gallantry in campaigns under Gen. Zachary Taylor. He was then transferred to Gen. Winfield Scott’s army, where he first served as regimental quartermaster and commissary. Although his service in these posts gave him an invaluable knowledge of army supply, it did nothing to satiate his hunger for action. Grant subsequently distinguished himself in battle in September 1847, earning brevet commissions as first lieutenant and captain, though his permanent rank was first lieutenant. Despite his heroism, Grant wrote years later: “I do not think there was ever a more wicked war….I thought so at the time…only I had not moral courage enough to resign.”

On July 5, 1852, when the 4th Infantry sailed from New York for the Pacific coast, Grant left his growing family (two sons had been born) behind. Assigned to Fort Vancouver, Oregon Territory (later Washington state), he attempted to supplement his army pay with ultimately unsuccessful business ventures and was unable to reunite his family. A promotion to captain in August 1853 brought an assignment to Fort Humboldt, California, a dreary post with an unpleasant commanding officer. On April 11, 1854, Grant resigned from the army. Whether this decision was influenced in any way by Grant’s fondness for alcohol, which he reportedly drank often during his lonely years on the Pacific coast, remains open to conjecture.

Settling at White Haven, the Dents’ estate in Missouri, Grant began to farm 80 acres (30 hectares) given to Julia by her father. This farming venture was a failure, as was a real estate partnership in St. Louis in 1859. The next year Grant joined the leather goods business owned by his father and operated by his brothers in Galena, Illinois.


Presidential Greetings, Photographs, and Invitations

White House Greetings Request

Contact the White House to request a presidential greeting.

Photo Requests

You will soon be able to purchase official portraits of the president online.

Invitations for the White House and All Other Requests

If you would like to extend an invitation to, have questions for, or would like information about the president, the White House, or the status of a request, contact the White House.


President as a Chief of State - History

A civics and media literacy resource from Scholastic Magazines

See related story in We the People

The Presidency of the United States

The official seal of the President of the United States

The president of the United States is one of the most powerful leaders in the world. He or she can often change the course of history. In part, this is because the president serves in many roles. These include head of the government and commander in chief of the armed forces. The president is also the leader of his or her political party.

The President as Head of State

The president is the ceremonial head of the state (meaning "country"). He or she meets with representatives of other governments. There are also many ceremonial duties. For example, the president holds state dinners and give medals of bravery to soldiers.

Some of the president's jobs as head of state occur in the White House and Washington, D.C. Others take place in other parts of the country. So the president travels often. In addition, presidents travel extensively to foreign countries. As head of state, the president symbolizes the authority and power of the United States. So he or she acts in the name of all Americans.

The president is also the head of the government. In this role he or she is also the chief executive, chief diplomat, commander in chief, and chief maker of policy.

As chief executive, the president appoints the heads of the government departments. (These department heads make up the president’s cabinet.) The president also supervises the work of the government’s executive branch. This by itself is an enormous job. So the president frequently finds it hard to stay informed about everything that is happening. For that reason he or she relies on the staff of the Executive Office. This staff includes many clerks and assistants. Examples include the chief of staff and the press secretary.

With their help, the president provides leadership in many areas. One is legislation (creating laws). The president sets the lawmaking agenda for Congress. Sometimes he or she proposes new laws. And Congress debates and passes (or rejects) them. In addition, the president delivers a long speech to the nation each January. This is the State of the Union address. It outlines what is happening in the country. The speech also points out existing national problems and suggests ways of solving them. Soon afterward, the executive branch issues an economic report. It also issues a detailed budget. The budget lists the president’s programs and objectives for the near future. And it estimates what they will cost.

The president can also check, or limit, Congress’s activities. One way this is done is by trying to restrict congressional spending. The president can also meet with leading members of Congress. He or she can try to convince them to pursue or not pursue a certain policy or program. Another method the president can use to check Congress's activities is the veto. A veto is a presidential rejection of a proposed law. Some presidents have used vetoes fairly often. In 1975, President Gerald Ford vetoed 18 bills. In contrast, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson never vetoed a single bill. The mere threat to veto can be powerful. It can sometimes allow the president to shape legislation to his liking.

The president is the nation's chief diplomat. He or she deals directly with the heads of foreign governments. One example is meetings with leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) major industrialized nations. These occur regularly. In addition, presidents oversee negotiation of major treaties with other countries. An example was the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977–78.

As commander in chief, the president is in charge of all national military forces. He or she can send troops overseas. The president can also order them into combat. Usually this is done to protect the interests and lives of U.S. citizens. Some presidents have also used the military inside the United States to maintain the peace. In extreme situations, a president can impose martial law. (Martial law is rule by military force.) President Abraham Lincoln did so during the Civil War. Additionally, the president is the only person with the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Civilian control of the military is important. A dramatic example of this principle occurred in 1951. President Harry Truman fired the famous army general Douglas MacArthur. (MacArthur had openly criticized the commander-in-chief’s policy during the Korean War.)

As chief policy maker, the president creates guiding principles for issues that concern Americans. For example, the president decides what he wants to accomplish in areas such as education, crime, and unemployment. President Lyndon Johnson established his Great Society program. This included programs for health care for the poor and pollution control. Johnson also encouraged the civil rights movement. On the other hand, President Ronald Reagan cut funding for social programs. He felt they were too expensive.

The presidency is the top position in American politics. So the president is usually the country’s main political leader. He or she is also the leader of his or her political party. The president chooses the chairperson of the party's national committee. And the president tries to maintain the support of state and local party organizations. This can help get Congress to enact the president's programs.

As head of the party, the president is expected to campaign for the party in various elections. He or she also appears at party fund-raising functions. The president also tries to build alliances among supporters. These include ethnic and racial groups and business and labor leaders. Such groups are needed to help the party win national elections. Additionally, the president manages patronage for his party. That is, the president rewards supporters with jobs. These jobs can include being a cabinet officer, a judge, or an ambassador to a foreign country.

The better a president is at leadership, the more successful he or she will be in office. The personalities of presidents play a large part in their success. Presidents must be confident, skilled communicators. And they must be personally appealing to fellow politicians and the public.

The President's Role in National Life

The president has always been a major symbol of the nation. He gives voice to its hopes and fears. The president has become a major source of media attention. The media follow him or her everywhere. The president's every personal appearance, word, or movement can become news.


Influence on American Diplomacy

Marshall began his diplomatic career as one of the three envoys appointed by President Adams to negotiate with French Foreign Minister Talleyrand in 1797. The mission failed, resulting in the XYZ Affair and the Quasi-War with France. Nonetheless, Marshall’s conduct and reporting about the scandal turned a diplomatic failure into a personal triumph as his reputation soared at home.

As Secretary of State, Marshall was less partisan and more loyal to President Adams than Pickering had been. Adams entrusted Marshall with considerable authority over foreign affairs, particularly so after Adams departed the newly established national capital at Washington for an eight-month stay in Massachusetts. Marshall’s deference to Adams further defined the position of the Secretary of State as a political subordinate of the President rather than the independent office that Pickering had imagined.



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