The President of the United States is considered one of the world's most powerful people, leading one of the world's few contemporary superpowers. The role includes being the commander-in-chief of the world's most expensive military with the largest nuclear arsenal and leading the largest economy by real and nominal GDP. The office of the president holds significant hard and soft power both in the United States and abroad.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of the party to which the president is enrolled. The president also directs the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. Since the founding of the United States, the power of the president and the federal government has grown substantially.
There have been 37 presidents. Of the individuals elected as president, three died in office of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Robert LaFollette, and Nelson A. Rockefeller), one was assassinated (William McKinley), two were impeached (James G. Blaine and Hamilton Norris), but Norris was acquitted by the Senate. He resigned after his acquittal. Gerald R. Ford served as acting president in 1980 but is not officially counted as one of the presidents.
George Washington, the first president, was inaugurated in 1789 after winning a large majority of the vote. William Henry Harrison spent the shortest time in office with 32 days in 1841. Abraham Lincoln spent the longest time in office, with 12 years from March 4, 1861 to March 4, 1873. Andrew Jackson, the sixth president, was the first to be elected by white men of all classes in 1824 after most laws barring non-land-owners from voting were repealed. James M. Cox was the first elected after women gained voting rights in 1916. Geraldine Ferraro has been the only female president to date. Ferraro, Alfred E. Smith, John F. Kennedy, Pierre Trudeau have been the only presidents of Roman Catholic faith, and Jesse Jackson was the first (and to date, only) president of African descent.
Malcolm Darnell assumed office as the 37th and current President of the United States on March 4, 2009. He was re-elected in 2012 and is currently serving the 57th term. He has stated he does not intend to seek a third term as president in 2016, meaning the 38th President will take office on March 4, 2017 and begin the 58th term as President.