United States President | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The President of the United States is the head of state and the head of government of the United States. As chief of the executive branch and head of the federal government as a whole, the Presidency is the highest political official position in the United States by influence and recognition. The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces. The President is indirectly elected to a four year term by an Electoral College. Since the ratification of the Twenty-second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1951, no person may be elected to the office of the President more than twice. This list includes only those persons who were sworn into office as President of the United States following the ratification of the United States Constitution, which took effect in 1789. For American leaders prior to this ratification, see President of the Continental Congress. The list does not include any Acting Presidents under the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
There have been 42 people sworn into office, and 43 Presidencies, due to the fact that Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and is counted chronologically as both the 22nd and the 24th President. Of the individuals elected as President, four died in office of natural causes, one resigned, and four were assassinated. The first President was George Washington, who was inaugurated in 1789 after an unanimous Electoral College vote. William Henry Harrison spent the shortest time in office at 32 days. At over twelve years, Franklin D. Roosevelt spent the longest time in office, and is the only President to serve more than two terms. The current incumbent President is George W. Bush, who is serving his second term. His term is scheduled to end with Inauguration Dayâ€”when the next President is sworn inâ€”on January 20, 2009.