Article II of the US Constitution grants the president numerous powers and responsibilities, but the authority granted to the modern presidency far exceeds the constitutional definition of office. And through the years, a variety of presidential roles have evolved that were not originally or specifically outlined in the Article. Some of these roles were legislated by congress, the courts granted some, and powerful presidents assumed others. .
The president's first role is as chief executive, the head of the executive branch and most of its workers. He is responsible for the ethics, loyalty, efficiency, and responsiveness of the federal government and its employees. The evolution of the chief executive's primary role provides a useful example of how the presidential power has developed through the years. At the outset, the Constitution granted the chief executive the power to appoint all officials in the executive branch, but after George Washington's term. Custom gave the chief executive power to remove appointees. Finally, legislation granted him the power to reorganize agencies and to prepare the budgets. In the role of chief of state, the president acts as a ceremonial head of the federal government. This is an extremely important role, for in this capacity, the president must greet distinguished visitors, bestow medals, and host state dinners. The impression he gives others while performing these duties can help him gain support, lift his reputation, and help towards reelection. President William Howard Taft once said the president must act as "the personal embodiment and representative of the dignity and majesty" of the people, the government, and the laws of the .
United States. The president also serves as commander in chief of the nation's armed forces, which makes him ultimately responsible for the nation's defense. He appoints and removes generals, makes key military decisions (such as when and where to wage war), and negotiates armistice terms.