Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts, one payload specialist and a civilian school teacher. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST; the disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch; the seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank.
Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter. The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation; the exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown. The shuttle had no escape system, the impact of the crew compartment at terminal velocity with the ocean surface was too violent to be survivable; the disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The Rogers Commission found NASA's organizational culture and decision-making processes had been key contributing factors to the accident, with the agency violating its own safety rules. NASA managers had known since 1977 that contractor Morton-Thiokol's design of the SRBs contained a catastrophic flaw in the O-rings, but they had failed to address this problem properly. NASA managers disregarded warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning, failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors.
17 percent of Americans witnessed the launch live because of the presence of high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space. Media coverage of the accident was extensive: one study reported that 85 percent of Americans surveyed had heard the news within an hour of the accident; the Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in many discussions of engineering safety and workplace ethics. Each of the Space Shuttle's two Solid Rocket Boosters was constructed of seven sections, six of which were permanently joined in pairs at the factory. For each flight, the four resulting segments were assembled in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, with three field joints; the factory joints were sealed with asbestos-silica insulation applied over the joint, while each field joint was sealed with two rubber O-rings. The seals of all of the SRB joints were required to contain the hot, high-pressure gases produced by the burning solid propellant inside, thus forcing them out of the nozzle at the aft end of each rocket.
During the Space Shuttle design process, a McDonnell Douglas report in September 1971 discussed the safety record of solid rockets. While a safe abort was possible after most types of failures, one was dangerous: a burnthrough by hot gases of the rocket's casing; the report stated that "if burnthrough occurs adjacent to tank or orbiter, timely sensing may not be feasible and abort not possible" foreshadowing the Challenger accident. Morton-Thiokol was the contractor responsible for the construction and maintenance of the shuttle's SRBs; as designed by Thiokol, the O-ring joints in the SRBs were supposed to close more due to forces generated at ignition, but a 1977 test showed that when pressurized water was used to simulate the effects of booster combustion, the metal parts bent away from each other, opening a gap through which gases could leak. This phenomenon, known as "joint rotation," caused a momentary drop in air pressure; this made it possible for combustion gases to erode the O-rings.
In the event of widespread erosion, a flame path could develop, causing the joint to burst—which would have destroyed the booster and the shuttle. Engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center wrote to the manager of the Solid Rocket Booster project, George Hardy, on several occasions suggesting that Thiokol's field joint design was unacceptable. For example, one engineer suggested that joint rotation would render the secondary O-ring useless, but Hardy did not forward these memos to Thiokol, the field joints were accepted for flight in 1980. Evidence of serious O-ring erosion was present as early as the second space shuttle mission, STS-2, flown by Columbia. Contrary to NASA regulations, the Marshall Center did not report this problem to senior management at NASA, but opted to keep the problem within their reporting channels with Thiokol. After the O-rings were redesignated as "Criticality 1"—meaning that their failure would result in the destruction of the Orbiter—no one at Marshall suggested that the shuttles be grounded until the flaw could be fixed.
After the 1984 launch of STS-41-D, flown by Discovery, the first occurrence of hot gas "blow-by" was discovered beyond the primary O-ring. In the post-flight analysis, Thiokol engineers found that the amount of blow-by was small and had not impinged upon the secondary O-r
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales, was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, the mother of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Diana was born into the Spencer family, a family of British nobility, she was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, she grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate, was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975, after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer, she became known as Lady Diana Spencer. Diana came to prominence in February 1981 upon engagement to Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, their wedding took place at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981 and made her Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, who were respectively second and third in the line of succession to the British throne; as Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas.
She was celebrated for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Diana was involved with dozens of charities including London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, of which she was president from 1989, she raised awareness and advocated ways to help people affected with HIV/AIDS, mental illness. Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996 following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Media attention and public mourning were extensive after her death in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on 31 August 1997 and subsequent televised funeral. Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Norfolk, she was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, his first wife, Frances. The Spencer family has been allied with the British royal family for several generations; the Spencers were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after her mother and after Lady Diana Spencer, a many-times-great-aunt, a prospective Princess of Wales.
On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at Sandringham. She grew up with three siblings: Sarah and Charles, her infant brother, died shortly after his birth one year before Diana was born. The desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers' marriage, Lady Althorp was sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the "problem"; the experience was described as "humiliating" by Diana's younger brother, Charles: "It was a dreadful time for my parents and the root of their divorce because I don't think they got over it." Diana grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate. The Spencers leased the house from its owner, Queen Elizabeth II; the royal family holidayed at the neighbouring Sandringham House, Diana played with the Queen's sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Diana was seven years old, her mother began a relationship with Peter Shand Kydd and married him in 1969. Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation in 1967, but during that year's Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp refused to let Diana return to London with Lady Althorp.
Shortly afterwards he won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. In 1976, Lord Althorp married Countess of Dartmouth. Diana's relationship with her stepmother was bad, she resented Raine, whom she called a "bully", on one occasion Diana "pushed her down the stairs". She described her childhood as "very unhappy" and "very unstable, the whole thing". Diana became known as Lady Diana after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975, at which point her father moved the entire family from Park House to Althorp, the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire. Diana was home-schooled under the supervision of her governess, Gertrude Allen, she began her formal education at Silfield Private School in Gayton and moved to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school near Thetford, when she was nine. She joined her sisters at West Heath Girls' School in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1973, she did not shine academically. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath.
She left West Heath. Her brother Charles recalls her as being quite shy up until that time, she showed a talent for music as an accomplished pianist. Diana excelled in swimming and diving, studied ballet and tap dance. After attending Institut Alpin Videmanette for one term in 1978, Diana returned to London, where she shared her mother's flat with two school friends. In London, she took an advanced cooking course, but cooked for her roommates, she took a series of low-paying jobs. She found employment as a playgroup pre-school assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, acted as a hostess at parties. Diana spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London, worked as a nursery teacher's assistant at the Young England School in Pimlico. In July 1979, her mother bought her a flat at Coleherne Court in Earl's Court as an 18
A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person, or figuratively of an institution. Birthdays of people are celebrated in numerous cultures with birthday gifts, birthday cards, a birthday party, or a rite of passage. Many religions celebrate religious figures with special holidays. There is a distinction between birthday and birthdate: The former, other than February 29, occurs each year, while the latter is the exact date a person was born. In most legal systems, one becomes designated as an adult on a particular birthday, reaching age-specific milestones confers particular rights and responsibilities. At certain ages, one may become eligible to leave full-time education, become subject to military conscription or to enlist in the military, to consent to sexual intercourse, to marry, to marry without parental consent, to vote, to run for elected office, to purchase alcohol and tobacco products, to purchase lottery tickets, or to obtain a driver's licence; the age of majority is the age when minors cease to be considered children and assume control over their persons and decisions, thereby terminating the legal control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardians over and for them.
Most countries set the age of majority at 18. Many cultures have one or more coming of age birthdays: In Canada and the United States, families mark a girl's 16th birthday with a "sweet sixteen" celebration – represented in popular culture. In some Hispanic countries, as well as in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the quinceañera or festa de quinze anos celebration traditionally marks a girl's 15th birthday. In Nepal and India, on a child's first birthday, their head is shaved while being held by a special fire. Removal of the hair is believed to cleanse the child of any evil in past lives, symbolizes a renewal of the soul. Hindu male children of some castes, like Brahmins, have the 12th or 13th birthday replaced with a grand "thread ceremony"; the child wears it, symbolizing his coming of age. This is called the Upanayana. In the Philippines, a coming-of-age party called a debut is held for girls on their 18th birthday, for boys on their 21st birthday. In some Asian countries that follow the zodiac calendar, there is a tradition of celebrating the 60th birthday.
In Korea, many celebrate a traditional ceremony of Doljanchi. In Japan there is a Coming for all of those who have turned 20 years of age. In British Commonwealth nations cards from the Royal Family are sent to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. In Ghana, on their birthday, children wake up to a special treat called "oto", a patty made from mashed sweet potato and eggs fried in palm oil, they have a birthday party where they eat stew and rice and a dish known as "kelewele", fried plantain chunks. Jewish boys have a bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday. Jewish girls have a bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday, or sometimes on their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism; this marks the transition where they become obligated in commandments of which they were exempted and are counted as part of the community. The birthdays of significant people, such as national heroes or founders, are commemorated by an official holiday marking the anniversary of their birth.
Catholic saints are remembered by a liturgical feast on the anniversary of their "birth" into heaven a.k.a. their day of death. The ancient Romans marked the anniversary of a temple dedication or other founding event as a dies natalis, a term still sometimes applied to the anniversary of an institution. A person's golden or grand birthday referred to as their "lucky birthday", "champagne birthday", or "star birthday", occurs when they turn the age of their birth day. An individual's Beddian birthday, named in tribute to firefighter Bobby Beddia, occurs during the year that his or her age matches the last two digits of the year he or she was born. In many cultures and jurisdictions, if a person's real birthday is not known their birthday may be adopted or assigned to a specific day of the year, such as January 1; the birthday of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. Racehorses are reckoned to become one year old in the year following their birth on the first of January in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of August in the Southern Hemisphere.
In many parts of the world an individual's birthday is celebrated by a party where a specially made cake decorated with lettering and the person's age, is presented. The cake is traditionally studded with the same number of lit candles as the age of the individual, or a number candle representing their age; the celebrated individual will make a silent wish and attempt to blow out the candles in one breath. In many cultures, the wish must be kept secret or it won't "come true". Presents are bestowed on the individual by the guests appropriate to her/his age. Other birthday activities may include entertainment, a special toast or speech by the birthday celebrant; the last stanza of Patty Hill's and Mildred Hill's famous song, "Good Morning to You" is sung by the gu
Mass is a term used to describe the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is used in the Catholic Church and Anglican churches, as well as some Lutheran churches, Western Rite Orthodox and Old Catholic churches; some Protestants employ terms such as worship service, rather than the word Mass.. For the celebration of the Eucharist in Eastern Christianity, including Eastern Catholic Churches, other terms such as Divine Liturgy, Holy Qurbana, Badarak are used instead; the English noun mass is derived from Middle Latin missa. The Latin word was adopted in Old English as mæsse, was sometimes glossed as sendnes; the Latin term missa itself was in use by the 6th century. It is most derived from the concluding formula Ite, missa est. However, there have been other explanations of the noun missa, i.e. as not derived from the formula ite, missa est. Fortescue cites older, "fanciful" etymological explanations, notably a latinization of Hebrew matzâh "unleavened bread.
The French historian Du Cange in 1678 reported "various opinions on the origin" of the noun missa "mass", including the derivation from Hebrew matzah, here attributed to Caesar Baronius. The Hebrew derivation is learned speculation from 16th-century philology. Thus, De divinis officiis explains the word as a mittendo, quod nos mittat ad Deo, while Rupert of Deutz derives it from a "dismissal" of the "enmities, between God and men"; the Catholic Church sees the Mass or Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life", to which the other sacraments are oriented. The Catholic Church believes that the Mass is the same sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered on the Cross at Calvary; the ordered celebrant is understood to act in persona Christi, as he imitates the words and gestures of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. By virtue of the mediation of the Holy Spirit, said to be present in the apostolic church, through the words proffered by the celebrant, similar to the Word of God the Son, there takes place a transubstantiation of: the wine into the Precious Blood, the sacramental bread into the Holy Body of Jesus Christ.
Hence, Roman Catholic and Orthodox believe that the Holy Trinity is in the host, celebrated during the Holy Mass and in the previous context of the Christian consecrations. The Holy Mass renews, makes alive at any time the innocent sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as He is "the Holy One of God", thus the unique door of salvation for the human sins; the term "Mass" is used only in the Roman Rite, while the Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches use the analogous term "Divine Liturgy" and other Eastern Catholic Churches have terms such as Holy Qurbana. Although similar in outward appearance to the Anglican Mass or Lutheran Mass, the Catholic Church distinguishes between its own Mass and theirs on the basis of what it views as the validity of the orders of their clergy, as a result, does not ordinarily permit intercommunion between members of these Churches. In a 1993 letter to Bishop Johannes Hanselmann of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Cardinal Ratzinger affirmed that "a theology oriented to the concept of succession, such as that which holds in the Catholic and in the Orthodox church, need not in any way deny the salvation-granting presence of the Lord in a Lutheran Lord's Supper."
The Decree on Ecumenism, produced by Vatican II in 1964, records that the Catholic Church notes its understanding that when other faith groups "commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord's Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory."Within the fixed structure outlined below, specific to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Scripture readings, the antiphons sung or recited during the entrance procession or communion, certain other prayers vary each day according to the liturgical calendar. The priest enters, with a deacon, if there is one, altar servers. After making the sign of the cross and greeting the people liturgically, he begins the Act of Penitence; this concludes with the priest's prayer of absolution, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance. The Kyrie, eleison, is sung or said, followed by the Gloria in excelsis Deo, an ancient praise, if appropriate for the liturgical season; the Introductory Rites are brought to a close by the Collect Prayer.
On Sundays and solemnities, three Scripture readings are given. On other days there are only two. If there are three readings, the first is from the Old Testament, or the Acts of the Apostles during Eastertide; the first reading is sung responsorially or recited. The second reading is from the New Testament from one of the Pauline e
Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was a freedom fighter, the first Prime Minister of India and a central figure in Indian politics before and after independence, he emerged as an eminent leader of the Indian independence movement under the tutelage of Mahatma Gandhi and served India as Prime Minister from its establishment as an independent nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. He has been described by the Amar Chitra Katha as the architect of India, he was known as Pandit Nehru due to his roots with the Kashmiri Pandit community while Indian children knew him as Chacha Nehru. The son of Motilal Nehru, a prominent lawyer and nationalist statesman and Swaroop Rani, Nehru was a graduate of Trinity College and the Inner Temple, where he trained to be a barrister. Upon his return to India, he enrolled at the Allahabad High Court and took an interest in national politics, which replaced his legal practice. A committed nationalist since his teenage years, he became a rising figure in Indian politics during the upheavals of the 1910s.
He became the prominent leader of the left-wing factions of the Indian National Congress during the 1920s, of the entire Congress, with the tacit approval of his mentor, Gandhi. As Congress President in 1929, Nehru called for complete independence from the British Raj and instigated the Congress's decisive shift towards the left. Nehru and the Congress dominated Indian politics during the 1930s as the country moved towards independence, his idea of a secular nation-state was validated when the Congress, under his leadership, swept the 1937 provincial elections and formed the government in several provinces. But these achievements were compromised in the aftermath of the Quit India Movement in 1942, which saw the British crush the Congress as a political organisation. Nehru, who had reluctantly heeded Gandhi's call for immediate independence, for he had desired to support the Allied war effort during World War II, came out of a lengthy prison term to a much altered political landscape; the Muslim League under his old Congress colleague and now opponent, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had come to dominate Muslim politics in India.
Negotiations between Congress and Muslim League for power sharing failed and gave way to the independence and bloody partition of India in 1947. Nehru was elected by the Congress to assume office as independent India's first Prime Minister, although the question of leadership had been settled as far back as 1941, when Gandhi acknowledged Nehru as his political heir and successor; as Prime Minister, he set out to realise his vision of India. The Constitution of India was enacted in 1950, after which he embarked on an ambitious program of economic and political reforms. Chiefly, he oversaw India's transition from a colony to a republic, while nurturing a plural, multi-party system. In foreign policy, he took a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement while projecting India as a regional hegemon in South Asia. Under Nehru's leadership, the Congress emerged as a catch-all party, dominating national and state-level politics and winning consecutive elections in 1951, 1957, 1962, he remained popular with the people of India in spite of political troubles in his final years and failure of leadership during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
In India, his birthday is celebrated as Bal Diwas. Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14 November 1889 in Allahabad in British India, his father, Motilal Nehru, a self-made wealthy barrister who belonged to the Kashmiri Pandit community, served twice as President of the Indian National Congress, in 1919 and 1928. His mother, Swaruprani Thussu, who came from a well-known Kashmiri Brahmin family settled in Lahore, was Motilal's second wife, the first having died in child birth. Jawaharlal was the eldest of three children; the elder sister, Vijaya Lakshmi became the first female president of the United Nations General Assembly. The youngest sister, Krishna Hutheesing, became a noted writer and authored several books on her brother. Nehru described his childhood as a "sheltered and uneventful one", he grew up in an atmosphere of privilege at wealthy homes including a palatial estate called the Anand Bhavan. His father had him educated at home by private tutors. Under the influence of a tutor, Ferdinand T. Brooks, he became interested in theosophy.
He was subsequently initiated into the Theosophical Society at age thirteen by family friend Annie Besant. However, his interest in theosophy did not prove to be enduring and he left the society shortly after Brooks departed as his tutor, he wrote: "for nearly three years was with me and in many ways he influenced me greatly". Nehru's theosophical interests had induced him to the study of the Hindu scriptures. According to Bal Ram Nanda, these scriptures were Nehru's "first introduction to the religious and cultural heritage of.... provided Nehru the initial impulse for long intellectual quest which culminated...in The Discovery of India." Nehru became an ardent nationalist during his youth. The Second Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War intensified his feelings. About the latter he wrote, " Japanese victories stirred up my enthusiasm... Nationalistic ideas filled my mind... I mused of Indian freedom and Asiatic freedom from the thraldom of Europe." When he had begun his institutional schooling in 1905 at Harrow, a leading school in England, he was influenced by G. M. Trevelyan's Garibaldi books, which he had received as prizes for academic merit.
He viewed Garibaldi as a revolutionary her
In English literature, an elegy is a poem of serious reflection a lament for the dead. The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy notes: For all of its pervasiveness, the ‘elegy’ remains remarkably ill-defined: sometimes used as a catch-all to denominate texts of a somber or pessimistic tone, sometimes as a marker for textual monumentalizing, sometimes as a sign of a lament for the dead; the Greek term elegeia referred to any verse written in elegiac couplets and covering a wide range of subject matter. The term included epitaphs and mournful songs, commemorative verses; the Latin elegy of ancient Roman literature was most erotic or mythological in nature. Because of its structural potential for rhetorical effects, the elegiac couplet was used by both Greek and Roman poets for witty and satiric subject matter. Other than epitaphs, examples of ancient elegy as a poem of mourning include Catullus' Carmen 101, on his dead brother, elegies by Propertius on his dead mistress Cynthia and a matriarch of the prominent Cornelian family.
Ovid wrote elegies bemoaning his exile. In English literature, the more modern and restricted meaning, of a lament for a departed beloved or tragic event, has been current only since the sixteenth century; this looser concept is evident in the Old English Exeter Book which contains "serious meditative" and well-known poems such as "The Wanderer", "The Seafarer", "The Wife's Lament". In these elegies, the narrators use the lyrical "I" to describe their own personal and mournful experiences, they tell the story of the individual rather than the collective lore of his or her people as epic poetry seeks to tell. For Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others, the term had come to mean "serious meditative poem": Elegy is a form of poetry natural to the reflective mind, it may treat of any subject. As he will feel regret for the past or desire for the future, so sorrow and love became the principal themes of the elegy. Elegy presents every thing as lost and gone or absent and future. A famous example of elegy is Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
In French the most famous elegy is Le Lac by Alphonse de Lamartine."Elegy" may denote a type of musical work of a sad or somber nature. A well-known example is Op. 10, by Jules Massenet. This was written for piano, as a student work. Dirge Elegiac Funeral march Keening Kommós Lament Marsiya Noha Obituary poetry Pastoral elegy history Poetry Rithā' Soaz Threnody Ağıt Casey, Brian. "Genres and Styles," in Funeral Music Genres: With a Stylistic/Topical Lexicon and Transcriptions for a Variety of Instrumental Ensembles. University Press, Inc. Cavitch, Max. American Elegy: The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-4893-X. Ramazani, Jahan. Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-70340-1. Sacks, Peter M.. The English Elegy: Studies in the Genre from Spenser to Yeats. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3471-6. Media related to Elegies at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of elegy at Wiktionary Elegy Explained at Literary Devices
President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh