War on Terror
The War on Terror known as the Global War on Terrorism, is an international military campaign, launched by the United States government after the September 11 attacks against the United States. The naming of the campaign uses a metaphor of war to refer to a variety of actions that do not constitute a specific war as traditionally defined. U. S. president George W. Bush first used the term "war on terrorism" on 16 September 2001, "war on terror" a few days in a formal speech to Congress. In the latter speech, George Bush stated, "Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them." The term was used with a particular focus on countries associated with al-Qaeda. The term was criticised by such people as Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, more nuanced terms subsequently came to be used by the Bush administration to publicly define the international campaign led by the U. S.. S. operations in internal government documentation. U. S. President Barack Obama announced on 23 May 2013 that the Global War on Terror was over, saying the military and intelligence agencies will not wage war against a tactic but will instead focus on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the U.
S. On 28 December 2014, the Obama administration announced the end of the combat role of the U. S.-led mission in Afghanistan. However, the unexpected rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terror group—also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria —led to a new operation against terror in the Middle East and South Asia, Operation Inherent Resolve. Criticism of the War on Terror focused on morality, economics; the notion of a "war" against "terrorism" has proven contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long-standing policy/military objectives, reduce civil liberties, infringe upon human rights. Critics assert that the term "war" is not appropriate in this context since there is no identifiable enemy and it is unlikely that international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means; the phrase "War on Terror" has been used to refer to the ongoing military campaign led by the U. S. U. K. and their allies against organizations and regimes identified by them as terrorist, excludes other independent counter-terrorist operations and campaigns such as those by Russia and India.
The conflict has been referred to by names other than the War on Terror. It has been known as: World War III World War IV Bush's War on Terror The Long War The Forever War The Global War on Terror The War Against al-Qaeda In 1984, the Reagan administration, which had expanded the CIA-run program of funding the Jihadi militants in Afghanistan, employed the term "war against terrorism" to pass legislation aimed at countering terrorist groups in the wake of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 U. S. and 58 French peacekeepers. In 2017, U. S. Vice President Mike Pence called the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing "the opening salvo in a war that we have waged since—the global war on terror."The concept of the U. S. at war with terrorism may have begun on 11 September 2001 when Tom Brokaw, having just witnessed the collapse of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, declared "Terrorists have declared war on."On 16 September 2001, at Camp David, U. S. president George W. Bush used the phrase war on terrorism in an ostensibly unscripted comment when answering a journalist's question about the impact of enhanced law enforcement authority given to the U.
S. surveillance agencies on Americans' civil liberties: "This is a new kind of—a new kind of evil. And we understand, and the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while, and the American people must be patient. I'm going to be patient." Shortly after, the White House said the president regretted use of the term crusade, as it might have been misunderstood as referring to the historical Crusades. On 20 September 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of Congress, George Bush said, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there, it will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found and defeated."In April 2007, the British government announced publicly that it was abandoning the use of the phrase "War on Terror" as they found it to be less than helpful. This was explained more by Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller. In her 2011 Reith lecture, the former head of MI5 said that the 9/11 attacks were "a crime, not an act of war.
So I never felt it helpful to refer to a war on terror."U. S. president Barack Obama used the term, but in his inaugural address on 20 January 2009, he stated: "Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred." In March 2009 the Defense Department changed the name of operations from "Global War on Terror" to "Overseas Contingency Operation". In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid the use of the term and instead to use "Overseas Contingency Operation". Basic objectives of the Bush administration "war on terror", such as targeting al Qaeda and building international counterterrorism alliances, remain in place. In May 2010, the Obama administration published a report outlining its National Security Strategy; the document dropped the Bush-era phrase "global war on terror" and reference to "Islamic extremism," and stated, "This is not a g
Cuba the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet, it is east of the Yucatán Peninsula, south of both the U. S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is capital; the area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres. The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres, the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants; the territory, now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonisation in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902.
As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba; the country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of few Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment. Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America, it is a multiethnic country whose people and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Cuba is a sovereign state and a founding member of the United Nations, the G77, the Non-Aligned Movement, the African and Pacific Group of States, ALBA and Organization of American States. The country is a middle power in world affairs, it has one of the world's only planned economies, its economy is dominated by the exports of sugar, tobacco and skilled labor. According to the Human Development Index, Cuba has high human development and is ranked the eighth highest in North America, though 67th in the world, it ranks in some metrics of national performance, including health care and education. It is the only country in the world to meet the conditions of sustainable development put forth by the WWF. Historians believe the name Cuba comes from the Taíno language, however "its exact derivation unknown"; the exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as'where fertile land is abundant', or'great place'. Fringe theory writers who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cuba was inhabited by three distinct tribes of indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Taíno, the Guanahatabey and the Ciboney people; the ancestors of the Ciboney migrated from the mainland of South America, with the earliest sites dated to 5,000 BP. The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A. D; when Columbus arrived they were the dominant culture in Cuba, having an estimated population of 150,000. The Taíno were farmers, while the Ciboney were farmers as well as hunter-gatherers. After first landing on an island called Guanahani, Bahamas, on 12 October 1492, Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba's northeastern coast on 28 October 1492. Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which became the capital.
The native Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. Within a century the indigenous people were wiped out due to multiple factors Eurasian infectious diseases, to which they had no natural resistance, aggravated by harsh conditions of the repressive colonial subjugation. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had survived smallpox. On 18 May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto departed from Havana at the head of some 600 followers into a vast expedition through the Southeastern United States, starting at La Florida, in search of gold, treasure and power. On 1 September 1548, Dr. Gonzalo Perez de Angulo was appointed governor of Cuba, he arrived in Santiago, Cuba on 4 November 1549 and declared the liberty of all natives. He became Cuba's first permanent governor to reside in Havana instead of Santiago, he built Havana's first church made of maso
Andy Worthington is a British historian, investigative journalist, film director. He has published three books, been published in numerous publications. In 2009, Worthington was the co-director of a documentary about the Guantánamo detainees. Worthington is a frequent contributor to a liberal news site. Worthington published what has been described as the most definitive annotated list of all Guantánamo detainees. In January 2010, he published the first annotated list of Bagram detainees. Worthington's third book is The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison. Following its publication in October 2007, Worthington has published articles supplementing the information in his book, to track new developments. Michelle Shephard, author of Guantanamo's Child, when summing up other books on Guantánamo, described his book as: "Perhaps the single most important book to cover the big picture of Guantánamo" though he "has never been to Guantánamo Bay." Stephen Grey, writing in the New Statesman, called the book "...a powerful and long-overdue piece of research".
Worthington and Polly Nash co-directed Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo, a 75-minute documentary. The film focuses on the cases of United Kingdom citizen Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes and Shaker Aamer, legal residents of the UK. In addition to interviews with Begg and Deghayes, there are interviews with lawyers Clive Stafford Smith and Tom Wilner, Worthington himself. Articles by Worthington have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, ZNet, the Future of Freedom Foundation and Amnesty International, Qatar-based Al Jazeera, he has appeared on television with Iran-based Press TV In 2008, he wrote the entry "Guantanamo Scandal" for Microsoft Encarta. In 2008, he began writing articles for Cageprisoners, became its Senior Researcher in June 2010. Worthington has made many radio and television appearances as a commentator on Guantánamo since the publication of his third book, his two earlier books were: Stonehenge: Celebration & Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield.
The first book concerns modern celebrations at the ancient astronomical site, the differing interpretations of modern celebrants. The second book concerns a large confrontation between police and new age celebrants travelling to Stonehenge on 1 June 1985. On 16 June 2009, Worthington revealed new information on the death of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi a former US ghost prisoner who died in a Libyan jail, he described in particular the prisons in which al Libi was held, the ways in which torture was used by his interrogators. Worthington reported that former Guantánamo detainee, United Kingdom resident, citizen of Libya Omar Deghayes was his link to a source within Libya who had spoken with Al Libi prior to his death. In 2010, Amnesty International was criticised for its partnership with Cageprisoners' Moazzam Begg by Gita Sahgal, its former Gender Unit head. Worthington defended Amnesty Begg, citing Islamophobia, he said, "I know from personal experience. We have met on numerous occasions, have had several long discussions, have shared platforms together at many events."
Andy Worthington at The Huffington Post Andy Worthington at guardian.co.uk
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term Geneva Convention denotes the agreements of 1949, negotiated in the aftermath of the Second World War, which updated the terms of the two 1929 treaties, added two new conventions; the Geneva Conventions extensively defined the basic rights of wartime prisoners, established protections for the wounded and sick, established protections for the civilians in and around a war-zone. The treaties of 1949 were ratified, by 196 countries. Moreover, the Geneva Convention defines the rights and protections afforded to non-combatants, because the Geneva Conventions are about people in war, the articles do not address warfare proper—the use of weapons of war—which is the subject of the Hague Conventions, the bio-chemical warfare Geneva Protocol; the Swiss businessman Henry Dunant went to visit wounded soldiers after the Battle of Solferino in 1859.
He was shocked by the lack of facilities and medical aid available to help these soldiers. As a result, he published his book, A Memory of Solferino, on the horrors of war, his wartime experiences inspired Dunant to propose: A permanent relief agency for humanitarian aid in times of war A government treaty recognizing the neutrality of the agency and allowing it to provide aid in a war zoneThe former proposal led to the establishment of the Red Cross in Geneva. The latter led to the 1864 Geneva Convention, the first codified international treaty that covered the sick and wounded soldiers in the battlefield. On 22 August 1864, the Swiss government invited the governments of all European countries, as well as the United States and Mexico, to attend an official diplomatic conference. Sixteen countries sent a total of twenty-six delegates to Geneva. On 22 August 1864, the conference adopted the first Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field".
Representatives of 12 states and kingdoms signed the convention: For both of these accomplishments, Henry Dunant became corecipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. On 20 October 1868 the first, attempt to expand the 1864 treaty was undertaken. With the'Additional Articles relating to the Condition of the Wounded in War' an attempt was initiated to clarify some rules of the 1864 convention and to extend them to maritime warfare; the Articles was only ratified by the Netherlands and North America. The Netherlands withdrew their ratification; the protection of the victims of maritime warfare would be realized by the third Hague Convention of 1899 and the tenth Hague Convention of 1907. In 1906 thirty-five states attended. On 6 July 1906 it resulted in the adoption of the "Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field", which improved and supplemented, for the first time, the 1864 convention, it remained in force until 1970. The 1929 conference yielded two conventions that were signed on 27 July 1929.
One, the "Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field", was the third version to replace the original convention of 1864. The other was adopted after experiences in World War I had shown the deficiencies in the protection of prisoners of war under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907; the "Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" was not to replace these earlier conventions signed at The Hague, rather it supplemented them. Inspired by the wave of humanitarian and pacifistic enthusiasm following World War II and the outrage towards the war crimes disclosed by the Nuremberg Trials, a series of conferences were held in 1949 reaffirming and updating the prior Geneva and Hague Conventions, it yielded four distinct conventions: The First Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field" was the fourth update of the original 1864 convention and replaced the 1929 convention on the same subject matter.
The Second Geneva Convention "for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea" replaced the Hague Convention of 1907. It was the first Geneva Convention on the protection of the victims of maritime warfare and mimicked the structure and provisions of the First Geneva Convention; the Third Geneva Convention "relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War" replaced the 1929 Geneva Convention that dealt with prisoners of war. In addition to these three conventions, the conference added a new elaborate Fourth Geneva Convention "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War", it was the first Geneva Convention not to deal with combatants, rather it had the protection of civilians as its subject matter. The 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions had contained some provisions on the protection of civilians and occupied territory. Article 154 provides that the Fourth Geneva Convention is supplementary to these provisions in the Hague Conventions.
Despite the length of these documents, they were found over time to be incomplete. In fact, the nature of armed conflicts had changed with the beginning of the Cold War era, leading many to believe that the 1949 Geneva Conventions were addressing a extinct reality: on the one hand, most armed conflicts had
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, held in custody by a belligerent power during or after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1660. Belligerents hold prisoners of war in custody for a range of legitimate and illegitimate reasons, such as isolating them from enemy combatants still in the field, demonstrating military victory, punishing them, prosecuting them for war crimes, exploiting them for their labour, recruiting or conscripting them as their own combatants, collecting military and political intelligence from them, or indoctrinating them in new political or religious beliefs. For most of human history, depending on the culture of the victors, enemy combatants on the losing side in a battle who had surrendered and been taken as a prisoner of war could expect to be either slaughtered or enslaved; the first Roman gladiators were prisoners of war and were named according to their ethnic roots such as Samnite and the Gaul.
Homer's Iliad describes Greek and Trojan soldiers offering rewards of wealth to opposing forces who have defeated them on the battlefield in exchange for mercy, but their offers are not always accepted. Little distinction was made between enemy combatants and enemy civilians, although women and children were more to be spared. Sometimes, the purpose of a battle, if not a war, was to capture a practice known as raptio. Women had no rights, were held as chattel. In the fourth century AD, Bishop Acacius of Amida, touched by the plight of Persian prisoners captured in a recent war with the Roman Empire, who were held in his town under appalling conditions and destined for a life of slavery, took the initiative of ransoming them, by selling his church's precious gold and silver vessels, letting them return to their country. For this he was canonized. During Childeric's siege and blockade of Paris in 464, the nun Geneviève pleaded with the Frankish king for the welfare of prisoners of war and met with a favourable response.
Clovis I liberated captives after Genevieve urged him to do so. Many French prisoners of war were killed during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415; this was done in retaliation for the French killing of the boys and other non-combatants handling the baggage and equipment of the army, because the French were attacking again and Henry was afraid that they would break through and free the prisoners to fight again. In the Middle Ages, a number of religious wars aimed to not only defeat but eliminate their enemies. In Christian Europe, the extermination of heretics was considered desirable. Examples include the Northern Crusades; when asked by a Crusader how to distinguish between the Catholics and Cathars once they'd taken the city of Béziers, the Papal Legate Arnaud Amalric famously replied, "Kill them all, God will know His own". The inhabitants of conquered cities were massacred during the Crusades against the Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries. Noblemen could hope to be ransomed. In feudal Japan, there was no custom of ransoming prisoners of war, who were for the most part summarily executed.
The expanding Mongol Empire was famous for distinguishing between cities or towns that surrendered, where the population were spared but required to support the conquering Mongol army, those that resisted, where their city was ransacked and destroyed, all the population killed. In Termez, on the Oxus: "all the people, both men and women, were driven out onto the plain, divided in accordance with their usual custom they were all slain"; the Aztecs were at war with neighbouring tribes and groups, with the goal of this constant warfare being to collect live prisoners for sacrifice. For the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, "between 10,000 and 80,400 persons" were sacrificed. During the early Muslim conquests, Muslims captured large number of prisoners. Aside from those who converted, most were enslaved. Christians who were captured during the Crusades, were either killed or sold into slavery if they could not pay a ransom. During his lifetime, Muhammad made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion.
The freeing of prisoners was recommended as a charitable act. On certain occasions where Muhammad felt the enemy had broken a treaty with the Muslims, he ordered the mass execution of male prisoners, such as the Banu Qurayza. Females and children of this tribe were divided up as spoils of war by Muhammad; the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War, established the rule that prisoners of war should be released without ransom at the end of hostilities and that they should be allowed to return to their homelands. There evolved the right of parole, French for "discourse", in which a captured officer surrendered his sword and gave his word as a gentleman in exchange for privileges. If he swore not to escape, he could gain the freedom of the prison. If he swore to cease hostilities against the nation who held him captive, he could be repatriated or exchanged but could not serve against his former captors in a military capacity. Ea
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
The Combatant Status Review Tribunals were a set of tribunals for confirming whether detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp had been designated as "enemy combatants". The CSRTs were established July 7, 2004 by order of U. S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz after U. S. Supreme Court rulings in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rasul v. Bush and were coordinated through the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants; these non-public hearings were conducted as "a formal review of all the information related to a detainee to determine whether each person meets the criteria to be designated as an enemy combatant." The first CSRT hearings began in July 2004. Redacted transcripts of hearings for "high value detainees" were posted to the Department of Defense website; as of October 30, 2007, fourteen CSRT transcripts were available on the DoD website. The Supreme Court of the United States found these tribunals to be unconstitutional in Boumediene v. Bush.
The CSRTs are not bound by the rules of evidence that would apply in court, the government's evidence is presumed to be "genuine and accurate." The government is required to present all of its relevant evidence, including evidence that tends to negate the detainee's designation, to the tribunal. Unclassified summaries of relevant evidence may be provided to the detainee; the detainee's personal representative may view classified information and comment on it to the tribunal to aid in its determination but does not act as an advocate for the detainee. If the tribunal determines that the preponderance of the evidence is insufficient to support a continued designation as "enemy combatant" and its recommendation is approved through the chain of command established for that purpose, the detainee will be informed of that decision upon finalization of transportation arrangements; the rules do not give a timetable for informing detainees in the event that the tribunal has decided to retain their enemy combatant designations.
Article 5 creates a particularized limited process, intended to sort individuals when any doubt exists as to their status. The sole question for determination is whether the captive meets the definition of POW in Article 4 of the Prisoner of War Convention. Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England stated: As you will recall, in last June's Supreme Court decision in "Hamdi," Justice O'Connor explicitly suggested that a process based on existing military regulations—and she cited Army regulation 190-8—might be sufficient to meet due process standards. You'll perhaps know that that Army regulation is what the U. S. uses to implement Article 5 of the Geneva Convention. So our CSRT process incorporates that guidance from Article 5, Army regulation 190-8... Thus, the tribunals themselves are modeled after the procedures—AR 190-8 Tribunals—the military uses to make determinations in compliance with the Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention This is most because, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a plurality of the Supreme Court suggested the Department of Defense empanel tribunals similar to the AR 190 to make factual status determinations.
The mandate of the CSRTs and the AR 190-8 Tribunals differed in that AR 190-8 Tribunals were authorized to determine that captives were civilians, who should be released, "lawful combatants", whom the Geneva Conventions protect from prosecution. The exact location of the current CSRT hearings is unknown, but prior CSRT hearings were held in trailers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Images of the trailers, with the white, plastic chairs the detainees sat in shackled to the floor and the large, black leather chair behind a microphone where the President sat can be found on the DoD website. A dramatization of the conduct of CSRTs, based on CSRT transcripts, is presented in the film The Response; the identity of the presiding officers at CSRTs hearings is classified. In the CSRT transcripts released on the DoD website, that information has been removed from the transcripts; the ranks of those present and their service branch remain in the documents. For example, at Guleed Hassan Ahmed's CSRT in April 2007, the CSRT President was a Lieutenant Colonel from the U.
S. Air Force. Other services present include the U. S. Marine Corps and the U. S. Army. In other CSRTs, the ranks and persons present varied. At certain CSRTs, a non-military language analyst was present; the CSRT Recorder had several tasks. First, he or she was charged with keeping a record of the CSRT process by recording the CSRT process. Second, the Recorder swore in all the CSRT participants by administering an oath. Third, the Recorder was charged with presenting classified and unclassified material during the CSRTs. Fourth, the Recorder was asked to explain or clarify facts or information during the CSRT. In Guleed Hassan Ahmed's CSRT transcript one finds the following exchange: PRESIDENT:Tribunal has completed its review of the unclassified evidence provided. We do have one question for the Recorder. Is Somalia, and/or Kenya a coalition partner? RECORDER: Somalia is not. Detainees had the option of attending their CSRTs; some detainees protested the CSRTs by not attending, opting instead to send
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