Being President

Not Alone

Running the country is a huge job. Even if the president never slept, it would be impossible to run the country alone. Fortunately, the president has help—a group of advisors called the cabinet. Each of these advisors is the head of a different government department.

The Constitution didn’t actually create the cabinet. It didn’t even create government departments! What it does say is that the president “may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments…”

A quick mention of departments was good enough! Today’s executive branch has fifteen departments. Today’s presidents regularly ask the department heads’ opinions during cabinet meetings. On the right, you see President Obama meeting with his cabinet in April 2009.

Click on the link to see a list of the president's current cabinet members.

Response Question: 
  • The cabinet includes one member who is not the head of a department. What is that person’s title? Who is that person right now?
  • All of the department heads are called secretaries except one. Which department is that? What is that department’s leader called?
Response required