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Government Information: Executive Branch

Provides an overview of the FDLP and GPO. Also links to other government information sources/portals for librarians and the public.

What is the Executive Branch?

The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.


The Great Seal

The Great Seal of the United States  official Seal of the President of the United States

The Great Seal is the coat of arms of the United States.

The design of the obverse (front) of the Great Seal, which is the coat of arms of the United States, is used by the government in many ways. It appears in some form on coins, postage stamps, stationery, publications, flags, military uniforms, public monuments, public buildings, passports, and other items the U.S. government has issued, owns, or uses. The Seal can be affixed only by an officer of the Department of State, under the authority of its custodian, the Secretary of State.

Symbolically, the Seal reflects the beliefs and values that the Founding Fathers attached to the new nation and wished to pass on to their descendants. The most prominent feature is the American bald eagle supporting the shield, or escutcheon, which is composed of 13 red and white stripes, representing the original states; and a blue top which unites the shield and represents Congress. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" ("Out of Many, One") alludes to this union. The olive branch and 13 arrows denote the power of peace and war, which is exclusively vested in Congress. The constellation of stars denotes a new state taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.

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