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In the study of political science the executive branch of government has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the democratic idea of the separation of powers .

In many countries the term "government" connotes only the executive branch. However, this branch fails to differentiate between despotic and democratic forms of government. In authoritarian systems, such as a dictatorship or absolute monarchy, where the different powers of government are assumed by one person, the executive branch ceases to exist since there is no other branch with which to share separate but equal governmental powers.

The separation of powers system is designed to distribute authority away from the executive branch - an attempt to preserve individual liberty in response to tyrannical leadership throughout history. The executive officer is not supposed to make laws (the role of the legislature), or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). The role of the executive is to enforce the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judicial system.


There are five roles which the top leadership of the executive branch fulfills; Commander in chief, head of state, chief of staff, chief executive, and chief legislature. The organizational structure of the executive branch will determine the relationship between the heads of state and government respectively. The Executive Branch also carries out the laws.

In a presidential system the executive is at once the head of State and Government that model their government after the United States of Americamarker have a Head of State compared to other systems. The President of the United States is best described as the head of state for his role as the government's chief ambassador. However there is no constitutional foundation for any head of government in the United States since the separation of powers divides governmental authority amongst the branches with checks and balances over one another. The President of the United States can have significant power over public opinion through personal abilities of persuasion, however this is the natural effect of the executive office. The Vice President and the Presidents cabinet also run the Executive Branch.


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