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Formal agreements between the governments of two or more countries

Executive Agreement

An agreement between the president and the leader of another country

Appointing Ambassadors

President appoints about 150, who must be confirmed by the Senate; they are then sent only to those countries where the U.S. recognizes the legal existence of government

Foreign Aid

Money, food, military assistance, or other supplies given to help other countries

International Trade

President makes agreements with other nations about what products may be traded and the rules for such trading

Military Force

Presidents may use the military to carry out some foreign-policy decisions

National Security

The primary goal of American foreign policy; the ability to keep the country safe from attack or harm


An official representative of a country's government

Trade Sanctions

Efforts to push another nation by imposing trade barriers


An agreement among a group of nations that prohibits them from trading with a target nation


North American Free Trade Agreement


Presidency; the tenure of a president

White House Staff

Consists of the immediate staff of the President, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President

Chief of Staff

Most powerful political adviser to the president; the senior officer of a service of the armed forces

Press Secretary

Provides the public with news about and statements from the president

Speech Writer

Writes the president's speeches

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Prepares the federal budget and monitors spending in hundreds of government agencies

National Security Council (NSC)

Helps the president direct the United States military and foreign policy; handles matters affecting the security of the country

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Gathers information about the governments of other countries

Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

Helps the president carry out the role of economic leader; primary duty involves giving the president advice about complex economic matters such as employment, inflation, and foreign trade

Department of State

(1789) Plans and carries out the nation's foreign policy

Department of the Treasury

(1789) Collects, borrows, spends, and prints money

Department of Defense

(1789 as War Department;renamed in 1949) Manages the armed forces

Department of Justice

(1870) Responsible for all aspects of law enforcement

Department of the Interior

(1849) Manages and protects nation's public lands and natural resources

Department of Agriculture

(1889) Assists farmers and consumers of farm products

Department of Commerce

(1903) Supervises trade, promotes US business, tourism

Department of Labor

(1913) Deals with working conditions, wages of the US workers

Department of Health and Human Services

(1953) Works for the well-being and health of all Americans

Department of Housing and Urban Development

(1965) Deals with the special needs and problems of cities

Department of Transportation

(1966) Manages nation's highways railroads, arilines, and sea traffic

Department of Energy

(1977) Directs overall energy plan for the nations

Department of Education

(1979) Provides advice and funding for schools

Department of Veterans Affairs

(1989) Directs services for armed forces veterans

Department of Homeland Security

(2002) Oversees America's defenses against terrorist attacks

Civil Servants

People who work for government departments or agencies

Civil Service System

The practice of hiring government workers on the basis of open, competitive examinations and merit

"Spoils System"

In this system, government jobs went to people as a reward for their political support

"Merit System"

Government officials hire new workers from lists of people who have passed the tests or otherwise met civil service standards

The Pendleton Act 1883

Created the civil service system and placed limits on the number of jobs a new president could hand out to friends and backers

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

Directs the civil service system today

Federal Bureaucracy

The agencies and employees of the executive branch; turn new laws into action by deciding how to apply the laws to daily life, administer the day-to-day opertations of the federal government, and with authority from Congress, regulate various activities

Independent Agencies

Agencies that are not part of the cabinet; three types - executive agencies, government corporations, and regulatory commissions

Government Corporations

Like private businesses, except that the government rather than individuals owns and operates them; charge fees for their services/products, but they are not supposed to make a profit; ex. the United States Postal Service

Political Appointees

People whom the president has chosen because they have proven executive ability or were important supporters of the president's election campaign


A group of presidential advisers that includes the heads of the 15 top-level executive departments

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