After the winning of the War of Independence, the Founders faced another challenge; what kind of government to form. Suspicious of a strong executive office, for obvious reasons, the first framework of government, the Articles of the Confederation, made no provisions for such an office. This was one of the reasons the Articles were ineffectual as a tool of government and led to their being essentially tossed in the wastebasket and a new plan of government was established in our Constitution. Even then the suspicion of a powerful executive remained. Patrick Henry even went so far as to say the Constitution “squints toward monarchy.”
The Constitution established the office of the President, and detailed some specifics on what the requirements of the office were–must be a citizen, at least 35 years old, resident in the US for the last 14 years, commander-in-chief, enforce the laws passed by Congress, etc.–but how the President would fulfill these duties was unclear. George Washington did much to define the office and set precedents for those that would follow him. As examples, Washington created a cabinet, which the Constitution makes no mention of, and he served only two terms when, at that time, there was no limit. Every President until FDR would follow Washington’s precedent and serve only two terms. FDR was elected to four terms, and in 1951 the Twenty-second Amendment was ratified limiting the number to two.
The President was unlike any political office. It raised all sorts of important questions, like how do we address this guy? Some suggestions: His Elective Majesty, His Mightiness, His Highness the President of the United States and Protector of the Rights of the Same. It was finally decided that simply Mr. President would suffice. Probably the best move.