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Executive Orders of the US Presidency

"The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Were the federal Constitution, therefore, really chargeable with the accumulation of power, or with a mixture of powers, having a dangerous tendency to such an accumulation, no further arguments would be necessary to inspire a universal reprobation of the system."

James Madison, Federalist 47

"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 1

"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."

U.S. Constitution, Art. II, § 1, cl. 1

Powers given to the President during times of National Emergency by the US Consitution:

"...on extraordinary occasions, [the president may] convene both Houses, or either of them..."

U.S. Constitution, Art. II, § 3

Powers that President's have amassed since 1776:

Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.

US Senate Report 93-549, September 1976

President's since the revolution have made decisions independent of the legislature, such as Washington's proclaimation of Peace with Britian and France in 1793 (in what Congress would later pass as the Neutrality Act of 1794). President Abraham Lincoln activated troops to combat the Southern rebellion of 1861, while President Andrew Johnson used his constitutional right of pardon to issue the "Christmas Proclamation" of 1868, which pardoned those who participated in the recent Civil War rebellion. Such acts however, were broadly conducted under the President's constitutional duty as Commander and Chief of the military. See the Donnelly Collection for a partial index of Proclamations, Acts, Speeches, and Executive Orders by Presidents of the 19th century and before.

The power of the US presidency was to change dramatically in the 20th century. Theodore Roosevelt began the practice of issuing executive orders (the termed was actually coined by Lincoln and used 3 times, but every time was in application to the Civil War), allowing the office of the president to be both legislator and executor, bypassing the balance of power in goverment. Roosevelt also bypassed treaties with other nations by creating "executive agreements" -- personal pacts with the leaders of other nations without Senate approval (which is a direct contradiction of Article 2, §2). The president's ability to legislate would be further enhanced by Woodrow Wilson, who began drafting, introducing, and employing pressure to enact his legislation. These practices have continued unabatted and little challenged well into the 21st century, by which time well over 50,000 executive orders have been issued. It is important to understand that the majority of such orders do not make significant impacts on existing legislation. The essence of some orders, however, directly undermine the US Constitution and violate fundamental principles of democracy. What follows is a listing of those orders:

Number of Executive Orders by President
Theodore Roosevelt 1006
Taft 698
Wilson 1791
Harding 484
Coolidge 1253
Hoover 1004
Franklin Roosevelt 3728
Truman 905
Eisenhower 452
Kennedy 214
L. Johnson 324
Nixon 346
Ford 169
Carter 320
Reagan 381
Bush Sr. 166
Clinton 364

February 19, 1942: EO: 9066 Japanese Relocation Order

"I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion...

April 27, 1950: EO: 10450 Security Requirements for Government Employment (additional details)

"The person being investigated [must be] clearly consistent with the interests of the national security. Such information shall relate, but shall not be limited, to the following: ... immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction or sexual perversion... Establishing or continuing a sympathetic association with a saboteur, spy, traitor, seditionist, anarchist, or revolutionist... Advocacy of use of force or violence to overthrow the government of the United States, or of the alteration of the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means... Refusal by the individual, upon the ground of constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, to testify before a congressional committee regarding charges of his alleged disloyalty or other misconduct.

April 8, 1952: EO: 10340 Nationalisation of Steel Companies (revoked by the Supreme Court)

"The Secretary of Commerce is hereby authorized and directed to take possession of all or such of the plants, facilities, and other property of the companies named in the list attached hereto, or any part thereof, as he may deem necessary in the interests of national defense; and to operate or to arrange for the operation thereof and to do all things necessary for, or incidental to, such operation...

June 19, 1962: EO: 11030 Preparation, Presentation, Filing, and Publication of Executive Orders and Proclamations


On February 16, 1962 (during the Cuban Missile Crisis), President John Kennedy launched a series of Executive Orders that gave authority to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to control US society (from controlling media to forced labor to relocating people's homes) in times of emergency.

Sepember 27, 1962: EO: 11051 The Establishment of FEMA (Kennedy)

The Executive Orders to which the above is applicable: EO 10995: Seizure of all communications media; EO 10997: Seizure of all electri power fuels and minerals; EO#10999: Seizure of all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles; EO#11000: Seizure of all American people for work forces; EO#11001: Seizure of all health, education and welfare facilities; EO#11002: Empowered the postmaster general to register all men, women and children in the U.S; EO#11003: Seizure of all airports and aircraft; EO#11004: Seizure of all housing and finance authorities to establish Forced Relocation Designated areas to be abandoned as "unsafe."; EO#11005: Seizure of all railroads, inland waterways and storage facilities, public and private.

October, 28 1969: EO: 11490 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to Federal Departments and Agencies (Nixon)

This order consolidates the assignment of emergency preparedness functions to various departments and agencies heretofore contained in the 21 Executive orders and 2 Defense Mobilization orders

June, 3 1994: EO: 12919 National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness (Clinton)


Nov 1, 2001: EO: 13233 Further restrict public access to Presidential Papers

Declarations of National Emergency by Executive Order

(2/5/1917 - 3/3/1921): Woodrow Wilson vs. WWI
Proclamation 2039: (3/6/1933 - 9/14/1976): Franklin Roosevelt Bank Closures (Ammended three times, once to extend indefinetly, then in 12/30/1933 to open banks not members of the Federal Reserve System (2070),
Proclamation 2352: (9/8/1939 - 4/28/1952): Roosevelt vs. WWII
Proclamation 2487 (5/27/1941 - 4/28/1952): Roosevelt vs. WWII
Proclamation 2914 (12/16/1950 - 9/14/1976): Harry Truman vs. Communist Imperialism
Proclamation 3972 (12/23/1970-1976): Nixon
Proclamation 4074 (8/23/1971-1976): Nixon
EO 12170 (11/14/1979-present): Carter vs. Iran
EO 12211 (4/17/1980-present): Carter vs. Iran
EO 12444 (10/14/1983-12/20/1983): Reagan
EO 12470 (3/30/1984-6/12/1985): Reagan
EO 12513 (5/1/1985-3/13/1990): Reagan
EO 12532 (9/9/1985-6/10/1991): Reagan
EO 12543 (1/7/1986-present): Reagan vs. Libya
EO 12635 (4/4/1988-4/5/1990): Reagan
EO 12722 (8/2/1990-present): Bush Sr. vs. Iraq
EO 12730 (9/30/1990-9/30/1993): Bush Sr.
EO 12735 (11/16/1990-11/11/1994): Bush Sr.
EO 12775 (10/4/1991 - 10/14/1994): Bush Sr.
EO 12808 (5/30/1992 - present): Bush Sr. vs. [what was] Yugoslavia
EO 12865 (9/26/1993 - present): Clinton vs. Unita
EO 12868 (9/30/1993 - 9/29/1994): Clinton
EO 12923 (6/30/1994 - 8/19/1994): Clinton
EO 12924 (8/19/1994 - present): Clintion on export prohibitions
EO 12930 (9/29/1994 - 11/14/1994): Clinton
EO 12934 (10/25/1994 - present): Clinton vs. Bosnia/Herzegovina
EO 12938 (11/14/1994 - present): Clinton vs. Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
EO 12947 (1/23/1995 - present): Clinton vs. Middle East Terrorists
EO 12957 (3/15/1995 - partly 5/6/1995): Clinton
EO 12978 (10/21/1995 - present): Clinton vs. Columbian Drug Dealers
Proclamation 6867 (3/1/1996 - present): Clinton vs. Cuba
EO 13047 (5/22/1997 - present): Clinton vs. Burma
EO 13067 (11/3/1997 - present): Clinton vs. Sudan


Federation of American Scientists: Executive Orders
Executive Orders: Disposition Tables US National Archives and Records Administration
Executive Orders: Unconstitutional Presidential Abuses of Power by the Conservative Caucus