Historical sketch …
  • The power to issue executive orders comes from both Congress and the Constitution.
  • Every president has used executive orders; Washington issued the first 3 orders within months after being sworn into office.
  • Presidents have used executive orders to free Americans from slavery, to pardon draft evaders, to send troops to war and much more.
13,667: That’s how many numbered executive orders have been issued since President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. FYI: He was also the first person to use the term “executive order.”
More equality by executive order
  1. 1948: Harry Truman prohibited racial, religious, and ethnic discrimination in the armed forces (Order 9981)
  2. 1965: Lyndon B. Johnson prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (Order 11246).
  3. 1969: Richard M. Nixon prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, or age in the federal civilian workforce (Order 11478).
  4. 1998: William Clinton prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce, including civilians employed by the armed forces (Order 13087).
  5. 2014: Barack Obama prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by federal employees and by companies awarded federal contracts—FYI this alone applies to 24,000 companies (Order 13667).
How many by whom?
If you’re wondering about recent presidents and executive orders, here are the numbers:
  • Ronald Reagan: 380 in 8 years (average 47.5 a year)
  • George H.W. Bush: 165 in 4 years (average 41.25 a year)
  • Bill Clinton: 363 in 8 years (average 45.37 a year)
  • George W. Bush: 291 in 8 years (average 36.37 a year)
  • Barack Obama: 175 in 5.5 years (average 31.8 a year)
FYI: You can read the Executive Orders by all or any of the presidents HERE:
Just thought you should know. ®
Sources: “2014: Executive Orders Signed by Barack Obama in 2014,” archives.gov, 7/18/14. “Current List of President Obama’s Executive Orders,” 1,461 Days of the Obama Administration, 1461days.blogspot.com, 7/3/12. “Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index,” archives.gov, 7/19/14. “Executive Order Legal Definition of Executive Order, legal-dictionary.thefreedictionay.com, 7/18/14. “Top Ten Facts about the Emancipation Proclamation,” “What is an Executive Order?” ThisNation.com: American Government and Politics Online, thisnation.com, 6/24/12. “US: Action to Help End LGBT Workplace Discrimination,” HRW.org, 7/21/14.
Content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License 2010 • Virginia Downie • July 2014