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  • On January 1, 1863,

  • Abraham Lincoln legally changed the status of over 3 million enslaved blacks

  • across ten states from slave to free.

  • His Emancipation Proclamation wasn't a law,

  • or a presidential decree.

  • It was an executive order.

  • The framers of the American Constitution made the power of executive order

  • available to the executive branch.

  • But what exactly is this tool?

  • How does it work?

  • And what is the extent of its power?

  • Well, an executive order isn't a law, but it can carry the weight of one.

  • Passing laws involves a fairly lengthy process.

  • First, a member of Congress proposes a piece of legislation

  • in the form of a bill.

  • After many committees and revisions,

  • if the bill is approved by a majority votes in Congress,

  • that is both the House and Senate,

  • the bill is then sent to the president for signature.

  • If the president signs the bill, it then becomes a law.

  • An executive order, on the other hand,

  • is something the president issues without consultation

  • or permission from Congress.

  • They are, however, enforced like laws,

  • and are subject to judicial review by the court system

  • to make sure they're within the limits of the Constitution.

  • That means the courts have the power to invalidate any executive decisions

  • that they determine are an overreach of the president in trying to assert power.

  • And once the president leaves office,

  • if his or her successor wants to eliminate the executive order,

  • they can do so.

  • So when does a president use an executive order?

  • Sometimes a president feels the need to exert power without working with Congress,

  • and in times of crisis, quick decisions can be justified.

  • But most executive orders are not responses to emergencies.

  • They're often directed towards agencies in the federal government

  • in order to expand or contract their power.

  • Others determine the extent to which legislation should be enforced.

  • And sometimes, a president may use an executive order

  • to clarify and help implement a policy that needs to be easily defined.

  • Some of the most famous executive orders

  • have changed the course of American history.

  • FDR issued an executive order to establish the Works Progress Administration,

  • which helped build thousands of roads, bridges, and parks

  • throughout the country.

  • The WPA also employed thousands of writers,

  • painters,

  • sculptors,

  • and artists to create works of art in public spaces.

  • Additionally, Harry Truman used an executive order

  • to desegregate the armed forces in 1948.

  • And in 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order

  • to establish requirements for nondiscriminatory practices

  • in hiring and employment.

  • Executive orders have often been used in positive and inclusive ways,

  • but they've also been used to exclude and divide.

  • One of the most notable examples being FDR's 1942 executive order.

  • He gave the military authority to target predominantly Japanese-Americans,

  • as well as German-Americans and Italian-Americans,

  • in certain regions across the country.

  • This executive order also removed any or all of those people into military zones,

  • most commonly known as internment camps.

  • Beginning in the early 1960s,

  • each president has issued roughly 300 executive orders,

  • but FDR issued over 3,500.

  • At the other end of the spectrum,

  • William Henry Harrison never issued an executive order,

  • probably because his presidency only lasted 31 days.

  • The U.S. Constitution is somewhat ambiguous on the extent of the president's power.

  • That's resulted in executive orders expanding over time.

  • For instance, since Lyndon Johnson,

  • presidents have begun issuing orders to create faith-based initiatives,

  • establish federal agencies,

  • and remove barriers for scientific research.

  • There are checks and balances in the U.S. political system.

  • Congress can pass laws to counteract executive orders,

  • and judges can halt them by deeming them unconstitutional.

  • But in the time it takes for those things to happen,

  • an executive order can go into effect

  • and possibly change the course of history, for better or for worse.

On January 1, 1863,

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B1 TED-Ed executive executive order president congress issued

How Do Executive Orders Work? - Christina Greer

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/07/03
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