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Executive Orders Issued Parsuant to the First and Second War Powers Acts
TABLE EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE FIRST AND
SECOND WAR POWERS ACTS—Continued
SECOND WAR POWERS ACT (56 STAT. 176; 50 O. 8. C., APP. 631-645a)
1138 1140 I1H 1131 1151 1135 1167
1042 9127 Apr. 10 Defensa contractors, agencia designated to inspect plants and sadit books. 9129 Apr. 13 Marittmo Commission authorized to acquire and dispose of property. 0188 Apr. 17 Reynisitioning of property required for prosecution of the wa... 9150 Apr, 23 National Housing Agency autborised to acquire and dispose of property. 01:52 Apr. 29 Census reports, directions and regulations.... 9167 May 0Secretary of Commerce to make evillable records, schedules, reports, returns, etc... 0178 May 30 Hellam program of Lotarior Department, Secretary wthorized to acquire and dispose of
property. 9179 Janos Federal Works Agency, Commissioner of Public Roads natborized to acquire and dispose
of property. 0186 June 27 Federal Works Administrator sothorized to soqatre and dispose of property..... 019 July 7 Navy Department, acquisition and disposal of real estate, functions transferred to Chiel
of Bureau of Yards and Docbs. mu Aug. 1 omoo for Emergency Management, Division of Central Administrative Services author.
isod to acquire and dispose of property. 9217. Aug. 7 Reconstruction Finance Corporation authorized to acquire and dispose of property..... 218 | Aug. 11 Scientifc Research and Development, Omco of, aatborized to acquire and dispose of
property. von Sept. 16 War Shipping Administration, establishment order amended.. 9249 Oct. 1 Secretary of Agriculture authorized to acquire and dispose of property 9200
Dec. 3 Food program, control to be exercised by Secretary of Agriculture....
1200 1213 In
37-998 O - 74 - 4
A Brief History of Their Use and the
President's Power to Issue Them
HUGH C. KEENAN
Revised February 26, 1974
1. Background of the Executive Order.
From 1789 Presidents have issued orders and directives which in
general terms may be termed and described as Executive Orders.
orders in the early years of the Republic differed extensively as to form and
substance from what we know as Executive Orders today.
Essentially, an Executive Order is a written document issued by
the President and titled as such by him or at his direction. The subject matter
of each Executive Order must be ascertained from an examination of the order
The Executive Order in the last fifty years has become a govern
mental instrument of broad and increasing importance, a fact which has been
made particularly obvious since 1933.
Since Executive Orders are directives or actions by the President
and when such documents are founded on the authority of the President de
rived from the United States Constitution or a Federal Statute they have the
force and effect of law.
Executive Orders may be repealed or modified by the President
issuing them or by a following President even if many years have passed.
Executive Orders may be repealed or modified by an act of the Congress or by
a decision of the Judiciary.
Some Executive Orders become obsolete by the
passage of time, as when it bears an expiration date or when the purpose for
which it was issued no longer exists.
Otherwise, an Executive Order once
issued remains in effect until repealed or modified or expires.
There is no law or even an Executive Order which attempts to define the term "Executive Order". In the narrower sense Executive Orders
are written documents denominated as such,
Generally, Executive Orders are directed to, and govern actions by Government officials and agencies. They usually affect private individuals
AU Presidents beginning with George Washington in 1789 have issued
orders which in general terms can be described as Executive Orders.
During the early period of the Republic there was no set form with
which such orders were required to comply and consequently such orders varied
widely as to form and substance.
Often a President would merely write "approved", "Let it be done",
approve the accompanying recommendation and order that it would be
or similar words, at the end of a recommendation drawn up by a
Many times such an order was not signed by the President
but by a Secretary at the order of the President.
In fact, seven of the first
33 Executive Orders in the numbered series were signed by the Secretary of State. An example is Executive Order No. 2 dated April 4, 1865, which offered
a reward for the capture and conviction of certain felons and their abettors.
Executive Order 113, dated February 8, 1899, which ordered the
flying of the flag at half-mast during the removal of the remains of John A. Rawlins to Arlington National Cemetery, was signed by J.A, Porter who was.
a secretary to President McKinley.
Some orders that have been considered Executive Orders have been
signed and issued during the absence of both the President and the Vice President. For example, Executive Order 7 was issued and signed by Secretary of State William H. Seward on July 28, 1868. This Executive Order certified