[00:00.00]President Donald Trump has signed many documents in his first week in office.
[00:06.48]The documents set out Trump’s policies on health care and international trade, among other things.
[00:15.27]Some of these measures are called executive orders.
[00:20.61]Others are considered White House or presidential memoranda.
[00:25.38]In this report, we explain the difference between the two and tell what kind of power each has.
[00:34.68]We also tell about some of the famous executive orders American presidents have signed.
[00:41.39]Both executive orders and memoranda have what is known as the “force of law.”
[00:51.02]In other words, they have the same power as legislation approved by Congress and signed by the president.
[01:00.85]But there are differences.
[01:03.46]Executive orders are numbered and published in the Federal Register, the official record of actions of the United States government.
[01:15.17]Memoranda do not need to be published in the Federal Register.
[01:20.87]Executive orders must identify whether the order is based on the U.S. Constitution or a law.
[01:30.11]They must also tell the cost of carrying out the order.
[01:35.72]Memoranda do not have to state such a cost, unless it is more than $100 million.
[01:44.46]Every president except one has signed executive orders and memoranda.
[01:52.48]The exception is William Henry Harrison, who served just one month in office.
[02:00.14]Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the only president who served more than two terms, signed 3,721 executive orders – more than anyone else.
[02:15.74]Most of them dealt with measures to help the country fight the Great Depression and World War II.
[02:23.96]Some executive orders have changed history.
[02:27.61]Here are some of the most famous:
[02:31.60]President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
[02:41.20]This executive order freed all slaves living in states not under Union control during the Civil War.
[02:50.99]Since the southern states had rebelled against the federal government and left the Union, the order had little effect.
[03:01.37]But it did ensure that any slaves who escaped to the northern states were free.
[03:08.41]During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt signed many executive orders designed to create work for jobless Americans.
[03:20.15]In 1933, he used an executive order to create the Civil Works Administration.
[03:28.49]This created about four million new government jobs.
[03:34.02]He also used an order to create the Export/Import Bank.
[03:39.20]In 1934, he used an order to create the Rural Electrification Administration to bring electricity to rural, undeveloped areas of the country.
[03:53.55]President Roosevelt signed an executive order shortly after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941.
[04:06.83]The order gave military leaders rights to identify some parts of the country as “military areas … from which any or all persons may be excluded.”
[04:20.40]It also required the military to give food, transportation and housing to anyone forced to leave their home.
[04:30.98]As a result of the order, 120,000 men, women and children were required to leave the U.S. West Coast and stay in internment camps between 1942 and 1945.
[04:49.71]Most of them were American citizens of Japanese descent.
[04:54.67]In 1948, after the end of World War II, President Harry Truman signed an executive order that officially ended racial barriers in the United States military.
[05:10.43]The words of the order were simple:
[05:13.15]“There shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Armed Services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”
[05:29.58]Before the order was signed, military forces trained, worked and even fought in groups separated by race.
[05:39.73]Very few of the thousands of executive orders and memoranda are as famous as those noted in this story.
[05:49.57]Some of them are signed because a president was dealing with a Congress unwilling to pass legislation that he wants.
[06:00.07]Others express the president’s opinions about a subject of importance.
[06:06.20]Together these documents tell about American history and the goals of each president and the times in which he served.
[06:16.40]I’m Dorothy Gundy..