Presidential proclamations do have important political and historical consequences in the development of the United States, including President Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793 and President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
Other more recent policy-based proclamations have also made a substantial impact on economic and domestic policy, including President Clinton’s declaration of federal lands for national monuments and President Bush’s declaration of the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina as disaster areas.
Proclamations are also used, often contentiously, to grant presidential pardons, particularly important for President Ford who pardoned President Richard Nixon and President Carter draft evaders in Vietnam..
Although less significant in terms of public policy, proclamations are also used ceremonially by presidents to honor a group or situation or to call attention to certain issues or events. For instance, President George H.W. Bush issued a proclamation to honor veterans of World War II and President Reagan called attention to the health of the nation’s eyes by proclaiming a “Save Your Vision Week”.
University of Houston
Cooper, Phillip J. 2002. By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive
Direct Action. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.