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  Presidential Proclamations

  Washington - Obama

The Power to Proclaim ... by Brandon Rottinghaus, University of Houston
Brandon RottinghausA presidential proclamation is “an instrument that states a condition, declares a law and requires obedience, recognizes an event or triggers the implementation of a law (by recognizing that the circumstances in law have been realized)” (Cooper 2002, 116). In short, presidents “define” situations or conditions on situations that become legal or economic truth. These orders carry the same force of law as executive orders – the difference between the two is that executive orders are aimed at those inside government while proclamations are aimed at those outside government. The administrative weight of these proclamations is upheld because they are often specifically authorized by congressional statute, making them “delegated unilateral powers.” Presidential proclamations are often dismissed as a practical presidential tool for policy making because of the perception of proclamations as largely ceremonial or symbolic in nature. However, the legal weight of presidential proclamations suggests their importance to presidential governance. - click to continue reading this research note
Select
Year  
President Date Title
Abraham Lincoln January 10, 1865 Proclamation 122 - Concerning Commerce
Abraham Lincoln February 17, 1865 Proclamation 123 - Convening an Extra Session of the United States Senate
Abraham Lincoln March 11, 1865 Proclamation 124 - Offering Pardon to Deserters
Abraham Lincoln March 17, 1865 Proclamation 125 - Ordering the Arrest and Prosecution of Those Furnishing Arms to Hostile Indians
Abraham Lincoln April 11, 1865 Proclamation 126 - Closing Certain Ports
Abraham Lincoln April 11, 1865 Proclamation 127 - Opening the Port of Key West
Abraham Lincoln April 11, 1865 Proclamation 128 - Claiming Equality of Rights with All Maritime Nations
Andrew Johnson April 25, 1865 Proclamation 129 - Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Mourning for the Death of President Lincoln
Andrew Johnson April 29, 1865 Proclamation 130 - Postponing the Day of Mourning for the Death of President Lincoln Until June 1
Andrew Johnson May 2, 1865 Proclamation 131 - Rewards for the Arrest of Jefferson Davis and Others
Andrew Johnson May 10, 1865 Proclamation 132 - Ordering the Arrest of Insurgent Cruisers
Andrew Johnson May 22, 1865 Proclamation 133 - Raising the Blockade of Certain Ports
Andrew Johnson May 29, 1865 Proclamation 134 - Granting Amnesty to Participants in the Rebellion, with Certain Exceptions
Andrew Johnson May 29, 1865 Proclamation 135 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in North Carolina
Andrew Johnson June 13, 1865 Proclamation 136 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in Mississippi
Andrew Johnson June 13, 1865 Proclamation 137 - Removing Trade Restrictions on Confederate States Lying East of the Mississippi River
Andrew Johnson June 17, 1865 Proclamation 138 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in Georgia
Andrew Johnson June 17, 1865 Proclamation 139 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in Texas
Andrew Johnson June 21, 1865 Proclamation 140 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in Alabama
Andrew Johnson June 23, 1865 Proclamation 141 - Raising the Blockade of All Ports in the United States Including Galveston, Texas
Andrew Johnson June 24, 1865 Proclamation 142 - Removing Restrictions on Trade West of the Mississippi River
Andrew Johnson June 30, 1865 Proclamation 143 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in South Carolina
Andrew Johnson July 13, 1865 Proclamation 144 - Reorganizing a Constitutional Government in Flordia
Andrew Johnson August 29, 1865 Proclamation 145 - Removing Trade Restrictions on Contraband of War
Andrew Johnson October 12, 1865 Proclamation 146 - Declaring an End to Martial Law in the State of Kentucky
Andrew Johnson October 28, 1865 Proclamation 147 - Thanksgiving Day, 1865
Andrew Johnson December 1, 1865 Proclamation 148 - Revoking the Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, Except in Certain States and Territories

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”.

Brandon Rottinghaus
University of Houston

References
Cooper, Phillip J. 2002. By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press.


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