Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Executive Orders and the Modern Presidency: Legislating from the Oval Office

Adam L. Warber
Executive Orders and the Modern Presidency: Legislating from the Oval Office
ISBN: 978-1-58826-401-5
2006/175 pages/LC: 2005020650

"The first complete study of the entire series of executive orders.... Warber's book is an innovative approach that improves our understanding of executive orders. It is a significant addition to the literature."—Kenneth Mayer, Perspectives on Politics

"Warber has produced a well-written, solidly argued piece of research that is suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses on the US presidency. Further, he moves presidency scholars toward developing and refining theory to explain the connections between unilateral action and presidential power."—Christopher S. Kelley, Presidential Studies Quarterly

"An extremely valuable contribution to the presidency literature and a must read for presidency scholars. Warber's data on presidents and executive orders will astonish many readers."—Kyle L. Kreider, The Law and Politics Book Review

"Important and accessible.... Warber has accomplished a monumental task by going to the source of the data: the orders themselves. This substantial contribution will make its mark on the study of the presidency."—Jeffrey Peake, Bowling Green State University


Desegregating the military. The internment of Japanese Americans. Limiting stem-cell research. Each of these actions has been accomplished by way of executive order—bypassing the legislative process. Adam Warber offers an in-depth look at how modern presidents use this weapon in their arsenal of authority.

Warber systematically analyzes the strategic nature of close to 5,500 executive orders issued since 1936. Have presidents increasingly relied on executive orders to initiate major policies, rather than to simply accomplish routine administrative goals? What key elements in the political environment might influence activity in this sphere? What crafting strategies do presidents use to legitimate their orders and minimize challenges from Congress and the federal judiciary? Addressing these and other key questions, Executive Orders and the Modern Presidency explores the multiple dimensions of the president's executive-order power.


Adam L. Warber is assistant professor of political science at Clemson University.


  • Executive Orders as Strategic Policy Tools.
  • Policymaking by Presidential Decree.
  • The Policymaking Environment.
  • Safeguarding Executive Orders.
  • White House Lawmaking: An Unfinished Journey.
  • Appendix A: Content Analyzing Executive Orders.
  • Appendix B: Yearly Number of Published Executive Orders Issued by Modern Presidents.