Kicking Our Addiction to Executive Orders

David Pulcifer
6 min readJan 24, 2021

Democracy is in danger when we let our elected officials act like kings

The first few days of the Biden Presidency have seen the new president reversing many of Trump’s policies and actions over the last 4 years. Many of them were things Trump had no legitimate legal authority to enact. And while it is great these things are being addressed, I find myself asking, “why did we have to wait for a new president before anyone did anything about this?”

Presidents have been abusing the executive order privilege for generations and the Two Party Deadlock (TPD) makes our congress too weak to balance that power. It’s time we confront the fact that we won’t have a democracy for very much longer if we cannot properly restrain presidential power.

History of Presidential Abuse of Executive Orders

This is just a few of the most obvious abuses of Presidential power out of the 10s of thousands of executive orders that have been issued since the founding of the United States.

1933 — Uncle Sam wants your gold

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 which required US citizens to sell their gold to the US Treasury and made it illegal to own or posses gold coins or bullion (with some exceptions).

When a national leader unilaterally decides you are no longer allowed to own gold does that sound like a republic? Or does that sound like a monarchy?

1942 — Uncle Sam wants your due process

On February 19, 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which directed the arrest and incarceration of approximately 112,000 people of Japanese decent in U.S. concentration camps. Over 70,000 of these people were US citizens, and most of the remainder had been living in the United States for 20–40 years, long before Japan decided to ally with Germany in World War II.

These “evacuees” prisoners were barred access to their bank accounts and relocated to converted livestock stalls until more permanent concentration camps could be built. They lost their homes, livelihood, and many their lives, due to racist war…