Presidential Power

1 minute read

President Obama announced on Jan. 4 that he will take executive action to combat gun violence, sidestepping a Congress that has thwarted his legislative attempts. Will his orders endure? Here’s how similar situations played out in the past.


After Congress failed to pass a comprehensive bill, Obama directed his Administration in 2014 to grant temporary legal status and work permits to over 4 million undocumented immigrants who are the parents of legal residents.

Status: stalled. A judge issued an injunction on the order while mostly Republican-led states challenge it in court.


After Southern Senators threatened to filibuster related bills, President Harry Truman on July 26, 1948, signed Executive Order 9981, which banned segregation in the U.S. armed forces.

Status: successful. Although the military initially resisted the change, it was mostly integrated by the end of the Korean War.


In direct defiance of the Confederate states, President Abraham Lincoln issued an order on Jan. 1, 1863, that emancipated slaves in the rebel territories and allowed blacks to serve alongside Union forces.

Status: successful. The move served as a prequel to the eventual abolishment of slavery in the U.S.


More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at