Can You Match the President to the Executive Order?

HISTORY

John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: WikiCommons

About This Quiz

The United States Constitution doesn’t mention them. And they’re often shoved through the nation’s political system by brute force. They are presidential executive orders, and they are one of the most powerful tools that the commander-in-chief has at his disposal. Using executive orders, presidents have rammed through very important decrees that have enacted changes to silly things (like the formatting of orders) to the very important, like changes in civil rights of American citizens. Can you match the executive orders in this quiz to the men who signed them?


Early in our country’s history, presidents rarely used executive orders. But in the 20th century, all of that changed — leaders began signing hundreds, or even thousands, of these orders during their reigns, er, terms. Just as Franklin Roosevelt, who set the bar by signing more than 3,500 executive orders while he was in office. Do you know any of FDR’s signature orders? How about the men who preceded him?


Executive orders sidestep many of the bureaucratic bunglings in the American political system. In the same vein, they aren’t subject to Congressional review, making presidents seem more kinglike and less democratic.


Dive into the history of executive orders now! We’ll see if you really know your presidents and their agendas.

Which 20th-century​ man started the Warren Commission?

Just a week following JFK’s assassination, newly-confirmed President Johnson signed Executive Order 11130, which created the Warren Commission. The commission determined that Kennedy was killed by a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Advertisement

Abraham Lincoln is famous for which executive order?

In the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln announced what is perhaps the most famous executive order ever — the Emancipation Proclamation. The order technically freed all slaves, but its primary purpose was actually to preserve the Union.

Advertisement

George W. Bush used which order to protect powers-that-be?

In 2001, George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13233. Its purpose was to make it harder for the public to see presidential records, even more than a decade after presidents left office.

Advertisement

Donald Trump used an order for what protective measure?

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned immigrants from certain countries, supposedly to stop terrorists from accessing the U.S. The order was deemed discriminatory to Muslims and was stripped and replaced by another order, which also found more than its share of detractors.

Advertisement

Barack Obama used an order to stamp out which infamous area?

President Barack Obama promised that he would close the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison, which was used to interrogate prisoners linked to terrorism. But even his executive order couldn’t shut down this icon of the 9/11 era.

Advertisement

Japanese-American Internment was a sad event created by which president's order?

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, one of the most infamous orders ever. It authorized the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, tearing apart law-abiding families, mostly those living on the West Coast.

Advertisement

Which president used an order to further the​ enforcement of the Civil Rights Act

Lyndon Johnson was an often loud and uncivilized man ... but he was a supporter of the Civil Rights movement. His Executive Order 11247 helped to boost the effectiveness of the Civil Rights Act.

Advertisement

Which president ​specified minute details for executive orders, including formatting?

Herbert Hoover was often blamed for doing nothing in office. But he did sign Executive Order 5658, which specified all sorts of details regarding executive orders, including specifications for margins, font size, and more.

Advertisement

The creation of FEMA was a result of an order by which farmer politician?

Of course, it was Jimmy Carter, the ultimate humanitarian. Carter’s 1979 executive order created FEMA, the government’s emergency response agency, and in the years since, FEMA has responded to major disasters all over the country.

Advertisement

Which 19th-century icon used an order to create the Indian Appropriations Act?

In 1871, President Grant signed the Indian Appropriations Act. It essentially created hundreds of reservations and forced Native Americans to move there ... even though these lands were typically undesirable​ and often downright inhospitable for humans.

Advertisement

Which president used a​n order to establish a flag for the U.S. Navy?

In 1959, Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10812, which established an official flag for the U.S. Navy. It even specified that the yellow fringe of the flag measure 2.5 inches.

Advertisement

Which president created Affirmative Action before his tragic end?

As a champion of the Civil Rights era, it’s no surprise that Kennedy signed Order 10925, which jump-started​ the Equal Employment Opportunity trend. His Affirmative Action legislation tried to balance employment opportunities for everyone.

Advertisement

Which president forbade anyone of Chinese descent from entering the Panama Canal?

Woodrow Wilson signed a lot of paperwork related to the Panama Canal, including Executive Order 2526. It made it illegal for anyone of Chinese descent from using the Panama Canal.

Advertisement

Which late 20th-century man restricted the government from working with companies that were on strike?

Executive Order 12954, signed by Bill Clinton in 1995, was meant to stop government agencies from doing business with companies engaged in strikes. It amounted to industry regulation ... and it was invalidated by the court system.

Advertisement

Which Cold War icon nationalized the steel industry?

During the Korean War, steel workers across the country threatened a massive strike. Truman responded by nationalizing all steel factories. The case went to the Supreme Court, which basically said, "Um, you might be a president but you can’t do that."

Advertisement

Which Overlord coordinator sparked the desegregation of Arkansas public schools?

In 1957, Eisenhower moved to federalize the Arkansas National Guard. In doing so, he usurpsed the governor’s attempts to use the troops to prevent black students from attending newly desegrated schools.

Advertisement

Which Great War man stopped the use of torchlight during hunting of animals near the Panama Canal?

For some reason, the use of torchlight became a major fad during the early days of the Panama Canal. This practice was so disturbing to Woodrow Wilson that he signed Executive Order 1884, which outlawed the practice.

Advertisement

Franklin Roosevelt gave approval of which weapons project?

During WWII, the Allies were terrified at the thought of the Axis developing atomic weapons. So Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project, an expensive endeavor that resulted in the world’s first nuclear bombs.

Advertisement

Which man added a 49th star to the U.S. flag?

Eisenhower was in charge of many momentous decisions in U.S. history. In 1959, that included issuing an executive order that added a 49th star to the U.S. flag — that star represented Alaska.

Advertisement

Gold confiscation was an order given by which three-term icon?

During the Great Depression, the government moved to increase the circulation of cash, but it had to secure more gold to do so. It essentially confiscated gold from people who had too much of it ... and people who hoarded gold often served time in prison.

Advertisement

Which recent president used an order to block stem-cell research?

In 2007, George W. Bush signed an executive order that blocked stem-cell research, in part for the way the cells were harvested. Many scientists decried the order as an impedance to very promising research.

Advertisement

Assassinations were outlawed by which Nixon ally?

In the 1970s, the CIA was linked to some very high-profile assassinations. The public relations debacle that followed necessitated Executive Order 11905, signed by President Ford. It outlawed most political assassinations.

Advertisement

Who created an order to prosecute individuals interfering in the war between England and France?

In 1793, George Washington signed the very first executive order. His signature meant that American officials would prosecute anyone caught meddling in the war between England and France.

Advertisement

George W. Bush signed which post-9/11 order?

In September 2001, President Bush signed Executive Order 13224, which prohibited people from conducting any sort of transactions with suspected terrorists. It was just one of many orders related to the Global War on Terror.

Advertisement

The New Deal was an order given by which Depression-era man?

As the Great Depression threatened civilizations all around the world, FDR signed Executive Order 7034. It was the New Deal, a series of programs aimed at reversing the Depression’s hardships.

Advertisement

Desegregation of the military was an order from which Cold War leader?

It took until 1948 for a president to finally desegregate the U.S. military. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 finally gave men of color the opportunity to serve just like their white counterparts.

Advertisement

Which WWII leader closed all banks for four days?

Roosevelt signed more than 3,500 executive orders during his very long presidency. He signed his first one on Inauguration Day, and it closed all banks for four days so that the New Deal could be put into place.

Advertisement

Which frantic president authorized the National Surveillance Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant?

In the wake of 9/11, President George W. Bush signed a flurry of executive orders. One of those (now infamous) orders authorized the National Security Agency to listen in on the phone calls of Americans without a warrant.

Advertisement

The suspension of Habeas Corpus was a controversial move by which bearded icon?

During the Civil War, Lincoln made a controversial decision by suspending Habeas Corpus, in which authorities had to provide real cause to detain someone. It basically gave the Union Army the ability to stop and arrest just about anyone.

Advertisement

Which Gerald Ford feat left many historians incredulous?

Nixon resigned in shame, leaving Vice President Gerald Ford as the new president. One of Ford’s first acts was to sign an executive order pardoning Nixon for any crimes he "might" have committed while he was in office.

Advertisement

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes