What It Is
An executive order is a written order from the president of the United States that manages the federal government.
Executive orders are not laws made by Congress, they are like “instant laws” made by the president. Only a sitting U.S. president can make or overturn an executive order.
The Department of State began numbering executive orders in 1907, and even worked backward to assign numbers to all the orders on file since 1862.
In 1936, the Federal Register Act put into place the system that is still used today.
An executive order is made up of a few parts:
Heading. Executive orders are generally labeled in the heading.
Title. Each executive order has a title, which usually describes the order’s topic.
Introduction. The introduction usually starts with the words “by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America…” and then introduces the subject.
Body. The body talks about the orders being made, and how to turn that into action.
Signature. Executive orders are signed by the president.