Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science

Committee Chair(s)

Robert Ross


Robert Ross


Anthony Peacock


Austin Knuppe


The research performed here applies a theoretical model of the presidency by Stephen Skowronek that spans all of American history to the number of executive orders issued per president and the number of these orders argued before the Supreme Court per president. I hypothesized that presidents who have the fewest political resources available to them (disjunctive presidents) would issue the most executive orders, and presidents who transform the face of American government and politics (reconstructionists) would face the most Supreme Court cases dealing with executive orders. I created two datasets for this research and used descriptive statistics to evaluate these hypotheses. In three out of the four time periods examined, disjunctive presidents issued more orders than all other presidents. However, I did not find a correlation between presidential type and how many Supreme Court cases they faced. This research produced accurate data that can be used to study executive orders for years to come and contributed to our understanding of why presidents choose to exercise unilateral actions to accomplish their policy goals rather than negotiate with Congress. As this was written as a partial requirement for a master’s degree and did not require any grants, the public cost of this research was minimal.