Executive Order 10340 (1952)

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EXECUTIVE ORDER 10340 (1952)

On April 8, 1952, on the eve of a nationwide strike of steelworkers, President harry s. truman issued Executive Order 10340, directing the secretary of commerce to take possession of and operate the plants and facilities of eighty-seven major steel companies. The order anticipated that the plants would continue to be run by company managers, preserving the rights and obligations of the companies until corporation officials and union leaders settled their dispute. As justification for averting a work stoppage, the order referred to Truman's proclamation of December 16, 1950, declaring the existence of a national emergency and the dispatch of American fighting men to Korea. The order called steel "indispensable" for producing weapons and war materials, for carrying out the programs of the Atomic Energy Commission, and for maintaining the health and vitality of the American economy.

Although Truman based the order on authority under "the Constitution and laws of the United States, and as President of the United States and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States," the Justice Department later argued in court that Truman had acted solely on inherent executive power without any statutory support. On June 2, 1952, the Supreme Court declared the Executive Order invalid.

Louis Fisher

(see also: Steel Seizure Controversy; Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer.)


Marcus, Maeva 1977 Truman and the Steel Seizure Case: The Limits of Presidential Power. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Executive Order 10340 (1952)

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