Study Guide

Executive Order 10730: Little Rock Nine Analysis

By Dwight D. Eisenhower

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  • Rhetoric


    Executive Order 10730 is all about the facts. Eisenhower had to explain the legal basis for his actions: "by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the United States" (5, 7). He cited exactly where someone could find those justifications: Chapter 15, Title 10, Section 332, for example.

    Bottom line: the president has to follow the law too.

    It wasn't enough for Ike to say, "I'm the commander in chief. Do this." He was saying, "I'm the commander in chief and the Constitution and the U.S. Code give me the authority to tell you to do this." No emotion, no persuasion, just the facts.

    Never hurts to list out your credentials. Even if you're the Europe-liberating, Nazi butt-kicking, WWII-winning POTUS.

  • Structure

    Legal Document

    It's got plenty of "whereases," "therefores," "forthwiths," and "herebys." Those are good clues that this is a formal document written with lawyers and judges in mind. It's the president's defense in case someone accuses him of breaking the law.

    How it Breaks Down

    Proclamation No. 3204 (1-5)

    Eisenhower reminds everyone that he gave them the opportunity to stop breaking the law and to just go home in peace.

    Ignoring the proclamation (6)

    The protesters are still in the streets and the Black students are being kept out of Central High.

    Consequences (7-11)

    The law must be enforced. Here's how it's going to happen.

  • What's Up With the Title?

    Executive Order 10730 - Providing Assistance for the Removal of an Obstruction of Justice Within the State of Arkansas

    Executive Orders issued since 1862 are numbered sequentially. That means this is the 10,730th Executive Order issued by a U.S. president. That's an awful lot of orders issued over the years. We wonder how many of them were for Quarter Pounders with Cheese. (Looking at you, Bill Clinton.)

    The second part of the title is a bit longer, and it's there to explain the steps the president will take to end the law-breaking in Arkansas.

    P.S. You probably know this one better as the Little Rock Nine. We wonder why?

  • What's Up With the Opening Lines?

    WHEREAS on September 23, 1957, I issued Proclamation No.3204 (1)

    This executive order starts out by introducing another legal document, complete with another string of numbers to remember. Eisenhower sets us up to review what he declared in Proclamation No.3204.

    A quick background: By law, the president had to issue a cease and desist order before he could federalize the National Guard or dispatch federal troops. So the first sentence (and in effect the excerpt he repeats from the proclamation) simply lets everyone know the president is following proper procedure.

  • What's Up With the Closing Lines?

    SEC. 3. In furtherance of the enforcement of the aforementioned orders of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to use such of the armed forces of the United States as he may deem necessary.

    SEC. 4. The Secretary of Defense is authorized to delegate to the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of the Air Force, or both, any of the authority conferred upon him by this Order.

    September 24, 1957.

    The last two paragraphs detail the final steps in Eisenhower's plan to enforce the integration law in Little Rock. They're kind of the "or else" part of the order. He allows the defense secretary to use his judgment on which federal troops to call up, and to delegate those powers to other military officials.

  • Tough-o-Meter

    (3) Base Camp

    You won't get altitude sickness from this one, especially with some prep. This document lays out the legal foundation for the president's actions, but it doesn't make a lot of sense if you don't know why he took those actions. Don't worry: we won't leave you hanging.

  • Shout-Outs

    In-Text References

    Historical and Political References

    President of the United States (5)
    Secretary of Defense (8-11)
    The Constitution (4, 5, 7)
    Statutes of the United States (5, 7)
    U.S. Code (5, 7)
    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas (2, 6, 9, 10)
    State of Arkansas (title, 2, 3, 8, 9)

    References to This Text

    Literary References

    Nicolás Guillén, La paloma de vuelo popular, 1958. The poem was inspired by the Little Rock Crisis, but doesn't specifically reference Executive Order 10730. Guillén was Cuba's national poet.

    Pop Culture References

    "Fables of Faubus," by Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um, 1959
    "Why Am I Treated So Bad?" by Pops Staples/The Staple Singers, Freedom Highway, 1965
    Both songs were inspired by the Little Rock Crisis, but don't specifically reference Executive Order 10730. It's hard to rhyme "Executive Order 10730."
    "The Problem We All Live With" painting by Norman Rockwell inspired by another brave young student integrating an all-white school.

  • Trivia

    The Beatles' song "Blackbird" (White Album, 1968) was inspired by the Little Rock Nine and other civil rights champions. Just when you thought you couldn't love the Beatles more, arewerite? (Source)

    Carlotta Walls' family got her a store-bought dress for her first day at Central High School. She recently donated it to the Smithsonian Institution. You wanna look good when you're making history. (Source)

    Why did Chief Justice Warren use the term "all deliberate speed" to describe how desegregation was to happen? The NAACP lawyers had recommended he use the term "forthwith" to get things rolling quickly. After Warren retired he admitted that he chose Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous phrase because "there were so many blocks preventing an immediate solution of the thing in reality that the best we could look for would be a progression of action." (Source)

    World-famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong usually didn't talk about politics. But before a concert in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on September 17th, 1957, Armstrong couldn't hold back his frustration over Little Rock. "It's getting almost so bad a colored man hasn't got any country," he told a reporter. "The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell." After President Eisenhower dispatched federal troops, however, Armstrong was quick to send his support. "If you decide to walk into the schools with the little colored kids, take me along, Daddy," said Armstrong in a telegram. Now that would have been one cool assembly. (Source)

    Jackie Robinson, who'd broken Major League Baseball's color line in 1947, wrote to the president on May 13, 1958: "You said we must have patience. […] I respectfully remind you sir, that we have been the most patient of all people. […] 17 million N****es cannot do as you suggest and wait for the hearts of men to change. We want to enjoy now the rights that we feel we are entitled to as Americans. […] An unequivocal statement backed up by action such as you demonstrated you could take last fall in dealing with Governor Faubus […] would let it be known that America is determined to provide—in the near future—for N****es—the freedoms we are entitled to under the Constitution."

    Mr. Robinson was right: A hundred years after the Civil War was a long time to wait. (Source)

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