An Eighteenth Century Constitution for the Twenty-First Century

Louis Henkin

in Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution

Published in print November 1996 | ISBN: 9780198260981
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682193 | DOI:
An Eighteenth Century Constitution for the Twenty-First Century

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This book has set forth the relevant provisions of the U.S. constitution, expounded how they have been construed, and identified abiding issues and uncertainties in their interpretation. The constitution, one knows, is not what it was: indeed, constitutional history might suggest that one cannot look twice into the same constitution; but the constitutional law of foreign affairs has not changed wildly. The United States is changed, the world is changed, and relations between them are changed, in ways that ‘could not have been foreseen by the most gifted of its begetters’. However, the early issues are the same, and answers remain uncertain and elusive. Uncertainty in the constitutional law of foreign relations should not be exaggerated. The relations of the United States are conducted every minute of every day with respectable efficiency within the framework of the constitution. The president conducts foreign relations, and no one challenges his authority and responsibility even when Congresses resolve and members of Congress travel and televise.

Keywords: United States; foreign affairs; constitution; constitutional law; president; Congress

Chapter.  4581 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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