Writing and Ratifying a Foreign Affairs Constitution

in The Powers of War and Peace

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780226960319
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226960333 | DOI:
Writing and Ratifying a Foreign Affairs Constitution

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Meeting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention devoted more of their energies toward creating a stronger national government than detailing its precise internal organization. Beyond establishing the existence and general functions of the three branches, the Framers did not set down in writing the exact allocation of authority over foreign affairs. This silence might indicate that the Framers intended to leave to future presidents, congressmen, and justices the freedom to work out the separation of powers for themselves. Alternatively, it might indicate an intention to continue practices and relationships among the branches that were so widely understood as to need no specific description. This chapter shows that both interpretations partially explain the Framers' approach. In establishing the war and treaty powers, the Framers intended to adopt the traditional system they knew—foreign affairs remained an executive power, distinct from the legislature's authority over funding and domestic lawmaking.

Keywords: national government; Framers; war powers; treaty powers; foreign affairs; lawmaking

Chapter.  21553 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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