Chapter

War Powers for a New World

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226960333.003.0005
War Powers for a New World

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The Framers believed that separating the president's executive and commander-in-chief powers from Congress's powers over declaring war and funding would create a political system in which each branch could use its own constitutional powers to develop foreign policy. A close reading of the constitutional text and structure shows that the original understanding of the war power is fully reflected in the Constitution, the flexible war-making system of which is especially pronounced when compared to other constitutional texts, and to the more formalistic processes established for other forms of government action. This approach finds that the practice of the political branches in making war since the end of World War II has fallen within the constitutional design. While Congress never declared war in Korea or Vietnam, among many other places, it had every opportunity to control those conflicts through its funding powers. That it did not is a reflection of a lack of political will rather than a defect in the constitutional design.

Keywords: constitutional power; foreign policy; constitutional text; war-making system; Congress; World War II

Chapter.  15054 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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