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American Politics College - Essay Example

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American Politics College

It is clear that the Framers agreed that there should be no absolute seat of power. This was achieved by dividing power across the three separate branches of government. Framers were willing to trade military and diplomatic efficiency to preclude either branch from consolidating authority and achieving absolute power. Article I Section 8 states that congress" shall have powerto declare war." Article II Section 2 states that "The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief." Unfortunately matters are not so clear and straight forward. The authority of the president as commander-in-chief ought to exist without limitation, because it is impossible to foresee or to define the extent and variety of national exigencies. The political thinker Hugo Grotius noted that a declaration of war contained many legal functions unrelated to the use of armed force - legal aspects of war. In an 1800 opinion rendered in the Eliza case, the court acknowledged a difference between formal declared war and a more confined version. In the United States v Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation decision of 1936, the Court certified the authority of the president with respect to external affairs. ...
In the United States v Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation decision of 1936, the Court certified the authority of the president with respect to external affairs. It is further noted that on February 15, 1816, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reported that "The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign relations." The evolution of the legal and political authorities by which the United States approaches war also would appear to be based these legal opinions. In sum, then, two matters seem settled. The Framers clearly acknowledged the broad legal aspects of a war declaration and as such granted this power only to the congress. On the other hand, they also recognized that there were occasions during peacetime when it was necessary to apply military force to realize national objectives. This power falls to the President as Commander-in-chief.

The congressional concern over executive power and the resultant problems in the War Powers Resolution

The War Powers Resolution was passed over Richard Nixon's veto in 1973. Enacted after Vietnam, the resolution has been considered unconstitutional by every chief executive from Nixon to Bush. The resolution states that the constitutional power of the president as commander-in-chief to introduce armed forces into actual or potential hostilities is limited to situations where there is:
1. a declaration of war
2. specific statutory declaration, or
3. a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

Proponents of the resolution point to creating a functioning partnership between the president and the congress. Opponents ...Show more


Of all the decisions made by the American Presidents, none are more serious than those involving a military option. Whether the President has the constitutional power to commit military force to missions short of all-out war unilaterally or whether he must seek congressional approval has been one the most contentious issues in the history of the Republic…
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American Politics College Essay essay example
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