The Constitution, the Executive Branch and War Powers

In reading the Constitution, we can plainly see that Congress possesses the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, to raise and support armies, to grant letters of marque and reprisal, to provide for the common defense,” and even “to declare war.” Congress shares, with the President, the power to make treaties and to appoint ambassadors. As for the Executive, the President is assigned only two powers relating to foreign affairs; commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the power to receive ambassadors.

The United States Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land in our country, delegates the power to declare war to the Congress and the power to wage war to the President. What that means is that only the Congress, as representatives of the People and of the States, can determine whether or not the nation goes to war. If the People, through Congress, decide that the nation shall go to war, the President then, and only then, has the authority to wage it.

Unless the country is being invaded, if the congress does not declare war against another country, the president is constitutionally barred from waging it, no matter how much he desires to do so. This is, again, shown clearly in the following statements:

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