Power To Declare War

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The Power to Declare War: Does it Mean Anything Anymore?

Throughout the history of the United States, the President has bypassed the Congress and engaged in warring actions. All have claimed Emergency Action as the qualifying reason. Some, after the fact asked congress for a declaration of war, others have not. Regardless, the Chief Executives have seemed to found that a formal declaration is not required.

War Powers

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution assigns Congress the power to declare war. The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. These
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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States. 323 U.S. 214 (1944). Six of eight Roosevelt Appointees sided with the President.

In June 1950, Harry Truman committed United States troops to the Korean peninsula as the primary United Nations fighting force to repel and quell the hostile invasion by the North Korean government into South Korea (Bowett). Congress never declared a state of war against North Korea, however Congress did continue to provide funding. Total U.S. casualties: 36,574 killed, 103,284 wounded, POW/MIA 12,640.

Truman also declared the use of emergency powers when he seized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. With the Korean Conflict ongoing, Truman believed he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the resources necessary to keep the troops well equipped. The U. S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers, nor any claimed emergency powers gave the President the authority to seize private property without Congressional legislation. 343 U.S. 579 (Mock, in class
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In summary; James Buchanan 1861, Abraham Lincoln 1861, Franklin Roosevelt, 1942, Harry Truman 1950, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon 1964-1975. Seven presidents engaged the U. S. Military in armed conflict without a formal declaration of war. Each convinced in their own righteousness in what they were doing. Regardless, in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts 94,889 United States Servicemen were killed, 256,587 wounded, and 15,286 were taken prisoner or still missing. That is a very heavy price that was paid for undeclared war. These numbers may not mean that much to the president that issues the orders, but it should mean something to the people that will pay
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