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Can the President declare war without congress? The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) is a federal law intended to check the president’s power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congressional joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send the Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

Can the President Declare War Without Congress?

Ever since the Korean War, however, Article II, Section 2 has been interpreted to mean that the president may act with an essentially free hand in foreign affairs, or at the very least that he may send men into battle without consulting Congress. But what the Framers meant by that clause was that once war has been declared, it was the president’s responsibility as commander in chief to direct the war. Hamilton spoke in such terms when he said that the president, although lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized or begun.” The president acting alone was authorized only to repel sudden attacks (hence the decision to withhold from him only the power to “declare” war, not to “make” war, which was thought to be a necessary emergency power in case of foreign attack). Overwhelming legal precedent, dating from the earliest years of the republic, supports this interpretation.

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"Can the President Declare War Without Congress?" History on the Net
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June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/can-the-president-declare-war-without-congress>
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