Striking First pp 123-139 | Cite as

Expansion of the President’s War Power

  • Louis Fisher


For the first century and a half, the president’s exercise of the war power was carefully and deliberately constrained by constitutional text, framers’ intent, custom, and the governing principle that, in a republican form of government, the decision to take the country to war rests with the elected representatives in Congress. Since World War II, presidential war power has expanded dramatically with few of the traditional legislative and judicial checks to constrain it. Presidents now announce they can go to war with another country when it is “the right thing to do.” These claims, unrelated to legal authority, subordinate republican government to presidential choice, exactly what the framers had hoped to avoid. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have shifted even greater power to the executive branch.


Foreign Policy Security Council Military Force Executive Branch Executive Power 
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Copyright information

© Betty Glad and Chris J. Dolan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Louis Fisher

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