War Making: Executive and Legislative Powers
Author: National Constitution Center
The war in Iraq has precipitated a nationwide debate on a longstanding Constitutional and political question: What are the respective roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislative branches in making war? In the course of this lesson, students will examine the constitutional, legal, political and historical sources of this debate and apply them to the conflict in Iraq and to other situations both past and present.
- Examine what the Constitution says about the war-making power.
- Contrast the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislative branches of government when it comes to making war.
- Become familiar with important 20th and 21st century Congressional resolutions and acts, including the 1941 Declaration of War on Japan; the Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964; the 1973 War Powers Act; and the 2002 Iraq War Resolution.
- Analyze and evaluate contrasting opinions concerning the respective roles that should be played by the executive and legislative branches when it comes to making war.