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Declaring War
Congress, the President, and What the Constitution Does Not Say


  • Author: Brien Hallett, University of Hawaii, Matsunaga Institute of Peace
  • Date Published: August 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107608573

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About the Authors
  • Declaring War directly challenges the 200-year-old belief that Congress can and should declare war. By offering a detailed analysis of the declarations of 1812, 1898 and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the book demonstrates the extent of the organizational and moral incapacity of Congress to declare war. It invokes Carl von Clausewitz's dictum that 'war is policy' to explain why declarations of war are an integral part of war and proposes two possible remedies - a constitutional amendment or, alternatively, a significant re-organization of Congress. It offers a comprehensive historical, legal, constitutional, moral and philosophical analysis of why Congress has failed to check an imperial presidency. The book draws on Roman history and international law to clarify the form, function and language of declarations of war and John Austin's speech act theory.

    • First book to offer a radical internal re-organization of Congress itself to achieve the same objective
    • Offers the provocative conclusion that the Constitution is fundamentally flawed because Congress is entirely incapable of declaring war
    • Offers a comprehensive historical, legal, constitutional, moral and philosophical analysis of why Congress has failed to check an imperial presidency
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107608573
    • length: 287 pages
    • dimensions: 238 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A constitutional tyranny and presidential dictatorship
    Part I. What Is the History?:
    2. How the president declares war: the War of 1812
    3. Why the Congress ought not declare war: the Spanish-American War, 1898
    4. A plan for acquiescence: the War Powers Resolution of 1973
    Part II. What Is a Declaration of War?:
    5. Declaring and commanding: forms, functions, and relationships
    6. Lawful and unlawful declarations of war: quantity over quality
    7. Six possible structures
    Part III. What Are the Solutions?:
    8. A constitutional amendment
    9. A congressional work-around
    Part IV. What Is the Theory?:
    10. Bellum justum et pium: the rule of law and roman piety
    11. The rule of law: searching for ontology
    12. Senator Malcolm Wallop
    Appendix I. Five congressional declarations of war and one appropriations act
    Appendix II. The federative powers in parliamentary governments.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • U.S. Government
  • Author

    Brien Hallett, University of Hawaii, Matsunaga Institute of Peace
    Brien Hallett is an Associate Professor at the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, where he teaches courses in peace and conflict resolution, with a special interest in the thought of Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Vaclav Havel. His primary research interest is the declaration of war and the historical, legal, constitutional, moral and philosophical issues that surround it. Hallett is the author of The Lost Art of Declaring War (1998) and several encyclopedia articles.

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