The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war and assigns the president the role of Commander in Chief. Throughout the history of the United States, this division of war power has been the source of increasing controversy. Though the United States has been involved in numerous foreign conflicts in the post-World War II era, none of them have elicited an official declaration of war from Congress. With the passage of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Congress limited the power of the president to wage war. However, after 9/11 and leading up to the Iraq War, Congress provided broad Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that presidents have used to engage in armed conflicts in the Middle East and around the world. This lesson looks at the constitutional and historical context for war powers and has students hear from experts and legislators to answer the question:
Has Congress given too much of its war-making authority to the president?
- Power to Declare War– U.S. House of Representatives
- House passes war powers resolution to restrain Trump’s military actions in Iran– Los Angeles Times