Joyce Appleby: Warring AmbitionsRoundup: Historians' Take
Joyce Appleby is a professor of history emerita at UCLA and the author of "The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism."
James Madison would have smiled had he heard about President Obama's maneuver, seemingly in defiance of the War Powers Act, to avoid asking Congress to authorize military action in Libya.
The act, passed in 1973, came at a time when the Vietnam War had been underway for years without any president asking for congressional approval. Members of Congress wanted future presidents to be obliged to come to them early on in a military action.
The Constitution, after all, had invested in Congress the sole power to declare war. And it rankled legislators that no president had sought congressional approval of a war since 1941, when Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress the day after Pearl Harbor. The War Powers Act was expected to put a stop to presidential impunity in entering armed conflicts by requiring presidents to notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops into action, and to begin withdrawing them after 60 days unless Congress voted to authorize the action.
Since the act's passage, the country has gone to war many times under various guises, but presidents have blithely continued to act without congressional approval. The Libyan engagement has presented an ideal occasion for Congress to press the issue....
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, and Was First Accused of Bias
- New Yorker profiles activist who's drawing attention to lynchings
- Wisconsin GOP senator wants to replace history professors with Ken Burns videos
- UT removes Confederate inscription that it previously said would stay
- The man behind the Smithsonian’s new African-American history museum
- Some Ohio University professors ditch the textbooks, and the prices
- Renowned Israeli Holocaust Historian: ‘If I Were a British Jew, I’d Be Worried’
- Heather Ann Thompson pries loose the long-kept secrets of Attica in her new book
- Lonnie Bunch remembers his first day on the job as director of the new black history museum
- Speaker Ryan loves pseudo-historian David Barton