Stompin’ on the Constitution?

Paper 69: The Restricted Commander

Let us examine the essence of Hamilton’s “dissimilitude” regarding the war powers designated to the executive as articulated in Federalist 69 (Rossiter, 1961, 417-418):

First. The President will have only the occasional command of such part of the militia of the nation as by legislature provision may be called into the actual service of the union. The king of Great Britain and the Governor of New York have at all times the entire command of all the militia within their several jurisdictions. In this article, therefore, the power of the President would be inferior to that of either the monarch or the governor.

Second. The President is to be Commander in Chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first general and admiral of the confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies–all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature (italics mine).

Thus, the American founders intended for Congress, under Article I, Section 8 of the American Constitution, “to declare war,” whereas the President has no such right at allnot until Congress calls the President into the service by declaring war. Indeed, Hamilton’s point in Federalist 69 was to describe the republican character of the President-to-be. Federalist 69 was more than just a republicanism method to prevent an authoritarian ruler from declaring a pre-emptive war and beginning a war. It described exactly the norms and culture that the President should form in order to increase republican virtue and liberty. The character was of non-domination.



3 thoughts on “Stompin’ on the Constitution?

  1. Pingback: Polk Spreads Itch for War to Future Presidents « Political Pipeline

  2. Pingback: it’s War! not one wo/man’s “Chance” at Drone Death! « Political Pipeline

  3. Pingback: Understanding republicanism | Political Pipeline

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