Vietnam War Constitutionality

1221 Words 5 Pages
In 1787, the Framers laid out the Constitution under explicit goals, which was to unify the country, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. It provided a balance of powers between the states and the federal government and the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. Throughout United States history, these regulations set up by the Constitution defined the government and its actions, which led to the country emerging as a thriving, powerful country. As a first world country, the United States are involved in many foreign affairs, many of which questioned the constitutionality of its intentions and actions. In …show more content…
Starting from the Gulf of Tonkin incident, on August 1964, where it was reported that North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly attacked the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin. A few days later, on August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave President Johnson authorization to take any measures to support and protect South Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. The Vietnam War sparked many questions about its constitutionality, as Congress did not explicitly declare war on Vietnam, nor did the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution give the president such power. Without the permission of Congress, it violates the Constitution as the power to declare war is only granted to Congress and brings up the question of unchecked, uneven power between the executive and legislative branches. Even though the President’s Commander-in-Chief clause gave President Johnson the power to “act in war,” without the legislative branch’s consensus, it allows for the executive branch to ratify regulations unchecked, which violates the system of checks and balances. The system’s purpose was to make sure one branch does not control too much power. Having the legislative branch has the power to declare war is a necessity to the checks and balance system as giving all the power of foreign affair to the executive branch would create an uneven balance of power. The significance …show more content…
Since the formation of the Constitution, the Framers stated expressed powers exclusive to each of the three branches of government, in order to keep a balance of powers. With foreign affairs, the Constitution grants the Congress the power to declare war to keep in check the powers of the President, who derives the power to be commander in chief of the military; however, in many wars, the powers of the President is often left unchecked, as wars like the Iraq War and the Vietnam War did not have Congressional consent. It is imperative for the Congress to have and use their power to declare war as it equalizes the power of the three branches and does not allow for the President to have all the powers in foreign affairs. The Framers of the Constitution was devised to prevent a branch of government to rule with an iron fist, and for that to happen, the power to declare war must be always kept with the branch the Framers explicitly stated, the

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