President of the United States of America
The President is the head of the United States Government's Executive Branch. The Executive powers are primarily defined in Article II of the Constitution and include the power to Pardon people convicted of federal offenses. Additional definitions of the Executive Branch exist in the Twelfth Amendment, the Twentieth Amendment, the Twenty-Second Amendment, and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
Technically, while the President has the Constitutional authority to conduct war, he does not have the power to declare it. In practice, modern Presidents seem to enjoy almost unlimited war-making powers, in part due to the speed at which today's military can respond to events. In addition, Presidents have circumvented the Constitutional restriction by employing semantics, describing combat as "peace-keeping," "policing," and "military actions." Further, recent Presidents have used their role as Commander-in-Chief to justify their use of the military to protect U.S. interests and policy abroad.
Since the end of World War II, the United States Congress has not passed a formal "declaration of war." Congress passed close substitutes during the Vietnam War (the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution) and prior to Persian Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. At other times (e.g. Grenada), Congress did not. On the whole, Congress has largely abdicated it's Constitutional war-related role to the Executive Branch.
The following are recommended biographies, autobiographies, or other books relating to presidents or the presidency.
- Walter LeFeber. 2005. The Deadly Bet: LBJ, Vietnam, and the 1968 Election. Lanhan, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0742543927.
- John Adams (David McCullough)
- Theodore Rex (Edmund Morris)
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