A comprehensive and concise overview of Congress's wartime legislation


Congress at War

The Politics of Conflict Since 1789

112 pages; 6" x 9" ; 9 tables

$10.00   $8.00
Available: August 2007
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Congress at War reviews the historical record of the U.S. Congress in authorizing, funding, overseeing, and terminating major military operations. Refuting arguments that Congress cannot and should not set limits or conditions on the use of U.S. armed forces, this book catalogs the many times when previous Congresses have enacted restrictions—often with the acceptance and compliance of wartime presidents. While Congress has formally declared war only five times in U.S. history, it has authorized the use of force fifteen other times. In recent decades, however, lawmakers have weakened their Constitutional claims by failing on several occasions to enact measures either supporting or opposing military operations ordered by the president.

Concise, dramatically written, and illustrated with several summary tables, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in America’s wars—past or present.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)

Dr. Charles A. Stevenson teaches at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. A former professor at the National War College, he also draws upon his two decades as a Senate staffer on national security matters to illustrate the political motivations that influence decisions on war and peace.


“…the work covers a surprisingly complex subject well….”
The NYMAS Review, Winter 2007-2008

“This book deserves serious consideration for use in upper-division courses on Congress or for use as a brief historical guide in graduate courses on Congress.”
Choice, March 2008

"The debate over the role of Congress in authorizing and sustaining American wars has reached yet another crossroads. We are lucky to have, in Congress at War, an extraordinarily thoughtful, concise, and engaging analysis of one of the most fundamental questions of American democracy."
Lee Hamilton, Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

"Stevenson has authored an insightful study of how Congress and the President interpret the Constitution's 'invitation to struggle'—not simply over whether to initiate military action but how to wage war and when to end it. An invaluable primer for today's debates over U.S. military action post-9/11."
James B. Steinberg, Dean, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin

"Congress at War provides a comprehensive historical overview of how the United States Congress has dealt with the military instrument of statecraft from A to Z, including declaring and terminating hostilities, raising and funding forces, specifying strategy, and conducting oversight. Based on the author's decades of work on Capitol Hill, this book wraps more than two centuries of experience into a concise account. Readers seeking a quick overview of congressional praxis could hardly do better."
Terry Deibel, Professor of National Strategy, Department of National Security Policy, National War College

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