Most people are aware of the historical significance of Dec 7, 1941 – “Pearl Harbor Day” – but few are aware of the importance of the day after.
Today in history, on Dec. 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war (Public Law 77-328, 55 STAT 795) on the Empire of Japan in response to that country’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the prior day. It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of FDR.
Although the U.S. has been involved in many wars since then, World War II was the last time Congress declared war, as required by the Constitution (a 2nd declaration was passed on June 5, 1942 against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania).
Back in August, Mike Maharrey made the point that Congress has “completely abandoned its constitutional responsibility in matters of war and peace.” He’s right – and they’ve done this for decades.
To help explain things further, we put together a reference guide on the Constitution and war powers.
In it, you’ll find 7 articles and 2 videos covering essential topics, including:
- The difference between “declare” war and “wage”
- A discussion on offensive vs defensive war.
- A short introduction to just war
- How war powers were separated under the constitution between the executive and legislative branches
- Views from Jefferson, Madison and others
There is a lot of information there, but I hope you’ll find this reference guide useful. We plan to publish more in 2018 on other important constitutional topics.
Thank you for reading – and your support!