Federal Government: Executive


“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few....No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. In war too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honours, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.” (James Madison, Political Observations, April 20, 1795.)

“The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war [and] the power of raising armies.... A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments. The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.” (James Madison, Political Observations, April 20, 1795.)

“It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority.” (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 8.)

“The power of declaring war being with the [Congress], the executive should do nothing neccesarily committing them to decide for war.” (Thomas Jefferson, Ford, p. 9:100.)

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him in so far as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.” (President Theodore Roosevelt, 1918.)

“The concentrating of these [legislative, executive, and judicial] in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government.” (Thomas Jefferson, quoted by James Madison Federalist Papers, No. 48. February 1, 1788.)

“Every man, who parrots the cry of ‘stand by the President’ without adding the proviso ‘so far as he serves the Republic’ takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude.” (President Theodore Roosevelt, Works, vol. 21, pp. 316,321.)

The power of Congress:
“The Congress shall have Power...To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water...To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8)

The Power of the Executive:
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States” (U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 2) (The Constituion which describes the near plenary powers of Congress and the minute powers of the Executive concerning war and military conduct.)