The Constitution And United States Foreign Policy

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In the article, “The Constitution and United States Foreign Policy: An Interpretation”, author Walter LaFeber, examines the theme of presidential power and the constitution in association with American foreign policy. From the beginning of the 1790s, there were debates as to the power that an American president had in the United States and in the world. These arguments continued between the 19th and 20th centuries. What was also important and central to this article, is not only the level of power a president does have in foreign affairs, but also the harmful consequences in using those powers without adhering to constitutional limits. In this review, I will highlight these issues in accordance with actual historical events, the author mentioned. The first debate over presidential powers lasted between the 1790s and the 1860s. These first debates dealt more with declaring war, and military interventions. In 1793, a war between the British and the French began, and Washington decided that it would be best for the United States to remain neutral. This led to a disagreement between Federalists and anti-Federalists over whether a president could make these decisions without the approval of the Congress. Unlike many Federalists who felt that the president acted in the right, anti-Federalists and some Federalists like Alexander Hamilton, viewed the action as a violation of the Constitution. Another example was the Mexican War. It was during the war, that many Whigs, including Abraham Lincoln criticized President James Polk for “taking away Congress’s right to the proper and informed exercise of its power to declare war” (LaFeber, 700). With the fear of extensions of slavery in territories taken during the war, the House of Representati... ... middle of paper ... ...resident Ronald Reagan did not deserve that right. He pointed to the fact that since the president was already conducting surveillance and invading privacy, it would not be justifiable for him to receive that privilege. In conclusion, this article was very interesting to read. The author used various sources such as archival papers, books by historians, diaries, and interviews, in order to help achieve his purpose for writing this article. The article is easy to read. However, I felt that the author did not need to include information on domestic issues within the United States, since he was mostly talking about foreign policy. I felt that he should have kept his focus strictly on foreign issues. Due to this fact, I would say that the article is somewhat well-argued. Regardless, I would recommend this article to anyone who wished to learn more about this topic.

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