42 Years of Impactful Scholarship

Volume 42, Issue 1

The Specter of a Generalissimo: The Original Understanding of the President's Defensive War Powers

The late twentieth century and early twenty-first century bore witness to a flurry of small-scale conflicts, many of which were initiated by the President of the United States without a formal declaration of war from Congress. A host of legal scholars have decried these hostilities and harshly admonished presidential initiative in warmaking. However, this state of affairs is not a modern phenomenon, but rather a fate entirely anticipated by the Framers of the US Constitution. By exploring a plethora of historical authorities and framing-era sources, this Note distills an original understanding of the President’s defensive war powers: the executive’s limited prerogative to unilaterally repel an imminent foreign threat.

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Recommended Citation:
Jonathan G. D'Errico, The Specter of a Generalissimo: The Original Understanding of the President's Defensive War Powers, 42 Fordham Int'l L.J. 153 (2018). 
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol42/iss1/5