Cover: Long Wars and the Constitution, from Harvard University PressCover: Long Wars and the Constitution in HARDCOVER

Long Wars and the Constitution

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Product Details


$46.50 • £37.95 • €42.00

ISBN 9780674058286

Publication Date: 06/10/2013


376 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 table


In presenting a legal and constitutional understanding of war powers, Griffin challenges the assumptions and perspectives of presidential and congressional scholars when it comes to post-9/11 war efforts and the struggle over war powers. In evaluating post-9/11 military decisions, Griffin presents a critical reevaluation of the pre-9/11 era, shaped by the Cold War. In going back to 1945 and demonstrating the decision-making processes of both presidents and legislators, Griffin convincingly contends that Cold War events reshaped the way that military actions were conducted, challenging previous ideas about military engagements. In the end, Griffin presents a well-developed argument for envisioning the Constitution’s role in military operations, and how the executive and legislative branches react and engage with each other over military engagements. In reimagining the Constitution’s role and the balance between presidential decision making and legislative accountability, Griffin critiques the post–Cold War approach to American military engagement and contends that a new ‘cycle of accountability’ would regain some constitutional balance between the two branches that oversee the nation’s war activities. In doing so, Griffin brings a credible approach that will generate debate among scholars of presidential, congressional, and diplomatic/foreign policy studies.—J. Michael Bitzer, Choice

In this troubling book, Stephen Griffin persuasively demonstrates the inadequacy of the Constitution as a basis for exercising militarized global leadership. More troubling still, he shows that in pretending otherwise, successive administrations, in collaboration with Congress, have done untold damage to our political system while forging national security policies that are deeply defective.—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

Long Wars and the Constitution is one of the most important books on constitutional theory in a long time and should fundamentally reshape the debate about presidential authority to embark on wars without Congressional approval.—Sanford Levinson, author of Framed: America’s 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

Stephen Griffin weaves legal, historical, and political analysis together to cast the constitutional order from 1945 to the present in a new and deeply informative light. His discussion of why Presidents have come to dominate war-making, and how that produces recurrent constitutional crises, is a major contribution to understanding how the Constitution works today.—Mark Tushnet, author of Why the Constitution Matters

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