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Vietnam, Watergate, and the War Power: Presidential Aggrandizement and Congressional Abdication

  • David Gray Adler
  • Michael A. Genovese
Chapter
  • 259 Downloads
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)

Abstract

The crisis of Watergate was both spawned and worsened by America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam. Many of the early illegal actions by the Nixon administration rose from fear that opposition to the war would undermine Nixon’s efforts to build a new “grand design” in foreign affairs, and once the Watergate crisis became a national scandal, the backlash from the war further deteriorated Nixon’s then fragile political position. Further, opposition to the war led to a clash between the president and Congress over the war powers, eventually leading to the passage of the War Powers Act in 1973 over President Nixon’s veto. While initially it appeared that Nixon’s bold claims of plenary presidential war-powers was discredited, it was not long before Nixon’s sweeping assertions of presidential power in foreign affairs and war would be revived, leading to a reemergence of an imperial presidency.1

Keywords

Foreign Affair Executive Power American Foreign Policy Executive Authority Grand Design 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
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    See also, Michael A. Genovese, The Supreme Court, the Constitution, and Presidential Power (Lanham, MD.: University Press of America, 1980).Google Scholar
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    For discussion of the War Powers Resolution, its origins and flaws, see Louis Fisher and David Gray Adler, “The War Powers Resolution: Time to Say Goodbye,” Political Science Quarterly, 113 (Spring 1998): 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See: Jack Goldsmith, The Terror Presidency, (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007); Pfiffner, Power Play; and Fisher, Presidential War Power.Google Scholar
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    David Gray Adler, “The Constitution and Presidential Warmaking: The Enduring Debate,” Political Science Quarterly, 103 (Spring 1988): 1–36. On March 19, 2011, President Obama ordered air strikes against Libya to prevent the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from killing dissidents and rebels who sought his removal from power. Obama invoked a variety of legal rationales, including authority as Commander in Chief.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Quoted in Louis Fisher, Congressional Abdication on War and Spending (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2000), 119.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael A. Genovese and Iwan W. Morgan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Gray Adler
  • Michael A. Genovese

There are no affiliations available

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