The ability of U.S. presidents to deploy military forces and conduct foreign affairs without meaningful congressional participation has been the subject of considerable political handwringing and academic scholarship for decades. In a sweeping historical survey that traces the development of this structural imbalance from the founding up to the present, Sarah Burns argues that this radical shift has made governance in matters of war and peace dependent on the vagaries of presidential character rather than the institutional checks and balances set up by the Framers. In Burns’s telling, this “perversion” represents an abandonment of the original Montesquieuan understanding of a constitutional order designed to facilitate dialogue between the branches in favor of a dangerous Lockean conception of executive unilateralism that asserts claims of legality to close off debate.
Burns’s aim in The Politics of War Powers is not to just to show that Montesquieu was a leading intellectual guide for Founders such as James Madison, but also to argue for his continued relevance today. Burns argues that the French theorist’s insistence on separating and empowering different institutions so they can more effectivel
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.