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Who has the power to declare war?
The power to declare war is set forth by the Constitution in Article I Section 8. This power, along with the power to raise and support an army, is given only to Congress. This is known as the War Powers Clause. However, Congress does not need to formally declare war for the military to be sent to foreign countries, such was the case in Vietnam and Iraq. In fact, Congress has only declared war five times, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, the Mexican-American War, and World War I and II. Article II Section 2 of the Constitution also plays an important role for the use of the nation’s military as it states that the President is the Commander in Chief. This power allows the President to use the military without the formal declaration of war from Congress since he is the head of the nation’s military and has the duty to protect the country. This power is controversial to many since the Constitution vaguely gave these powers to both the legislative and executive branches. In 1973, the War Powers Resolution was passed in order to give Congress more power regarding the military. The resolution enabled Congress to force the President to withdraw the use of the military from any conflict.