The Constitution and the Conduct of American Foreign Policy

Essays in Law and History

Edited by David Gray Adler and Larry N. George

In this provocative and readable volume, eleven leading constitutional authorities challenge "business as usual" in American foreign policymaking. For far too long, they contend, Americans have acquiesced to presidential claims to sweeping executive powers in foreign affairs—thanks to imperial-minded presidents, a weak-willed Congress, and neglectful scholars.

These authors forcefully argue that the president is not the supreme crafter of foreign policy and that Congress must provide more than a rubber stamp for the president's agenda. Unilateral presidential control of foreign relations, they warn, can pose a grave threat to our nation's welfare and is simply without constitutional warrant.

“an extremely useful, insightful and well-writen volume.

—Law and Politics Book Review

“An excellent scholarly compendium of 14 essays focusing on the wide gulf that has developed in the last 60 years between constitutional principle and governmental practice in the conduct of foreign affairs.

—Foreign Affairs
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Combining constitutional theory with keen historical insights, these authors illuminate the roots of presidential abuse of executive power and remind us of the past and potential costs of such disregard for our unique system of checks-and-balances. An essential guide for all concerned citizens and members of Congress, this volume should help revive a proper understanding of this crucial dimension of American democracy.

About the Author

David Gray Adler is professor of political science at Idaho State University and the author of The Constitution and the Termination of Treaties. Larry N. George is associate professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach.

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