Looking for information on who has the power to declare war? Many people think the the decision of declaring war is up to the President of the United States. However, that is not true. When the Constitution of the United States was created, the power to declare war was split in half. Only Congress officially has the power to declare war. In order for that to happen, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have to pass a motion declaring war. Once Congress has passed a declaration of war, the President of the United States, as the commander-in-chief of the military, has the authority to wage war against another country.
The President may feel that war is warranted, but he or she cannot do anything without an official declaration of war from the United States Congress. Going back to World War I and II, Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt were both eager to become involved with their respective wars. However, they both had to wait for Congress before they could officially involve the United States of America in the war. The President could decide to wage war on his or her own, but doing so would create an illegal war.
Many people thought that the President had to ability to both declare and wage war because of what happened after September 11th, 2001. Congress passed a motion that granted President Bush the power to declare and wage war against any countries and/or organizations that were believed to have been involved with the horrific attacks that took place on that day. In hand sight, the Constitution does not grant Congress the ability to pass such a motion, but given what had taken place, the House of Representatives and the Senate felt that President Bush needed to have the ability to act swiftly in order to bring justice.