“Generalissimo of the Nation”

That is the subtitle of this excellent paper by our friend William Adler, a professor of American politics at Northeastern University.  His short paper is about war-making and the presidency in the early republic, and it’s one of our favorite papers from this year’s Constitutional Law Colloquium at Loyola Law School in Chicago. Here is an excerpt from the paper (footnotes omitted):

In early America there were numerous small wars involving Indian tribes, pirates, and some European nations, in addition to larger, more protracted wars such as the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. Both of the larger conflicts were clearly authorized by congressional declarations of war … The small wars, however, numbered in the dozens; even if individually relatively small (though some led to the use of thousands of troops), the cumulative effect meant protracted battles over land, resources, and trading opportunities for much of the nation’s early existence.

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