The Powers of the U.S. Congress: Where Constitutional Authority Begins and Ends: Where Constitutional Authority Begins and Ends

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Brien Hallett
ABC-CLIO, Oct 3, 2016 - Political Science - 298 pages
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Offering a unique resource for students, scholars, and citizens, this work fully explains all of the 21 enumerated powers of the U.S. Congress, from the "power of the purse" to the power to declare war.

This work presents a comprehensive overview of the 21 congressional powers enumerated in the Constitution of the United States through essays that focus on each power. These informative essays introduce and explain each power individually, address its evolution from 1789 to the modern day and into the foreseeable future, and provide real-world examples of how each power has been applied through U.S. history. The comprehensive content enables an understanding of the mutually supporting interplay of all of the legislative powers in our government's system of checks and balances, and it allows readers to better appreciate how radical and daring the framers were at the Philadelphia convention in 1787.

Readers will learn about Congressional powers that greatly impact modern citizens, many of which are frequently mentioned in news media due to policy struggles over budget, immigration, and national security; debates regarding the ideal size and role of government; and many others. The contributors also address questions regarding the responsibilities of the Congress, the ways in which Congress has met or failed to meet these responsibilities over the past two centuries, and what changes to congressional power may come in the future.

  • Presents comprehensive coverage of all congressional powers through authoritative essays by recognized experts
  • Enables readers to connect the long-ago goals and perspectives of the Founding Fathers to current issues and controversies
  • Facilitates a fully contextualized understanding of the legislative power of Congress—and the extent and limitations of leverage that it can wield on domestic and foreign policy
  • Provides an accessible gateway to further, more detailed research of each of the individual congressional powers
  • Includes appendices containing the full texts of the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union and the Constitution of the United States


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Chapter 1 The Power to Tax
Chapter 2 The Power to Borrow Money
Chapter 3 The Power to Regulate Commerce
Chapter 4 The Power to Regulate Immigration
Chapter 5 The Power to Regulate Bankruptcies
Chapter 6 The Powers to Regulate Money Weights and Measures and to Punish Counterfeiting
Chapter 7 The Power to Establish Post Offices and Post Roads
Chapter 8 The Power to Regulate Patents and Copyright
Chapter 13 The Power to Regulate Land and Naval Forces
Chapter 14 The Power to Call Forth and Regulate the Militia
Chapter 15 The Power to Exercise Authority over the District of Columbia and Federal Property
Chapter 16 The Power to Appropriate Money and to Budget
Chapter 17 The Power to Advise and Consent Treaties
Chapter 18 The Power to Advise and Consent Appointments
Chapter 19 The Power to Enforce the Civil War Amendments
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union

Chapter 9 The Power to Constitute Courts and Other Tribunals Inferior to Supreme Court
Chapter 10 The Power to Punish Piracies and Other Offenses Against the Law of Nations
Chapter 11 The Power to Declare War
Chapter 12 The Power to Raise and Support Armies and to Provide and Maintain a Navy
The Constitution of the United States of America
About the Editor and Contributors

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About the author (2016)

Brien Hallett, PhD, is a professor in the Matsunaga Institute for Peace at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai'i.

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