The purpose of this lesson to assist student understanding of why the American Constitution places ultimate authority of the military in the hands of civilians rather than military leaders. Students should appreciate the historical uniqueness of the American military as an extension of constitutional principles in which the people always have the last word.
This three-part lesson asks students to think critically about the nature of the War Powers identified by the Constitution. Beginning with the historical foundations of the War Powers as written in the Constitution, students will explore why the Founders identified the War Powers as they did, using primary sources to back up their arguments. Students will then consider how War Powers have changed over time, evaluating the evolving dynamic of powers between the three branches of government.