Chicago Journal of International Law


A central function of constitutions is to address issues of international relations, especially questions of war and peace. This Article describes trends across time and space in the treatment of questions of war. It shows that constitutions continue to allocate the power of declaring war, even though such declarations have become meaningless in international law. There is also a trend toward specifying legislative involvement in approving the actions of commanders-in-chief. The assignment of war powers seems to be driven by copying from neighboring countries and a county's own previous constitutional history. In closing, the final section of this Article speculates on considerations of optimal constitutional design.