How did the President’s war-making powers evolve over the course of the Vietnam War?
Download Lesson: Power of Presidency (Vietnam)
This lesson focuses on the war-making powers of the Presidency, with a specific focus on the Vietnam War. Students will first review the President’s Commander in Chief powers outlined in the Constitution. With that Constitutional authority as a foundation for their investigation, students will then consider the war-making power exercised by American presidents during the Vietnam War. Although there was never a Congressional declaration of war, American military advisors were in Vietnam since the 1950s. American intervention in Vietnam would not end until the fall of Saigon in 1975. In addition to the Constitution, students will review both the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the War Powers Act to develop their own answer to the following focus question: How did the President’s war-making powers evolve over the course of the Vietnam War?