Friday, December 20, 2002

Quotes from History Abraham Lincoln, February 15, 1848:
Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is that if it shall become necessary to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another country, and that whether such necessity exists in any given case the President is the sole judge. ... Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose, and you allow him to make war at his pleasure. The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pre- tending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.
John Bricker, governor of Ohio and vice presidential running mate of Thomas Dewey in 1944, at the Republican Convention, protesting FDR's use of the phrase, "Win the War," as a campaign slogan, June 24, 1944:
I resent any leader taking unto himself the motto, "Win the War." That became the slogan of every American on December 7, 1941. The President of the United States is Commander in Chief of the armed forces, but he is not the Commander in Chief of the people. Like every governor of a state, he is the steward of the people--never their master.
Robert Taft (R), December 19, 1941 (12 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor):
As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government. Perhaps nothing today distinguishes democratic government in England so greatly from the totalitarianism of Germany as the freedom of criticism which has existed continuously in the House of Commons and elsewhere in England. Of course that criticism should not give any information to the enemy. But too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur.


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