A century-old “failed” constitutional amendment resurfaced on Reddit after the congressional lawmakers argued about the military interventions in Syria. It sparked a great debate about the restructuring of power in declaring war.
World War I was in the foreground for the US and a group of Nebraskans started a petition and sent a constitutional amendment to Congress. This was back in 1916 and this signed petition would have enacted a national referendum before the lawmakers could declare the war.
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It stated that anyone who cast a vote in favor of war would have to register themselves as a volunteer for serving the US Army.
This proposal did not make it far in Congress but this same idea crops up on several social media platforms and has gained the attention of anti-interventionists and anti-war activists, who support a well-defined war.
There were heated discussions back in 2013 about whether President Obama would ask for congressional approval for military action in Syria. The President, finally, decided to do so but had maintained that he had the authority to approve a strike without a vote in Congress.
This Failed Constitutional Amendment Was Not The Only One Of Its Kind
This Constitutional Amendment in 1916 was not the only one of its kind, to offer American voters a better say when the US went to war.
Rep. Louis Ludlow submitted measures and called for a national vote which would confirm any declaration of war by Congress, on various occasions from 1935 to 1940. This would not apply to those cases when the US had been attacked initially. This proposal was supported by 75% of the citizens, according to the polls, but it failed in the congressional votes.
The post on Reddit received several comments. Some looked for the positive aspects of the 1916 Constitutional Amendment while others knew that the administration would find a way around this.
User well_uh_yeah commented:
“I feel like even if we had this, there just wouldn’t be any more wars. Everything would be reclassified as a conflict, intervention, something of the sort.
Maybe had it been enacted back then it would be different but in the modern US ways would be found to circumvent it.”
Another user commented:
“In a modern democracy, governments do not play by the rules anymore. They circumvent the proper channels and bend the word of law at their leisure. They do not abide by the democratic process. And yet they are still in power. There is something going very wrong.”