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The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

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26 April 2015
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution also known as Southeast Asia Resolution was passed on the 10th of August 1964 by the United States Congress due to the incident that took place in the Gulf of Tonkin. Congress was the representative of the people and to balance power of the Congressmen with that of the President as the commander-in-chief, this resolution was passed. According to the Constitution of the US, the framers made it clear that only the Legislative branch especially the Congress could declare war (Article 1, Section 8). The Congress alone would have the authority to grant letters or reprisal etc and formulate laws related to land and water captured during war (Moise 304).
The question arises whether the Congress was right in passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution or not. The framers of the Constitution specifically issued that the Congress could declare war but not the President. He could lead military troops to combat attacks from outsiders.
Studies show that Vietnam War was not declared formally but the State and the Justice Departments accepted the Tonkin Gulf Resolution as functional. Thus President Johnson sent troops to Vietnam as a measure against the Vietnamese attack on US air base where a few Americans were killed (Peter 193-194). However, it was later found that the US actually had instigated the South Vietnamese for such acts. The intensity of the attack w…

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