A Century Ago In United States War Was Nearly Put To National Vote

Samuel Reason | May 12th, 2018

When World War I was imminent for the United States, a group of Nebraska locals decided to make a stance in 1916. They gathered up as many signatures that they could for their petition to make an amendment to how the country operated and sent it to the Congress.

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This would have been seen as a constitutional amendment, there has only ever been 33 amendments to the American constitutions, with the last one being in 1992. Here the group in Nebraska was attempting to make an act of war require a national referendum. And not only was it just a simple national vote, anyone who voted “Yes” and be in favor of the country going to war; would also have to register for service in the United States Army.

As you can imagine this really could have swayed the voting, as many people may approve the country defending the rights of democracy but would they actually want to enter the battlefield themselves? However the proposal did not make it through Congress at all, it was promptly voted out. The idea of this law change does regular appear on social media, many anti-war activists like to give it their support. Especially at times of world intervention like President Trump deciding to use military action in Syria, an action that has been done without any need for approval via the Congress.

And oddly enough this is not the only attempt of making a constitutional amendment about giving American voters a much greater say about military actions. In fact on more than one occasion during 1935 to 1940, Louis Ludlow asked for any declaration of war to be put to the national vote unless the United States was attacked first.

His proposals to amend the constitution did actually have the support of over 70 percent of Americans when looking at the polling statistics available at the time, however, even so, it failed to make it through a congressional vote. As it seems, acts of war will always stay in the hands of the government.

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