This is what a failed amendment stated back in 1916 when the United States was faced with the idea of joining the First World War. This brilliant piece of legislation was put forth by a group of Nebraska residents who gathered petition signatures and sent a constitutional amendment to Congress that would have enacted a national referendum before lawmakers could declare war.
Moreover, whoever agreed to going to war was also obligated to volunteer for service within the US Army. Not surprisingly, the proposal didn’t make it far in Congress, but now, 100 years later and assuming we are a bit wiser, this piece of legislation should again be analyzed and given serious thought.
If it was approved, the people who were to actually suffer because of this decision could also be the ones making it. It is almost a guarantee that no sane society or group of people would ever agree to attack another nation at the risk of loosing their lives and that of those they love.
Trying to put such a tough decision in the hands of the American voters didn’t only happen in 1916. On several occasions between 1935 and 1940, Rep. Louis Ludlow (D-Ind.) submitted a measure calling for a national vote to confirm any declaration of war by Congress, except in cases when the United States had been attacked first. While the proposal was supported by around 75 percent of Americans at the time, according to polling, it failed in a congressional vote, again. It’s almost as if someone doesn’t want to relinquish their power over life and death of others.