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The Arrogance of Power, by J. William Fulbright, 1966

The Arrogance of Power, a collection of speeches by Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas, expressed his deep concerns about the war in Vietnam as well as the aggrandizement of power by the executive branch. His voice strengthened the antiwar movement and persuaded his colleagues to reaffirm the legislative branch’s constitutional role in foreign policymaking.

General Collections, Library of Congress

The Arrogance of Power, by J. William Fulbright, 1966

Congress Investigates the Vietnam War

Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1959 to 1974. Although Fulbright initially supported U.S. military action in Vietnam, his concerns about the war’s gradual escalation led him to conduct a series of nationally televised hearings in 1966. Through those hearings and a book, The Arrogance of Power, Fulbright became an influential critic of that “presidential war” and pushed Congress to reassert its role in foreign policy.

The reduced role of the Congress and the enhanced role of the President in the making of foreign policy are not the result merely of President Johnson’s ideas of consensus; they are the culmination of a trend in the constitutional relationship between President and Congress

J. William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power, 1966