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24 Harv. Int'l. L. J. 1 (1983)
Rise and Decline of the Neutrality Act: Sovereignty and Congressional War Powers in United States Foreign Policy, The

handle is hein.journals/hilj24 and id is 5 raw text is: VOLUME 24, SUMMER 1983

The Rise and Decline of the Neutrality
Act: Sovereignty and Congressional War
Powers in United States Foreign Policy
Jules Lobel*
For most of United States history, the issue of neutrality has played a
prominent role in shaping the nation's foreign policy. The newly
formed federal government's early exposure to foreign affairs resulted
in a strong declaration of United States neutrality toward European
struggles. Washington's farewell address, warning the nation to re-
main aloof from foreign entanglements, remained the guiding light
of United States policy for well over a hundred years.
The early decision to steer a neutral course produced the Neutrality
Act of 1794. That statute, enacted at the urging of the Washington
administration, makes it a crime inter alia to organize, initiate or
begin a hostile expedition on United States territory against a foreign
country with which the United States is at peace.I It has been re-
enacted several times after 1794 and with minor amendments has
remained a part of the Federal criminal code.2 In its present form      the
statute provides inter alia that:
Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on
foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money
for, or takes part in, any military or naval expedition or enterprise
to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominion of
Associate, Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman; Assistant Professor of
Law, University of Pittsburgh Law School, starting September 1983. I would like to thank the
various individuals who provided valuable comments and suggestions, particularly Ellen Winner,
Veronica Perry, and James Hirschhorn.
1. Act of June 5, 1794, ch. 50, 1 Star. 381, 383-84 (1794).
2. Originally enacted as a temporary measure, the statute was continued in force by an Act
of March 2, 1797, and finally made permanent by the Act of April 24, 1800. Act of Mar. 2,
1797, ch. 5, 1 Star. 497 (1797); Act of Apr. 24, 1800, ch. 35, 2 Star. 54 (1800). In 1817
and 1818, the Act was amended to render it more effective, particularly with respect to the
Spanish colonies. Act of Mar. 3, 1817, ch. 58, 3 Star. 370 (1817); Act of Apr. 20, 1818, ch.
88, 3 Stat. 447 (1818). In 1909, the provisions of the statute were re-enacted in the revision
and codification of the criminal law. 35 Star. 1090 (1909). They were further amended in 1917.
40 Star. 223 (1917). The Act was finally re-enacted in its present form on June 25, 1948. 18
U.S.C. § 960 (1976).

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