Now this is interesting, from GC at Pileus:
President Cleveland faced a pretty hawkish Congress in 1896 due to the perception of an “intolerable” humanitarian disaster taking place in Cuba where the Spanish were repressing revolutionaries (sound familiar?*). Indeed, Cleveland was told Congress was going to declare war on Spain. At that point, things got interesting. Here is how Louis Fisher describes the episode in his excellent book, Presidential War Power:
Cleveland responded bluntly: “There will be no war with Spain over Cuba while I am President.” A member of Congress protested that the Constitution gave Congress the right to declare war, but Cleveland countered by saying that the Constitution also made him the Commander in Chief and “I will not mobilize the army.” Cleveland said that the United States could buy Cuba from Spain for $100 million, whereas a war “will cost vastly more than that and will entail another long list of pensioners. It would be an outrage to declare war.”
Read the rest.