Thursday, February 15, 2007

Declarations of war not all that frequent, even before 1941


In 2002, USA Today printed a chart that listed the formal declarations of war by the United States, and the House and Senate votes for each.

Between 1812 and 1941, there were 11 formal declarations of war, but they only involved five wars. (A separate declaration of war was passed against each country with which we were at war, so World War I and World War 2 had multiple declarations of war). The five wars with formal declarations were:

  • War of 1812

  • Mexican American War

  • Spanish American War

  • World War I (seprate declarations for Germany and Austria-Hungary)

  • World War II (separate declarations for Japan, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania)

Obviously, all wars, police actions, and deployments after 1941 are excluded from the list, as is the pre-Constitutional Revolutionary War. But it's interesting to note that there was never a formal declaration of war for the Civil War, and there are a number of other military adventures that did not receive a formal war declaration.


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