When Has Congress Declared War?

Hill hasn't formally declared war since 1942

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2013 9:55 AM CDT | Updated Sep 2, 2013 10:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – With President Obama turning to Congress for a decision on Syria, BuzzFeed offers a quick Hill history lesson. Congress hasn't formally declared war since 1942, the site notes. But before that, it wasn't such a rare move:

  1. Congress backed war against Britain in 1812, by way of a joint resolution that passed the Senate 19-13. The conflict was fueled by trade and other disagreements following the American Revolution.
  2. Congress declared war on Mexico in 1846 amid border conflicts; Mexico surrendered the following year, and the southwestern US expanded quite a bit.

  1. Capitol Hill declared war on Spain in 1898 following the explosion of the USS Maine, sent to protect US interests in a volatile Cuba.
  2. War with Germany was declared in 1917 after evidence emerged that Germany planned to help Mexico regain southwestern US territories.
  3. And in 1941, after Pearl Harbor, a unanimous Senate backed war with Japan, Germany, and Italy; the next year, it was Bulgaria, Hungary, and "Rumania."
Head to BuzzFeed for the full, illustrated story.

Congress hasn't formally declared war since 1942.
Congress hasn't formally declared war since 1942.   (Shutterstock)
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