Since 1776, The United States Has Been at War 91% of the Time Since Its Founding — 220 out of 241 Years

The U.S. Has  Spent A Total of Only 21 Years At Peace Since Its “Birth” in 1776.

In 2011, Danios wrote:

 Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 [2017 update: 220 out of 241] calendar years of existence.  In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.

To put this in perspective:

* Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.

* No U.S. president truly qualifies as a peacetime president.  Instead, all U.S. presidents can technically be considered “war presidents.”

* The U.S. has never gone a decade without war.

* The only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression.

Here is a graphic depiction of U.S. wars, updated from the original to include the past 6 years:

And here is the UPDATED 2017 year-by-year timeline of America’s major and expansionary wars:

Year-by-year Timeline of America’s Major Wars
(1776-2017)

1776 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamagua Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1777 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1778 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1779 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1780 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1781 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1782 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1783 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1784 – Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War, Oconee War

1785 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1786 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1787 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1788 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1789 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1790 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1791 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1792 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1793 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1794 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1795 – Northwest Indian War

1796 – No major war

1797 – No major war

1798 – Quasi-War

1799 – Quasi-War

1800 – Quasi-War

1801 – First Barbary War

1802 – First Barbary War

1803 – First Barbary War

1804 – First Barbary War

1805 – First Barbary War

1806 – Sabine Expedition

1807 – No major war

1808 – No major war

1809 – No major war

1810 – U.S. occupies Spanish-held West Florida

1811 – Tecumseh’s War

1812 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Seminole Wars, U.S. occupies Spanish-held Amelia Island and other parts of East Florida

1813 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Peoria War, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in West Florida

1814 – War of 1812, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in Florida, Anti-piracy war

1815 – War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Anti-piracy war

1816 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1817 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1818 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1819 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1820 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1821 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1822 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1823 – Anti-piracy war, Arikara War

1824 – Anti-piracy war

1825 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1826 – No major war

1827 – Winnebago War

1828 – No major war

1829 – No major war

1830 – No major war 

1831 – Sac and Fox Indian War

1832 – Black Hawk War

1833 – Cherokee Indian War

1834 – Cherokee Indian War, Pawnee Indian Territory Campaign


1835 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War

1836 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Missouri-Iowa Border War

1837 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Osage Indian War, Buckshot War

1838 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Buckshot War, Heatherly Indian War

1839 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars

1840 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade Fiji Islands

1841 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade McKean Island, Gilbert Islands, and Samoa

1842 – Seminole Wars

1843 – U.S. forces clash with Chinese, U.S. troops invade African coast

1844 – Texas-Indian Wars

1845 – Texas-Indian Wars

1846 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1847 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1848 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War

1849 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1850 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, California Indian Wars, Pitt River Expedition

1851 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1852 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1853 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, Walker War, California Indian Wars

1854 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1855 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Yakima War, Winnas Expedition, Klickitat War, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1856 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, Tintic War

1857 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Utah War, Conflict in Nicaragua

1858 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Mohave War, California Indian Wars, Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, Utah War, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1859 – First and Second Cortina War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Pecos Expedition, Antelope Hills Expedition, Bear River Expedition, John Brown’s raid, U.S. forces launch attack against Paraguay, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1860 – First and Second Cortina War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Paiute War, Kiowa-Comanche War

1861 – American Civil War, First and Second Cortina War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign

1862 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Dakota War of 1862,

1863 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Goshute War

1864 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Snake War

1865 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War

1866 – Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Franklin County War, U.S. invades Mexico, Conflict with China

1867 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, U.S. troops occupy Nicaragua and attack Taiwan

1868 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Battle of Washita River, Franklin County War

1869 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1870 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1871 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, Kingsley Cave Massacre, U.S. forces invade Korea

1872 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Franklin County War

1873 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Apache Wars, Cypress Hills Massacre, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1874 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Red River War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1875 – Conflict in Mexico, Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Eastern Nevada, Mason County War, Colfax County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1876 – Texas-Indian Wars, Black Hills War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1877 – Texas-Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Black Hills War, Nez Perce War, Mason County War, Lincoln County War, San Elizario Salt War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1878 – Paiute Indian conflict, Bannock War, Cheyenne War, Lincoln County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1879 – Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, White River War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1880 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1881 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1882 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1883 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1884 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1885 – Apache Wars, Eastern Nevada Expedition, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1886 – Apache Wars, Pleasant Valley War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1887 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1888 – U.S. show of force against Haiti, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1889 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1890 – Sioux Indian War, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Ghost Dance War, Wounded Knee, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1891 – Sioux Indian War, Ghost Dance War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1892 – Johnson County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1893 – U.S. forces invade Mexico and Hawaii

1894 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1895 – U.S. forces invade Mexico, Bannock Indian Disturbances

1896 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1897 – No major war

1898 – Spanish-American War, Battle of Leech Lake, Chippewa Indian Disturbances

1899 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1900 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1901 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1902 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1903 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1904 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1905 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1906 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1907 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1908 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1909 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1910 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars, Border War

1911 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1912 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars

1913 – Philippine-American War (part of the Spanish-American War), Banana Wars, New Mexico Navajo War

1914 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1915 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico, Colorado Paiute War

1916 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1917 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S. invades Mexico

1918 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S invades Mexico

1919 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1920 – Banana Wars

1921 – Banana Wars

1922 – Banana Wars

1923 – Banana Wars, Posey War

1924 – Banana Wars

1925 – Banana Wars

1926 – Banana Wars

1927 – Banana Wars

1928 – Banana Wars

1930 – Banana Wars

1931 – Banana Wars

1932 – Banana Wars

1933 – Banana Wars

1934 – Banana Wars

1935 – No major war

1936 – No major war

1937 – No major war

1938 – No major war

1939 – No major war

1940 – No major war

“And then after the war, the dreaded Hun becomes the dreaded Red, and we enter what Dwight MacDonald calls this “psychosis of permanent war,” in the name of anti-communism. You know, war, the fusion of war, and the war profiteers — the militarists and the war profiteers — which after World War II created a situation of total war. I mean, after World War I, factories reconverted for domestic — to produce domestic products. After World War II, they kept producing weapons, even though we had peace — so that we could obliterate every Soviet city ten times over with nuclear weapons… But with guaranteed cost overruns and guaranteed profits, that fusion of the militarists and the corporatists hijacked the country, disemboweled the country, economically, and made war on all of those advances that had come under the New Deal. So it had both an economic impact and a political impact.”

— Chris Hedges

1941 – U.S. entry into World War II

1942 – World War II

1943 – Wold War II

1944 – World War II

1945 – World War II

1946 – Cold War (U.S. occupies the Philippines and South Korea)

1947 – Cold War (U.S. occupies South Korea, U.S. forces land in Greece to fight Communists)

1948 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1949 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1950 – Cold War, Korean War, Jayuga Uprising

1951 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Korean War

1952 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Korean War

1953 – Cold Wa (*2017 edit)r, Korean War

1954 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Covert War in Guatemala

1955 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1956 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1957 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1958 – Cold War, Vietnam War

1959 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War, Conflict in Haiti

1960 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1961 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War, Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba (CIA covert coup attempt of Fidel Castro orchestrated with Cuban exiles)

1962 – Vietnam War, Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis; U.S. marines fight Communists in Thailand)

1963 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1964 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1965 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1966 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1967 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1968 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1969 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1970 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1971 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1972 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1973 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War, U.S. aids Israel in Yom Kippur War

1974 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1975 – Cold War (*2017 edit), Vietnam War

1976 – Cold War (*2017 edit), No major war

1977 – Cold War (*2017 edit), No major war

1978 – Cold War (*2017 edit), No major war

1979 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1980 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1981 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), First Gulf of Sidra Incident

1982 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1983 – Cold War (Invasion of Grenada, CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1984 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Persian Gulf

1985 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1986 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1987 – Conflict in Persian Gulf

1988 – Conflict in Persian Gulf, U.S. occupation of Panama

1989 – Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, U.S. occupation of Panama, Conflict in Philippines

1990 – Desert Shield/Desert Storm (First Persian Gulf War), U.S. occupation of Panama

1991 – Desert Shield/Desert Storm (First Persian Gulf War)

1992 – Conflict in Iraq

1993 – Conflict in Iraq

1994 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti

1995 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti, NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Conflict in Iraq

1997 – No major war

1998 – Bombing of Iraq, Missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan

1999 – Kosovo War

2000 – No major war

2001 – September 11 terror attack on U.S. soil, War on Terror in Afghanistan

2002 – War on Terror in Afghanistan and Yemen

2003 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Invasion of Iraq

2004 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2005 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2006 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2007 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen

2008 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2009 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2010 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2011 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Conflict in Libya (Libyan Civil War)

2012 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (Proxy war vs. Russia & Iran)

2013 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (Proxy war vs. Russia & Iran)

2014 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (Proxy war vs. Russia & Iran); Civil War in Ukraine (War in Donbass)

2015 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Somalia, and Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (proxy war with Russia & Iran)

2016 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Somalia, and Yemen; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (Proxy war vs. Russia & Iran)

2017 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Somalia, and Yemen; War on ISIS/ISIL & al Qaeda/Daesch/al Nusra in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya; Libyan Civil War; Syrian Civil War (Proxy war vs. Russia & Iran)


In conclusion, as of March 2017, 6 additional years of war have been appended to the original 2011 list. Additionally, the original list omitted the Cold War between 1951 and 1979,  resulting in the years 1977-1979 being counted as peacetime years. If the Cold War is included, the updated figures would be 220 out of 241 years — or 91% of the time since its “birth” – America has been at war.

The exact numbers can be quibbled about, but the high percentage of time that America has been at war is clear and unmistakable.

According to a 2016 report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, 651,031 American soldiers have given their lives on the battlefield between 1775 and 1991. The most updated statistics of fatal U.S. servicemember casualties in the Global War on Terror since October 2001 can be found on the Department of Defense website.

The very first war officially declared by the United States was the War of 1812, whose declaration was requested of Congress by President James Madison in a June 1, 1812 message. The War of 1812 also happened to be the war with the smallest victory margin to successfully pass by the U.S. Congress, passing the House of Representatives with a total of 79 yeas and 49 nays, and passing the Senate by a simple majority vote of 19 to 13. It was arguably this war that catapulted the United States into becoming a formidable military power and key player on the world stage, and launched the early stages of its bloody campaign of violence, warfare, and imperial domination.

Indeed, most of the military operations initiated since World War II have been started with the U.S. as the aggressor, though there were a few wars America fought in defense, too.

This relentless military aggression has resulted in the deaths of over 20 million people in 37 countries since World War II.

American military spending dwarfs the rest of the world in comparison, with the reported U.S. defense budget totaling more than the next 8 countries combined.

It’s hardly a surprise that polls indicate the majority of the world believes the United States to be the number 1 threat to peace.


Amended from original source:

“America Has Been at War 93% of the Time – 222 out of 239 Years – Since 1776” originally published February 20, 2015 at Washington’s Blog.  Copyright © Washington’s Blog,  2015.