THE UNITED STATES has been in 14 major wars since independence, more than 20 armed foreign interventions and has used military force to suppress nearly 40 separate Indian uprisings. Yet amazingly, Washington has only ever formally “declared war” against 11 powers in just five conflicts. The last of these occurred on June 5, 1942, when America officially announced a state of hostilities against Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania — all allied with Nazi Germany.
While the president, as commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, reserves the right to order military action, the business of issuing formal war declarations falls to Congress. Yet from the very beginning of the Republic, these powers have been ill-defined and often subject to interpretation (not to mention fierce debate).
A new infographic by the faculty of New England College’s Masters of Public Policy seeks to shed light on this curious discrepancy.
“Going to war is not always a simple affair and legislative preparations need to be made,” write the authors of the study. “There are many powers within federal offices, as outlined by the Constitution, which allow the country to officially go to war.”
The following chart was designed to help demystify the war-making authority of America’s executive and legislative branches. We print it here with the permission of New England College.(CLICK BELOW TO ENLARGE)