Although U.S. troops have gone to war many times since 1776, Congress has only declared war 11 times.
Tuesday is the anniversary of the first resolution, which declared war on Great Britain on June 17, 1812, just a couple of decades after the American Revolution. Unlike subsequent declarations, which were passed unanimously or nearly so, going to war against Great Britain was by no means assured. The Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 19-13 and the House passed it by a vote of 79-49, drawing much of the opposition from northeastern states, according to the House of Representatives Clerk’s Office. The war ended about two-and-a-half years later, on Dec. 24, 1814, with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.
Below are images of each of the declarations of war passed by Congress, available from the National Archives through the Senate website. Only three of the declarations did not involve countries associated with World War I or World War II.
Declaration of war with Great Britain (passed June 17, 1812)
Declaration of war with Mexico (passed May 12, 1846)
Declaration of war with Spain (passed April 25, 1898)
Declaration of war with Germany (passed April 6, 1917)
Declaration of war with Austria-Hungary (passed Dec. 7, 1917)
Declaration of war with Japan (passed Dec. 8, 1941)
Declaration of war with Germany (passed Dec. 11, 1941)
Declaration of war with Italy (passed Dec. 11, 1941)
Declaration of war with Bulgaria (passed June 4, 1942)
Declaration of war with Hungary (passed June 4, 1942)
Declaration of war with Rumania (now Romania; passed June 4, 1942)
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