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Right here the Constitution says “Congress shall have the power … to declare war.”
The military conflict ended after decisive, surprise victories in the Battle of New Orleans and the Battle of Baltimore.
2. In 1821 Mexico was trying to maintain control over a vast Spanish territory after their recent independence from Spain. When Texas declared independence, a border war broke out between Mexico and the United States.
The border dispute led to a bloody conflict where 16 American solders were killed. President Polk went to Congress and demanded a declaration of war saying “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil.”
A Mexican surrender was forced when the American army captured Mexico City in 1847.
And when final negotiations between the two nations were over, America got this SWAG:
3. Revolts against Spanish rule had been occurring for some years in Cuba; In 1898 President McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana after riots threatened American citizens.
On February 15, 1898, a massive explosion sank the ship and killed 288 American sailors. This swayed popular opinion for American intervention in the war, even though the cause of the explosion has never truly been determined.
The 10-week conflict ended in decisive American victories against outnumbered Spanish forces.
The 1898 Treaty of Paris allowed temporary American control of Cuba, ceded indefinite colonial authority over Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippine islands and precipitated the collapse of the Spanish Empire.
But in 1917, Americans were made aware of a German plan to finance a Mexican war to help recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The secret telegram, deciphered by the British and presented to the American President soon after led to cries for American involvement.
5. 21 years after the Treaty of Versailles, Americans were not inclined to join another European conflict.
But when this happened to American forces in Pearl Harbor, national sentiment changed.
The American Congress has not formally declared war on any nation since.
Congress has voted 23 times to authorize limited military engagements including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these votes come after American forces have already been engaged by the executive branch.
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