The U.S. Has Been At War 222 Out of 239 Years

This morning, I discovered an interesting statistic, “America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776“,  i.e. the U.S. has only been at peace for less than 20 years total since its birth. I wanted to check, get a better understanding and look at other countries in the world.

As always, we can try to extract information from wikipedia, since there are pages dedicated to that information

url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States"
download.file(url,destfile = "warUS.html")
url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_France"
download.file(url,destfile = "warFR.html")
url="https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_guerres_de_la_France#Premi.C3.A8re_R.C3.A9publique"
download.file(url,destfile = "guerre.html")
url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_Canada"
download.file(url,destfile = "warCAN.html")

If we look at the US page, there are tables, so it should be easy to extract it. For instance,

Even if the war did last 1 day, we will say that the US were at war in 1811. The information we want to confirm can be “there were 21 full years – from Jan 1st till Dec 31st – where the US were not at war, once, during those years“. From the row above, we can claim that the US were at war in 1811. Most of the time, we have

I.e. there is a beginning (here 1775) and an end (1783). So here, the US are said to be at war in 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783. To extract the information, we look for regular expressions in the first column, with number, on 4 digits.

https://f.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/253/files/2017/03/guerre-us1.png

Well, sometimes it can be a bit tricky, since we have 3 dates, 1941, 1945 and (in the legend) 1944. But if we consider the minimal and the maximal dates, we have our range of dates.

Now that we we how to extract information, let’s do it. The code will be

library(stringr)
ext_date=function(x){
dates12="[0-9]{4}"
#grep(pattern = dates2, x = col1[1])
L=str_extract_all(as.character(x),dates12)
return_L=list()
if(length(L)>0){
for(j in 1:length(L))
if(length(L[[j]])==1) return_L[[j]]=as.numeric(L[[j]])
if(length(L[[j]])>=2) return_L[[j]]=seq(min(as.numeric(L[[j]])),max((as.numeric(L[[j]]))))
}
return(return_L)}

For the US, we get the following years

library(XML)
tables=readHTMLTable("warUS.html")
list_dates=list()
for(i in 1:length(tables)){
if(!is.null(dim(tables[[i]]))){
if(ncol(tables[[i]])>1){
col1=tables[[i]][,1]
list_dates[[i]]=lapply(col1,ext_date)
}
}}
d=unique(unlist(list_dates))

(red means at war, while green means no-war) and indeed,

> length(d)
[1] 222

there were 222 years with war.  Now, what about another country. Like France. Here I use the French wiki page, since information is not in tables in the English one.

tables=readHTMLTable("guerre.html")
list_dates=list()
for(i in 1:length(tables)){
if(!is.null(dim(tables[[i]]))){
if(ncol(tables[[i]])>1){
col1=tables[[i]][,1]
col2=tables[[i]][,2]
col12=paste(col1,col2)
list_dates[[i]]=lapply(col12,ext_date)
}
}}
d=unique(unlist(list_dates))

On the same period of time (starting in 1775), France was also on war most of the time.

Less than the US, but still: 185 years with war,

> length(d[d>=1775])
[1] 185

And on a longer period of time? Why not start, say, around the Hundred Years’s War,

meaning that since 1337, there were (only) 174 years without a single war where France was involved.

Let’s try another one. Like Canada,

tables=readHTMLTable("warCAN.html")
list_dates=list()
for(i in 1:length(tables)){
if(!is.null(dim(tables[[i]]))){
if(ncol(tables[[i]])>1){
col1=tables[[i]][,1]
list_dates[[i]]=lapply(col1,ext_date)
}
}}
d=unique(unlist(list_dates))

Guess what… there’s a lot of green on that graph. Surprised?


46 thoughts on “The U.S. Has Been At War 222 Out of 239 Years”

  1. Except that Canada wasn’t confederated from Britain until 1867. Most of the green on your graph for Canada is before their confederation. If you consider Canada’s involvement in the War of 1812 as a British Colony, then there should be more red than what is shown. Either way it’s inaccurate.

  2. “It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have been just 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world”

    If that statement is as accurate as your data and algorithm, then it would appear that war is humanity’s norm. A sad commentary on humanity for sure, but if the U.S. and other “warmongering” countries were more like Switzerland for example, we all might be speaking German now, those of us whose ancestors hadn’t been exterminated that is.

    1. Now, what does it say about the US, since we‘re not all talking German, but English, nowadays?

    1. And Britain has attacked 95% of the entire world uninvited and France is right behind them . Gotta love that sickening Foreign policy . The liberal killing war machines .

      1. Are you saying that there are countries that have asked to be invaded??? Wacky creature if you are. And your post isn’t backed up by figures, so not very intellectual at all. And it doesn’t take away the truth that the US is the most violent country in world history. You killed 160 MILLION of the indigenous peoples to create your “land of the free”. And I ain’t no liberal, just better educated than you.

        1. Any fool can throw out figures, especially wrong like Trump does all the time, please supply situation

  3. All these USA wars will lead into a big war in which the entire world will blot out the American motherfckerz off the planet once and forever … your javascript code has spilt out in my phone’s mozilla browser

    1. Those British slavemasters Have attacked 95% of the entire world uninvited and France is right behind them . Tbe world is sickened by them . Gotta love that sickening Foreign policy . The liberal killing war machines .

    2. I’m dying laughing right now guess who occupied and and invaded America for most of those wars you claim ?? Great Britain you guessed it LMAO . They enslaved our people here we will never ever forget . Those British slavemasters Have attacked 95% of the entire world uninvited and France is right behind them . Tbe world is sickened by them . Gotta love that sickening Foreign policy . The liberal killing war machines .

    3. France is disgusting still till this day they enslave – Occupy Nigeria and many other nations . They have to ask for their own money from those swines . Nasty !

  4. At the age of 51 My Generation didn’t have Constitution or law or humanrights tot. It may have been something we brushed over quickly. it took quite an Awakening for me to dive in the Constitution lock horses on Hillsdale College but I have. This country is so far off course it’s ridiculous.

  5. This is an amazing bit of research. What is even more important is that the majority of these actions were not defensive in nature but imperialist whether they were domestic or international. Our concept of “manifest destiny “.seems to be alive and well.

  6. I like your research, but I would interject that just using the “Indian Wars” as a benchmark, the US was consistently at war until 1890 with the Apache conquests and up until the wounded knee massacre. Plus all of the clandestine “dark ops” and meddling of the CIA and other government agencies probably would knock the at war percentage to close to 100%.

    1. I was born in 1956, and I haven’t known a real time of peace. Sure makes me very sad. I wish I had the power that comes from money to make sure that this world , the people, realise WE have ONE WORLD, ONE CHANCE! We are more alike, than we are different. Oh, yeah, all the riches in world won’t save your sorry rich ass! You can’t buy your way out of this story.

      1. I looked into this data last year also.
        It’s a truly staggering sad Fact.
        I believe the longest period of peace was under FDR 1936-1941.
        War is financed, therefore people make profit, like the Carlyle group.
        The Bush family are a big part of this.
        Prescott Bush was a shady figure.
        I really don’t think America can stop now, why would it ? It’s a huge money machine.
        After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the ultra rich became scared.
        This is NOT a conspiracy theory, it’s a Fact.
        It’s their World, we are just living in it.

      2. Being rich isn’t an evil 👿 But it does make you suppoedly responsible for all the messed up doings of politiciansand government mess ups. I wish i were rich but its not the answer to world wide stupidity.

      1. I would read more about the Mexican war after the war we pay for those lands that are part of the USA now.
        The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo in Spanish), officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic,[1] is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (now a neighborhood of Mexico City) between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.[2]

        With the defeat of its army and the fall of its capital, Mexico entered into negotiations to end the war. The treaty called for the U.S. to pay US$15 million to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to US$5 million. It gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas and gave the U.S. ownership of California and a large area comprising roughly half of New Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Mexicans in those annexed areas had the choice of relocating to within Mexico’s new boundaries or receiving American citizenship with full civil rights.

        The U.S. Senate advised and consented to ratification of the treaty by a vote of 38–14. The opponents of this treaty were led by the Whigs, who had opposed the war and rejected Manifest destiny in general, and rejected this expansion in particular. The amount of land gained by the United States from Mexico was further increased as a result of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, which ceded parts of present-day southern Arizona and New Mexico to the United States of America

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