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-origin.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?


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

  1. According to your parameters, the Russian Revolution/Civil War is included as a time period where the United States was “at war”. This is an embarrassing post and you should be ashamed for acting like it is some coherent analysis.

    1. Actually The U.S. was at War with Britain and British North America. And as much as Canadians would love to lay claim to this idea of winning a war against the U.S. lets look at some educated facts from history.

      1. Like the American Revolution war all hostilities were between the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain in the war of 1812. Canada was an Indian name. The official title of Canada in 1812 was British North America.

      2. All British units in the war of 1812 were from England. British Red Coats. Lets remember again the Loyalists or what we would call “Canadians” today did not want to fight during the American Revolution and moved North to British North America. History also shows again they did not fight during the war of 1812. Unless you count indians who fought on both sides.

      3. Canadians did not burn down the white house. A british dragoon regiment did and the 7th british foot of infantry did. Again all from England. Look it up.

      4. Lastly Canada has not contributed much to the world and Compared to my United States is minor and not even worth mentioning in this comment. My question to Canadians would be….. want to fight the United States today. We know the outcome dont we Canada. Sit down and keep quiet.

      1. Considering the United States lost in places like Vietnam, and never did win in Afghanistan. Canada would do pretty well.

        1. How old are you.? 12? Listen sonny you know not a damn thing about Vietnam.The military had a huge kill ratio. lost 58,000 to their 1.1 million dead. Politics would not let them go any further. Not the fault of the military. Your military is very small because you know the USA will protect you if you got invaded. Its not even worth saying anything more. You are just uneducated and ignorant.

  2. Pingback: Peace | FTGOG
    1. Counting one day with a military engagement over a 365 day period as a ‘year’ at war? This is bias in the extreme. A rational thinking person cannot agree with this 100% – what does that tell you?

      1. Bias, oh, no room for such.
        Fact is fact. The most ultra aggressive country ever on planet earth.

  3. Newsflash: “We” are animals! “We” think we’re above animals, but truth be told, if our plush existence were to crumble… we’d go right back to fight, kill, steal to survive. Just as the dumbass cats in my backyard, at night or the countless wildlife videos of animals fighting. One stray dog may approach you and roll over for a rub? One may run? Or the other may attack? Are “we” any different? Not really…

    1. I fully agree with you that WE are animals and WE will kill steal and do a number of horrible things not only to survive but for Control and POWER BUT l don’t agree with calling the poor cats in your backyard “Dumbass”they are loving creatures giving the chance and they are just trying to survive like ALL of us.

      1. WE ARE ANIMALS? I have never been at war or killed anyone. You may claim to be responsible for what government does but not me. They don’t ask me or listen to me so it’s not my fault.

      2. Exactly correct.
        Felines are superior to dogs
        What resulted in the plague was mans mindless act of destroying cats .. The same cats that are designed to kill rata.
        The plague was the ultimate result of that.

        Ancient Egyptians knew the value f cats.
        certainly more intelligent than the majority of the current population

  4. I just wanted to thank you again for your amazing website you have designed here.
    It really is full of useful tips for those who are seriously interested in this specific subject, particularly this very post.

  5. There never was a time where the Indians numbered 160 million.at most there was never more than 8 million indians.dumbass

    1. Regardless 160 or 8 million, this country has done a near genocide on Native Americans. Cheated them out of land, broken every treaty ever made with them, brought all sorts of diseases from Europe to them and still do this day & age treat them like second class citizens. If all of this is something to be proud of than God help this so called greatest country!

      1. There was no genocide against indians. A lot of indians have died, but mexico is all indians. They are just mixed over time with white genetics from spain, but that’s where the indians are, in central and south america, mixed in with other races, not extinct.

        1. Does that mean the holocaust wasn’t a genocide because there are still Jews living today?
          Or the Armenian genocide wasn’t a genocide because there are still Armenians?
          Or the Rwandan genocide wasn’t a genocide because there are still tutsis in Rwanda?
          Does a genocide have to be complete to deserve the name?

          1. Or the Reagan Revolution wasn’t a genocide because there are still Marxist Democrats?

      2. They did do messed up stuff to native American and Indians but worse was done to black people and still happening, what about Mexican Indians or Alaskan Indians so many non white races have been and still is being put down as less than the white power. America was made by white men seeking white power over the world. What will we call America after it blows up the rest of the world with this white power crap. America is trying to take over the world and wipe out any race that is not white even if it means they have to kill some white people to achieve this goal. It’s so obvious to see. Look at all the wars America has been causing seriously look.

  6. 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.

  7. “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. Except that English is not spoken in the US. I’d rather speak and listen to German than to the mangled “English” spoken in the US.

    2. If we were all peaceful than Germany would of not conquered other European nations. Also the Germans did not force all of their territory’s to learn German.

    3. Not likely. The vast majority of U.S. citizens were incapable of learning the metric system, a second language would be completely out of the question.

      1. The U.S. Auto industry was Metric over 50 years ago.
        Most bolts on the automobile are metric, check it out..
        All the component designs from Ford, Chrysler, GM are in Metric
        The USA committed to the metric system in 1875 by signing an international agreement.
        ‘LA CONFÉRENCE DI MÉTRE’ in Paris [FRANCE]
        Signed by M. Ashbourne the U.S. Envoy to France
        All its units have been defined to the metric standard since then
        The Metric system is the official and preferred measuring system in the USA for Trade and Commerce.

        Search for ‘THE CODE OF LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’
        §205b clause (1) states:
        To designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for the United States Trade and Commerce.

        Since 1994 both Metric and US customary units have been required to be shown on labels and packaging.

        The US currency is the Metric system, and it is that because the metric system for currency has been made compulsory.
        The reason why people ‘Domestically in General use the modified Imperial system is that it has not been made compulsory for common domestic use, Only one state in the US uses Metric for distance Measurement i.e Km. and not Miles.
        Interstate 19 from Nogales to Tucson in AZ is measured and noticed in Km.
        The ONLY U.S. Highway to have Metric Road signs.

        International trade would be difficult with different measurement standards, which is why the Metric System is the international system for weights and measures, including the USA.

        in 1975 the U.S. passed the Metric Conversion act.
        U.S. METRIC BOARD
        P.O BOX 7700
        Washington D.C. 20044

        With the volume and weight of food, ONLY Metric measurements are to be labeled.
        People are intuitive by nature and can see what the volume is and what weight
        something is, and become accustomed to it very quickly.
        Converting from one to the other causes a mental problem.

    4. Switzerland has four official languages…. I won’t insult you by stating them, I’m sure as an intelligent Human Being you can work them out “

    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

      2. Look up the definition of liberal, it’s completely contrary to war. God, guns and glory are what lead to war, and that is the mantra of conservatives and republicans.

        1. Oh Porter? Wasn’t it the liberals who wailed at the mere thought of Trump pulling out of Syria? And most liberals wanted more military there to push Turkey back. How times have changed! Trump wants to end all US bloodshed around the world and not send our young men & women to die and lose limbs over countries half way across the world. Of which we “really don’t” have a national interest the warmongers use as an excuse. Remember “weapons of mass destruction”? Or any other number of excuses the CIA/military industrial complex gives us to go kill

  8. 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 .

      1. And how many people have the so called Americans cheated and enslaved. You are all the same like father like son. Didn’t you American come from Britain. U talk like you need a brain

    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. Yeah sure. More than half the wars the us got involved in was because they were ASKED to bail another country out. Imagine if the US didn’t save half the shit holes it defends

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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