With American involvement in Iraq in the forefront of national news coverage and in the minds of many citizens, questions concerning America's involvement in past conflicts have once again arisen. This is the story of how the United States has gone to war and how the evolution of the nation's war-making apparatus has mirrored the nation's rise to global power. It focuses on the president's role as commander-in-chief vis-a-vis Congress from George Washington to George W. Bush. Conflicts range from the War of 1812 to the Mexican and Civil Wars, the two World Wars, conflicts in Southeast Asia, and recent wars in the Middle East. Topics include Congress's role in various wars, the evolution of the War Department to the Department of Defense, as well as developments in weapons, tactics, and strategy.
Wars have played an integral role in America's transformation from a continental power into a world force. Over time, America's war making has favored and continues to favor the expansion of the President's role at the expense of the Congress. America's future will be determined in large part by the way in which the nation chooses and engages in military pursuits. Questions about how and when we go to war have never been so vital or relevant. This thought-provoking one volume overview serves as a quick introduction to these important issues.