It seems like America has been at war virtually the entire time since its birth in 1776. Most of the conflicts where Americans have given their full measure culminated in victory, yet not all of the wars ended in complete triumph. (Also see, 19 wars Russia has lost from Ivan the Terrible to Vladimir Putin.)
To find out how every war in American history ended, 24/7 Wall St., used material from Britannica, U.S. naval history sources, History, the National Archives, and various media sources. Many of the major wars and battles that are often grouped together as “American Indian Wars” have been listed independently to respect the fact that the Native American nations involved were largely separate entities. Minor American interventions in wars in other countries such as the Boxer Rebellion have not been included, as have American wars that have been fought almost solely by drone attack with no ground forces.
The U.S. has fought wars for independence (American Revolution); to preserve the republic (War of 1812, Civil War); keep international trade flowing (Barbary Coast war); for national expansion (Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars); for democratic ideals (both world wars); to stopp communism (Korea, Vietnam); and combat terror (Iraq, Afghanistan).
Most Americans were, and are, supportive of the objectives for fighting those wars. For other conflicts involving the U.S. military, the motives were at best dubious and at worst shameful. (These are cities destroyed by the USA in World War II.)
The United States engaged Native Americans in many conflicts throughout its history, many of which were provoked by the U.S. reneging on treaties forged with indigenous peoples.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the United States has intervened and sometimes invaded Latin American countries, toppling governments not favorable to the U.S. (and its business interests) and installing regimes more acceptable to America.
In the case of the Philippines insurrection after the Spanish-American War, the United States refused to accept Filipino sovereignty and fought Filipino guerrillas, responding to an imperialist impulse that was supposed to be anathema to American ideals.
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