America has been involved in war since its beginnings, and American colonists or U.S. citizens officially participated in more than 25 major conflicts. When Europeans settled North America, for example, the Native Americans who lived there fought a series of wars with them for the next 250 years, trying to keep their land and preserve their way of life. They eventually lost the battle and were forced to either live like their European conquerors or relocate to parcels of land set aside for them called reservations.
The Americans also fought in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783, which the 13 early colonies fought with Great Britain in order to overthrow Britain’s royal rule and declare their independence as a new nation, the United States of America. Civil wars take place between groups of people within a single country. The U.S. Civil War, which took place between 1861 and 1865 was a war between the Northern states (called the “Union”) and the slave-holding Southern States (the “Confederacy”) over the expansion of slavery into Northern territories. In the twentieth century, the United States was involved in several major international wars— wars occur between nations—including World War I (1914–1918), World War II (1939–1945), the Vietnam War (1959–1975), and the Persian Gulf War (1990–1991).