American war memorial

America: the most warlike nation in the history of the world?

3 September 2020
Posted in: Courses, News

In 2019, Jimmy Carter, the former US President, described America as “the most warlike nation in the history of the world.” In one of his regular sessions teaching at a Baptist Church Sunday School, he noted that the US had only been at peace for 16 of its nearly 250-year history. What do America’s Wars show us, and what can we learn from them?


Lessons from America’s Wars:

For Carter, the lesson was that America had wasted huge amounts of time, money, and effort in fighting wars around the world, trying to impose American values on foreign countries. It was, he argued, the reason why China was overtaking America in many ways.


As historians, America’s Wars can tell us a lot more than just about how money, time and effort has been spent. Wars tell us about the relationship between America and the world: from a fledgling nation fighting for its own independence to one that had its own ‘imperial moment’. Wars can show us about the US’ fight for values around the world, and its ignorance of some of those same values at home. And America’s wars can show us about how it went from a sometimes isolationist, and inward-looking nation, to the most economically, culturally, and politically powerful country in the world. America’s Wars tell us about much more than just the wars themselves, they tell us the story of America.


Courses on America’s Wars:

At City Lit, we have recently launched a series of courses exploring America’s Wars. From the Revolutionary Wars of the 18th century, through the Spanish-American War, the Vietnam War, to both World Wars. You can now learn all about the fascinating and important history of America’s Wars.


One-Day Courses, adapted for digital learning:

Our America’s Wars series has been specially designed to run over a series of single one-day courses, allowing access to those that you find most interesting. These have all, moreover, been especially adapted for online learning. Although the class runs across a whole day, you will find plenty of time away from the screen, and utilising resources that will give your eyes and mind a break from being at a computer.


Find out more about our America’s Wars series or our entire range of American History programme.