148 Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
This guide is concerned with identifying as much as possible the origins or causes of America's major, armed, international conflicts. It does not attempt to explore the execution, conclusion or implications of these wars nor does it attempt to address the myriad of lesser (for the U.S. military) conflicts both domestic and foreign.
For a convenient listing of such conflicts see Wikipedia's entries for List of wars involving the United States at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_involving_the_United_States or Timeline of United States military operations at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_military_operations.
Tip: Some conflicts have been studied more extensively than others and have numerous specialized resources. For other conflicts the general reference and primary source guides may be more helpful.
The guide for each conflict includes the following subdivisions with content specific to the conflict:
While reference tools and secondary sources (scholarly books and journal articles) are essential for the scholar, his or her focus for original research will be primary sources. A primary source was created near in time and/or place to the event, activity, movement or subject under study. The closer in time and space to the event a source was created, the more likely a source will be considered primary.
While the gold standard for primary sources is still the original document in its original format (e.g., actual letters, diaries, print newspapers, etc.), more and more primary sources have been microfilmed or digitized and subsequently made available in subscription databases or freely on the web. If you are using a digitized document, be sure to determine if the full document is included or only selected portions. Selection involves value judgments and potential bias.
See the "American Memory" project at the Library of Congress Collections for examples.
Center for Research Libraries (CRL)