declaration of war

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See: outbreak

DECLARATION OF WAR. An act of the national legislature, in which a state of war is declared to exist between the United States and some other nation.
     2. This power is vested in congress by the constitution, art. 1, s. 8. There is no form or ceremony necessary, except the passage of the act. A manifesto, stating the causes of the war, is usually published, but war exists as soon as the act takes effect. It was formerly usual to precede hostilities by a public declaration communicated to the enemy, and to send a herald to demand satisfaction. Potter, Antiquities of Greece, b. 3, c. 7; Dig. 49, 15, 24. But that is not the practice of modern times. In some countries, as England, the, power of declaring war is vested in the king, but he has no power to raise men or money to carry it on, which renders the right almost nugatory.
     4. The public proclamation of the government of a state, by which it declares itself to be at war with a foreign power, which is named, and which forbids all and every one to aid or assist the common enemy, is also called a declaration of war.

References in classic literature ?
In 1809 the intimacy between "the world's two arbiters," as Napoleon and Alexander were called, was such that when Napoleon declared war on Austria a Russian corps crossed the frontier to co-operate with our old enemy Bonaparte against our old ally the Emperor of Austria, and in court circles the possibility of marriage between Napoleon and one of Alexander's sisters was spoken of.
No one has declared war, but people sympathize with their neighbors' sufferings and are eager to help them," said Sergey Ivanovitch.
I have declared war against no people," he answered.
The Chief told the man that his joke had not been understood by the dull Hoppers, who had become so angry that they had declared war.
And when the latter was threatened with extinction, Daylight developed one of the shaded springs into his water-cress garden and declared war upon any invading cattail.
Next day both Germany and the United States declared war, and within an hour the socialists called the general strike in both countries.
They both concurred in their censures on her conduct; jointly declared war against her, and directly proceeded to counsel, how to carry it on in the most vigorous manner.
For Britain and France and Italy had declared war upon Germany and outraged Swiss neutrality; India, at the sight of Asiatic airships, had broken into a Hindoo insurrection in Bengal and a Mohametan revolt hostile to this in the North-west Provinces--the latter spreading like wildfire from Gobi to the Gold Coast--and the Confederation of Eastern Asia had seized the oil wells of Burmha and was impartially attacking America and Germany.
You realize, I suppose, that save for our intervention the United States would have declared war against you four months ago?
Da Souza unbent a little towards the young women against whom she had declared war.
Upon the ocean of commerce it sailed as a pirate ship; it had hoisted the black flag and declared war upon civilization.
He then formally declared war against Pedro Lopez, the leader of the slave-drivers, enrolled a band of runaway slaves in his service, armed them, and conducted a campaign, which ended by his killing with his own hands the notorious half-breed and breaking down the system which he represented.