The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854

The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854

The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854

The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854

Synopsis

This book makes an original contribution to international relations and British politics. It identifies for the first time the dominant pre-modern theory of international relations, which fatalistically assumed that war was beyond human control. It then shows how this theory was undermined from the 1730s onwards, with the consequence that a debate began about how best to prevent war in which a vocal minority argued that war as an institution for settling disputes could be abolished. Britain led the way in this repudiation of fatalism and exploration of pacific alternatives: it produced the world's first peace movement (which appeared in the mid-1790s as a response to the French wars) and the first enduring national peace association (the Peace Society, founded in 1816 and active for nearly a century); and it was the first counbtry to allow peace thinking to enter its political mainstream. This book, the first to make use of the Peace Society's records, fills a major gap in the historiography of British politics.

Excerpt

This book pursues to their origins ideas and movements which first interested me in their twentieth-century manifestations. In thus venturing into territory chronologically so remote from that which I routinely patrol as a university teacher of politics, I have been dependent on the guidance of others. Six historians have broken significant patches of ground: Peter Brock, the doyen of historians of pacifism; J. E. Cookson; Stephen Conway; Eric W. Sager, whose interpretations I here dispute but whose research I value; Alex Tyrrell; and--above all--W. H. van der Linden, whose knowledge of and scholarly contribution to the history of European peace movements are unrivalled.

Geoffrey Best and Andrew Hurrell made very helpful comments on a draft of this text. Keith Edghill, who is writing a study of Anglican attitudes to war, has exchanged information with me in a co-operative spirit. John Belchem, Peter Brock, Stephen Conway, P. R. Dekar, David French, Jane Garnett, Ruth Harris, Brian Harrison, Arnold Harvey, David Howell, Andrew Hurrell, Alon Kadish, Paul Laity, Paul Langford, Ross McKibbin, Iain McLean, David Parrott, Mark Philp, the Revd Canon D. T. W. Price, Alice Prochaska, Keith Robbins, John Stevenson, Anthony Taylor, Wim van der Linden, John Walsh, and Ngaire Woods have given welcome assistance on particular points.

Clive R. Dunnico gave me access to the Peace Society's records, in which connection I also thank Mrs Wallace, the hospitable caretaker at Browning House where I spent many hours. Librarians who have put themselves out on my behalf include Jos A. A. M. Biemans of the Universiteitsbibliotheek, Amsterdam, Richard Bond of Manchester Central Library, Michael Bott of Reading University Library, Frank Gagliardi of Central Connecticut State University Library, and--most especially--Arlene and Dan Palmer of New Britain Public Library whose many kindnesses made my trip to New England to read the Burritt journal such a highlight of my research. The beautifully renovated Friends' House Library in London was always a pleasure to work in; and its unpublished 'Dictionary of Quaker Biography' has proved an invaluable source despite its surprising gaps. I am grateful to the hard-pressed staffs of the British Library and the Bodleian, not least those responsible for the on-line catalogues which transformed . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.