Martin Wight identified three main historical approaches to thinking about international relations: realism, rationalism, and revolutionism. He classified their respective ideas, notions, and concepts into three distinct "traditions," each with its distinctive political and economic aspects 1:
Realists, or Machiavellians [ Bacon, Hobbes, Richelieu, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Bismarck, E. H. Carr], who emphasize the anarchical aspects of international politics: "sovereign states acknowledging no political superior, whose relationships are ultimately regulated by war." Rationalists, or Grotians [ Aristotle, Acquinas, Locke, Burke, Madison, de Tocqueville, Gladstone, Lincoln, Churchill], who stress "diplomacy and commerce" and institutions for "continuous and organized intercourse between these sovereign states." Revolutionists, or Kantians [ Rousseau, Kant, Mazzini, Wilson, Cobden, Bright, Marx, Mao], who rely on a "concept of a society of states, or family of nations," in pursuit of an imperative vision of the unity of mankind. 2
To be faithful to history, Wight recognized several subcategories, and even noted some anomalies. He distinguished "soft" revolutionaries, with some sort of gradual, legal, peaceful approach to revolution ( Kant, Wilson, Mazzini), from "hard" revolutionaries committed to violence and destruction (the Jacobins, Marxist-Leninists).
Wight also discussed a fourth anomalous sort of thinking, with which he never seemed really comfortable, and did not classify as a separate "tradition." This was the approach taken by a less salient group of thinkers that he called "inverted revolutionists"--"of whom pacifists are the chief, although not the only, example." 3 Intent, like the Quaker religion, on "evoking the latent power of love in all people, and transforming the world by the transformation of