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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The ‘long’ nineteenth century was a time of contradictions in Christian thinking on war. Loss of the just war idea, transformed into a theory of the ‘law of nations’, opened the door to more extreme Christian perspectives: abolition of war versus support for war to achieve moral reform. During the Napoleonic wars, English evangelical Christians labelled those wars divine punishment for England’s immorality but did not oppose the struggle against Napoleon, while Kant’s essay ‘Eternal Peace’ defined peace in terms of opposition to all war. The Quakers and the Mennonites and Brethren embraced a specifically Christian rejection of war. By mid-century a newly assertive and militant evangelical Christianity countered this, supporting use of military force to serve Christian ideals. By century’s end prominent Christian thinking had returned to the ideal of abolishing war, but this time through international agreements and organizations. This chapter follows Christian thought through these contradictory phases.

Keywords: American Civil War, Indian Mutiny, just war, law of nations, Napoleonic wars, Christian pacifism, internationalist, perpetual peace

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