Historically unjust wars have never improved the standard of living for the American citizen and have served to suppress the inherent natural rights of the human beings involved. In conclusion, I combine contemporary and historical arguments to highlight the continuing stream of injustice that exists in American foreign policy.; The conceptual bases of this thesis include the philosophical constructs of Just War Theory, limited government, and natural rights as applied to foreign policy. Just War Theory was originally articulated by St. Augustine and represents the requirements a nation must satisfy to wage war justly. Building upon the basis of Just War Theory, I then split the discussion into two main categories. The first is a historical look at certain American thinkers and their reactions to what they saw as unjust wars based in their strong idealistic goals for humanity. The second is a critical examination of American foreign policy based upon the analytical model arising from these American thinkers. The thesis concludes with an examination of contemporary applications of this analysis with an examination of recent wars that have taken place in the Middle East and an assessment of their just or unjust nature. My historical research examines the arguments of Thomas Paine, Emma Goldman, Henry David Thoreau, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I will review each thinker to highlight their criticisms of the unjust wars in which America has been involved from the 18th Century to the 21st Century. A secondary goal of this research is to trace a pattern of idealistic thinking that is present in American Revolutionary thought. These ideals refer to notions of natural rights, social liberty, economic freedom, and the constant pursuit of justice. By using the established arguments put forth by these four American thinkers, I argue that another unjust war will only bring misery to America and any other nation involved. Finally, my contemporary research develops the CIA term "blowback" and its effect on American foreign policy. By applying the theory of blowback to the current military disputes in which the United States has been or could be involved, I attempt to persuade the reader to resist the notion of engaging in another war.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Spera, Adam, "American revolutionary thinkers unjust wars, limited government and natural rights" (2012). HIM 1990-2015. 1305.