A Conversation for St Thomas Aquinas' Conditions for a Just War

French Revolution

Post 1

Sho - employed again!

So, according to this, the French Revolution was an unjust war?

True, many bad things happened, but the conditions that lead to this were surely grounds enough for a war?

French Revolution

Post 2

Sea Change

In american history, a big deal is made about how our Declaration of Independence describes in detail how the colonists felt that the ruler of England was declaring war on them.

I wonder if Aquinas is the reason they did this? Certainly almost none of our founding fathers were christian.

French Revolution

Post 3

And Introducing... A Leg

It might not be entirely irrelevant to say that the English Civil War began when Charles I raised his standard -- a medieval declaration of war -- against Parliament. Given that the English Civil War was, to some extent, the template for the American and French Revolutions (at least when the French Revolution became war-like, with the Royal occupation of Paris that triggered the storming of the Bastille -- obviously a planned coup against the peaceful rebellion in the Estates General) this historical predicate justified those wars by the same token, and they are therefore equally justified by Aquinas.

Does Aquinas say that a formal declaration of war is needed?

French Revolution

Post 4


On a similar note I was thinking about the "Authority of the state or ruler" - specifically the point that it rules out civil wars or rebellions.

Take Pinochet's Chile as an example - the democratic government was overthrown, so does this mean that the goverment could fight Pinochet until he came to power, but by the time he ensconced himself it would be unjust to fight him? Or, in a democracy, is the "Authority of the state or ruler" vested in the people? In which case rebellion could be justified.

In itself, it seems to me, this guideline is next to useless, since in times of rebellion or civil war, there are often two contenders (or more) for the mantle of state authority/rulership.

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