On the Etiology of Internal Wars

History and Theory 4 (2):133-163 (1965)
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"Internal war" is a resort to violence within a political order to change its constitution, rulers, or politicies; it is the genus of which revolution, uprising, Jacquerie, etc., are the species. The historical literature on the causes of internal wars is chaotic because historians have simply produced facts about any aspect of pre-revolutionary society which intuitively seemed significant. The real significance of these facts can only emerge from broader comparative studies. Such studies should be focussed on the preconditions of internal war rather than the precipitants and on changes in the elite holding power. Obstacles to internal wars must also be considered. Only a theory comprehending both positive and negative forces will prevent piling up of unrelated ad hoc theories and unhistorical disregard for special forces in particular cases



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