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Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe$
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Thomas Hippler and Miloš Vec

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727996.001.0001

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The Paradox of Peace with ‘Savage’ and ‘Barbarian’ Peoples

The Paradox of Peace with ‘Savage’ and ‘Barbarian’ Peoples

(p.219) 12 The Paradox of Peace with ‘Savage’ and ‘Barbarian’ Peoples
Paradoxes of Peace in Nineteenth Century Europe

Oliver Eberl

Oxford University Press

This chapter uncovers the paradoxes of the peace between the ‘civilized’ and the ‘savages’ by analysing the normative framework upon which the European discourse on civilization rests: the discourse on barbarism. It sketches the basic principles of this discourse from the ancient Greeks to the Scottish Enlightenment underlying the development of ‘civilization’. It then demonstrates how the ‘civilized’ nations diminished the position of ‘savages’ and ‘barbarian’ peoples by distinguishing these non-civilized ‘others’ from themselves. This is illustrated using the example of the US-Indian Act of 1830 and John Stuart Mill’s political philosophy. Mill develops the idea of a right of the ‘civilized’ to civilize the ‘barbarians’ by means of educational dictatorship and to disregard the rights of ‘savage’ peoples. The paradox consequences of the idea of different historical stages of societal development are demonstrated using arguments from the early twentieth century about the warfare against ‘savage’ peoples.

Keywords:   civilization, international law, discourse, barbarism, Scottish Enlightenment, US-Indian Act of 1830, John Stuart Mill, colonialism

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