Ciceros Just War Theory

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Since the dawn of civilization, wars have been continuously waged for a variety of reasons. Some like Napoleon have waged war for power, glory and conquest. Others have declared war to maintain peace and balance. The fact of the matter is that to disagree, confront and ultimately wage war is part of human nature. Many philosophers have understood this human reality and therefore have set out to define when and how wars can be considered just. Each philosopher’s concept of a just war was influenced by their surrounding environment including their religious and moral beliefs. One of the pioneers of the Just War theory is the esteemed Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero. Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in 106 V.C. in the Roman city of Aprinum. Cicero studied law, oratory, literature and philosophy in Rome (Clayton). He portrayed a keen interest in education which foreshadowed his future greatness (Clayton). Although he was not from a very wealthy family, Cicero’s political career would prove to be a remarkable one (Clayton). Cicero is remembered for his immense contributions in the fields of philosophy and language (Clayton). He is also recognized as on of the first philosophers to have established the criteria for a Just War. Cicero had proposed that in human behavior there should be a universal norm. He believed that the universal norm in human behavior should transcend the laws of individual nations and govern their relations with each other (Defrost). This universal norm is rooted in Cicero’s belief that there is a humani generis societas, a "society of mankind rather than of states” (Defrost). Due to his beliefs, Cicero hated war which was why he served a very short term in the military (Clayton). Yet he understood that an entirely passive nation or state would eventually fall prey to more powerful and aggressive ones (Holmes). As a result he formulated

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