This book examines the “early history” of social theories on war, beginning with Thomas Hobbes. It explores the key arguments in the debate on war and peace carried on from Hobbes to the Napoleonic Wars between philosophers, political economists, and political thinkers, including Hobbes himself and Carl von Clausewitz, and how the progressive optimism nourished by liberal doctrines gradually began to take hold. It also considers the intellectual prehistory and history of the First World War and how social theory's engagement with the phenomenon of war, which had already begun before the First World War, did not continue in any substantial way after 1918. Furthermore, the book discusses the rise of the subdiscipline of “historical sociology” in the Anglo-American world and concludes with some remarks on what we see as a convincing conception of enduring peace and on the need to move beyond monothematic diagnoses of the contemporary world and of social change.
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