Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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INVASION. In every European continental war there is an invasion. When France, for instance, goes to war, either she invades the enemy's territory, or the enemy invades the territory of France. Undoubtedly it is to each nation's interest to carry the evils of war into the enemy's country, but they should not, in these circumstances, forget the precept: "Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you." It is, in fact, a rule that the invader should respect the persons and property of private individuals; it is a rule also that the civil population of the country invaded should be allowed to continue, as far as possible, their peaceful occupations. The question may, however, be asked: In case of an invasion, what should the citizen do? The question is a difficult one to answer, particularly if the answer required be a general one. Should the entire population rise as one man? We should incline to an affirmative reply, if the fear of a general uprising would be likely to prevent the invasion. But little attention is paid to theories in these matters. The people will take up arms if conquest be the object of the invasion, or if they are in sympathy with the government, or desire to expel the invader; but they may also remain indifferent. Indifference, however, in our day, is apt to lead to their own ruin. When the people take an active part in the war they no longer enjoy the immunities accorded to peaceable citizens. The enemy generally feel themselves justified in practicing greater cruelty upon armed citizens than upon soldiers properly so called. Specialists maintain that the enemy is obliged in self-defense to treat with severity every armed man who is not in uniform and does not form part of a regularly organized body; first, because they can not recognize him from a distance as a soldier, and can not guard against him; next, because the invading force spares men and property, only under the express condition that these men and this property shall not work them any injury. Nevertheless, we can not justify these excesses. All men taken with arms in their hands should be treated alike. Unfortunately, more attention is given to the voice of passion than to that of reason, in time of war, and men allow themselves to commit acts which they reprove and energetically denounce when committed by an enemy.


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