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The Military EnlightenmentWar and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon$
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Christy Pichichero

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501709296

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501709296.001.0001

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What Is Military Enlightenment?

(p.1) Introduction
The Military Enlightenment

Christy Pichichero

Cornell University Press

The introduction presents the book’ argument: from the late seventeenth through the eighteenth century, the seemingly antipodal phenomena of war and enlightenment were inextricably connected in a metadiscourse that constituted one of the greatest challenges, debates, and fights for progress of the century. This metadiscourse was born of “the Enlightenment” as a discursive context and a contemporary acceptance of war as an inevitable part of human society and as necessary for sovereign states both in terms of reputation and success in a colonial, mercantilist age. Facing the exorbitant costs of global warfare and growing moral criticism, agents of the Military Enlightenment sought to make “good war” in two ways. First, to wage war when necessary and to do so effectively and efficiently while sparing costs and precious resources of the fiscal-military state, especially manpower. Second, to wage war humanely to reflect the compassion, rationality, and dignity of the human race.

Keywords:   The Enlightenment, The Military Enlightenment, Metadiscourse on war, Colonialism, Mercantilism, Continental wars, Global wars, Fiscal-military State, Good war, Humane war

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