The Maintenance of Peaceby S. C. Vestal

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<ul><li><p>The Maintenance of Peace by S. C. VestalReview by: Carl Russell FishThe American Historical Review, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jan., 1921), pp. 304-305Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical AssociationStable URL: .Accessed: 14/05/2014 16:18</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>Oxford University Press and American Historical Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize,preserve and extend access to The American Historical Review.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 14 May 2014 16:18:49 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>REVIEWS OF BOOKS </p><p>GENERAL BOOKS AND BOOKS OF ANCIENT HISTORY </p><p>The Maintenance of Peace. By S. C. VESTAL, formerly Colonel, 339th Field Artillery, National Army. (New York: G. P. Put- nam's Sons. I920. PP. xiv, 584. $5.oo.) </p><p>THIS is a book neither lightly to be taken up nor lightly to be put aside. It is too long and too cumbrous in its arrangement. Its bulk consists of that terror of the historian, a history of the world con- structed to point to a particular moral, sections of which rest thinly upon inadequate material, as the chapter on the Incas, which is described as a "precis of Book I. of Prescott's Conquest of Peru" (p. 56). It is frequently careless in details, as when Lubbock is described as writing of spiders and Fabre of ants (p. 5), or Washington as leading an army in the field to suppress a rebellion in Pennsylvania (p. 20). But it is founded on broad reading, on deep and earnest thought, and contains much com- mon sense. Its theoretical portions are far inferior to its historical. </p><p>The central idea of the historical review is to trace the fate of the "balance of power ". By this term, which he considers inadequate, Colonel Vestal means not equal balance, but the preponderant balance of smaller or maritime states against land powers seeking world control. Equipoise, or equal balance, the condition existing before the late war, he regards as the greatest menace of peace, but a true balance as the surest bulwark against war. In periods when such a balance has existed he finds conditions favoring the maintenance of peace. Attempts at world empire have proved unsuccessful, or if successful within the range of endeavor, as in the case of the Incas, stagnating. Attempts at 'con- federation, such as the Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy, and the Holy Alliance, have proved abortive. Federation, which he defines as a supergovernment resting and operating directly upon the individual citi- zens of the several states which comprise the federation, he considers at present impossible, whether it be desirable or not. He believes then that the foundations of peace rest upon the existence in the world of strong nations, with strong boundaries, united, either in purpose, or by common declarations, or even by mutual treaties, to oppose the domi- nance of any one nation. He believes that democracy is the strongest basis for domestic peace,,but he points out, in the best-constructed por- tion of the book, that domestic peace has nowhere long existed without the maintenance of armed forces. </p><p>The greatest weakness of his discussion is, as is true of all such discussions, 'not vulgar inaccuracy, but simplicity. He discards all </p><p>(304) </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 14 May 2014 16:18:49 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>Fling: The Writing of History 305 </p><p>forces except that which he believes to be dominant, which may be de- scribed as that of nationality. He fails to mention such vital things as the force of example, of law, either domestic or international, of re- ligion, and barely admits that of economics. His history, moreover, is static, and he feels no real movement in the world. He idealizes the particular force, that Balance which he selects as the world's peace- maker; saying for instance: "No victorious coalition formed for de- fence against a strong usurping power has ever dismembered the de- feated state or wantonly abused its victory in any way" (p. io8). One seeks without result for an explanation of how the force of the majority, which in the case of nations is transmuted into power by organization, is, in the case of the world, to become power, without organization. </p><p>But how many of the reviews of history which have of late years been put forward to point the finger of the past directly toward a " Par- liament of Man", have been without similar defects? Most of them were the work of men earnestly hoping that a world league would come, and reviewing the past to convince themselves and others that it was possible. This is a review by a man who believes such a league im- possible, and who has sought in history some other solution for the prob- lem of peace. It is not as historical works that such books are to be evaluated, but as contributions to thought, and the function of the his- torical reviewer is to pass his opinion on, so to speak, the historical grammar. Practically none of these books show authoritative powers of historical interpretation, though many are suggestively interpretive, and none more so than this. Colonel Vestal, as compared with the others, shows a medium degree of accuracy, but quite the widest scope and broadest background of any with which the reviewer is acquainted. His facts, moreover, are facts that most of the others disregard, and by combining his book with some on the other side, a chance for a com- prehensive view and a real personal interpretation of the foundations of peace is afforded, which the average reader might not get by a first-hand reading of sounder general histories. Colonel Vestal, moreover, dis- plays an intellectual activity in his comments which is refreshing, and six pages of quotations from Demosthenes would give distinction to any book (p. I46-I50). Quite apart from its use of history, the book de- serves consideration for its constructive ideas with regard to peace. Its destructive analysis of other proposals now current is almost too ill- natured to be useful. </p><p>CARL RUSSELL FISH. </p><p>The Writing of History: an Introduction to Historical Method. By FRED M. FLING, Ph.D., Professor of European History in the University of Nebraska. (New Haven: Yale University Press. I920. PP. I95. $2.00.) </p><p>IN this little book Professor Fling offers an instructive guide to the student within or without college walls who desires to learn by experi- </p><p>This content downloaded from on Wed, 14 May 2014 16:18:49 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p><p>Article Contentsp. 304p. 305</p><p>Issue Table of ContentsThe American Historical Review, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jan., 1921), pp. 191-412Front MatterAn Historical Retrospect [pp. 191-202]South Russia in the Prehistoric and Classical Period [pp. 203-224]New Light on the Origins of the War, III. Russia and the other Powers [pp. 225-254]A Confederate Diplomat at the Court of Napoleon III [pp. 255-281]Notes and SuggestionsA Caution Regarding Military Documents [pp. 282-284]</p><p>DocumentsGeneral M. C. Meigs on the Conduct of the Civil War [pp. 285-303]</p><p>Reviews of BooksGeneral Books and Books of Ancient HistoryReview: untitled [pp. 304-305]Review: untitled [pp. 305-307]Review: untitled [pp. 307-308]Review: untitled [pp. 309-310]</p><p>Books of Medieval and Modern European HistoryReview: untitled [pp. 310-313]Review: untitled [pp. 313-314]Review: untitled [pp. 314-316]Review: untitled [pp. 316-317]Review: untitled [pp. 318-319]Review: untitled [pp. 319-320]Review: untitled [pp. 321-322]Review: untitled [pp. 322-324]Review: untitled [pp. 324-325]Review: untitled [pp. 326-327]Review: untitled [pp. 327-329]Review: untitled [pp. 329-330]Review: untitled [pp. 331-332]Review: untitled [pp. 332-334]Review: untitled [pp. 334-337]</p><p>Books of American HistoryReview: untitled [pp. 337-338]Review: untitled [pp. 338-340]Review: untitled [pp. 340-341]Review: untitled [pp. 341-344]Review: untitled [pp. 344-345]Review: untitled [pp. 345-347]Review: untitled [pp. 347-348]Review: untitled [pp. 349-350]Review: untitled [pp. 350-351]Review: untitled [pp. 351-352]</p><p>Review: Minor Notices [pp. 353-373]</p><p>Historical News [pp. 374-412]</p></li></ul>