The Underside of War: The African American Challenge to Just War Theory

Ryan P. Cumming, Loyola University Chicago


African Americans have participated in every major American war but have often been sharply critical of the US's role in particular wars throughout history. Their evaluation of war is markedly different from the analyses done by many modern just war theorists, and can yield significant insights for interpreting the justice of war today. In particular, the work of African Americans since the late 1800s poses questions for the jus ad bellum criteria of authority, proportionality, and just cause which, while novel, can be found in neglected aspects of the classical just war tradition.