In Gulliver's Travels, what does Gulliver say are the reason for war in England ?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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As Gulliver attempts to explain war to the Houyhnhnms, the gentle horse-like race is at a lost to understand the point of such violence and bloodshed.  Gulliver uses his own country, England, as an example; he briefly gives a description of the Glorious Revolution with William of Orange. Then Gulliver goes into specific reasons why countries go to war:

  • Expansion: Rulers who want more land or power.
  • Corruption of government: Perhaps government officials want to deflect attention away from their own wrong doing.
  • Difference of opinion: Gulliver gives many various examples for this cause to go to war; he mentions everything from whistling to coat color.

Gulliver suggests these additional reasons as well: feuding princes, strong enemies, alliances, and poverty and wealth.


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