The Anglo-American Peace Movement in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

The Anglo-American Peace Movement in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

The Anglo-American Peace Movement in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

The Anglo-American Peace Movement in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Excerpt

The future is an edifice which man builds with his own hands for his own use. Whether it be weather-proof, habitable, comfortable or beautiful depends upon the skill with which it is built and the materials used in its construction. One day man will have to occupy this structure of his own making; let him, therefore, build with the best that he has in him. To Victor Hugo belongs the simile, but he voiced presumably the thought of many reformers of the nineteenth century. The social and national builders, the dreamers and the workers in this golden age of reform, visualized society, like Matthew Arnold's cultured man, as forever growing and becoming. They considered it was theirs to mould as they saw fit, pliant in their hands, and that it was their mission and their duty to perfect the civilization in which they lived and moved and had their being. They may not have shared the faith of the preceding generation in the perfectibility of man, but they showed unquestioning faith in the perfectibility of human institutions. And they relied on the judgment of the average man, on his intelligence and goodwill; vox populi was to them almost vox dei; in short, they believed in democracy.

One of the many reform movements of the age was the movement for international peace. The builders, -- social, political, economic and moral reformers -- were warned by friends of peace that their work would be in vain unless international reformers were to lay the foundations of their edifice. They were assured that civilization built upon the war system would be like a house built upon sand. To endure, a house should be built upon rock. International . . .

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