The History of the Woman's Peace Party

The History of the Woman's Peace Party

The History of the Woman's Peace Party

The History of the Woman's Peace Party

Excerpt

In January 1915 a large group of American women, among whom were such distinguished figures as Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt and Fannie Fern Andrews, formed in Washington an organization which struck public opinion as a curious novelty. It was called the Woman's Peace Party--a name which used the word "party" in a non-political sense. If not the first women's peace society in the United States, it was at least the first in this country, and one of the first in the world, to command widespread attention. It was destined in the course of the momentous events with which its dramatic history became intertwined to exert rather considerable influence upon many Americans, men as well as women, to receive the commendation of President Wilson and other statesmen for its plans of international reconstruction, and ultimately, rechristened as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, to figure powerfully among the public pressures shaping the present foreign policy of the United States. At the outset, however, the Woman's Peace Party attracted notice chiefly because a separate women's movement for peace not only was a deviation from tradition but also seemed inherently an odd if not a pointless thing.

The impulse which prompted the women to their unusual undertaking can be understood only with some study of its background, both immediate and distant. The immediate background of the Woman's Peace Party was formed by the first six months of the European War. To a considerable degree the organization was the result of the harassing impact of the World War upon sensitive American women. But some of the forces which led to the organization are to be found, as are the ultimate causes of historical events generally, in the . . .

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