The American Peace Crusade, 1815-1860

By Merle Eugene Curti | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This study was originally a doctoral thesis presented to the Department of History at Harvard University. My original intention was to confine the work to the early organized peace movement in America. This was a virtually unworked field, rich in manuscript and printed sources. However, since the work of peace organizations, even in those early years, became increasingly international in scope, it was found inadvisable to limit the study of their activities to the United States. Indeed, at least one American pioneer of peace was more closely identified with the European peace movement than with the American. The activities of this early period may be thought of as essentially crusading in character, so ardent was the zeal not only for making converts at home but for winning Europe to the faith. Hence the emphasis throughout is on the co`peration between American and European friends of peace.

While in England and France the peace movement was broader than the peace societies, including particularly the collateral work of the Free Traders and the Socialists, the movement in America was more closely confined to the labors of the formally organized peace societies. Some communistic societies, it is true, did at least lip service to peace sentiment, and some of the abolitionists adopted, for a time, a non-resistance position. It is also true that, despite our fondness for military presidents, there was considerable latent opposition to militarism. I have not tried to evaluate or analyze this unorganized sentiment against war.

It is my plan to continue the study to the present time, and to emphasize more strongly the European aspects of the later movement. Since the peace movement became much more extensive in this later period I hope to correlate it with economic, social, and cultural forces working towards internationalism, and to gauge the influence of pacifists and internationalists in break-

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