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Pacifism has manifested in the United States in a variety of forms (such as peace movements), and in myriad contexts (such as opposition to the Civil War and the 2014 Ferguson unrest). In general, it exists in contrast to an acceptance of the necessity of war and violence.[1]


Pacifist ideasEdit

In early America religious groups such as the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers disseminated "antiwar sentiments...fostered by a growing colonial aversion to the carnage of the European imperial wars."[2]

In the 1930s influential theologian Reinhold Niebuhr rejected overly idealist pacifism as "perverse sentimentality," in favor of just war.[3]

In contrast to pacifism based on religious beliefs, some in the U.S. have opposed violent conflict on economic grounds, or for other practical, non-religious reasons.[2]

U.S. Congress created the United States Institute of Peace in 1984 to promote international peace through education.

Pacifism and civil unrestEdit

Pacifism and state armed conflictEdit

War of 1812Edit

The war ended in February 1815. Peace groups formed shortly thereafter: the New York Peace Society (est. August 1815) and Massachusetts Peace Society (est. December 1815).[4]

Civil WarEdit

World War IEdit

World War IIEdit

Korean WarEdit

The American Peace Crusade formed in 1951, in opposition to U.S. involvement in the Korean War.

Vietnam WarEdit

2001 Afghanistan WarEdit

Iraq WarEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ United States Institute of Peace. "Pacifism". Glossary. Washington DC. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ness 2004.
  3. ^ Colm Mckeogh (1997). "Neibuhr's Critique of Pacifism". Political Realism of Reinhold Niebuhr: A Pragmatic Approach to Just War. St. Martin's Press. pp. 22+. ISBN 978-1-349-25891-8.
  4. ^ "Peace Movements in New York". Advocate of Peace. 5. 1844.


Published in 20th centuryEdit

  • Merle Curti (1936). Peace or War: The American Struggle, 1636-1936. New York.
  • Guy Franklin Hershberger (1939). "Pacifism and the State in Colonial Pennsylvania". Church History. 8. JSTOR 3159866.
  • Peter Brock (1968). Pacifism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War. Princeton UP.
  • Charles Chatfield (1970). "World War I and the Liberal Pacifist in the United States". American Historical Review. 75. JSTOR 1848023.
  • C. Chatfield (1971). For peace and justice: Pacifism in America, 1914-1941. University of Tennessee Press
  • Charles DeBenedetti (1984). The Peace Reform in American History. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-20320-5.
  • L.S. Witner (1984). Rebels against war: The American peace movement, 1933-1983. Temple University Press, Philadelphia
  • Charles F. Howlett; Glen Zeitzer (1985). The American Peace Movement: History and Historiography. American Historical Association. ISBN 978-0-87229-032-7.
  • Ward Churchill (1986), Pacifism as Pathology: Notes on an American Pseudopraxis
  • Rob Kroes (1986). "Pacifism as an Un-American Activity". Revue française d'études américaines (29). ISSN 0397-7870 – via Persée.  


Published in 21st centuryEdit



External linksEdit