New England Non-Resistance Society

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The New England Non-Resistance Society was founded at a special peace convention organized by William Lloyd Garrison, in Boston in September 1838.[1] Leading up to the convention, conservative members of the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Peace Society expressed discomfort with Garrison's philosophy of "non-resistance" and inclusion of women in public political activities. After conservative attendees opposing Garrison walked out of the convention in protest, those remaining formed the New England Non-Resistance Society.

In the Society’s “Declaration of Sentiments” Garrison wrote, "any person without distinction of sex or color, who consents to the principles of this Constitution may become a member and be entitled to speak at its meetings."[1] Twenty of the forty-four signers of the Society’s Declaration were women.[2]

The Society condemned the use of force in resisting evil, in war, for the death penalty, or in self-defense, renounced allegiance to human government, and because of the anti-slavery cause, favored non-union with the American South.

Edmund Quincy (1808-1877), Maria Weston Chapman and William Lloyd Garrison, published the Non-Resistant (1839 - 1840), which lasted only two years but was indicative of the millennial character of parts of the reform movement.[3]

Among the members were: Adin Ballou, Amos Bronson Alcott, C.C. Burleigh, Maria Weston Chapman, Stephen Symonds Foster, Abby Kelley, Mary Johnson, Samuel May, Parker Pillsbury, William P. Powell (African American leader) of New Bedford, Sarah Southwick, Thankful Southwick, Hannah Stickney, Anne Weston, Henry C. Wright.


  1. ^ a b Peter Brock Pacifism in the United States, from the Colonial era to the First World War. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1968. (p. 539-42)
  2. ^ Yellin, Jean Fagan. 1994. The Abolitionist Sisterhood: Women's Political Culture in Antebellum America. Philadelphia: Library Company of Philadelphia.
  3. ^ Malone, Dumas, ed. 1935. Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. VIII, pp. 306 - 307. New York: Scribner’s.