Pacifism in the United States

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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 to nuclear weapons). In general, it exists in contrast to an acceptance of the necessity of war for national defense.[1]

Pacifist ideas[edit]

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.


War of 1812[edit]

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

Civil War[edit]

World War I[edit]

World War II[edit]

Korean War[edit]

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

Vietnam War[edit]

2001 Afghanistan War[edit]

Iraq War[edit]

See also[edit]


  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.


Mary McDowell & Jane Addams campaign for peace in 1920s

Published in 20th century[edit]


Published in 21st century[edit]



External links[edit]