Lokashakti Library of Nonviolence, Peace, and Social Justice

JANE ADDAMS ON PEACE, WAR, AND INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING

1899-1932

Jane Addams

Jane AddamsProgressive reformer and social work pioneer Jane Addams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1931) and a staunch advocate for women's rights. She was also an outspoken advocate for peace; some of her thoughts and writings on war and peace are collected in this volume by her biographer Allen F. Davis.


Selected excerpts

Page numbers refer to the edition published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London, 1976

  • “In the end, war must be adjudicated with the original causes as a factor, but we are getting further away from the original causes every day, and more and more the conduct of the war is modifying its aim.” (p. 107, from "A Man")
  • “Private profits accruing from the great armament factories are a powerful hindrance to the abolition of war, and we therefore urge as a first step that governments agree to the nationalization of arms and munitions.” (p. 221)
  • “When Massachusetts some years ago attempted to minimize the sale of firearms, especially to minors, word came to the legislature from the US War Department that such legislation would be unfortunate because it was desirable to keep up the sales of small-arms factories so that they might be going concerns in case of war and able to manufacture arms for the US government.” (p. 221, from an interview with NBC, How to build a peace program)
  • “Is blood-letting a sufficiently modern remedy in such a diagnosis? (p. 145, from Patriotism and Pacifists in War Time)
  • “In 1798, when the French Revolution had pulled most of Europe into war, George Washington, who was then President - perhaps because he was so enthusiastic over our Supreme Court - refused to yield to the clamor of his countrymen to go to war on the side of France, our recent friend, against Great Britain, our recent enemy, and sent Chief Justice John Jay over to London to adjust the difficulties which had arisen in connection with our shipping. Because John Jay was successful in his mission, George Washington became for the time so unpopular that he publicly expressed the wish that he had never been born… Four years later, when France violated our neutral rights on the seas, John Adams, as President, sent commissioners to Paris who adjudicated the matter. Although keeping the peace made Adams so unpopular that he failed of his second term, many years later, as an old man, he said that his tombstone might well be inscribed with the words: 'He kept the peace with France'” (p. 143, from Patriotism and Pacifists in War Time, June 16, 1917)
  • “With visions of international justice filling our minds, pacifists are always a little startled when those who insist that justice can only be established by war, accuse us of caring for peace irrespective of justice. Many of the pacifists in their individual and corporate capacity have long striven for social and political justice with a fervor perhaps equal to that employed by the advocates of force, and we realize that a sense of justice has become the keynote to the best political and social activity in this generation. Although this ruling passion for juster relations between man and man, group and group, or between nation and nation, is not without its sterner aspects, among those who dream of a wider social justice throughout the world there has developed a conviction that justice, between men or between nations can be achieved only through understanding and fellowship, and that a finely tempered sense of justice, which alone is of any service in modern civilization, cannot be secured in the storm and stress of war. This is not only because war inevitably arouses the more primitive antagonisms, but because the spirit of fighting burns away all of those impulses, certainly towards the enemy, which foster the will to justice.” -(pp. 147-148, from Patriotism and Pacifists in War Time, June 16, 1917)

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