Pacifism in Europe to 1914

Princeton University Press
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In a companion volume to Pacifism in the United States, Peter Brock surveys the history of the pacifist movement in Europe from the beginning of the Christian era to the First World War. His detailed narrative is directed to the activities—and the beliefs that motivated them—of these sects in particular: the Czech Brethren of the late Middle Ages; the radical Anabaptists of the Protestant Reformation; their less militant offshoot, the Mennonites; the Quakers of Cromwell's England; and the Tolstoyans of nineteenth-century Russia. Mr. Brock concludes his account with a working definition of normative pacifism, a typology of pacifism, and a discussion of the factors present in the genesis and decay of pacifist groups.

Originally published in 1972.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 8, 2015
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Pages
568
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ISBN
9781400867493
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Although the act of conscientious objection entered modern consciousness most strikingly as a result of the Vietnam War, Americans have long struggled to reconcile their politics, pacifist beliefs, and compulsory military service. While conscientious objection in the twentieth century has been well documented, there has been surprisingly little study of its long history in America's early conflicts, defined as these have been by accounts of patriotism and nation-building. In fact, during the period of conscription from the late 1650s to the end of the Civil War, many North Americans refused military service on grounds of conscience. In this volume, Peter Brock, one of the foremost historians of American pacifism, seeks to remedy this oversight by presenting a rich and varied collection of documents, many drawn from obscure sources, that shed new light on American religious and military history. These include legal findings, church and meeting proceedings, appeals by nonconformists to government authorities, and illuminating excerpts from personal journals. These accounts contain many poignant, often painful, and sometimes even humorous episodes that offer glimpses into the lives of conscientious objectors of the era. One of the most striking features to emerge from these documents is the critical role of religion in the history of American pacifism. Brock finds that virtually all who refused military service in this period were inspired by religious convictions, with Quakers frequently the most ardent dissenters. In the antebellum period, however, the pacifist spectrum expanded to include nonsectarians such as the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the New England Non-Resistance Society. A dramatic, powerful portrait of early American pacifism, Liberty and Conscience presents not only the thought and practice of the objectors themselves, but also the response of the authorities and the general public.
In many modern wars, there have been those who have chosen not to fight. Be it for religious or moral reasons, some men and women have found no justification for breaking their conscientious objection to violence. In many cases, this objection has led to severe punishment at the hands of their own governments, usually lengthy prison terms. Peter Brock brings the voices of imprisoned conscientious objectors to the fore in These Strange Criminals.

This important and thought-provoking anthology consists of thirty prison memoirs by conscientious objectors to military service, drawn from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and centring on their jail experiences either during the first or second world wars or in Cold War America. Voices from history – like those of Stephen Hobhouse, Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, Ian Hamilton, Alfred Hassler, and Donald Wetzel – come alive, detailing the impact of prison life and offering unique perspectives on wartime government policies of conscription and imprisonment. Sometimes intensely moving, and often inspiring, these memoirs show that in some cases, individual conscientious objectors – many well-educated and politically aware – sought to reform the penal system from within either by publicizing its dysfunction or through further resistance to authority. The collection is an essential contribution to our understanding of criminology and the history of pacifism, and represents a valuable addition to prison literature.

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