Essays and Speeches

From the Antebellum (c.1800-1850) Peace Movement

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The True Grandeur of Nations, by Charles Sumner (1845)

My Country, Right or Wrong, by Joshua R. Giddings (1846)

A Solemn Review of the Custom of War, by Noah Worcester (1814; rev. 1833) [pdf]

A Solemn Appeal, by William Ladd (1834)

Influence of War on Civilization, by Thomas C. Upham (1836)

On War, by William Ellery Channing (1839)

The Moral Results of War, by Jonathan Dymond (1845)

On the Incompatibility of War with Christianity, by David Low Dodge (1815) [pdf]

War a Destroyer of Souls, by George C. Beckwith (1845)

Effect of War on Social Institutions, by George C. Beckwith (1847)


Books (Primary Sources)

Adams, Henry Gardiner. The Peace Reading Book. London: Charles Gilpin, 1844.

Ballou, Adin. Christian Non-Resistance. Philadelphia: J. Miller M'Kim, 1846.

Beckwith, George C. (ed.). The Book of Peace. Boston: George C. Beckwith, 1845.

Beckwith, George C. (ed.) The Peace Manual. Boston: American Peace Society, 1847.

Chalmers, Thomas. Thoughts on Universal Peace. (sermon, 1816). In: Thomas Chalmers, The Works of Thomas Chalmers, Vol. 3. Hartford: George Goodwin, 1822. (pp. 233 262)

Channing, William Ellery. On War (1816). In: William Ellery Channing, The works of William E. Channing. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1877. (pp. 642 653)

Channing, William Ellery. On War (1835). In: William Ellery Channing, The works of William E. Channing. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1877. (pp. 654 664)

Channing, William Ellery. On War (1838). In: William Ellery Channing, The works of William E. Channing. Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1877. (pp. 664 679)

Dodge, David Low. War Inconsistent with the Religion of Jesus Christ. New York: Dodge & Sayre, 1815. [pdf]

Dymond, Jonathan. An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War with the Principles of Christianity. New York: Samuel and William Wood, 1861 (orig. ed. 1823). [pdf]

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. War. (lecture, 1838). In: Ralph Waldo Emerson (author), Edward Waldo Emerson (ed.). The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Centenary Edition), Vol. 11, Miscellanies. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1904. (pp. 149 176).

Giddings, Joshua R. "My Country, Right or Wrong". In: Marion Mills Miller (ed)., Great Debates in American History, Vol. 2 (of 14): Foreign relations, part 1. New York: Current Literature Pub. Co., 1913. (pp. 353 359)

Hall, Robert. Reflections on War (sermon, 1802). In: Robert Hall (author), Olinthus Gregory (ed.), Joseph Belcher (ed.), The Works of the Rev. Robert Hall, Vol. 1 (of 4). New York: Harper, 1849.

Henry, Caleb Sprague. Principles and Prospects of the Friends of Peace. Hartford: J. Hubbard Wells, 1834.

Jerrold, Douglas. "The Folly of the Sword". In: Douglas Jerrold, The Chronicles of Clovernook (with Essays). London, 1846. (pp. 141 - 148).

Ladd, William. Essays on Peace and War. Portland, Maine: A. Shirley, 1827.

Ladd, William. A Brief Illustration of the Principles of War and Peace. Albany: Packard and Van Benthuysen, 1831.

Ladd, William. Solemn Appeal to All Christians in Favor of Peace. In: George C. Beckwith (ed.), The Book of Peace. Boston: American Peace Society, 1845. (pp. 373 392).

Ladd, William; Beckwith, George C. (eds.). Prize Essays on a Congress of Nations. Boston: Whipple and Damrell, 1840.

MacNamara, H. T. J. Peace, Permanent and Universal. London: Saunders and Otley, 1841.

Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace (ed.) All War Antichristian. London: Thomas Ward, 1840. [pdf]

Sumner, Charles. The True Grandeur of Nations. (lecture, 1845). Boston: American Peace Society, 1870. (pp. 5 136)

Sumner, Charles. War System of the Commonwealth of Nations. (lecture, 1849). Boston: American Peace Society, 1870. (pp. 141 136)

Upham, Thomas Cogswell. The Manual for Peace. New York: Leavitt, Lord, 1836.

Whelpley, Samuel. Letters Addressed to Caleb Strong. New York: J. Seymour, 1816. [pdf]

Woolman, John The Journal of John Woolman. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1871 (orig. ed. 1774).

Worcester, Noah ('Philo Pacificus'). A Solemn Review of the Custom of War. Greenfield, Mass.: Ansel Phelps, 1817 (orig. ed. 1814). [pdf].

Books (Secondary Sources)


Around the time of the War of 1812, peace societies arose independently in the United States and England. In the U.S., the Massachusetts Peace Society (MPS), formed by Noah Worcester, and the New York Peace Society, under the leadership of David Low Dodge were especially active. In 1828 a national organization, the American Peace Society (APS) was founded, headed by William Ladd. The MPS, and, later, the APS published regular periodicals, many of which are online today, and which are an excellent resource. They present arguments against war that are as relevant today as when they were first published. Some of the periodicals are shown below:

More informtation about these periodicals can be found on this page of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Home · Religion and Psychology · [Peace Essays]

Last updated: 21 Mar 2011

This edition copyright 2011 John S. Uebersax - May be used freely for noncommercial purposes.