New Ideals of Peace, April 16, 1907

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We sometimes forget, in all our talk about war and its glittering paraphernalia, that, after all, it represents a series of ideas and emotions which have been very dear to men from the beginning of time. In the same way that the Historic Church has called to its aid the music, the Cathedral, the procession, the glittering paraphernalia, which strive in vain to express in solid form the noblest aspirations of the human heart, so War has called to its aid the music, the procession, the -- I was going to say the impression on the human mind of courage, of readiness to die, of willingness to give up all, for the sake of patriotism or an abstract idea. All through the centuries, whether men were driven in tribes by the pangs of hunger to find land and food outside of their own territory, whether they were driven by dynastic ambitions, by [page 2] religious views, by imperial fancy, by national honors, they have clothed warfare in high sounding language and it has had behind it noble emotions and noble efforts.

Now, if we would for a moment dream that we could compete with those historic painters, if we can turn into their <other> channels the waters which have flown so long in these heroic channels, then we must put ourselves to it to discover those ideas, to let loose those emotions, to find something else which shall seem as strenuous, which shall seem as heroic, which shall seem as noble, as honorable and as well [worthwhile] as this long struggle of warfare has been. If we would proceed as has been done so many times this morning with industrial reforms, then we might take a short, historic, backward look again, and see that in the beginning the men went out to get food, to get the raw material, and bring it back into the tribe that women might work it into available form, that they might work up the skins of the wild animals, work the wild creatures into clothing and into proper food, and all the rest of it; that she did her part in quite as positive a way as man did, but she did it, of course, in isolation, one family after another being cared for [by] one woman after another, and [page 3] only occasionally did they come together in the mutual path task; while the men were more or less driven into an interrelation, and quite naturally as they developed what they called the army, it buoyed them up, and the bigger the army, the more sure they were that their cause was virtuous and righteous.

Now, if during the one hundred years or two hundred years industry has become socialized, if people are for the first time, working in large numbers, more or less under one group, why has it not been that women have not been able in this industrial vision of an old historic role, to bring into this industrial process, into this tremendous effort to adequately clothe and feed the world, something of the heroism, something of the charm, something of the up-lift (if I may use that word, which has become a term of reproach in our city, it has so long associated itself with war) -- shall we say that Imagination has not been equal to the task, shall we say that she has not realized the opportunity that was before her, shall we say that only now she is rising to a consciousness of what might have been done, in the mighty domain of the education of children and all that side of life; That it is as noble as the procuring of food, or the protection of the family, or any of the other fine phrases which have become associated with warfare. [page 4]

I think it was Ruskin who used to say: "If the first cannon which was fired in a British war should demolish all the china in every woman's china closet throughout England, England would never have another war." Now, let me say that if the first cannon to be fired in the next war, should bring to the heart of every woman throughout the two nations involved, the consciousness that it was going to kill little children, that because they were deprived of their fathers, because they might be deprived of their homes, as they have been in South Africa and in dozens of other cases, that these children were going to be literally killed, by the firing of this cannon, let us say that if these women foresaw that, with the same sense of shock as if they realized [illegible] the destruction of their china, might ensue from the firing of [illegible] a cannon, do we believe that there would be another war? Of course there would not be another war. Our imaginations are feeble. They are totally inadequate, and they are [illegible] lagging behind the operations of the moment. Where are the poets and the musicians to help us to raise this fine thing we call inspirational imagination? They too, lag behind. And so, while our morals are changing, they do not rise to the occasion which the great organization of the industry offers at the present moment, -- which the great opportunity of women, as they are coming out into live relations [page 5] to society and the world, might give them, if they felt again that old family affection, that desire to protect and rear little children, which they have had so long in isolation, but which they hesitate to bring to bear [illegible] as a moral force, on the current situation. Personally, I do not believe that the [glamour] of war should <will> ever pass to the other side of construction and conservation, that it will ever seem as heroic as war has seemed throughout the ages, [illegible] unless we can do something of this sort. Why do we not do it? Is it because women have been isolated? Because they have been lacking in the arduous and forward step that the army has afforded to the men? Because they have not talked about those deeper things? Because they have not made that social advance? Because they have been content, [illegible] <as they> always have been, to rule as a social force?

Mrs. Nathan has referred to a meeting held in Berlin last September, when fourteen nations agreed that women should not work more than eight hours a day. Let us imagine these fourteen nations entering into some fine, generous, industrial rivalry; let us imagine their meeting and saying to the women of all countries that it interferes with their maternal duties, let us imagine that the whole industrial world has been so unveiled that when we see some structural iron workers building a bridge, we will realize that <as> many of them are [page 6] going to wounds and death, as the men who fall in battle, -- the same percentage almost exactly of men who fall in battle during actual engagements, so that we will look at them not merely as men building a bridge, but as part of the industrial heroism of the world. We will understand that this great industrial process will not go on unregulated and uncared for. That we are failing to do the things which we have always done, because industry, forsooth, has suddenly taken on its large form. That we are dull, stupid, and untaught and are failing to put into it the historic feelings, the ambitions that fine courage and attachment, which we could easily bring to it, which could easily lift it up and make it a tremendous national motive for work and efficiency if we but seized the opportunity. So, in a great movement like this, we men and women meet together to consider seriously what can be done in [the] advance of peace. This makes us long to pour into it something of the dynamic power which has so long belonged to war, something of that [glamour], which [Tolstoy] declares adheres in the army, so that when men hear a certain beat of the drum they leave everything and follow the call. Cannot we formulate a call in the industrial service? Cannot we say that women will come back to their own traditional role in society, by a war cry if you please, by ideas that this industrial process shall be heard, which [page 7] has always been and which shall be carried on in a way that is worthy of the beginning. Wherever we compete with this old enemy of industry and home, the old thing which we call war, which many of us believe is passing, and which may pass into sordidness and materialism, or may pass leaving <us> nerved to a finer endeavor than war itself could possibly stand for. (Applause)