TOWARDS THE PEACE THAT SHALL LAST
SOCIETY has probably never before been self-conscious enough to note carefully the subtle reactions of war, inevitably disastrous to the humane instincts which have been asserting themselves in the social order.
WHATEVER the outcome of the conflict, the people of the New World are concerned that certain things in the civilization of Europe and in each of the warring countries, shall not perish.
THOUGH the United States must, as a non-combatant nation, maintain a neutral attitude, so much is at stake in both war and reconstruction, that on the day when, as President Wilson has said, the nations of Europe come together for settlement, Americans should, as freemen and democrats and peace-lovers, express themselves in some affirmative way.
THIS statement of principles is the outgrowth of meetings through which some of those who deal with the social fabric, sought in humbleness and quiet to clarify their minds and make ready to act in concert. [page 2]
SOON after the outbreak of the war, a number of men and women met at the Henry Street Settlement in New York, to consider its effects not only in the belligerent countries but in the neutral countries as well.
At a second conference in midwinter, there was abundant confirmation of the forecasts made six months before, of retardation to those movements for the progress of mankind which had been gaining impetus in all lands. All over the world are appearing the proper and expected signs of a throwback.
It was felt to be a duty to break silence and voice convictions. The following, as individuals, found common footing in this declaration:
The initiative of the meetings, and the purpose in the minds of those who called them, was expressed in a letter of invitation, from which the paragraphs on the cover of this pamphlet are taken. It was issued in the names of Jane Addams, Lillian D. Wald, and Paul U. Kellogg.
An informal committee has been organized with Miss Wald as chairman. [page 3]
TOWARDS THE PEACE THAT SHALL LAST
AT EVERY stage of warfare in the past, men and women in all nations have endeavored to abate and lessen it. Their repeated endeavors have been answered by repeated wars, until the present war in Europe completes the works of death, desolation, and tyranny.
IN SPITE of this, these protests against war are destined to succeed; as once before in the history of the race, the sentiment of pity, of respect for human life, called a halt to senseless slaughter.
THERE came a time in the history of the Greek and Jewish people when a few set their faces against human sacrifice as a religious rite of their highest faith, -- bound up, like our wars, with old fealties and solemn customs and with their most desperate fears. Humble men and women, out of sheer affection for their kind, revolted. In face of persecution and ridicule, they warned their countrymen that in pouring human blood upon altars to the gods, they wrought upon their kind more irreparable wrong than any evil against which they sought to [forfend]. Finally, there came to be enough people with courage and pity sufficient to carry a generation with them; and human sacrifice became a thing of the past.
IT TOOK the human race many centuries to rid itself of human sacrifice; during many centuries more it relapsed again and again in periods of national despair. So have we fallen back into warfare, and perhaps will fall back again and again, until in self-pity, in self-defense, in self-assertion of the right of life, not as hitherto, a few, but the whole people of the world, will brook this thing no longer.
OUR RIGHT TO PROTEST
BY THAT opportunity, now ours as never before, to weigh the case against war and to draw the counts from burning words spoken by those who protest and who are of all peoples -- we make single judgment and complete indictment.
BY THAT GOOD FORTUNE which has placed us outside the conflict; by that ill fortune by which the belligerent and his rights have heretofore bestrode the world; by mine-strewn channels, and by international codes which offer scant redress -- we speak as people of a neutral nation.
BY THE UNEMPLOYED of our water-fronts, and the augmented misery of our cities; by the financial depression which has curtailed our school building and crippled our works of good-will; by the sluicing of human impulse among us from channels of social development to the back-eddies of salvage and relief -- we have a right to speak.
BY THE HOT ANGER and civil strife that we have known; by our pride, vain-glory, and covetousness; by the struggles we have made for [page 4] national integrity and [defense] of our hearthstones; by our consciousness that every instinct and motive and ideal at work in this war, however lofty or however base, has had some counterpart in our national history and our current life -- we can speak a common language.
BY THAT COMRADESHIP among nations which has made for mutual understanding; by those inventions which have bound us in communication and put the horrors of war at our doors; by the mechanical contrivances which multiply and intensify those horrors; by the quickening human sympathies which have made us sensitive to the hurts of others -- we can speak as fellow-victims of this great oppression.
BY OUR HERITAGE from each embattled nation; by our debt to them for languages and faiths and social institutions; for science, scholarship, and invention; by the broken and desolated hearts that will come to us when the war ends; by our kinships and our unfeigned friendships -- we can speak as brothers.
BY ALL THESE THINGS, we hold the present opportunity for conscience-searching and constructive action to be an especial charge upon us; upon the new-comers among us from the fatherlands; and upon the joint youth of all the peoples of the two Americas.
WHAT WAR HAS DONE AND IS DOING
WAR HAS brought low our conception of the preciousness of human life as slavery brought low our conception of human liberty.
IT HAS BENUMBED our growing sense of the nurture of life; and at a time when we were challenging Reichstag, Parliament and Congress with the needlessness of infant mortality and child labor, it entrenches a million youths with cold and fever and impending death.
IT HAS THWARTED the chance of our times towards the [fulfillment] of life, and scattered like burst shrapnel the hands of the sculptors and the violinists, the limbs of the hurdlers and the swimmers, the sensitive muscles of the mechanics and the weavers, the throats of the singers and the interpreters, the eyes of the astronomers and the melters -- every skilled and prescient part of the human body, every type of craft and competence of the human mind.
IT HAS SET BACK our promptings towards the conservation of life; and in a decade when England and France and Russia, Germany and Austria and Belgium, have been working out social insurance against the hazards of peace, it throws back upon the world an unnumbered company of the widowed and the fatherless, and of aged parents left bereft and destitute.
IT HAS BLOCKED our way towards the ascent of life, and in a century which has seen the beginnings of effort to upbuild the common stock, has cut off from parenthood the strong, the courageous and the high-spirited. [page 5]
IT HAS in its development of armaments, pitted human flesh against machinery.
IT HAS wrested the power of self-defense from the hands of freemen who wielded lance and sword and scythe, and has set them as machine-tenders to do the bidding of their masters.
IT HAS BROUGHT strange men to the door-sills of peaceful people; men like their own men, bearing no grudges one against another; men snatched away from their fields and villages where their fathers lie buried, to kill and burn and destroy till this other people are driven from their homes of a thousand years or sit abject and broken.
IT HAS STRIPPED farms and ruined self-sustaining communities, and poured into a bewildered march for succor, the crippled and aged and bedridden, the little children and the women great with child unborn.
IT HAS SET vast areas at the task of rehabilitating economic gains won through centuries of struggle and sacrifice; and not until then will they be free to think not merely of living, but of better life.
IT HAS RAZED the flowing lines in which the art and aspiration of earlier generations expressed themselves, and has thus waged war upon the dead.
IT HAS TORTURED and twisted the whole social fabric of the living.
IT HAS BURDENED our children and our children's children with a staggering load of debt.
IT HAS INUNDATED the lowlands of the world's economy with penury and suffering unreckonable, hopelessly depressing standards of living already much too low.
IT HAS RENT and trampled upon the net-work of world [cooperation] in trade and craftsmanship which had made all men fellow-workers.
IT HAS WHETTED a lust among neutral nations to profit by furnishing the means to prolong its struggles.
IT HAS BLASTED our new internationalism in the protection of working women and children.
IT HAS DISTRACTED our minds with the business of destruction and stayed the forward reach of the builders among men.
IT HAS CONSCRIPTED physician and surgeon, summoning them from research and the prolongation of life to the patchwork of its wreckage.
IT HAS SUCKED into its blood and mire our most recent conquests over the elements -- over electricity and air and the depths of ocean, and has prostituted our prowess in engineering, chemistry, and technology, to the service of terror and injury.
IT HAS BENT our achievements in transportation into runways, so that neither volcanoes nor earthquakes, nor the rat-holes of famine, but only the plagues can match war in unbounded disaster. [page 6]
IT HAS in its compulsory service made patriotism a shell, empty of liberty.
IT HAS SET UP the military independent of and superior to the civil power.
IT HAS SUBSTITUTED arbitrary authority and the morals of foot-loose men who escape identity in the common uniform, for the play of individual conscience, and that social pressure which in household and village, in neighborhood and state, makes for individual responsibility, for decency, and fair play.
IT HAS BATTENED on apathy, unintelligence and helplessness such as surrender the judgment and volition of nations into a few hands; and has nullified rights and securities, such as are of inestimable value to the people and formidable to tyrants only.
IT HAS THREATENED the results of a hundred martyrdoms and revolutions, and put in jeopardy those free governments which make possible still newer social conquests.
IT HAS CRUSHED under iron heels the uprisings of civilization itself.
IT HAS turned the towers of art and science into new Babels, so that our philosophers, and men of letters, our physicists and geographers, our economists and biologists and dramatists, speak in strange tongues, and to hate each other has become a holy thing among them.
IT HAS MADE [werewolves] of neighboring peoples, in the imaginations of each other.
IT HAS SET faithful against faithful, priest against priest, prayers against prayers for that success of one army which means slaughter of both.
IT HAS PUT its stamp upon growing boys and girls, and taught them to hate other children who have chanced to be born on the other side of some man-made boundary.
IT HAS MASSED and exploded the causes of strife, fostering religious antagonisms and racial hates, inbreeding with the ugliest strains of commercialism, perverting to its purposes the increase of over-dense populations and their natural yearning for new opportunities for enterprise and livelihood.
IT HAS NOT only shattered men's breasts, but loosened the black fury of their hearts; so that in rape, and cruelty, and rage, we have ancient brutishness trailing at the heels of all armies.
IT HAS FOUND a world of friends and neighbors, and substituted a world of outlanders and aliens and enemies.
IT HAS BURNED itself into men's souls as an evil fact of life, to be accepted along with every other good and evil; instead of what it is, -- a survival of barbarism which can and should be ended.
IT HAS VIOLATED the finer sensibilities of the race, and weakened our claim upon them for the betterment of the conditions under which people live. [page 7]
IT HAS GIVEN the lie to the teachings of missionaries and educators, and will stay civilization in the uttermost parts of the earth.
IT HAS LESSENED the number of those who feel the joys and sorrows of all peoples as of their own.
IT HAS STRANGLED truth and paralyzed the power and wish to face it, and has set up monstrous and irreconcilable myths of self-justification.
IT HAS MUTILATED the human spirit.
IT HAS BECOME a thing which passeth all understanding.
WE HAVE heard the call from overseas of those who have appealed to men and women of good-will in all nations to join with them in throwing off this tyranny upon life.
WE MUST GO FURTHER; we must throw open a peace which shall be other than a shadow of old wars and a prelude to new. We do more than plead with men to stay their hands from killing. We hail living men. As peace-lovers, we are charged with the sanctity of human life; as democrats and freemen we are charged with its sovereignty.
BY THE EIGHT MILLION natives of the warring states living among us without malice or assault one upon another, let us leave the occasions of fighting no longer for idle war boards to decide.
BY THE BLOW OUR forebears struck at barbarism when they took vengeance out of private hands, let us wrest the manufacture of armaments and deadly weapons from the gun-mongers and powder-makers who gain by it.
BY THOSE ELECTRIC currents that have cut the ground from under the old service of diplomacy, and spread the new intelligence, let us put the ban upon intrigue and secret treaties.
FOR WE HOLD that not soldiers, nor profit-takers, nor diplomats, but the people who suffer and bear the brunt of war, should determine whether war must be; that with ample time for investigation and publicity of its every cause and meaning, with recourse to every avenue for mediation and settlement abroad, war should come only by the slow process of self-willing among men and women who solemnly publish and declare it to be a last and sole resort.
WITH OUR treatied borderland, 3000 miles in length without fort or trench from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which has helped weld us for a century of unbroken peace with our neighbors to the north, we would spread faith not in entrenched camps but in open boundaries.
WITH THE PACTS of our written constitutions before us which bind our own sovereign states in amity, we are convinced that treaty-making may be lifted to a new and inviolable estate, and lay the foundations for that world organization which for all time shall make for peace upon earth and good-will among men.
WITH OUR EXPERIENCE in lesser conflicts in industrial life, which have none the less embraced groups as large as armies, have torn passions, and rasped endurance to the uttermost, we can bear testimony [page 8] that at the end of such strife as cleaves to the heart of things, men are disposed to lay the framework of their relations in larger molds than those which broke beneath them.
WITH OUR NINETY MILLION people drawn from Alpine and Mediterranean, Danubean, Baltic and Slavic stocks; with a culture blended from these different affluents, we hold that progress lies in the predominance of none; and that the civilization of each nation needs to be refreshed by that cross-breeding with the genius and the type of other human groups, that blending which began on the coast lands and islands of the Aegean Sea where European civilization first drew its sources from the Euphrates and the Nile.
WITH MEMORIES of the tyranny which provoked our Revolution, with the travail still upon us by which we in our turn have paid for the enslavement of a people, with the bitterness only now assuaged which marked our period of mistrust and reconstruction, we bear witness that boundaries should be set where not force, but justice and consanguinity direct; and that, however boundaries fall, liberty and the flowering-out of native cultures should be secure.
WITH OUR FAIR CHALLENGE to the spirit of the East and to the chivalry of the West in standing for the open door in China when that Empire, now turned Republic, was threatened by dismemberment, we call for the freeing of the ports of every ocean from special privilege based on territorial claims, throwing them open with equal chance to all who by their ability and energy can serve new regions to their mutual benefit.
WITH THE FAITH we have kept with Cuba, the regard we have shown for the integrity of Mexico and our preparations for the independence of the Philippine Islands, we urge the framing of a common colonial policy which shall put down the predatory exploitation that has embroiled the West and oppressed the East, and shall stand for an opportunity for each latent and backward race to build up according to its own genius.
BY OUR FULL CENTURY of ruthless waste of forest, ore, and fuel; by the vision which has come to us in these later days of conserving to the permanent uses of the people, the water-power and natural wealth of our public domain, we propose the laying down of a planetary policy of conservation.
BY THAT TEDIUM and monotony of life and labor for vast companies of people, which when war drums sound, goads the field worker to forsake his harvest and the wage-earner to leap from his bench, we hold that the ways of peace should be so cast as to make stirring appeal to the heroic qualities in men, and give common utterance to the rhythm and beauty of national feeling.
BY THE JOY of our people in the conquest of a continent; by the rousing of all Europe, when the great navigators threw open the new Indies and the New World, we stand for such a scheming-out of our joint existence that the achieving instincts among men, not as one nation against another, nor as one class against another, but as one generation after another, shall have freedom to come into their own.