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CHAPTER NINE Peace, Church Unity, and the Social Gospel Of the various professional groups represented among partici­ pants in the early twentieth century peace movement, the clergy, by its continued presence, seemed most to lend the movement a semblance of continuity. But even in the realm of clerical partici­ pation, the tide of internal revolution that surged through the peace movement between 1898 and 1918 produced ample waves of change. Since clerical interest in peace expressed itself, some­ what uniquely, in active but dissimilar peace organizations both before and after 1915, the story of evolving clerical attitudes can best be recounted by retracing the several phases of the peace movement already chronicled in the preceding eight chapters. An account of the clergymen and their peace organizations may thus serve not only to delineate the interrelationships between the peace movement and the more immediate interests of various fac­ tions of clergymen, but also to provide a r0sum0, from a new perspective, of the peace movement's transformations and tribulations. Even for the clergy, participation in the new peace movement of the twentieth century often involved a sense of discovery, a consciousness of having seized upon a suddenly relevant reform. Although Protestant clergymen and leading laymen had provided much support for the struggling peace societies in the United States for nearly a century, their organized participation in the peace movement after 1910 represented a new realization of how this cause might relate to current problems and movements with­ in the churches. It is true that the clergy did not enter the peace movement in so dramatic a way as did the woman suffragists, the social workers, or the Socialists. In contrast to these groups the clergy's participation during the two decades after 1898 appears at first to have been more constant, and therefore, perhaps, less affected by considerations of tactics and expediency. But the ap­ pearance of continuity of support and participation by the clergy is, to some extent, a deceptive one. For it was not the same clergy­ men or the same factions of the clergy who were most deeply in- 324—The American Peace Movement 8c Social Reform volved in each successive phase of the peace movement between 1898 and 1918. The new, organized attention which the clergy gave to the peace movement after 1910, particularly through the Church Peace Union and the Commission on Peace and Arbitration of the Fed­ eral Council of Churches of Christ in America, should more accu­ rately be termed a "rediscovery." The earliest peace societies in the United States, established in the wake of the War of 1812, had been explicitly "Christian" in character. The New York Peace So­ ciety of that early period had required, for membership on the executive committee, the belief that war is inconsistent with Christianity and had demanded that new members of the society be "members in good standing of evangelical churches." The Mas­ sachusetts Peace Society of the same era had included "an impos­ ing array of ministers of religion." The two major early leaders, David Low Dodge and Noah Worcester were, respectively, an elder in the Presbyterian Church and a Unitarian minister. Most of the second echelon of early leadershad been clergymen.1 Clergymen had continued to play a prominent role in the lead­ ership of peace organizations throughout the nineteenth century. At the turn of the twentieth century, over a third of the vice-pres­ idents and almost half of the directors of the largest peace society, the American Peace Society, were clergymen. Many of the nonclergymen were prominent and devout laymen. The Lake Mohonk Conferences on International Arbitration, instituted by a Quaker layman in 1895, were dominated in the early years by clergymen and editors of religious journals. Card playing, danc­ ing, and drinking were forbidden at the hotel which housed the conference. Morning prayers and services were an integral part of the annual meetings.2 By about 1905 the proportion of clergy1 Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States: From the Colonial Era to the First World War (Princeton 1968), pp. 450-52, 459-69, 472; Merle E. Curti, The American Peace Crusade, 1815-1860 (Durham, N.C. igzg), pp. 8-g, 12-13, 21-23. 2 Ira V. Brown, Lyman Abbott, Christian Evolutionist: A Study in Religious Liberalism (Cambridge, Mass. 1953), p. 89. Between 1895 and 1900, over seventy clergymen participated in the Mohonk Conferences, some attending three or four times during the period. Participants included a number of editors of religious...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400870257
MARC Record
OCLC
933516392
Pages
462
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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