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CHAPTER TEN Conclusion THE brief ascendancy of the People's Council in 1917 and the maturing of the Fellowship of Reconciliation early in 1918 con­ veniently mark the conclusion of the early twentieth century phase of the peace movement in the United States. Activity by these and other organizations continued and the struggle over the League of Nations lay ahead, but by the beginning of 1918 the possibilities of the peace movement's recent course of develop­ ment had been thoroughly explored. The peace movement had gained an impetus during the opening years of the twentieth century from America's increased international involvements. Commercial growth, the SpanishAmerican War, territorial expansion, a ripening crusade for foreign missions, and prospects for an Anglo-American diplomatic rapprochement had all contributed to increased interest in inter­ national relations. The peace movement, now self-consciously "practical" in its programs for a world court and international arbitration and uncritically nationalistic in its vision of a world order reshaped in the American image, had begun increasingly after 1905 to win the support of America's social and political elite. For a decade after 1905 it had remained a highly respecta­ ble and uncontroversial reform movement, enlisting the energies of such professional groups as the international lawyers and at­ tracting businessmen who sought to bolster their images as civic leaders by participating in "forward-looking" philanthropies. Gen­ erously endowed by Edwin Ginn and Andrew Carnegie, the new peace foundations attracted the solicitations of scholars with re­ search programs and of church unity leaders who identified world peace with their own particular goals. Although a great variety of groups had lent at least perfunctory support to the peace movement before 1914, the dominant bias of the movement had been toward the association of peace with stability. To many Americans their nation's increasing interna­ tional involvements not only promised economic benefits and the psychic satisfactions of "world leadership"; they also awakened 382—Conclusion fluttering anxieties about American entanglement in a world still insufficiently civilized and self-restrained. The peace movement expressed optimistic expectations of surmounting the dangers of international instability by reforming the world's international re­ lations and institutions to conform with American models. Peace, in Robert Wiebe's succinct summary, "connoted order and stabil­ ity, the absence of violence, the supremacy of reason and law."1 The identification of peace with order was not unrelated to the predominance of conservatives and moderates in the peace move­ ment in the prewar years. Conservatives occasionally carried the precepts of the peace movement back into their discussions of industrial conflicts, their encomiums of judges and the domestic judicial system, and their general defenses of constitutionalism and legalism. The more radical social reformers of the period, by contrast, were inclined to ignore the prewar peace movement, finding it too abstract, too far removed from pressing internal problems, and too much the province of groups unsympathetic to fundamental social reform. With the outbreak of World War I, the peace movement in the United States began a process of transmutation. Most of the pre­ war peace organizations, continuing to associate peace with or­ der, stability, and the absence of disruptive change, looked ahead to the postwar establishment of a court or league that would ac­ complish such ends. Nationalistic in temper and pro-Allied in sym­ pathies, they remained uncritical of American policies and institu­ tions. Many of them yearned more intently for Germany's total defeat than they did for an early, mediated end to the war. Mean­ while, however, new groups such as the social workers, the wom­ an suffragists, and a few of the social gospelers had come to fear war and military preparedness as threats to the progress of their favored social reforms. Convinced that prolongation of the war and the diversion of funds and public attention to military expan­ sion would undermine their social programs and create a political atmosphere uncongenial to the promotion of their reforms, these groups created new peace organizations that associated peace with social change, reform, and the progress of "democratiza­ tion." By 1915 and 1916 major peace organizations, for the first time in the twentieth century, were calling for the reform of American institutions and American foreign policy. By 1918 the full implications of the new association of peace with fundamental social reform had been explored by such new organizations as the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the People's 1 Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York 1967), p...

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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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