Liberty and Conscience: A Documentary History of the Experiences of Conscientious Objectors in…

Paperback | March 15, 2002

EditorPeter Brock

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Although the act of conscientious objection entered modern consciousness most strikingly as a result of the Vietnam War, Americans have long struggled to reconcile their politics, pacifist beliefs, and compulsory military service. While conscientious objection in the twentieth century has beenwell documented, there has been surprisingly little study of its long history in America's early conflicts, defined as these have been by accounts of patriotism and nation-building. In fact, during the period of conscription from the late 1650s to the end of the Civil War, many North Americansrefused military service on grounds of conscience. In this volume, Peter Brock, one of the foremost historians of American pacifism, seeks to remedy this oversight by presenting a rich and varied collection of documents, many drawn from obscure sources, that shed new light on American religious and military history. These include legal findings,church and meeting proceedings, appeals by nonconformists to government authorities, and illuminating excerpts from personal journals. These accounts contain many poignant, often painful, and sometimes even humorous episodes that offer glimpses into the lives of conscientious objectors of the era.One of the most striking features to emerge from these documents is the critical role of religion in the history of American pacifism. Brock finds that virtually all who refused military service in this period were inspired by religious convictions, with Quakers frequently the most ardentdissenters. In the antebellum period, however, the pacifist spectrum expanded to include nonsectarians such as the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the New England Non-Resistance Society. A dramatic, powerful portrait of early American pacifism, Liberty and Conscience presentsnot only the thought and practice of the objectors themselves, but also the response of the authorities and the general public.

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Although the act of conscientious objection entered modern consciousness most strikingly as a result of the Vietnam War, Americans have long struggled to reconcile their politics, pacifist beliefs, and compulsory military service. While conscientious objection in the twentieth century has beenwell documented, there has been surprisingl...

Peter Brock is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Freedom from Violence: Sectarian Pacifism from the Middle Ages to the Great War as well as many other books and articles on the history of pacifism. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and later served as a volunteer in the...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:March 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195151224

ISBN - 13:9780195151220

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Table of Contents

Part I: Colonial America1. The First Quaker Conscientious Objectors in America, 16582. Rhode Island, 1673: "None to be compelled to train or fight against their consciouses"3. Witnessing to the Quaker Peace Testmony4. Quakers and Naval Impressment5. Conscientious Objectors in the French and Indian WarPart II. English West Indies6. Militia "Sufferings" among Quakers7. Alternative Service and the Quakers of AntiguaPart III: Revolutionary America8. Quaker Militia Penalties9. Dilemmas of a Quaker Tax and Paper Currency Objector10. The German Peace Sects of Pennsylvania and the Draft11. A Peace Sect Wrestles with the Problem of Hiring a Substitute12. The Conscientious Objection of a Methodist Preacher13. The Moravian Brethren and WarPart IV: Upper Canada14. Legislative Exemption for Peace Sects15. Quakers and Military Requisitions, 1810-181716. A Quaker Family in the War of 181217. Quaker Conscientious Objectors in Rural Upper Canada, 1840Part V: The New Republic to Antebellum America18. Continuing Quaker Witness against War, 1801-182419. A Quaker Petition against Militia Conscription, 181020. A Small-Sect Militia Objector21. Pleas for Exemption of Nonsectarian Milita Objectors22. William Lloyd Garrison as a Militia Objector, 182923. Should "Pacific Exempts" Pay Militia Fines?24. Nonsectarian Militia Objectors in Jail25. Dilemmas of Quaker Conscientious Objectors in Antebellum AmericaPart VI: Civil War America26. A Garrisonian Mother and Her Draft-Age Sons27. William Lloyd Garrison and His Son's Exemption from Military Drill at School28. Conscript Dilemmas at the Hopedale Community29. Draft Experiences of a Conscripted Shaker30. The Civil War Diary of a Quaker Conscript31. Trials of a Quaker Conscientious Objector in the Confederate Army32. A Reluctant Conscientious Objector33. A Consistent War-Tax Objector34. A Mennonite Farmer Hires a Substitute35. Brethren and Mennonites as Exiles from the Confederate Draft36. Adventists Confront the Draft37. A Disciple of Christ Goes the Second Mile38. Christadelphians and the Draft

Editorial Reviews

"Peter Brock's fine documentary history is a welcome addition to the scant literature on the history of conscientious objection.Brock's work makes it clear that those who refute the state in the name of transcendent values, today and in the future, are heirs to a rich historical legacy."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion