Soldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacificism and the Post War Radical Peace Movement by Thomas F. CurranSoldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacificism and the Post War Radical Peace Movement by Thomas F. Curran

Soldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacificism and the Post War Radical Peace Movement

byThomas F. Curran

Hardcover | April 1, 2003

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Historians have tended to dismiss pacifism and the peace movement of the Civil War era, arguing that most Americans believed in the war as an answer to the crisis of secession.
This groundbreaking book offers a much needed new perspective on role played by pacifism during and after Civil War era. Thomas Curran focuses on the "perfectionist pacifists", a group of northerners whose views on Christian perfection and obligation forced them to take an extreme pacifist stance during the War. Curran tracks wartime opposition into the postwar years, when the perfectionists united to create the Universal Peace Union (UPU), America's most radical peace organization of the late nineteenth century.

In this respect, the UPU represented a continuation of the optimistic perfectionism found in the reform movements of the antebellum era, a sentiment that some historians have argued became a victim of the horrors of the Civil War and its aftermath.

The UPU became involved in a range of causes, including Reconstruction, Native American rights, labor relations, and women's rights. Through the UPU the perfectionists sought to reform all aspects of society to their understanding of the laws of God--a continuation of the optimistic perfectionism found in the reform movements of the antebellum era.

Although the UPU had successes during its forty-seven years of operation, it ultimately failed to achieve its idealistic agenda. In Curran's fresh, insightful account, this story shines light on the limitations, often self-imposed, that many reform groups face in achieving their goals.

Thomas F. Curran is Assistant Professor in the History at Saint Louis University. He has published articles in Civil War History, Journal of Church and State, Missouri Historical Review, and West Virginia History.
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Title:Soldiers of Peace: Civil War Pacificism and the Post War Radical Peace MovementFormat:HardcoverDimensions:228 pagesPublished:April 1, 2003Publisher:Fordham University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0823222101

ISBN - 13:9780823222100

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Editorial Reviews

Soldiers of Peace is an excellent account of a select group of Civil War-generation pacifists who were active both during and after the conflict. It is must reading for anyone interested in the history of American peace movements.