The Triumphs of Peace

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The Triumphs of Peace

By Herman Kuehn.

My good comrade J. C Northrop thinks he understands history because he knows somewhat about the history of wars. "Peace hath her triumphs no less renowned than war," but written history does not contribute to that renown. Nevertheless one who takes stock of human progress can readily supply the deficiencies of printed histories. Let me cite for the good comrade's benefit, and for the benefit of such others "whom it may concern," that abolition of imprisonment for debt was not brought about by war. Nor was the revolution involved in the discovery of the art of printing from movable type. Nor was the separation of church from state. Nor the revolution in thought which has made us progress a thousand years in the decade in which Darwin and Huxley were busy. Nor was war an incident of the revolution which resulted in gradual excision of the medical functions of the state; and 1 might go on to the limits of my space without exhausting incidents of the kind. But even war itself, when that was the resort, was not necessarily the only way, tho it may at the time have appeared so. Slavery at the South was a dying institution. Benjamin Lundy had aroused the moral perception of many slave-owners and some four hundred societies had been formed for voluntary, if gradual, manumission, before the war spirit was inflamed by the effort to coerce the very people who had already made progress toward voluntary action. The revolution of the American colonies from Great Britain would have been bloodless if the people had refused to pay taxes and let it go at that. To resist a claim of the divine right of kings with a good humored laugh is always effective, but when we come to fight the kingly rights, or any other absurdity masquerading under the name of rights, with an assertion of counter-rights war is inevitable, for people will fight harder, lie more strenuously, and endure more patiently for a superstition than for a real thing.

  • Herman Kuehn, “The Triumphs of Peace,” To-Morrow 3, no. 2 (February 1907): 70.