For the People

A Documentary History of The Struggle for Peace and Justice in the United States

Charles F. Howlett, Molloy College
Robbie Lieberman, Southern Illinois University

A volume in the series: Peace Education. Editor(s): Laura L. Finley, Barry University. Robin Cooper, Nova Southeastern University.

Published 2009

For the People is a historical docutext that examines the evolution of the struggle for peace and justice in America's past, from pre-colonial times to the present. Each chapter begins with a brief historical introduction followed by a series of primary source documents and questions to encourage student comprehension. Sample photographs illustrate the range of peace activists' concerns, while the list of references, focused on the most important works in the field of U.S. peace history, points students toward opportunities for further research.

This is the only historical docutext specifically devoted to peace issues. The interpretive analysis of American peace history provided by the editors makes this more than just an anthology of collected documents. As such, the docutext is an extension and a complement to the editors' recently published popular scholarly survey, A History of the American Peace Movement from Colonial Times to the Present.

A central idea in this work is that peace is more than just the absence of war. The documents, and the analysis that accompanies them, offer fresh perspectives on the ways in which the peace movement became transformed from one simply opposing war to one proclaiming the importance of social, political, and economic equality.

The editors' premise is that the peace movement historically has been a collective attempt by numerous well-intentioned people to improve American society. The book illuminates the ways in which peace activists were often connected to larger reform movements in American history, including those that fought for the rights of working people, for women's equality, and for the abolition of slavery, to name just a few. With a focus on those who spoke out for peace, this docutext is designed to call to students' attention one of the least discussed classroom subjects in American education today. Students in secondary school Social Studies and American history classes as well as those taking college level courses in U.S. history, American Studies, or Peace Studies will find this work an excellent supplementary reader.

Foreword, by Larry Wittner. Introduction. 1 Early Forms of Peace and Justice from Precolonial Times to the Creation of a New Nation. 2 The Organized Movement and the Search for Justice in Antebellum America. 3 Standing Up for the Oppressed in an Age of Expansion. 4 Early 20th Century Peace Efforts and a "Modern" Movement. 5 Radical Pacifism and Economic and Racial Justice. 6 Nonviolent Direct Action for Equality and Disarmament. 7 Protesting Imperialism, Promoting Democracy. 8 A Broad Agenda. Conclusion. Photos. References

"In conclusion, the book is very good for many readers across the world, especially students studying Social Studies and American History as well as those studying Peace and Conflict Studies. It would also be a positive contribution to the global field of Peace Studies if the book could be translated into many languages." Kazuyo Yamane Ritsumeikan University in Global Campaign for PEACEducation (Read full review)