We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now

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Overview


We Who Dared to Say No to War uncovers some of the forgotten but compelling body of work from the American antiwar tradition—speeches, articles, poetry, book excerpts, political cartoons, and more—from people throughout our history who have opposed war. Beginning with the War of 1812, these selections cover every major American war up to the present and come from both the left and the right, from religious and secular viewpoints. There are many surprises, including a forgotten letter from a Christian theologian ...
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We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now

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Overview


We Who Dared to Say No to War uncovers some of the forgotten but compelling body of work from the American antiwar tradition—speeches, articles, poetry, book excerpts, political cartoons, and more—from people throughout our history who have opposed war. Beginning with the War of 1812, these selections cover every major American war up to the present and come from both the left and the right, from religious and secular viewpoints. There are many surprises, including a forgotten letter from a Christian theologian urging Confederate President Jefferson Davis to exempt Christians from the draft and a speech by Abraham Lincoln opposing the 1848 Mexican War. Among others, Daniel Webster, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, Grover Cleveland, Eugene Debs, Robert Taft, Paul Craig Roberts, Patrick Buchanan, and Country Joe and the Fish make an appearance. This first-ever anthology of American antiwar writing offers the full range of the subject’s richness and variety.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Texas Observer
“Turns out strange bedfellows are common in the history of American anti-war sentiment, as evidenced in the new anthology We Who Dared to Say No To War…. Together [Polner and Woods have] assembled almost two centuries’ worth of writing condemning American military actions from the War of 1812 to more recent misadventures in the Middle East, while celebrating the fact that the noble cause of peace in this country has often attracted wildly opposing un-likes… Democracy and war, these pieces collectively suggest, may be the strangest, and worst, bedfellows of all.”

BuzzFlash.com
“We stopped counting the number of wonderful advocates of peace in this book. It’s like finally finding a kindred group of like minds with whom you can feel at home…. This is an anthology well worth the read. It might also help you feel that peace is a battle worth waging, so to speak.”
 

OpEdNews.com
“Read it and weep … and cheer. Weep because we’ve been lied into wars in very similar ways for two centuries and have had to discover the deception anew each time. Cheer because some people have been there to denounce the lies on the spot every time, and their ranks have steadily grown.”
 

Library Journal
“History repeats itself, and Polner and Woods remind us that both Leftist dissent against jingoism and Rightist opposition to governments swollen by war run throughout American history.”
 

Booklist
“Representing both sides of the ideological divide, editors Polner and Woods have collected a vast and varied array of speeches, essays, letters, poetry, even popular song lyrics, from our country’s greatest leaders and civilians to illustrate the indelible and instinctive response war-mongering and war evoke…. With current antiwar rhetoric…running at a fevered pitch, such historical documentation demonstrates, sadly, that it is also running true to course.”
 

Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative
“You don’t have to oppose all American wars to appreciate Tom Woods and Murray Polner’s masterful anthology. These essays vividly demonstrate why ‘dissent is patriotic’ is no mere peacenik slogan.”
 

Bob Keeler, Newsday Editorial Board
“Standing up to the rhetoric of war is never easy. We Who Dared to Say No to War provides today’s private-citizen peacemakers and public officials with the valuable assurance that others have spoken prophetically against wars for most of our nation’s history. Polner and Woods deserve our deep gratitude for assembling these brave speeches from wars past.”
 

Rick Shenkman, Author of Just How Stupid Are We?
“While it is the warmakers who usually garner public attention, Polner and Woods remind us that the peacemakers often have had more to say. For it is they who speak to our conscience. In times like these, it is reassuring to know that our history is filled with people who questioned war and asked: why?”
 

WIN Magazine
"Polner and Woods have pored through diaries, speeches, and newspapers and dug into old archives to bring together 70 impassioned, learned, and probing rejections of war as a means of solving problems, ending violence, and bringing peace and democracy."
 

TownHall.com
"We Who Dared To Say No To War reminds us that our anti-war streak is a lot wider, deeper and more all-American than today's flag-waving proponents of the Iraq war think."
 

History News Network
“Editors Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods, Jr. remind us that those opposed to President George W. Bush’s adventure in Iraq are part of an antiwar tradition in American history well established before it was rediscovered by the Vietnam generation.”
 

The American Catholic
“This is a book that deserves to be widely used in American History classes from high school to university. It should help students – and the rest of us – reflect on the history of our country with a better grasp of those times when it betrayed its highest values by choosing violence. From Daniel Webster’s protest against the draft for the war of 1812 to Camillo Bica’s open letter to fellow veterans of the war in Iraq, it raises the right questions about how the U.S. should try to solve its deepest problems.”

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

This history of America in anti-war writing, "coedited by a man of the left (Polner) and a man of the right (Woods)," is an insightful, relevant and varied collection that mines a strong tradition of American protest and principle. Covering the War of 1812 through "Iraq and the War on Terror," the editors provide a brief background essay for each before ceding the page to essays, interviews, letters, poems and photos from the past 200 years. Contributors include Daniel Webster, Stephen Crane, Eugene V. Debs, Helen Keller and Howard Zinn, as well as presidents and other government officials, mothers, social justice activists, poets and songwriters. Parallels among wars and the present moment are easy to find, and the many warnings hang heavy, given the ambiguous aftermath of America's conflicts. Eisenhower's 1961 warning against the abuses of "the military-industrial complex" is a standby centerpiece worthy of another look, but much of the material is just as interesting, informative and impassioned. Foregoing any dry lessons, this history-in-protest is a valuable read for study and conversation in advance of the 2008 presidential election, and should be of interest to a wide audience not limited to history buffs, antiwar activists, and those seeking perspective on today's war.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

History repeats itself, and Polner and Woods (The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History ) remind us that both Leftist dissent against jingoism and Rightist opposition to governments swollen by war run throughout American history. The authors present writings by thinkers and activists, from the War of 1812 to the Iraq War. Daniel Webster thunders against the draft of 1814; Abraham Lincoln denounces President Polk's lies about the war in Mexico as "the half-insane mumbling of a fever dream." Even less controversial wars had opponents; included pieces range from the religious and pacifist writings against the Civil War to a statement from World War II draft-resister David Dellinger. The pieces are arranged chronologically and include moral and legal statements, accounts by activists and veterans, and the traditional letters written by mothers. The book would have been even more powerful had it featured writings by minorities and about the wars on American Indians. A five-page list of antiwar films is also included. Recommended for larger public libraries and all college libraries.-Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Lib., Iowa City

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568583853
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/8/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,073,771
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Murray Polner is a freelance editor and writer whose work has appeared in Washington Monthly, Commonweal, The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, and the Jewish Week, among others. He lives in Great Neck, New York.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. His numerous books include the New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Woods lives in Auburn, Alabama, with his wife and three daughters.

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Table of Contents

1 The War of 1812 1

"The Draft Is Unconstitutional" Daniel Webster Webster, Daniel 3

"What Republicanism Is This?" John Randolph Randolph, John 9

"With Good Advice Make War" Samuel Taggart Taggart, Samuel 10

"Thou Hast Done a Deed Whereat Valor Will Weep" Alexander Hanson Hanson, Alexander 19

2 The Mexican War 21

"Annexation and War with Mexico Are Identical" Henry Clay Clay, Henry 23

"The True Grandeur of Nations" Charles Sumner Sumner, Charles 24

"Mean and Infamous" Theodore Parker Parker, Theodore 28

"The Half-Insane Mumbling of a Fever Dream" Abraham Lincoln Lincoln, Abraham 30

"This Is a War for Slavery" William Goodell Goodell, William 33

"Address on War" Alexander Campbell Campbell, Alexander 45

3 The Civil War 55

"The War Method of Peace" Ezra Heywood Heywood, Ezra 58

"A Christian Appeal to the Confederacy" David Lipscomb Lipscomb, David 61

"War or Constitution" Clement L. Vallandigham Vallandigham, Clement L. 66

"Do Not Serve as a Chaplain" Alfred H. Love Love, Alfred H. 78

"Gross, Shameless, Transparent Cheats" Lysander Spooner Spooner, Lysander 82

4 The Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars 87

"A Peace Appeal to Labor" Bolton Hall Hall, Bolton 89

"War Is Kind" Stephen Crane Crane, Stephen 92

"The Conquest of the United States by Spain" William Graham Sumner Sumner, William Graham 93

"A Lament from Kentucky" A Mother 97

"The Pesky Anti-Imperialist" Wendell Phillips Garrison Garrison, Wendell Phillips 98

"The Paralyzing Influence of Imperialism" William Jennings Bryan Bryan, William Jennings 101

"The American Birthright and the Philippine Pottage" Henry Van Dyke Van Dyke, Henry 109

5 World War I 115

"Wealth's TerribleMandate" George W. Norris Norris, George W. 118

"The People Do Not Want This War" Robert M. La Follette La Follette, Robert M. 123

"The State" Randolph Bourne Bourne, Randolph 132

"Strike Against War" Helen Keller Keller, Helen 140

"Disarm and Have Peace: A Pacifist Plea to End War" Jane Addams Addams, Jane 146

"The Subject Class Always Fights the Battles" Eugene V. Debs Debs, Eugene V. 148

"If: A Mother to Her Daughter" Florence Guertin Tuttle Tuttle, Florence Guertin 155

"Victory" Marion Patton Waldron Waldron, Marion Patton 156

6 World War II 159

"Two Votes Against War: 1917 and 1941" Jeannette Rankin Rankin, Jeannette 162

"Assumptions about War" Stuart Chase Chase, Stuart 169

"Why We Refused to Register" Donald Benedict Benedict, Donald 173

"Why I Refused to Register in the October 1940 Draft and a Little of What It Led To" David Dellinger Dellinger, David 175

"I Think I'll Sit This One Out" Milton S. Mayer Mayer, Milton S. 183

7 The Cold War 195

"A Turning Point in American History" Henry A. Wallace Wallace, Henry A. 197

"The President Has No Right to Involve the United States in a Foreign War" Robert A. Taft Taft, Robert A. 200

Dwight Eisenhower on the Military-Industrial Complex 205

"Those Who Protest: The Transformation of the Conservative Movement" Robert LeFevre LeFevre, Robert 207

"Real Conservatives Don't Start Wars" Bill Kauffman Kauffman, Bill 214

"War, Peace, and the State" Murray N. Rothbard Rothbard, Murray N. 217

"Conservative Thoughts on Foreign Policy" Russell Kirk Kirk, Russell 226

8 The Vietnam War 229

"Against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" Wayne Morse Morse, Wayne 232

"This Chamber Reeks of Blood" George McGovern McGovern, George 237

"Let's Mind Our Own Business" David M. Shoup Shoup, David M. 239

Divinity Students' Letter to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, 1967 240

"Fighting the Lamb's War: Skirmishes with the American Empire" Philip Berrigan Berrigan, Philip 242

"The Verdict" Daniel Berrigan Berrigan, Daniel 244

"Learning the Hard Way" W. D. Ehrhart Ehrhart, W. D. 245

"Time on Target" W. D. Ehrhart Ehrhart, W. D. 253

"Hunting" W. D. Ehrhart Ehrhart, W. D. 254

"The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag" Country Joe & the Fish 255

9 Iraq and the War on Terror 259

"Against War with Afghanistan" Barbara Lee Lee, Barbara 261

"We Stand Passively Mute" Robert Byrd Byrd, Robert 263

"An Open Letter to My Fellow Veterans" Camillo "Mac" Bica Bica, Camillo "Mac" 268

"I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose; We Were Both Doing Our Duty" Andrew J. Bacevich Bacevich, Andrew J. 270

"Why Did Bush Destroy Iraq?" Paul Craig Roberts Roberts, Paul Craig 274

"It's Mother's Day Again and We're Still at War" Murray Polner Polner, Murray 277

"Inaugurating Endless War" Patrick J. Buchanan Buchanan, Patrick J. 279

Resignation Letter John Brady Kiesling Kiesling, John Brady 282

"Iraq Comes Home: Soldiers Share the Devastating Tales of War" Emily DePrang DePrang, Emily 285

10 Americans Confront War 295

On U.S. Foreign Policy John Quincy Adams Adams, John Quincy 295

"Mother's Day Proclamation" Julia Ward Howe Howe, Julia Ward 297

"The Valuation of Human Life in War" Elihu Burritt Burritt, Elihu 298

"Four Bloody Lies of War, from Havana 1898 to Baghdad 2003" Harvey Wasserman Wasserman, Harvey 300

"The Glory of War" Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Rockwell, Llewellyn H., Jr. 305

"Put Away the Flags" Howard Zinn Zinn, Howard 310

"War Is a Government Program" Sheldon Richman Richman, Sheldon 313

"Reflections on War and Its Consequences" Lawrence S. Wittner Wittner, Lawrence S. 315

"Left-Right Alliance Against War?" Jon Basil Utley Utley, Jon Basil 318

Appendix Great Antiwar Films, A List Butler Shaffer Shaffer, Butler 325

Bibliography 331

Acknowledgments 339

About the Editors 341

Index 343

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