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The British Peace Movement 1870-1914$
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Paul Laity

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248353

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248353.001.0001

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1816–1870: The Peace Society, the First International, and the Reform League

1816–1870: The Peace Society, the First International, and the Reform League

(p.13) 1 1816–1870: The Peace Society, the First International, and the Reform League
The British Peace Movement 1870-1914


Oxford University Press

The first peace movement in Britain emerged in response to the Napoleonic Wars and involved both pacifists and pacific-ists. The pacifists were mostly, but not only, Quakers, whereas the pacific-ists were Painite radicals and ‘rational Christians’ who denied that the government was engaged in a defensive struggle and called for British neutrality. In 1816, the year after the fighting finally stopped, the first British peace association was formed: the short-lived, pacific-ist Society for Abolishing War. A more successful attempt was made the same year when a group of Quakers and other Christian pacifists launched the Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace, also known as the Peace Society. The Peace Society would be the most important British peace association for the next hundred years. This chapter also discusses the impact of the Crimean War on the peace movement in Britain, the emergence of Mazzinian artisan radicalism, the founding of the International Working Men's Association, and the Reform League.

Keywords:   peace movement, Napoleonic Wars, Quakers, Reform League, International Working Men's Association, Crimean War, artisan radicalism

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