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Peace Movements in U.S. History


Admission requirements



This course examines antiwar dissent and peace activism in U.S. history; the involvement of the American peace movement in nonviolent social movements; and the links between the U.S. movement and global peace and justice activism. In addition, this course explores the ideas, methods, and campaigns of the American peace movement. Topics include rebels against war, peace organizations, opposition to war and militarism, religious and secular peace action, the women’s peace movement, pacifism, conscientious objection, civil disobedience, the antinuclear movement, and opposition to specific wars. Using secondary works and primary sources (written, visual, video, and audio), students will learn about U.S. peace movements and political nonviolence from the colonial period to the present, with a focus on the twentieth century.

Course objectives

Students will learn:

  • Antiwar dissent, peace activism, and peace movements in U.S. history

  • Major U.S. peace groups, activists, ideas, methods, and campaigns

  • Pacifism and conscientious objection.

  • Links between the peace movement and other nonviolent social movements

  • Links between the American and global peace movements

  • Major historiographical themes in peace history

  • Skills in analyzing primary documents and secondary texts

  • Skills in effective written and oral communication

  • Research skills


See timetable

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Oral presentation + participation in discussion [30%]

  • Research paper / research essay (4,000-6,000 words) [70%]


Blackboard will be used

Reading list

  • Charles DeBenedetti, The Peace Reform in American History (1984) [200 pp]

  • Staughton and Alice Lynd, ed., Nonviolence In America: A Documentary History, rev. ed. (1995) [525 pp]

  • Harriet Alonso, Peace as a Women’s Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women’s Rights (1993) [274 pp]

  • Scott H. Bennett, Radical Pacifism: The War Resisters League and Gandhian Nonviolence in America, 1915-1963 (2003); [Use reprint ed., 2013] [246 pp]

  • Melvin Small, Antiwarriors: The Vietnam War and the Battle for America’s Hearts and Minds (2002) [168 pp.]

  • Articles, chapters, and documents (on Blackboard, online, and on library databases)


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte

Registration Studeren à la carte