The Opposition to War and Violence

Pacifist Leaders and their Contributions

Martin Luther King Jr.

King was involved with the first great pacifist movement in the united States, the Civil Rights Movement. With the refusal to surrender her seat on a bus to a white man, Rosa Parks inspired the Montgomery Boycott which was led by King. The boycott lasted a year until the city of Montgomery abolished segregation on buses. King's leadership during this event sparked political change without the use of violence. King organized the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the late 1950s which operated a network for civil rights work throughout the nation and was the president of this group. A successful four month campaign in Birmingham, Alabama was the group's first victory.

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin has been credited with creating the pacifist strategy of the modern civil rights movement(1954-1965). Rustin developed and preformed the March on Washington. In addition to this, Rustin was the one to introduce Ghandian nonviolence and is known for introducing it to Martin Luther King Jr which inspired king and led to his nonviolent protests. His leadership was not acknowledged and appreciated by many due to the fact that he was homosexual. With this lack of appreciation, his desire to achieve equal rights was strengthened.

leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy was a Russian of an aristocratic family with links to some of the most powerful Russian families. In the last three decades of his life, Tolstoy was a strict pacifist. He centralized his disputes on the problems in politics of using violence to maintain order, promote justice and ensure the survival of society and civilization. He was a religious pacifist who got his beliefs from the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel. Tolstoy went on to write the great epic War and Peace.

Mahatma Ghandi

Ghandi is one of the most well known pacifists and spiritual leader in the world. he lead a life dedicated to social and political reform through nonviolence. Ghandi was engaged with the reconstruction if the Indian community. In 1942 he delivered a speech urging the colonists to leave the country.Gandhi devoted all his life out of politics to promote peace between Hindus and Muslims.

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Goals and Tactics

Pacifism has many goals that pacifists try to seek throughout their doings. A major goal of pacifists is a climate of feeling favorable to peace must be established. Peace is the main priority of pacifists and a main and commonly shared belief of all pacifists is there idea of nonviolence. Another goal is the potential causes of conflict, inherent in such factors as economic competition, the quest for power, and fear of foreign domination, must be eliminated or minimized. This would help increase the potential for peace. Also, means for the settlement of disputes must be provided, as in mediation, arbitration, and trial procedures. Yet again another way to restore peace. All in all, pacifists' greatest desire is to maintain worldwide peace.
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Major Acheivments

  • Rustin's March on Washington
  • William Penn employed an anti-militarist policy
  • Ghandi's efforts helped lead India to independence in 1947, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom worldwide.
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