It has been a few years since I finished my studies in military history and international relations and my distaste for war has only grown. We Who Dared to Say No to War was recommended on one of the many political podcasts that I listen to. Thomas Woods Jr., who compiled the writings and speeches from the wars in American history that are featured in this book, puts out an excellent podcast himself which I listen to regularly.
This book amazes me and saddens me at the same time. It’s amazing that even so far in the distant past of the United States, there were those who knew the insidious nature of war, especially as it relates to profit and society. Yet, it’s immensely sad that people have been crying out against war for so long in our history with no apparent change to the growth of American Empire. I hope that, you, the reader of this selection of quotes and the other selections like it that I will post on Funboat Diplomacy in the future can join me in condemning this type of violence and indeed, all violent acts of aggression.
This first part features quotes from a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Congressman, both of whom opposed the War of 1812.
Senator Daniel Webster
Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it? … Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life itself, not when the safety of their country and its liberties may demand the sacrifice, but whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? (5)
Anticipate the scene, sir, when the class shall assemble to stand its draft, and to throw the dice for blood. What a group of wives and mothers and sisters, of helpless age and helpless infancy, shall gather round the theater of this horrible lottery, as if the stroke of death were to fall from heaven before their eyes on a father, a brother, a son, or a husband. (7-8)
Congressman Samuel Taggart
Why in the name of Heaven, shall we plunge ourselves into a war, which cannot fail to involve us in the vortex of all their ills, without the prospect, or even the possibility of securing to us one solitary good? (14)
I would, therefore, beseech gentlemen to forget for a single moment the warmth of political discussion, and listen to the claims of humanity, and turn their views to the blood-stained fields of slaughter, to the scattered and mangled limbs of thousands of slain, and to the piercing groans of the wounded and dying. (18)
Find We Who Dared to Say No to War at Thomas Woods Jr.’s website.