Friday, November 9, 2012

History of the Department of Peace in the U.S.

I posted this article a year ago, and think it's worth posting again as the second term of Obama begins.  It looks to me like this is an idea whose time has come  (and gone - and come - and gone - and come.....)    In asking why we don't have a "Department of Peace", I was  amazed to learn the long and dedicated history of people and times who have, in fact, tried to create just that.  It was first proposed in 1793, along with the founding of the Constitution

  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The history of legislation to create a Department of Peace

The peace movement in the United States has a proposed legislative history that dates to the first years of the republic:

1793: Dr. Benjamin Rush, Founding Father (signer of the Declaration of Independence), wrote an essay titled "A plan of a Peace-Office for the United States". Dr. Rush called for equal footing with the Department of War and pointed out the effect of doing so for the welfare of the United States in promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country. First published in a 1793 almanac that Benjamin Banneker authored, the plan stated (among other proposals):
--Let a Secretary of Peace be appointed to preside in this office; . . . let him be a genuine republican and a sincere Christian. . . .Let the youth of our country be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and in the doctrines of a religion of some kind; the Christian religion should be preferred to all others; for it belongs to this religion exclusively to teach us not only to cultivate peace with all men, but to forgive—nay more, to love our very enemies.
--To subdue that passion for war . . . militia laws should everywhere be repealed, and military dresses and military titles should be laid aside. . . .
1925: Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, at the Cause and Cure for War Conference, publicly suggested a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace be established.

1926/1927: Kirby Page, author of A National Peace Department, wrote, published and distributed the first proposal for a cabinet-level Department of Peace and secretary of peace.

1935: Senator Matthew M. Neely (D-West Virginia) wrote and introduced the first bill calling for the creation of a United States Department of Peace. Reintroduced in 1937 and 1939.

1943: Senator Alexander Wiley (R-Wisconsin) spoke on the Senate floor calling for the United States of America to become the first government in the world to have a Secretary of Peace.

1945: Representative Louis Ludlow (D-Indiana) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.

1946: Senator Jennings Randolph (D-West Virginia) re-introduced a bill to create a United States Department of Peace.

1947: Representative Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) introduced a bill for “A Peace Division in the State Department”.

1955 to 1968: Eighty-five Senate and House of Representative bills were introduced calling for a United States Department of Peace.

1969: Senator Vance Hartke (D-Indiana) and Representative Seymour Halpern (R-New York) re-introduced bills to create a U.S. Department of Peace in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 14 Senate cosponsors of S. 953, "The Peace Act", included Birch Bayh (D-IN), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Alan Cranston (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Edmund Muskie (D-ME). The 67 House cosponsors included Ed Koch of New York, Donald Fraser of Minnesota, and Abner Mikva of Illinois, as well as Republican Pete McCloskey of California.

1979: Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace.

2001: Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) re-introduced a bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace. This bill has since been introduced in each session of Congress from 2001 to 2009. It was re-introduced as H.R. 808 on February 3, 2009 and is currently supported by 72 cosponsors. In July 2008, the first Republican cosponsor, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) signed on.

2005: Senator Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota) introduced legislation in the Senate to create a cabinet-level department of peace a week after Dennis Kucinich introduced a similar bill in the House.

And we still don't have a Department of Peace. 



Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

I had no idea how extensive a history this idea has! It's definitely time to implement this one!

Wes Hansen said...

You know, this is an excellent post! If I may add a small detail: if you look at the Great Seal on the back of any $1 bill you will see an eagle which holds in one grappler a bundle of 13 arrows (representing war) and in the other grappler a laurel with 13 leaves (representing peace); the eagle’s gaze is directed towards the laurel. Our forefathers liked to emphasize that our nation was founded on reason rather than warfare and they certainly elevated peaceful and reasonable conflict resolution over that of costly warfare; it would seem, in this “modern” era (especially in light of the recent “pre-emptive” invasion of Iraq), that certain factions within our government have lost sight of this ideology.
I think of the events which preceded the Vietnam escalation (the murder of Kennedy, the ascension of Lyndon Johnson resulting in said escalation in which Johnson’s puppet masters, Brown and Root, reaped huge monetary rewards) and how these same parties, KBR, Halliburton, the defense industry (i.e. Texas), seemed to benefit from the “pre-emptive” invasion of Iraq. I was a young Marine Corps infantryman under George H. W. Bush and was profoundly impressed by his valuing human lives over the Neo-con ideology during the first Gulf War. It would appear his son and Dick Cheney do not share the same value system. I think it is very telling that George H. W. volunteered his service during WW II while George W. and Cheney “legally” avoided the draft during Vietnam. I don’t question the right of any sane human to resist a war draft by any means necessary, wars are invariably financially motivated, I simply question the depth of character in these two individuals and the Neo-con ideology they serve.
Now, if you objectively examine all of the evidence surrounding the 9/11 tragedy (the “undefended airspace, the demolition of building 7, the presence of high end explosive in the World Trade Center dust, etc., it is hard not to conclude that 9/11 was facilitated by some faction within the American government at the time, especially in light of the shallow character displayed by Bush Jr. and Cheney. If true this would be a greater tragedy than 9/11 itself. As an ex-Marine I feel strongly that a thorough and unbiased investigation of these issues should be mandated and all guilty parties, if such there be, properly prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Perhaps this would be further impetus for the formation of an U. S. Department of Peace – it could even include a think tank dedicated to peaceful resolution! Anyway, Goddess willing . . .

Wes Hansen said...

Sometimes I encounter the most amazing synchronicities . . .
You may like to follow this link to a post on the blog of author, poet, and quantum physicist, Nick Herbert: