Emily Herey Denison to Jane Addams, February 19, 1917

Woman's Peace Party


Denver, Colorado,
February 19, 1917.
Miss Jane Addams,
Room 500, 116 Michigan Ave.,
Chicago, Ill.

My dear Miss Addams:

I am in receipt of your esteemed favor of February 7th, 1917, addressed to your workers. I write to state that after due consideration of all contained therein, I am unwilling at this moment to address President Wilson upon either side of the International question as it stands [today] and for these reasons:

First: -- Because the issues and dangers are so near, and he is in possession of all facts, history and development <of> this crisis, and I trust him.

Secondly: Because I think the attitude of Germany is an act of aggression on a neutral and we must make an adequate defense.

Thirdly: Because I think it would be dangerous to the best interests of our nation to refer a question to the people at this time, when feeling is at such a crucial point, and to project a discussion into the public mind which would arouse political antagonisms.

Lastly: Because there are too many German-Americans in our country [today] who possess the franchise unworthily, and this last to a Denison family whose three grandsires were Revolutionary soldiers and the descendants of Elder Brewster, Howland, Hopkins and Stephens of the Mayflower Pilgrims, -- this last I say approaches treason.

I am of the same opinion of Militarism [today] as when I started with you as a peace worker. Then I started to lay the foundations for a permanent peace by opposing Militarism of any form in my country. We have lost sight, I fear, lately of that great fundamental by letting military training get footholds in many of our public secondary schools and we have not been on hand to push our anti-military legislation at a time when state assemblies are in session. Germany built [page 2] up her militarism by this method. It is all wrong. Military training in secondary schools is a great foe to peace. It crushes the tendencies to art growth in the minds of our youth and sets up false standards of patriotism and Christianity.

And so while I'll work on in the fundamentals to lay the foundations for peace through Christian ideals of law and justice, I cannot let a barbarian nation impose her military culture on us without encouraging President Wilson to throttle the menace, as a world-devastating disease.

Then too, I feel sure, were we to secure a referendum vote on this question of War from the people, it would mean another vote of confidence in Woodrow Wilson one million larger than we gave him last November.

I am heartily with you in all your other plans, and wish to be kept advised of all the activities of your National body.

Miss O'Donnell, the Acting Chairman of Montana during my absence, may take a different view of this most important National question.

Believe me, sincerely, your fellow-worker,

Emily Herey Denison [signed]

Mrs. James Floyd Denison,
Metropole Hotel,
Denver, Colorado.