Constructive Peace, March 11, 1915 (excerpt)



Noted Woman Leader Gives Her Views on Constructive Peace


Chapel was crowded to its fullest capacity yesterday afternoon and many people were turned away, when Miss Jane Addams, President of the [Woman's] Peace Party and founder of the Hull House, spoke on the subject "Constructive Peace." Miss Addams thoroughly charmed her large audience with her sincere and sympathetic manner and her telling arguments. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Intercollegiate Common Sense League.

The meeting began with a short talk by J. H. Cover '15, President of the League, who briefly outlined the purposes of the society. He then introduced Professor Giddings, of the Department of Sociology. Professor Giddings in his short speech introducing Miss Addams said that there are three kinds of workers in the world -- (1) those who worked for reward, (2) those who worked in order to lead the minds and the bodies of others, and (3) those who worked to emancipate people "with no hope of reward, and who are perfectly willing to be forgotten after their day's work has been done, provided that day's work has been done." At the head of this last class, he said, stands Miss Jane Addams. [page 2]

Miss Addams spoke in a sincere and business-like manner. She began her address by saying that she was among those who believed it worth while to turn to organizing public opinion. Public opinion in America, she remarked, was very strong against the war, and very probably the war was opposed by the great majority in Europe, as she discovered by various letters and documents she had in her possession.

Miss Addams emphasized the fact that war is now always for the purpose of self-[defense]. None of the countries in the present conflict, she said, believes that it is responsible for the war. Yet it is strange that, while all the nations seem to be fighting for the same ideals, they are fighting against each other to attain those ideals, instead of joining hands and bringing them about in an amicable manner.

One of the instances, the speaker continued, that have come to her knowledge and which show that there is still some international feeling left is to be found in the case of the International Seamen's Association. Not long ago some English seamen captured a number of German sailors and took them to London as prisoners. But because of their being in this same association, and of their having this brotherly feeling for one another, they asked permission, and gained it, from the government to care for the prisoners themselves instead of turning them over to the government.

Miss Addams then dwelt extensively upon the fact that war always falls heaviest upon women and children. In the Boer War, for example, nine non-combatants perished to every fighting man. Before the present war, the child had been coming into its own; laws had been passed in almost all the European countries for their protection and care. Now France declares that illegitimate children are as valuable to her as those born in [page 3] lawful wedlock, and that she would act as a parent to them. At the same time, Germany is preparing to seize upon those children born of French mothers by German fathers and to bring them to Germany in order to make new fighting blood. In this way, the feelings and the rights of the mothers are not considered at all. Thus it is that it will take a long time for the women in France again to reach what they seemed almost to have gained.

In private quarrels, the speaker went on, she has often noticed that the contending parties after a long while come to an agreement as a result of a mediator's efforts. Miss Addams expressed the opinion that in the present conflict the European nations may come to such an agreement.

The speech by Miss Addams also dwelt upon some political questions. The trouble with The Hague tribunal, the speaker considered, is that it works too much for the formation and the promulgation of laws; in other words, that it is too technical in its undertakings. The remedy for this state of affairs, Miss Addams argued, is for people from the different countries to get together, calmly talk about their needs, find out what is good for them, and help each other to aspire to their best interests.