‘The antagonism of sex’
The Peace Society and women
in ‘The truest form of patriotism’

This chapter describes the declining emphasis upon the importance of Christianity within the peace movement during the second half of the century. The Peace Society had developed, by the 1870s, into a political and pragmatic movement that employed, albeit on a limited basis, liberal and non-absolutist arguments against war. However, it simultaneously sought to control the contributions of women and to restrict the role of feminism within the movement. This is particularly noteworthy given that Quakers dominated the Evangelical wing of the peace movement, a sect from which many feminists of this era originated. One consequence of this was that feminists were drawn into the International Arbitration and Peace Association (IAPA) as the radical wing of the peace movement, rather than the Evangelical and absolutist Peace Society. The chapter explains the process by which the Peace Society resisted its work, refused to collaborate with women who were not under its control and established its own organisation for women interested in promoting peace.

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‘The truest form of patriotism’

Pacifist feminism in Britain, 1870–1902

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