Article Review: Plan of a Peace-Office for the United States

An article titled “Plan of a peace-office for the United States” was first published by the Banneker’s Almanac in 1798 and written by Benjamin Rush. Benjamin Rush was a good friend to both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, opposed slavery, supported mass education of women and public schools and apparently wanted a department of peace for the United States. In his words, “for as the War-Office of the United States was established in a time of peace, it is equally reasonable that a Peace-Office should be established in the time of war.” While the article has many parts that might make one laugh, the ideas that are conveyed are strong and clear. There are a few parts that might seem over the top Christian to some, but I feel the values are respectable among many different beliefs. The part most convincing to my mind is at the end of the article when he lists items to be hung outside the door of the department of war.

In order more deeply to affect the minds of the citizens of the United States with the blessings of peace, by contrasting them with the evils of war, let the following inscriptions be painted upon the sign which is placed over the door of the War Office.
1. An office for butchering the human species.
2. A Widow and Orphan making office.
3. A broken bone making office.
4. A Wooden leg making office.
5. An office for the creating of public and private vices.
6. An office for creating a public debt.
7. An office for creating speculators, stock jobbers, and bankrupts.
8. An office for creating famine.
9. An office for creating pestilential diseases.
10. An office for creating poverty, and the destruction of liberty, and national happiness.
In the lobby of this office let there be painted representations of all the common military instruments of death, also human skulls, broken bones, unburied and putrefying dead bodies, hospitals crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, villages on fire, mothers in besieged towns eating the flesh of their children, ships sinking in the ocean, rivers dyed with blood, and extensive plains without a tree or fence, or any object, but the ruins of deserted farm houses.
Above this group of woeful figures, — let the following words be inserted, in red characters to represent human blood,

I found this section to be incredibly moving. Why? Because I believe every word he wrote to either be true or of sound advice and counsel. What we in this country often glorify, is totally defiling to the human race and should be avoided at all costs. Take lessons from the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Take into account how many times they tried for a peaceful resolution before ever drafting or signing the declaration. Take into account how this list of ten items have indeed been our “National Glory” several times throughout history.

Access the entire article at this link.


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