Friday, May 1, 2009

Antiwar records?

Regardless of personal beliefs, genealogists depend on records created by the actions of intrusive governments, paternalistic churches, and wars. If US history had been more peaceful, we'd have fewer documented ancestors; if the country had had a state church, we might have more.

In this context it's interesting to read Ron Briley's review at History News Network of We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing from 1812 to Now, an anthology edited by Murray Polner and Thomas A. Woods, Jr. I haven't seen the book. Briley generally approves of the editors' documentary work, and their observation the opposition to war historically has come from all points in the political and regional spectrum. Briley notes that the editors failed to collect much material on the opposition to two significant military episodes: the series of expansionist wars against various Indian tribes, and the Korean conflict (evidently still the "forgotten war").

Are there genealogically useful records to be quarried from this tradition? I don't know. Chicago was not a hotbed of support for the Union cause in the Civil War, nor for US entry into World War I. And if memory serves, the Midwest leaned isolationist in the runup to World War II.

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