* A summary of chapter 6: From War to Peace by Kent D. Shifferd
In chapter six Shifferd presents evidence of a long history of peace. First, he explains that unlike war, peace has not been taught as a record of history. He compares this missing history to the lost records of women’s and African American history (pages 112-113). In 1964 peace history formally gained recognition at the founding of the council on Peace Research in History (page 114).
The history of peace falls into three broad periods until 4000 BC (Long Peace of Prehistory), from 4000 BC to the present (Peace in the Long Darkness), and the last 200 years (The Dark Light of Dawn).Historians tend to believe that pre-agricultural people of the Long Peace Prehistory tended to be peaceful and that even after the invention of agriculture culture remained relatively peaceful (pages 116-117). Peace in the Long Darkness begins around the fifth millennium. Wars were recorded but even in the midst of violence, truces were made and literature praising peace was produced (page 120). All cultures and religions had ways of honoring the ideas of peace. Shifferd cites Jewish, Roman, Christian, and Greek literature that praise the value of peace.
Early Christian churches seemed to understand peace in literature and practices, but in the fourth century the church became patriarchal and war-based (page 122-123). Augustine even said “For true worshipers of God even wars are peaceful, not waged out of greed or cruelty, but from zeal for peace, to restrain evil or to assist in good (page 123).” The medieval, renaissance, and the sixteenth century was filled will wars. Despite this, history shows that peace was present. The Quaker movement supported passivism. William Penn, a famous Quaker said that “we are taught and commanded to love one another and not to do harm or mischief to one another [and] … that we may always live together as neighbors and friends.” Eventually, after the Napoleonic Wars, there was a rise of organized peace movement in the nineteenth century (page 125).It is now evident since peace history is being recorded that peace has a rich past. Shifferd summarizes his ideas about peace history in this statement:
“There has been opposition to particular wars, dedicated non-violence as a way of life, peace with nature, the development of world-order models, literary works on peace, activists who organize for an end to war, philosophies of peace, environmental protection, human rights, conflict resolution, peace as a theme in arts, and, at long last, the work of peace historians (page 114).”
Shiffered, K. D. (2011). From War to Peace: A Guide to the Next Hundred Years. Jerfferson, NC. McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishing.
** For Cr399U, Intro to Peace Studies, Portland State University, Fall Term, April 2012-2013