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Roots of Modern Pacifism

The 16th century was when the Protestant Reformation began to bloom and form new sects of Christian faiths. Among the sects created was the historic peace church. The peace churches included the Religious Society of Friends, the Amish, Mennonites, and Church of the Bretheren. William Penn, also a pacifist, controlled Pennsylvania with an anti-military policy. This allowed the Quakers and the Indians to trade peacefully without any threat of a fight.

In the late 19th century in New Zealand, the Maori village became the main hub of nonviolent resistance against British soldiers attempting to confiscate and occupy their land. The tribe gave food and drink to the invaders, and were inevitably arrested, but their nonviolent action prevented them from being slaughtered.

Bernard Bolzano said that war was needless and a waste of time and energy. It was under his suggestion that the nation reform the social, economic, and educational systems so that the country could focus more on peaceful dealings with others rather than waste time on war between them.

Another pacifist is Leo Tolstoy. He defends pacifism in his work "The Kingdom of God is Within You." This book then went on to inspire Gandhi, leading the two to correspond about pacifism.

Gandhi became a political, as well as a spiritual, leader of the Indian independence movement. He was called “Mahatma” or “Great Soul” because of his ways. He created a nonviolent movement called satyagraha, which translates to "truth force." He used civil disobedience in order to stand up for what he believed and encouraged others to do the same.

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