William H. Taft Promotes Efforts to Prevent a Future War Through an Internation Organization to Maintain Peace

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Many Americans were greatly concerned by the outbreak of World War I in Europe in August 1914. Almost immediately efforts commenced to form an international organization to contain and respond to violence in the future. Hamilton Holt published an editorial in his New York City weekly magazine the Independent called “The Way...

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William H. Taft Promotes Efforts to Prevent a Future War Through an Internation Organization to Maintain Peace

Many Americans were greatly concerned by the outbreak of World War I in Europe in August 1914. Almost immediately efforts commenced to form an international organization to contain and respond to violence in the future. Hamilton Holt published an editorial in his New York City weekly magazine the Independent called “The Way to Disarm: A Practical Proposal” on September 28, 1914, which called for an international group to agree upon the arbitration of disputes and to guarantee the territorial integrity of its members by maintaining military forces sufficient to defeat those of any non-member. Soon calls went out to form local societies as well as a national, umbrella organization.

Former President William H. Taft was a primary supporter and leader of this movement. At a convention in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall that would occur on June 17, 1915, The League to Enforce Peace would be formed with him as the head. It would work for a league of nations, a world court and mandatory international conciliation. Even before that formation, Taft was actively promoting such an organization.

Typed letter Signed on his letterhead, New Haven, December 13, 1914, to George T. Northen, a prominent Georgia attorney and grandson of Governor William J. Northen. “I have your letter of December 7, and know that you are organizing the Atlanta Peace Society. I sincerely hope that you may make this an effective organization. I believe that at the close of the present war, a movement for the establishment of an arbitral court will have more support than ever before, and such associations as yours can promote an effective movement for this purpose.” Taft was always interested in legal remedies, and went on to become Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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