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The Pursuit of Peace in Rhode Island

As Tolstoy knew, war and peace go hand in hand so it’s appropriate to the 2012 RIHS theme of Rhode Island at War to also address the topic of Rhode Island and peace. The Library’s collections provide a bird’s eye view into the pursuit of peace by Rhode Islanders, from Stephen Hopkins and his colonial cohort to the long-lived RI Peace Society (1818-1973) to a post-Civil War peace convention and the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s.
A “Proposal for getting Peace in the Collony for the Future” (Stephen Hopkins Collection, MSS 492, folder 7) addresses a political conflict within the colony, rather than physical combat. The Proposal  was drafted in 1768, when Stephen Hopkins and his political rival Samuel Ward, who had been in bitter competition for the office of Governor for thirteen years, agreed that neither would run for office because the contention between the two was “a distraction to the government of the colony.”
“Proposal…”  and other material documenting the pursuit of peace in Rhode Island are on exhibit at the Library.
Other related RIHS collections:
1.  MSS 966, Mark Toney Papers, 1977-1986
2. Peace Talks: Newsletter of RI Mobilization for Peace and Justice
~Lee Teverow, Reference Librarian

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