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An Abolitionist Denounces War with Mexico

Theodore Parker, a well-known abolitionist and Congregationalist minister, delivered the following sermon to an antiwar group gathered in Boston in June 1846.

What shall we do?  In regard to this present war [with Mexico], we can refuse to take any part in it; we can encourage others to do the same; we can aid men, if need be, who suffer because they refuse….

We can hold public meetings in favor of peace….

We can work now for future times, by taking pains to spread abroad the sentiments of peace, the ideas of peace, among the people in schools, churches--everywhere.  At length we can diminish the power of the national Government, so that the people alone shall have the power to declare war….

I would call on Americans, by their love of country, its great ideas, its real grandeur, its hopes, and the memory of its fathers to come and help to save [the] country from infamy and ruin.  I would call on Christians, who believe that Christianity is a truth, to lift up their voice, public and private, against the foulest violation of God’s law, this blasphemy of the Holy Spirit of Christ, this worst form of infidelity to man and God.  I would call on all men, by one nature that is in you, by the great human heart beating alike in all your bosoms, to protest manfully against this desecration of the earth, this high treason against both man and God.  Teach your rulers that you are Americans, not slaves; Christians, not heathen; men, not murderers, to kill for hire!

Source | In Ernesto Chávez, ed., The U.S. War with Mexico: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin's 2008), 84-85.
Creator | Theodore Parker
Item Type | Speech
Cite This document | Theodore Parker, “An Abolitionist Denounces War with Mexico,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed March 2, 2024,

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