Carrie Chapman Catt

My Faith (14 Points for Peace) – April 21, 1925

Carrie Chapman Catt
April 21, 1925— Richmond, Virginia
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Catt, as honorary president of the League of Women Voters, outlined 14 points for peace at a discussion of international cooperation to prevent war held by the league in Richmond, Virginia, on April 21, 1925. The following transcript of her speech was published in the New York Times the following day.

I believe that war is a relic of barbarism and that its abolition is long overdue.

I believe that war will not be abolished without a positive aggressive campaign of education and action all around the world.

I believe with Major Gen. John F. O'Ryan that war can and will be abolished when the people get on the job.

I believe that all alleged causes of war may be reduced to two: (1) A sense of national insecurity born of the traditional instinct of universal fear and the consequent cultivation of suspicion and distrust out of which grows an urge to prepare for defense with a resulting competition in armament; (2) the ambition to exploit other lands, wealth, recourses or people.

I believe that methods capable of the absolute destruction of these two causes and all these many ramifications have emerged from the past five years' controversy and that they await the sufficient intelligence of nations to apply them.

I believe the first cure is compulsory arbitration, to which every nation must voluntarily agree, and to this end each nation must enter into solemn compact with every other nation, pledging itself not only to submit disputes, arising to arbitration, but loyally to abide by the award.

I believe that such compulsory arbitration, when thoroughly established, will in time entirely remove the first clause of war, and substitute a feeling of peaceful security for the present universal sense of anxious uncertainty, and more than through the removal of their need the abolition of armies, navies, submarines, airplanes and poison gas, will become possible, and that even army and navy portfolios in national Cabinets will become obsolete.

I believe the second cure is found in a single sentence of the protocol of Geneva, and that whatever fate awaits that documents, at the hands of present Governments, that sentence will survive to challenge the honesty and sincerity of the people's word—'An aggressor nation is one that either refused to submit its disputes to arbitration, or to abide by the award.'

I believe that, when these two aims have been internationally accepted war will have been completely outlawed, though no nation has written the word into law.

I believe that support should be given to official proposals for disarmament, whether instituted by the League of Nations or the United States, as a relief to the present staggering cost of maintenance, but that no person should allow himself to be deceived into a belief that disarmament means the end of war.

I believe that these two proposed cures compose a complete plan for peacemakers, a certain cure of war and a program for the United States entierly (sic) consistent with its policy of remaining out of the League of Nations, while other nations prefer their compacts to be made within that body.

I believe that lawmakers will insist that both of these cures of war must be accomplished by penalties in order to make them effective.

I believe the moral force of the public opinion to be sufficient for their enforcement, but if those of less faith think otherwise, let them create the penalties.

I believe all political parties, and through them this nation, will adopt this simple platform of two planks when we, the people, demand it, and that when they do this nation, for the first time, will offer to the world an earnest of its sincerity as a promoter of world peace.

I believe that between now and then there may be a long and weary way. Red herrings of prodigious size will cross the trail, barrages of smoke rising from poison propaganda will obscure the goal, strings tied across the path with sinister zeal will trip the peacemakers, and the familiar old dragon of prejudice, doubt and fear will prance along the road in ever new and frightful disguises; yet through it all the peacemaker, conscious that he is right, will walk unafraid and unworried, for ahead, like the star of Bethlehem, leading on, her will ever see the shining light of the ultimate triumph.

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