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John Nichols, The Nation magazine, March 17th, 2006

Author of Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), and political writer for The Nation magazine

“Americans have always voted on the basis of their concern about issues of war and peace. The War of 1812 was a major issue in New England, where anti-war sentiment ran so high in the election of 1814 that a peace agreement was quickly forged.

The Mexican War was an issue in the elections of 1846 and 1848, when a young congressman named Abraham Lincoln and an old congressman named John Quincy Adams were among the most outspoken critics of that what they referred to as a ‘war of expansion.’

William Jennings Bryan sought the presidency in 1900 on an anti-imperialist platform of opposition to the U.S occupation of the Philippines and other regions around the world, and Woodrow Wilson was reelected to the presidency in 1916 on the slogan: "He Kept Us Out of War."

After Wilson abandoned that position and took the country into World War I, the elections of 1918 featured anti-war candidates and substantial anti-war voting from New York to Wisconsin to Oklahoma.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, anti-war sentiments played a critical role in the replacement of pro-Vietnam War members of Congress with future Congressional leaders such as Dave Obey, Les Aspin and Ron Dellums.

It is on Election Day that Americans realize the full potential of their citizenship as regards foreign policy by voting for or against candidates based on positions taken by those candidates’ stand on issues of war and peace.

Millions of Americans will make choices this year in the congressional primaries of both major parties and in the November general election, based on their opposition to the war in Iraq. Their votes will be cast in the finest tradition of American participatory democracy and organizations such as Vote for Peace that seek to highlight these voting patterns are doing the important work of reminding politicians and the media that elections are about more than Democrats-versus-Republicans and liberals-versus-conservatives.

They are about issues -- including the most fundamental of all issues: whether the United States will be at war or peace."


 
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