Despite the overwhelming presence of the war effort on Columbia’s campus, not all Columbia community members were on-board. In fact, before the war’s outbreak, many Columbia students participated in anti-militarist organizations in large numbers.
Much of this spirit faded away after war was declared, though not all of it. A small group of determined pacifists made themselves known among Columbia’s students, alumni, and faculty. Three of these were even tried in the first World War I Sedition Act trial, which in turn resulted in the much more famous resignation of the historian Charles Beard after Nicholas Murray Butler’s decision to fire two pacifist professors related to the trial.
Pacifists could face violence and ridicule on campus, but still were a noticeable presence throughout the war.
Charles Beard, James McKeen Cattell, Nicholas Murray Butler, and the dispute that shaped modern academic freedom.Read More
Anti-Militarism and Pacifism
Despite the general fervor of the administration and alumni, enthusiasm for the coming of the war did not come naturally to the Columbia community. In fact, as the likelihood of US involvement…Read More