A holistic movement for a better world
has been evolving throughout history...


May 18, 1899 -
Hague Peace Conference

Throughout human history people have all too often resorted to using violence to settle their differences. When large groups of people act together to fight other groups, we call it war. Archaeological evidence has found that large groups of people were killed through violent acts more than 12,000 years ago. The number and widespread scope of wars increased around 5000 years ago with the formation of states - organized communities living under a unified government. Since then it is estimated that 3.5 billion people have died in 14,500 wars.

History is filled with stories of states and nations fighting over disagreements, or battling for resources, or of empires conquering smaller states and battling each other. But there have also been many attempts throughout history to try to limit and prevent the outbreak of wars between states. In 1518 all of the European countries signed the Treaty of London, for example, as an attempt to try to live in peace. In 1623, French political writer, Eméric Crucé proposed the idea of a European Council to bring European countries together. Despite each attempt, wars continued to break out.

In the late 1700s, the lofty ideals of the Enlightenment brought a new sense of entitlement of basic rights and expectation about a more just and fair way that nations could and should be run. However, overthrowing the old ways and securing this new justice more often than not took the route of violent revolution. After the American and French Revolutions, 'nationalism' became a driving force for change.

Nationalism is a devotion to the interests or culture of one's 'nation'. The concept of a nation differs from that of a state, in that a nation is a group of people who are united by a shared culture, history or language, while the members of a state simply obey the same government. Before the rise of nationalism, people were most often loyal to a particular leader, like a King who claimed divine authority over them, or to the city where they lived. With the Age of Enlightenment came the idea that a state's government was only just if it acted in the best interest of the nation - the people the state was supposed to represent. This rise of nationalism led to wars for ethnic independence like the Greek War of Independence. But as patriotism for one's nation grew, it also led to a sense that one's nation was superior to other nations, which inevitably led to more tension and conflicts.

In 19th century Europe, nationalistic tensions, combined with economic inequalities brought about by the Industrial Revolution, and military advancements like the invention of dynamite and more efficient killing machines capable of causing more horrific and widespread destruction, set the stage for a war mentality that led to a growing arms race between nations. Many were rightly concerned and saw the urgent need for international agreements and institutions that would not only help prevent wars from occurring, but would also reverse the trend of having to spend a large percentage of a nation's resources on military armaments to keep up with the rest of the nations of Europe.

In 1899, Russian Tsar Nicholas II invited the leaders of Europe to meet in The Netherlands at The Hague to discuss disarmament, international laws that would help to limit wars between nations, and the establishment of an international court to settle disputes peacefully. A Second Hague Conference was held in 1906 and a third was planned for 1914, but never took place because of the start of World War I. Nevertheless, the Hague Conventions were a significant step forward in creating a body of international law to replace the institution of war as an accepted way to settle disputes.

The Hague conferences for peace were also significant in the role that civil society played before and after the conferences. Peace societies and religious groups from Europe and America helped convince leaders to attend and helped convince nations to abide by the laws and participate in the Permanent Court of Arbitration the conventions helped create.

Better World Handbook
Buy This Book

The Ultimate Handbook
for a Better World

About | Peacetopia | Milestones | Links | Places |
Utopian Movements | Utopian Dreamer |

BetterWorld Shopping Guide
Buy This Book

Turn Every Dollar Into
Social Change is administered by The People For Peace Project.
All FREE printable materials © Robert Alan Silverstein unless otherwise noted.
May be distributed for non-commercial uses only.


May Peace Prevail On Earth


c.380 BC

Magna Carta


"On Civil Power"

"On The Law
of War and Peace"

Peace of Westphalia


"Two Treatises of Government"

"Social Contract"

July 4, 1776
US Declaration of Independence

September 17, 1787
US Constitution

August 26, 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

September 25, 1789
US Bill of Rights

Department of Peace

"Perpetual Peace"

May 18, 1899
Hague Peace Conference

Nobel Peace Prize

January 8, 1918
14 Points

June 28, 1919
League of Nations

The New Deal

January 6, 1941
The Four Freedoms

October 24, 1945
The United Nations

August, 1947
World Federalist Movement

December 10, 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"Let There Be
Peace On Earth"

The Beloved Community

The New Frontier

The Great Society

Earth Day

October 11, 1971

International Day of Peace

77 Theses on the Care of the Earth

Global Cooperation for a Better World

Earth Constitution

Culture of Peace Programme

"4000 Ideas & Dreams for a Better World"

Earth Magna Charta

"When Corporations Rule The World"

"Peace On Earth Millennium"

Appeal of the Nobel Laureates

"Conscious Evolution"

May 11-15, 1999
Hague Appeal for Peace

January 1, 2000
One Day In Peace

June 29, 2000
The Earth Charter

September, 2000
Millennium Development Goals

January 25-30, 2001
World Social Forum

October, 2001
"Better World Handbook"

Clinton Global Initiative

July 18, 2007
The Elders

September 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street