The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Murder is the killing of one who has not attempted to kill. The putting to death of one who murders or attempts to murder is not murder; it is the preventing of other possible killings by that murderer.

War made by one people on another people is tribal or national murder, and the people who provoke war are to be condemned as murderers.

Grievances of whatever kind are to be settled by negotiations or arbitrations under judges agreed upon; grievances never can be settled by murder.

Murder by a people or a nation is an unpardonable crime against civilization, proportionately worse than murder by an individual. Murder by war is the killing by one people of some of another people by the calculations of the organized wholesale murderers who kill some of the other people in order to plunder and rule those others and rob them of their possessions.

Murder by the individual is a crime against the law and safety and order of the local community; the motive of the murderer may or may not be to steal. Murder by a people is against the law and safety and order of the community of nations; its motive, however diagnosed, is usually plunder. Aggressive warfare strikes at the vitals and principles of civilization. Therefore, to preserve civilization it is the duty of every civilized nation to be prepared to deal with and suppress any people or faction making war, similarly as the laws of a city deal with any individual who attempts to murder or to burglarize and steal. When a nation resorts to war and becomes an outlaw to civilization, it should be suppressed by force. It loses its national rights and should be condemned as a criminal people or nation, put under a ban and be deprived of its means of force until by its behavior it shows that it may be trusted with national rights among civilized nations.

For the safety of world-civilization there should be democracy of nations: just as there now can be a democracy in the United States.

As mankind is said to have grown out of the state of savagery into a state of civilization as nations, likewise, so-called civilized nations are just emerging from savagery among nations into the state of peace among nations. In the state of savagery the stronger savage could take the head or the scalp of a brother savage and hold it up to view, and be envied and feared and admired by other savages and acclaimed as a great warrior or hero. The greater the slaughter of his victims, the greater the warrior-hero and leader he became.

Murder and savagery have been the practice of the nations of the earth. The blessings and benefits of centuries of agriculture and manufacture, of research, literature, invention, science and discovery and the accumulation of wealth are now being used by the nations for the murder and destruction of each other. Continuance of this will end in the destruction of civilization. Necessity demands that war and bloodshed must stop and give way to peace. Man cannot be ruled by madness and murder; man can be ruled only with peace and reason.

Among the nations the United States is known to be one whose people do not desire to conquer and dominate other peoples. Therefore, let it be agreed that the United States of America be the nation among nations to establish the real democracy of its own people so that the excellence of its own government will be so apparent that the peoples of other nations will from necessity adopt democracy as the best form of government, and to the end that there may be a democracy of the nations.

Before the United States can ask for democracy of all nations, it must itself be a democracy, Self-government.