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Conscientious objectors (Collection on)
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A collection of brochures, newsletters, political questionnaires, pamphlets, position papers, and other material published by a variety of American organizations from throughout the country supporting citizens who claim the right to refuse to perform military service on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion. A portion of the collection includes newspapers published by conscientious objectors (COs) held at internment camps set up by the U.S. government during World War II. Also present are newsletters and flyers focused on the strike by the men held at Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp #76, a forest service camp for conscientious objectors near Glendora, California. This strike was related to the efforts by COs at different camps across the country to form the CPS Union (CPSU). The CPSU's major interests were to improve pay and benefits, including those for dependents, and the working conditions and rights of all CPS men. The collection includes 14 issues of The Conscientious Objector, a newspaper published by The War Resisters League, ranging from 1939 to 1946. Multiple publications issued by the National Service Board for Religious Objectors (NSBRO) are also held in the collection, including issues of The Reporter and a brochure titled "CPS Guinea Pigs," which states: "For science and humanity, conscientious objectors have been performing their wartime service to the nation by serving as voluntary 'human guinea pigs' in a series of medical experiments." A variety of religious groups are represented among the materials, including Baptists and Mennonites. In all, the collection contains 322 unique printed items from more than 52 organizations and agencies, most published around World War II.
The earliest recorded conscientious objector dates to the year 295, according to Peter Brock, author of Pacifism in Europe to 1914 (Princeton University Press, 1972). On reaching the age of 21, Maximilianus, the son of a Roman army veteran, was called up to the legions but told the Proconsul in Numidia that because of his religious convictions he could not serve as a soldier. He persisted in his refusal and was executed. He was subsequently canonized as Saint Maximilian.
0.81 Linear Feet 2 boxes
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Department of Special Collections at specol@usc.edu. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
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