The need to build an awareness of peace and of peace education is often a message that is difficult to share with the larger society. John Dewey, an acclaimed American philosopher and intellectual, used his public platform to espouse his ideas on democracy and peace as a resolution to global discord during the years preceding and during World Wars I and II. Although Dewey did shift his perspective as global conflicts shattered his hope for world peace, he persevered in his missive of democracy and tolerance, especially through his writing and lectures. Dewey strongly believed that democratic societies are best suited to preserve peace and societal harmony. His reasoning was premised on his own understanding of democracy as a way of life, not as a political process. This paper examines Dewey’s ideas on peace education and his influence during the interwar years as well as during World War II. It also discusses how his ideas have been applied to contemporary approaches to peace education as seen through the lens of present-day practitioners. Through these historical milestones, Dewey’s philosophical support for peace education wavered when he faced the perpetual dilemma of what to do when the values of peace are in direct conflict with justice, decency, humanity, understanding, and cooperation. Yet, aspects of his ideas on how to teach peace—focused on building democratic communities—can still be seen in classrooms today.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/audrey-cohan/4/