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William Dean Howells: If we have war, every good cause will be set back

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

William Dean Howells: Selections on war

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William Dean Howells
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League

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Letter to his sister Aurela H. Howells
April 3, 1898

Of course we are deafened by the war-talk here. I hope you will not be surprised to hear that I think we are wickedly wrong. We have no right to interfere in Cuba, and we have no cause of quarrel with Spain. At the very best we propose to do evil that good may come. If we have war it will be at the cause of a thousand times more suffering than Spain has inflicted or could inflict on Cuba. After war will come the piling up of big fortunes again; the craze for wealth will fill all brains, and every good cause will be set back. We shall have an era of blood-thirsty prosperity, and the chains of capitalism will be welded on the nation more fiercely than ever.

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