By Jody Brumage
Five years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, Philadelphia physician, educator, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, lamented “Among the defects which have been pointed out in the federal constitution by its antifederal enemies, it is much to be lamented that no person has taken notice of its total silence upon the subject of an office of the utmost importance to the welfare of the United States, that is, an office for promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country.” Printed by the African American publisher Benjamin Banneker in his 1793 almanac, the sentiments expressed by Rush are the foundation of a movement that has persisted to the present day in the United States: the goal of creating a Department of Peace. West Virginia has played a significant role in advocating for this cause.
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