Peace & Pacifist Views

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Justifications for Waging War

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 00:00 What Is Peace?
  • 00:45 Aspects of Peace
  • 1:50 Pacifism
  • 5:01 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Peace and pacifism are notable parts of our modern moral beliefs, but what exactly do these terms mean? Explore these ideas and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

What Is Peace?

Hey, man, make peace, not war. I think we all know by now that violence is bad, right? So, like, just make peace instead!

Peace, in a philosophical sense, is a freedom from violence and it's pretty sweet, right? Ok, ideally, yes, this sounds nice, but where does peace really fit into the world? After all, the concept of peace has been one of the most sought-after and yet elusive ideals in human history. Is peace practical or is it just a word used by hippies? Well, let's find out. Just give me a few minutes to state my piece.

Aspects of Peace

So let's talk a little bit about peace. Like I said, at its most basic, peace is a freedom from violence. Nations who are not at war are at peace. People who live their lives without being threatened or physically harmed live a life of peace. But there's a bit more to it as well.

Peace can also be a goal in nonviolent conflicts. Say two friends are in a fight. They may not intend to physically harm each other, but their anger can still lead to emotional or psychological anguish. In this sense, peace implies reconciliation, forgiveness, and healthy relationships.

Finally, there's also inner peace, which is a spiritual, emotional, or psychological calm. Ever feel really stressed? Sometimes your mind needs to deal with emotional issues, maybe fear or loss, before it can feel at peace. So, peace is actually a pretty important part of our social, emotional, and psychological happiness. It's more than just being free of physical harm.


Peace can be described as a freedom for violence or a resolution of social and personal conflicts, but really it's still just an idea or, at best, a state of being. However, to achieve peace, you need to put these ideals into practice. Pacifism is the social and political devotion to peace. Pacifists generally oppose violent conflict of any sort, so warfare, violence, and killing are always wrong.

So, how do pacifists resolve conflicts? Do they just ignore every problem in their lives? Come on, have you heard of the 1960s? Pacifism does not involve turning a blind eye and actually, most schools of pacifism teach that you have a moral obligation to actively campaign for peace everywhere you go. Let's look at famous pacifists throughout history.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. championed the idea of nonviolent protest during the Civil Rights protests of the 1960s. In this pacifist view, your ability to suffer without retaliating with violence is intended to sway people's emotions and help them see your side. This idea was also embraced by Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement. A great number of the martyred saints recognized by the Catholic Church were also pacifists, most of whom chose to give up their lives rather than resort to violence. So, pacifism does not mean inaction. It can require selfless sacrifice and a very long-term mindset, seeking to create eventual but lasting change as opposed to immediate solutions.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account