The theory of nonviolence has its roots in the ethic of Jesus, but as a technique for social transformation, it began with a Universalist minister, Adin Ballou, in the mid-19th century here in Massachusetts. Ballou was the spiritual head of a utopian community in Hopedale, located in the Blackstone River Valley. He was a Christian socialist, and when many of his fellow socialists were advocating violent means in the struggle against capitalism, Ballou championed nonviolence.
Ballou was Leo Tolstoy’s favorite American author, and Tolstoy took up Ballou’s ideas of nonviolence. Mohandas Gandhi, in turn, read Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King Jr. read Gandhi.
I was not aware of the Rev. Ballou’s influence on Tolstoy’s thinking.
The other story is sad, it’s by Joe O’Connell of the Milford Daily News, “Developmentally disabled from Hopedale clubhouse to protest cuts to clubhouses”. It makes me sad that we are reducing our level of help to our most vulnerable citizens.