The Original Mother’s Day Proclamation

Anita Wucinic-Turner points out that Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation inaugurating Mother’s Day was originally intended as a statement against war:
Over and over again, particular women have declared the cause of peace in the public square, Julia Ward Howe [among them].  In 1870, in the wake of the Civil War, she wrote the proclamation which would inaugurate Mother’s Day.

Arise, then, women of this day!Arise, all women who have hearts, Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another countryTo allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. 

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.It says: “Disarm! Disarm!The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.Let them solemnly take counsel with each otheras to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace,Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,But of God.In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly askThat a general congress of women without limit of nationalityMay be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient ,and at the earliest period consistent with its objects: 

  •  To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
  • The amicable settlement of international questions,
  • The great and general interests of peace.

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1 thought on “The Original Mother’s Day Proclamation”

  1. I resonate completely with Ms. Howe's sentiments. I am so glad that neither my husband nor my son ever had any inclination toward war. Thank you for sharing this quote. I wasn't aware of it.
    I agree that there must be some peaceful way to resolve disagreements between countries or even in the case of civil war, within countries. It is common to talk about the monetary cost of war, but the human cost is much more staggering – in lives lost and lives forever altered.
    Donna Turner


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