Mother's Day Proclamation (1870)

Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Roses on White House fence, part of a Mother's Day Antiwar Protest, 2006
Mother's Day Antiwar Protest In Front Of White House, 2006. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The following Mother's Day Proclamation, promoting a Mother's Day for Peace, was written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870.  She had become known for writing The Battle Hymn of the Republic during the Civil War.  This represented her growing concern over the consequences of war, and her hope for an end to wars.  

More about the origin of this piece: Julia Ward Howe: Mother's Day and Peace

Arise then...women of this day!


Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered 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 country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a 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 other as 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 ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And 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.

• More about the history of Julia Ward Howe and Mother's Day

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Howe, Julia Ward. "Mother's Day Proclamation (1870)." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2016, thoughtco.com/mothers-day-proclamation-1870-3529334. Howe, Julia Ward. (2016, March 2). Mother's Day Proclamation (1870). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mothers-day-proclamation-1870-3529334 Howe, Julia Ward. "Mother's Day Proclamation (1870)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mothers-day-proclamation-1870-3529334 (accessed December 11, 2017).