Julia Ward Howe’s mothers day

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), who wrote Battle Hymn of the Republic, was the first person to come up with the concept of a “mothers day.” In 1872, Howe, a writer, women’s rights activist, pacifist, and mother of six, suggested the concept of a “Mothers Peace Day.” The world had endured two disastrous wars: the Franco-Prussian war in Europe and the Civil War in the United States. Howe said that women did not bring their sons into the world to kill the sons of other mothers. 

Julia Ward Howe proposed that Mothers Peace Day be celebrated on June 2nd. The purpose of the holiday would be to promote world peace. She wrote a proclamation in favor of such a holiday.

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be
that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions
decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall 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 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 the devastated earth a voice goes up with
our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow 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 then solemnly take counsel with each other as to
the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after
his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may 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.

Happy mothers day to all. Peace is meant for everyone: mothers, grandmothers, aunties and the rest of the extended family. No one is excluded. Unfortunately, our world has not achieved the hope that Julia Ward Howe had of disarmament and peace. I hope that we can all work together to turn Julia Ward Howe’s vision into reality.

4 thoughts on “Julia Ward Howe’s mothers day”

  1. Hi Alice, thankyou for sharing this, I had no idea of the origin of mothers day, but love Julia's concept of using mothers to spread peace. Interesting how we have strayed away from the originally intended idea over time to celebrate them for their commitment to us instead.

  2. This is interesting! Having some peace and quiet at home yesterday afternoon made me happy. Happy Mother's Day to you and all!

  3. Thank you for sharing this information about Mothers Peace day. I am sure it's something not many may be aware of.
    It really is a sad state of affairs today as we see unrest prevail all around us. This is the time when we all need to come together and try and bring the peace that Julia Ward Howe asked for all those years ago. It will be a victory for us if we are able to realise Ms. Howe's dreams of a peaceful world.

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