An excerpt from the Mother’s Day Proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870. Most famous as the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic (a rewriting of the popular American Civil War song, “John Brown’s Body”, requested by Abraham Lincoln), she was also a poet, playwright, abolitionist, suffragette, and caller for Mother’s Day and an international day of peace.

Arise, then… women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
whether our 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 of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate 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 council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace,
each bearing after his own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.