I’ve been doing a little research on Mother’s Day – origins, practices, etc. (HISTORY nerds unite…) in the hopes of discovering the basis for the overcommercialized, mass-marketed holiday that Mother’s Day is today. I found that a woman named Julia Ward Howe, peace activist & author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic was a post-Civil War voice motivating mothers of the world to unite: for peace, for family, for safety, against war, poor treatment of workers, poor sanitation, & abuse of alcohol.
Below is the “Mother’s Day Proclamation” written by Howe, a rallying cry for mothers – Enjoy.
Arise then Christian women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!
“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 country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Damn! Damn!
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, man as the brother of man,
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.
i couldn’t get through her whole schpeel. not only did i find it a tad, er, boring, but i can’t get out of my head the idea that a peace activist wrote the battle hymn of the republic. odd.
I reek of carnage . . . somebody mother me . . .
This old bag was just against war because it took the men from working the fields, not because she actually cared about their lives.
That’s what W.C. Fields would have said, and I find myself constantly asking myself WWWCFD?
You guys are a bunch of irreverent dorks! Diga makes a good point though.
Yeah, it is kind of ironic that she’s a peace activist and yet wrote the battle hymn.
The other irony I find in this is that it was apparently too long to get through, and yet most of our blog posts are AT LEAST twice as long and we make it through. I guess because of the time it was written it seems a bit irrelevant, but really some of the things she says could still apply today…
or maybe it was just boring . . .