Mother's Day Proclamation
The "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world" (later known as "Mother's Day Proclamation") by Julia Ward Howe was an appeal for women to unite for peace in the world. Written in 1870, Howe's "Appeal to womanhood" was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The appeal was tied to Howe's feminist conviction that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.
In 1872 Howe asked for the celebration of a "Mother's Day for Peace" in the 2th June of every year, but she was unsuccessful. The modern Mother's Day is an unrelated celebration and it was established by Anna Jarvis years later.
Appeal to womanhood throughout the world
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 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 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 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.
- Julia Ward Howe (September 1870), "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world ...", An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera (Library of Congress)
- Howe, Julia Ward. "Mother's Day proclamation. (World Notes)." Catholic New Times 1 June 2003: 11. Academic OneFile. Web. 12 May 2012.
- Goldberger, Ben (May 13, 2007 Sunday). "A Mother's Day Proclamation: Peace". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 14 May 2012.