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Mothers' Day: Peace

Published 13 days ago • 1 min read

May 10, 2024

Dear Reader,

What was the original meaning and the motivation for marking a special day for mothers? Historian Heather Cox Richardson explains:

"Mothers’ Day—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society."

Richardson tells the story of Julia Ward Howe, who lived through the Civil War and stayed with her abusive husband because leaving him would have meant losing her children. Richardson reports that Howe "believed strongly that women, as mothers, had a special role to perform in the world." Richardson explains that shortly after the Civil War, the Franco-Prussian war broke out, and Howe wrote, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?”

Richardson:

She [Howe] believed that her Women’s Peace Movement would be the next great development in human history, ending war just as the anti-slavery movement had ended human bondage. She called for a “festival which should be observed as mothers’ day, and which should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines.”

Julia Ward Howe was not able to achieve her dream of ending violence and war. She turned her energies to ensuring women's right to vote, seeing it as a necessary step toward a more peaceful world.

This Mothers' Day, we invite you to join us in sending a message to the President, Vice President, your Senators and Representative. Our message is simple:

Thank you,

Cathy Myers

cmyers@familyandhome.org

Family and Home Network, P.O. Box 72134, Durham, NC 27722
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Family and Home Network

Helping families spend generous amounts of time together.

National nonprofit organization offering affirmation, information and advocacy to parents, with a focus on at-home parents and those who spend (or want to spend) generous amounts of time with their children. Advocating for Inclusive Family Policies.

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