Mother’s Day has been reduced to a highly commercialised retail event but in 1870 in the US pacifist, abolitionist and sufffragette Julie Ward Howe wrote her “Mother’s Day Proclamation” which said women of the world should demand an end to war with the internationalist cry “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."
The full Mothers Day Proclamation reads
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be 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 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.
The original Mothers Day was designed to be marked on June2nd each year was meant to be an opportunity for the women of the world to get together and publicly demand the end to all wars between nations. When Mothers Day was eventually declared a national holiday in the US in 1914 by Woodrow Wilson it had long lost its political connotations. The intent of the holiday shifted away from women's activism and instead emphasized women's role in the home and family. The apostrophe was moved so that "Mothers' Day" as a day for organized social and political action by all mothers became "Mother's Day" a day for celebrating the private service of one's own particular mother.