Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe was a prominent American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

, social activist
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

, and poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, most famous as the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" is a hymn by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861 and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. It became popular during the American Civil War...

Born Julia Ward in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, she was the fourth child of banker Samuel Ward
Samuel Ward (banker)
Samuel Ward was a United States banker.-Biography:His father was also named Samuel Ward. The father was a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and a merchant afterwards...

 and occasional poet Julia Rush Cutler. Among her siblings was Samuel Cutler Ward
Samuel Cutler Ward
Samuel Ward , was a poet, author, and gourmet, and in the years after the Civil War he was widely known as the "King of the Lobby." He combined delicious food, fine wines, and good conversation to create a new type of lobbying in Washington, DC—social lobbying—over which he reigned for...

. Her father was a well-to-do banker. Her mother, granddaughter of William Greene
William Greene (Rhode Island governor)
William Greene was the second Governor of Rhode Island after it became a state. His father, William Greene, had served as governor when Rhode Island was still a British colony....

 (August 16, 1731 – November 30, 1809), Governor of Rhode Island and his wife Catharine Ray, died when Julia was five after having borne seven children by the age of 27.

In 1843, she married Samuel Gridley Howe
Samuel Gridley Howe
Samuel Gridley Howe was a nineteenth century United States physician, abolitionist, and an advocate of education for the blind.-Early life and education:...

 (1801 – 1876), a physician and reformer who founded the Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind, located in Watertown, Massachusetts, is the oldest schools for the blind in the United States. It has also been known as the Perkins Institution for the Blind.-History:...

 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The strokes of the pen need deliberation as much as the sword needs swiftness.

As quoted in Stories Behind the Hymns That Inspire America: Songs That Unite Our Nation (2003) by Ace Collins, p. 36

Weave no more silks, ye Lyons looms, To deck our girls for gay delights!The crimson flower of battle blooms, And solemn marches fill the nights.

Our Orders.

The flag of our stately battles, not struggles of wrath and greed,Its stripes were a holy lesson, its spangles a deathless creed:'T was red with the blood of freemen and white with the fear of the foe;And the stars that fight in their courses 'gainst tyrants its symbols know.

The Flag.

I am confirmed in my division of human energies. Ambitious people climb, but faithful people build.

quoted in "1001 Greatest Things Ever Said About Massachusetts" - Page 392 by Patricia Harris, David Lyon - Reference - 2007

I have seen him in the watchfires of an hundred circling camps They have builded him an altar in the evening dews and damps, I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps, His day is marching on.

All versions

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: "As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on."

Published version, in the Atlantic Monthly (February 1862)

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat. Oh! be swift my soul to answer him, be jubilant my feet! Our God is marching on.

Published version, in the Atlantic Monthly (February 1862)

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is wisdom to the mighty, he is succour to the brave, So the world shall be his footstool, and the soul of Time his slave, Our God is marching on.

First manuscript version (19 November 1861)