Votes For Women: Suffragette Badges

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. It declares: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."


Controversy and Division 

The movement that would create this amendment had its roots 80 years earlier. In the 1840s, the American women's rights movement began and the first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. The most controversial resolution of the convention was that supporting women's suffrage. In the end, only 1/3 of the attendees signed the resolution supporting women's suffrage, in spite of the fact that people such as Frederick Douglas argued in favor of it. But as time went on, the issue became a solid plank of the women's rights movement. Two national women's suffrage organizations were eventually established in 1869. One was led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the other by Lucy Stone. There was violent rivalry between the groups for decades.

Unity and Militancy

Eventually in 1890 the two groups joined forces under the leadership of Susan B. Anthony.

For many years, the women's suffrage movement worked through the political and court systems. But progress was slow. In 1916 the National Woman's Party was formed, a militant group that engaged in picketing, chaining themselves to the White House fence, and hunger strikes to gain attention for their cause. These methods proved effective, and the Nineteenth Amendment was passed just four years later, in 1920.

American Women's Suffragette Badges. NWHM.
Suffragette Badges

The British militant group, the Women's Social and Political Union, formed in 1908. One of the actions of the WSPU was to have a permanent affect on women's jewelry and accessories: They purposely chose a noticeable, attractive color scheme for the women's suffrage cause.

A brilliant tricolor theme was chosen for the WSPU activities. Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, co-editor of the weekly newspaper Votes for Women, wrote in 1908:

Rosette belt. Museum of London.
Purple as everyone knows is the royal colour. It stands for the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity…white stands for purity in private and public life…green is the colour of hope and the emblem of spring.

The colours enable us to make that appeal to the eye which is so irresistible. The result of our processions is that this movement becomes identified in the mind of the onlooker with colour, gay sound, movement, and beauty.

American and British suffragette badges shared the penchant for purple, but where British ladies paired it with green, American ladies added brilliant yellow. Both color schemes fulfilled their purpose: they were noticeable!


Suffragette Cockades

Many suffragette badges were simply metal lapel pins, but some were beautiful ribbon badges. I offer both American and British suffragette badges in my shop.



Go to Cart

Back to School With Copperheads

A few months ago Mr. Balcum, principle of the Middletown (Conn.) high school, expelled from the school a son of Samuel Babcock – a Democrat of the Copperhead stripe – for insisting on wearing a Copperhead badge, by order of his father, against the rule of the school. The father brought a suit against the teacher, and a justice imposed a fine on him, but the case was carried up, and the Supreme Court has reversed the decision. (Highland Weekly News, January 28, 1864)

There is, apparently, nothing new under the sun.

Especially in school.

Just as there are arguments today about whether students can wear patriotic or campaign items in school, the debate also raged during the Civil War.

Over 150 years ago, the 1864 election campaign was raging in the North. Children of Peace Democrats, or "Copperheads" wanted to wear their Lady Liberty and butternut badges to school.

Likewise, their War Democrat or Republican classmates insisted on wearing Union cockades. The resulting fracuses led to lawsuits, suspensions... and a great deal of fuming in the newspapers.

Consider some of these entertaining anecdotes I discovered concerning Copperheads in the schools.

The Definition of "Partisan Badge"

A few days since some difficulty arose among the pupils in the High School, caused by the wearing of a Copperhead badge by one of the scholars, who boasted that his father was in the Rebel army.

To offset his obnoxious exhibition the loyal children procured Union rosettes, pins, small flags, etc., with which to testify their regard for the Government.

The excitement spread into the common schools and presently the school board took the matter in hand. This body has a majority of Democrats. It met and decided that partisan badges should not be worn by the scholars, and then decided that all the Union badges were "partisan."

The Dayton Empire becomes the defender of this decision and goes so far as to say that the flags, etc., are "Abolition emblems." Think of that! A Democratic paper, the especial organ of the man whom the Democrats propose to nominate for Governor of Ohio, denouncing the Stars and Stripes, or rosettes of Red, White and Blue, as "Abolition Emblems' which are not to be tolerated! When such a standard of Abolition is set up, thank God, we are classed among the "Abolitionists." (Cleveland Morning Leader, April 23, 1863)

The System Stinks

One Democratic newspaper, after a scuffle in which some Copperhead children were expelled, sneered at the school system in general.

It has been seen that the Dayton Empire has advocated the right of the pupils to wear Copperhead badges if they choose. The Cincinnati Enquirer takes the same ground, and goes enough further to say:

"Looking upon the State machinery for what is called educating the sons of the people as much better calculated to perpetuate ignorance than to promote enlightenment, the only feeling we have of regret is occasioned by the fact that it was the sons of Abolitionists, rather than those of Democrats, who were expelled.

"As the teacher really did the boys a kindness by turning them out of the seminary, we suspect that if wrong was committed anywhere, it was upon those who were compelled to remain." (Cleveland Morning Leader, 29 April 1863)

Banning Teachers with Copperhead "Proclivities"

A young man from Nelson, Portage county, appeared in this village on Saturday last, who sported conspicuously on his coat, a Copperhead badge....He was accompanied by his sister, who was attending the Teachers' Examination, and who proved to be as strong a Copperhead as her brother.

Westfield Normal (Teachers) School, c. 1860
Betraying the "proclivities" by an excited advocacy of the cause, she was informed by Mr. Whitney, one of the Board of Examiners, that, unless she would take the oath of allegiance, she could receive no certificate. This she refused to do, and in default thereof, was directed to leave the class.—The action of the Board was in accordance with a decision of the State School Commissioner, and its justice is too obvious to require comment.

Brother and sister returned home, we doubt not fully convinced that Copperhead badges and Copperhead sentiments are at a great discount in Chardon. (Chardon Democrat, May 20, 1863)

Everybody Should Be Allowed

The Dayton Empire says, in respect to wearing badges in the common schools of that city:

"If one class of children are allowed to wear Abolition emblems, the other have the same right to wear Democratic emblems, and we hope they will exercise it, if they feel disposed."

The "Abolition emblems," mark it well, are the eagle buttons, the tri color, and the stars and stripes. The "Democratic emblems," are "copperheads" and "butternuts"....

Yes, and the "Copperhead" emblem, or "Badge of Liberty," "mark it well," is made of the head of the Goddess of Liberty, cut from a copper cent, with the word "Liberty" stamped across the top of the cap. (Dayton Daily Empire, 23 April 1863)


IT'S BACK!

My reproduction Copperhead Badges is back in stock - with a lower price! This beautiful copper-plated replica of the original "Lady Liberty" badge is sure to be a conversation piece.

If you want more fun and helpful info about Copperheads in the 1860s, check out my info pack which is all primary source material on Copperheads. It includes a book of anti-Copperhead cartoons, a snide "Copperhead Catechism" and a compilation of newspaper anecdotes (like the ones above) about Copperheads.

Whether your sympathies are with the Republicans, War Democrats or Peace Democrats, there's a badge there for you! Get ready for the 1860s election season with your Copperhead - or Union Cockade!
Go to Cart

Carolina Day: Palmetto Trees & Cannon Balls

America celebrates the Independence Day on July 4, but South Carolina's Independence Day is actually June 28! That's because of an important battle that occurred on June 28, 1776. The events of "Carolina Day" had an effect on Southern cockades that lasted nearly a century - and an effect on American history that has lasted over 240 years!

1776

Things weren't going very well for the Patriots in the early days of the American Revolution. Though there were some victories - such as the British being forced to evacuate Boston in March 1776 - there were some heavy losses as well. The Battle of Bunker Hill was one of the bloodiest battles in the entire war and the campaign to bring Canada over to the Patriots' side was a complete disaster.

However, the Patriots were gaining enough ground to worry the British. So the Brits decided to start a Southern campaign, beginning with the conquering of a Southern port.

Portal to the South

The South was a goldmine to whichever side could hold it. Southern commodities like tobacco, rice, indigo, and pine tree products made the South the richest area of the country.

Furthermore, the British felt that they had much stronger support from the Loyalists in the South than in the North. They didn't reckon on the strong Patriot contingent in the South as well.

As it turned out, the people of the Southern states were so deeply divided between Patriots and Loyalists that some of the hardest and bloodiest fighting of the war would occur there.

But General Henry Clinton and Admiral Parker knew nothing of what was to come. They initially headed for Cape Fear, NC to establish a port of entry for the British. This did not work out so the next stop was Charleston. Earlier reconnaissance had shown that the fortifications around Charleston were incomplete, making it an easy target - or so the British thought.


Spongy Wood and Cannon Balls (and Cockades)

In early June, nine British warships sailed into Charleston's harbor and troops were landed on Long Island. The idea was that the soldiers could wade ashore from there to the city while the ships bombarded into oblivion the half-complete fort on Sullivan's Island. The British miscalculated on both counts.

The water turned out to be too deep to wade. And the fort - well, the sand and palmetto logs used for constructing the walls simply absorbed the cannon balls! Because of this battle, palmettos have ever since been the symbol of South Carolina, and her patriotic cockades have often included palmetto fronds.

Meanwhile, the Patriots were low on ammunition so they made every shot count. They managed to significantly damage a number of the ships, plus the British accidentally grounded one ship.

The British had 220 killed and wounded; the Patriots had 12 killed and 25 wounded.

Oh, and the ship that was grounded? The Brits finally despaired of recovering her so they set her on fire. But the resourceful Patriots swam over and managed to turn the ship's guns on the British themselves - and then escape before the ship blew up!

Heroes of the Battle

Sergeant Jasper holding up the flag - painting by John Blake White, 1826
Colonel William Moultrie of the South Carolina militia commanded the Patriots on Sullivan's Island. As a result of his victory against overwhelming odds, the fort (which was finally finished) was named Fort Moultrie in his honor.

During the battle, the Patriots' spirits reportedly were flagging when the British shot down their flag. Sergeant William Jasper heroically grabbed the flag and held it up until a new flag staff could be mounted. His action brought new life to the fort's defenders and he has been immortalized throughout American history as a hero. (If you check your family tree, you may even have an ancestor named after him, like I have!)

Carolina Day

The Patriot victory on June 28 ensured that Charleston's port would be closed to the British until its eventual fall in 1780 - too late to turn the tide of the war. The Battle of Sullivan's Island was one of the first major victories for the American Patriots. And it provided an exclamation point to the Declaration of Independence, which would be signed less than a week later.

Carolina Day has been celebrated by lovers of freedom and American history ever since.
Go to Cart

Queen Victoria's Jubilee Cockades

For 63 years and 7 months, the sun never set on the British Empire ruled by Queen Victoria. She was the second longest reigning British monarch in history (the current Queen Elizabeth has reigned two years longer). She was the last monarch of the House of Hanover - the reigning family from whom America inherited her black military cockades.

Victoria's rule spanned a time of great innovation and change. Steam power superseded horse power, machinery of all types took the place of cottage handcrafts, railways and telegraphs criss crossed the world and made it smaller than it had ever been. As the British Empire grew in technology, it also grew in size. By the end of Victoria's life, it had become the largest world empire ever known, covering more than a quarter of the world's population.


Jubilee Celebrations

So it was only natural that when Victoria's 50th and 60th anniversaries of her accession to the throne rolled around, worldwide celebrations ensued.

One hundred and twenty years ago, in June 1887, a massive Golden Jubilee  commemoration was held. Ten years later, her Diamond Jubilee was celebrated. As an interesting historical note, diamonds were typically associated with a 75th anniversary until Queen Victoria's 60th - at which point diamonds became the symbol for the 60th anniversary as well!

Souvenirs and mementos of all sorts were created during that time, which is what got me started reading about the celebrations. Because of course, there were cockades!

Jubilee celebration days were declared national holidays and the Queen's entourage made a parade of London. Bunting, decorations and flowers blanketed the city. Huge crowds converged on the parade route... and vendors sold ribbons and cockades for the occasion.


Jubilee Badges

Official medals, such as these, were struck but many other designs were also created with ribbons and cockades. Some focused on the fact that she was queen of an empire on which "the sun never sets." Others displayed the three national symbols - a rose for England, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Ireland.

The badge below is one of my favorites, not only because it's a cockade but because of its striking beauty and simplicity. Queen Victoria's picture with the date "1897" - her diamond jubilee - are on the ribbon. "VR" for the Latin form of Queen Victoria (Victoria Regina) and the date form the center emblem.

Since this month is the 120th anniversary of Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, I thought it would be fun to create a limited edition version of this wonderful cockade!

Golden Jubilee Commemorative Cockade. Museum of London.

Honor the Queen

If you'd like to honor Queen Victoria's legacy, you can purchase these cockades from me. I have many more cockades so be sure to check out the rest of my shop as well!

Go to Cart

Monuments and Cockades: What's the Point?

I make monuments. Well, sort of. My monuments are made from ribbon, not metal. And they’re small works of art, not large works of art.

Also, they aren’t permanent. But then, the large metal ones aren’t permanent either, as we’re finding out.

One of the dictionary definitions of “monument” defines it as something erected in memory of a person or event. America is full of monuments. Statues of generals, presidents and scientists. Buildings and obelisks commemorating battles or people. Even a grave marker is a small monument – and so is a cockade. They are all reminders, mementos “erected in memory of a person or event.”

Recently, some folks have decided that certain monuments are no longer welcome in our country. Protests are being raised about these monuments and in some cases, the monuments have already been removed. Does this matter? Is it worth fighting to keep them? What is the point of having them anyway?


We Forget

People are forgetful. We all need calendars, alarms, reminders, sticky notes, and secretaries to keep us from forgetting important tasks and dates. So in order to help ourselves remember really important things, we set aside special times and ceremonies for them.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day remind us to slow down and thank our parents for all they have done for us. Christmas and Easter remind us to stop and think about what Jesus did for us in His ministry on earth. Memorial Day reminds us to think about the soldiers who have given their lives in our country’s service. These things are all good because otherwise we get busy and forget.

Sometimes remembering is hard. It hurts or is embarrassing. We may not want to remember. But remembering what has happened helps us change the future. A people that refuses to learn (or even know) their history will continue to repeat mistakes.

We Remember

A monument is a constant, concrete reminder of something important in the life of our country. Erecting a monument took effort, organization, money and agreement among people that something was important enough to be memorialized with a permanent public record.

A monument reminds us to retell a story from the past.

If we don’t understand why a monument exists, it is a challenge to study that person or event to find out why it was considered monument-worthy. It’s not a reason to simply get rid of the monument.

When God parted the Red Sea for the nation of Israel to cross, He told them to take some stones from the middle of the river and make a monument out of them. In Joshua 4, He said, “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” Every time people saw the stone monument, they were reminded of the miraculous Red Sea crossing.

We Tell Stories

People today are questioning the meaning of America’s monuments. We need to be ready to tell their stories and remind people of our history. A nation that knows its history is a nation that can chart a great future, avoiding past mistakes and building on past triumphs. 

I may be biased, but I happen to think that a great way to start those conversations is with a small “monument” – a cockade!

I have cockades for both Union and Confederate heroes, and I'm happy to do custom cockades for any other events or people you want to memorialize. I hope you "wear your colors" this Memorial Day - and every day - to remember the heroes who built our country!

Shop Now

Quakers, Revolutions, and Cockades

The Quaker movement began in the mid-1600s as a group of people who wished to worship God in a way different from the established state church. They believed in non-violence and the equality and priesthood of all believers. Their opposition to slavery, refusal to take oaths, conscientious objection to war, and allowance of female leadership all brought them into conflict with the culture of their day.

Oh and one other item of conflict - their refusal to wear cockades!

We tend to picture the Quakers mostly in Great Britain and America, but by the late 1700s there was a branch in France as well.

The French Revolution began in 1789. You would think a revolution that touted "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" as its slogan would perfectly sympathize with the equality- and peace-loving Quakers. In fact, Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville, a prominent Girondin leader of the Revolution and a friend of Quakers observed, "We are all striving for the same object, universal fraternity; the Quakers by gentleness, we by resistance."

Unfortunately, that's not the view that the French National Assembly took of the matter. Quakers were not viewed kindly by the French revolutionary government. It was obvious to them that Quakers were a "public menace" because - wait for it - they refused to wear the tricolor cockade!

The Quakers had submitted a petition to the National Assembly asking for exemption from military service, exemption from taking civic oaths, and permission to carry on their own method of recording births, marriages and deaths. These liberties had already been granted to British and American Quakers, they reminded the Assembly.

Benjamin Angell's cockade
The issue was so important to Quakers internationally that American and British leaders of the sect visited France to plead for their brethren. Even though Quakers frowned on cockades and other "worldly" devices, cockades were required in revolutionary France. So this cockade was worn by one of the foreign suppliants, Benjamin Angell.

But in spite of this international support, things didn't turn out well for the French Quakers.

One of their leaders, Jean de Marsillac, observed, "It has pleased the lord to suffer us to fall under divers tryals, which in our weak state, we have found painful & grievious, the civic oath, the obligation imposed by the National Assembly to mount guard personally & the Arm, & to declare the arms every one had in his Possession, under the pain of being found guilty of treason & punished by Death….I was arrested at Paris because I had not the National Cockade, & signified my reasons for noncompliance, before the Judges of the Peace, & since that, before Petition Mayor of Paris, who had me set at liberty." 

Many French Quakers simply left France for England, which was more tolerant of their beliefs - and their refusal to wear cockades. A snarky cartoon of the times shows a Quaker asking a drover (symbolizing a recruiting officer), "Friend, where driveth thou that Calf - & why put a Cockade on his horn?" The recruiting officer answers, "He is a young Recruit & I am driving him to the slaughter house." This shows not only the Quakers' view on war but also their view of military cockades.

Pygmy Revels 1801. British Museum.

By 1801, apparently tolerance for Quaker beliefs was growing in France, as noted by two American travelers.

"It may not perhaps be amiss to mention how we were treated at the municipality, where we attended to present our passports. We were stopped by the guards, who had strict orders, it seems, not to suffer any man to pass unless he had what is a cockade in his hat, but on our desiring our guide to step forward and inform the Officers that we were of the people called Quakers, and that our not observing those signs of the time was not in contempt of authority, or disrespect to any office, but from a religious scruple in our minds, - it being the same with us in our own country – they readily accepted our reasons; and one of the officers came and took us by the guards, and so up into the chamber, where we were suffered to remain quietly with our hats on, till our passports were examined by two officers and again endorsed under the seal of the republic."

Cockades are wonderful emblems, in my opinion - but only when you are free to choose whether to wear one!


Memorial Day Sale

If you are a Quaker, you may not need my cockades. :) But the rest of y'all will be glad to know that I'm having a Memorial Day Sale for the rest of May!! Use the coupon code MEMORIALDAY for 10% off in my shops!

All non-custom items in my shops are ready to ship immediately. Custom orders usually only take an extra day or two, unless you are making a large order. As always, I'm happy to help you out with whatever cockades you need!


Shop Now

Arkansas Secession Cockades

Arkansas's electoral votes went to Breckenridge for president in 1860. A large minority favored Bell and a small minority went for Douglas. No one voted for Lincoln because there weren't any Republican ballots in the state!

When Lincoln won the presidential election, the stage was set for Arkansas to secede. But events proved it wasn't that easy.


Wheeling Into Line

South Carolina seceded on December 20, sparking secession fervor across the South. Though a man's loyalty was first to his own state, the Southern states shared a feeling of unity in their culture, their ambitions and their sense of persecution by the Northern states.

A South Carolina newspaper reported on secession feeling in Arkansas:

Arkansas. – The following dispatch shows that Arkansas is wheeling into line with her Southern sister States:
Little Rock, Dec. 21. –The bill for calling a State Convention has passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 81 to 30, and all parties, especially the Bell and Everett party, are for it. The Convention will meet in February, and I can tell you that if the secession feeling increases in intensity from now until then as it has increased within the last two weeks, an ordinance of immediate secession will be passed at once. Even the so called “moderate men” are for action with the Cotton States. There is nobody for unconditional submission.

Blue cockades are to be seen everywhere in abundance. If a man wants a fight, he has only to abuse South Carolina in the streets, and if the Palmetto State should need assistance, be assured she can rely on Arkansas sending her 10,000 men, able and willing to fight for her and maintain the cause of the South.

1860s view of the Arsenal

The Convention and the Arsenal

However, before the secession convention could be held, rumors began to fly. Back in November, Captain James Totten and 65 men of the 2nd U.S. Artillery quietly arrived to garrison the previously unguarded Federal Arsenal in Little Rock. Now the report was that more US troops were being sent. The message from the Federal government was clear: Arkansas was going to remain in the Union - by force if necessary.

As tempers flared and rumors spread, men from around the state converged on the city with the purpose of taking the arsenal. In order to prevent bloodshed, the governor requested Capt. Totten to surrender - and he did.

The convention to vote on secession met in March. Despite the large secession vote and a vast deal of speech-making, Arkansas ended up voting down secession by a narrow margin. Many still feel loyalty to the Union, though almost everyone - Unionist and Secessionist - agreed that concessions needed to be made by the Federal government to the Southern states.

A Declaration of Hostilities

In spite of the surrender of the Arsenal, things seemed to be going smoothly for the Unionist cause - and then the blow came. South Carolinians fired on the U.S.-garrisoned Fort Sumter. President Lincoln promptly called for troops from each state - 780 from Arkansas - to suppress the secessionists.

That was going too far.

Arkansians refused to be forcibly coerced into remaining in the Union. And they absolutely refused to be the tool to forcibly coerce anyone else to remain either. Southerner would not fight against Southerner.

The Governor explained:

Immediately following the proclamation issued by the President, I had the honor of receiving from the Hon. Simon Cameron, secretary of war for Mr. Lincoln's government, a requisition for seven hundred and eighty men to be raised from my fellow-citizens of Arkansas, for the very humane and christian purpose of "wiping out" and desolating the south by fire and sword...To the communication of Mr. Cameron, I returned the following reply—brief but clearly indicative of what I, as the executive of this free people, conceived to be a fitting response to such a piece of presumption and ignorance....

Hon. Simon Cameron,
Secretary of War, Washington City, D.C.
In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas, to subjugate the southern states, I have to say, that none will be furnished. The demand is only adding insult to injury. The people of this commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity their honor, lives and property, against northern mendacity and usurpation.
HENRY M. RECTOR,
Governor of Arkansas.


The Side of Truth and Liberty

On May 6, 1861, the Arkansas secession convention reconvened and voted nearly unanimously to secede from the United States. Three days later, a report appeared in a Little Rock newspaper: 

Neat and Appropriate.-We have received, from a young lady in Burrowsville, Searcy county, a tasteful presentation in the shape of a rosette. It is so simple and pretty that we will endeavor to describe it. A grain of corn is fastened, by means of a hole drilled through it, to a floss of cotton, spread so as to form a circle; this is also attached to a light blue circle, and the whole to a deep blue, of the usual size of a rosette. By using a grain of red corn, we have the colors of the Confederacy flag; red, white and blue, while the corn and cotton are emblematical of the Confederacy. The design and execution are both excellent. –The present was sent with a patriotic note from the true hearted donor. In the revolution of ‘61 as in ‘76, the women are on the side of truth and liberty and, if need be, will show themselves to be  heroines as did their foremothers. God bless them and the Southern Confederacy.

This was a fun cockade to reproduce! Appropriate for both gentlemen and ladies, it's full of Southern pride and sure to be a fun conversation starter. 

Go to Cart