Temperance Cockades 1840-1860

Prior to the 19th century, drunkards were often considered hopeless addicts. And heavy alcohol consumption was considered standard behavior by many. That began to change in the early 1800s.

America was a new nation still fighting for legitimacy in the first decade of the 1800s. But once peace was established with European nations, Americans could turn their thoughts homeward and consider improving themselves.

Many of America's reform movements began in the 19th century. Temperance was no exception. Reformers and preachers began to weigh in against the sin of drunkenness and for the first time, people began to seriously consider helping alcholics beat their addiction.

Enter the Temperance Movement.

Temperance Fraternities

One of the earliest Temperance societies was the Washingtonian Society, formed by six alcoholics who decided to meet together for mutual encouragement to avoid strong drink. Their format of regular meetings to share stories and encouragement actually foreshadowed the modern Alcoholics Anonymous program.

The Washingtonians grew and their impact was huge, becoming one of the largest movements in America. Men would lecture around the country telling their own stories about what life is like when abusing alcohol, challenging their audiences to take the abstinence pledge. By 1841 Washingtonians claimed over 200,000 members, and by 1842 they had over one million. (US total population in 1842 was only 17 million)

Their success encouraged other Temperance societies such as the Sons of Temperance (and the spin-off Daughters of Temperance). These societies required their members to sign a pledge of abstinence and they worked hard to make more converts. The clubs were also fraternal in nature, meaning that they often provided health insurance and burial costs for members, as well as care for widows (assuming the member had "stayed clean!"). Newly joined addicts who had taken the pledge to abstain were often helped to find jobs and housing. Temperance fraternities were a safety net as well as a reform movement.

Son of Temperance, holding the society's
pledge and wearing the regalia with cockade.
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Spreading the Movement

The cause of Temperance quickly grew and became popular throughout the country, North to South and East to West. Even in California, Temperance groups existed in the 1840s.

Though the modern stereotype of white Southerners often makes them out to be alcohol abusers, a case can be made that the movement was even stronger in the South than the North. For instance, slave states members made up 44% of the Sons of Temperance in 1850 - but note that the Sons did not admit African Americans, and the South only represented 32% of the nation's total white population.

As the movement grew, Temperance societies began to link their abstinence idealogy to religion. Unlike the Washingtonians who purposely had no religious dogma, later societies often tied a person's spirituality to their commitment to Temperance. Further, radicals in the Temperance movement began to call for Prohibition, a complete outlawing of liquor in the country.

Not only was the "gospel" of Temperance preached, it was also written. T.S. Arthur **(editor and publisher of Arther's Home Magazine) wrote a widely read book called Ten Nights in a Barroom and What I Saw There. Other authors followed suit with books, pamphlets and cartoons illustrating the evils of alcoholism.

So what happened?

The Temperance movement's first wave withered with the advent of the Civil War. The issue of slavery became more important to reformers and Temperance was given a back seat, not to be revived until the 1870s. It would be this second wave that eventually realized the goal of complete Prohibition.

Temperance Cockades

Naturally what got me interested in this fascinating episode of history was the cockades! One of my customers suggested I research the topic of Temperance rosettes. I had no idea that my research would end up answering a question I long held about one of my own photographs! I had been puzzled by this beautiful photo of a couple in regalia. After comparing the many descriptions of Temperance cockades and collars, I've come to realize that they are most likely wearing Sons and Daughters of Temperance regalia. Mystery solved!

Many of the Temperance societies had their own regalia and almost all pre-1860 societies included cockades of some sort.  Here are some examples from various society rule books.

"The members of this Association shall furnish, at their own expense, a small white silk rosette, with a blue centre, of a fixed and uniform size..."
United Brothers of Temperance, 1847

"The regalia for a member of the National Division shall be a blue velvet collar, with a rosette of red, blue and white; gold button in the centre of rosette; two gold tassels suspended from rosette..."
Journal of the Proceedings of the National Division of the Sons of Temperance, 1844

"The Independent Order of Rechabites appeared in full regalia, preceded by an excellent band of musicians. Their regalia was a white satin collar, with a rosette of white, blue and scarlet ribbon, where it united in front."
Journal of the American Temperance Union 1840s

You'll notice a common color scheme - red, white and blue cockades. A quick look at Temperance posters from the era show many of the cockades had tassels. Though they were generally worn on a special collar, at least one poster shows a lady simply wearing the cockade on her breast.


Need A Temperance Cockade?

Naturally I couldn't fail to offer my customers cockades for such a worthy cause!

If you need a Temperance cockade, or a cockade for any other worthy cause, purchase below or contact me directly for a custom order!

Cockades in the American Revolution

The American army was founded on June 14, 1775 by order of the Continental Congress. A few weeks later, George Washington was named the first Commander in Chief of the Army. His job not only included fighting the British nation from which we were seceding. He also had to take a motley assortment of state militias, privately raised regiments, and volunteers from around the colonies and meld them into one unified fighting machine.

Washington at the Battle of Princeton, by Don Troiani.
Note Washington's staff have colored cockades showing their rank

Colors for Rank

One of Washington's first orders in the summer of 1775 after taking command, was that cockades would be worn by officers to show rank. He designated that “the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green.” This easy and cheap method of identifying officers (instead of buying new uniforms for everyone) saved the Colonies' lean budgets.

King George III, by Sir William Beechey.
Note the black cockade on his hat

Black Cockades

America became an independent nation when we seceded from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Before that, we were a colony of Great Britain. The cockade of King George of the House of Hanover was black. Thus the national British cockade was also black.

Even though America was at war with Great Britain, they still felt an affinity for their mother nation. After all, many of them were born there and still had relatives there. In fact, when George Washington's army was camped at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778, the officers were still officially toasting King George. It was natural that an American military cockade would be the Hanoverian color black. So, after the brief period of using colored cockades for rank, the army reverted to wearing black.

George Washington, by John Trumbull.
Note the black and white cockade on his hat

Black and White Cockades

America needed allies in the war with Great Britain, then the reigning power of the seas. The United States signed the Treaty of Alliance with France on February 6, 1778 and French troops entered the American War for Independence. At first their participation was mostly on the seas, but by 1779 they were landing troops on American soil.

The national cockade of France was white. In 1780, as a symbol of the two nations’ alliance, General George Washington established that the American military cockade would be an Alliance Cockade – black with a white center. French troops likewise wore an Alliance Cockade of white with a black center.

This painting by John Trumbull shows the French troops (left) and the American troops (right) at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis - all wearing the Alliance Cockades.

The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, by John Trumbull

A black and white Southern cockade from the Civil War.
American Civil War Museum.

Symbol of Attachment

The black and white cockade became an emblem of the American War for Independence for many years after the war ended. Even during the Civil War eighty years later, the occasional black and white cockade was worn as a reminder of America's first War for Independence.

A Philadelphia newspaper said on July 4, 1798, “It has been repeatedly recommended, that our citizens wear in their hats on the day of Independence, the American Cockade, (which is a Rose, composed of black ribbon, with a white button, or fastening) and that the Ladies should add to the attraction of their dress...this symbol of their attachment to the government.”

Mourning Cockades

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