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8.7: Anti-Suffrage Newspaper in New York

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Source: Article from an anti-suffrage newspaper, The Woman’s Protest Against Woman’s Suffrage, published in New York by the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, in October 1912.

It is the Suffragists whose ideal is the kitchenless house fed from a mechanical institutional centre. The main proportion of Suffragist writing and speaking is on this pots and pans pattern, simply a denunciation of housekeeping as degrading. It is the Suffragist theory that the woman's sphere in life should be the same as the man's that has condemned her to share with him what is so hideous a misfit in the miscalled education of our industrial classes, whose girls are all taught as if destined for literary rather than manual occupations, as if the National funds were collected to compel the training of a surplus of cheap short-hand typists for the office, and to compel a lack of expert housewives in the home. It is the Suffragists who are destroying the wholesome personal element in female life, by their doctrine of degradation in the washing of pots and pans for husband, father and son, while they demand the vote, and opportunity to serve the State, the husbands, fathers, and sons of other people, with what? What service? An abstract service of legislation and administration, they reply: in fact all that barren “social service” which can be performed without the sweating of the brow, the soiling of a finger! Is it not clear how this hideous feminism is sapping our vitality as a nation? Is it too much to say that it is at the root of half the unhealth and disease of which to-day's unrest is symptomatic?

There are many wealthy women who have espoused Suffragisim, and who, to promote it, do daily a very dangerous thing in preaching to working women that housework is degrading. And dangerous as is that direct denunciation of housework universal among Suffragists, of which the Woman's Labor League president's pots and pans speech is typical, there is another way inculcating contempt for it, which is even more dangerous because more insidious and less direct. An example of the insidious way in which the mischief is spread is shown in a letter to the Times of December 21 last, advocating the suffrage for women. It was written by a lady from the standpoint of the leisured and cultured classes, as she expressly said. “We more fortunate women,” she wrote, plead for the franchise, not for our own sake, but for the sake of the working women (whose “round of toil” she stigmatized as “drudgery”), because “it shall bring them at once something at least of the respect and consideration which form the basis upon which we more fortunate women build our lives.”

Questions:

  1. Sourcing: When was this document written? By whom? What do you predict the document will say?
  2. Close Reading: According to this document, why did anti-suffragists oppose suffrage? Cite specific passages.

Rep. John A. Moon Speech

Source: Representative John A. Moon of Tennessee, speech in House of Representatives, January 10, 1918, on the issue of the woman suffrage amendment.

It has been insisted that the real-purpose of this amendment is the basis for political legislation that will ultimately deprive the Southern States of representation in part in Congress and their force in national affairs....

In those Southern States where the colored population outnumbers the white to double the number of ignorant voters by giving the colored woman the right to vote would produce a condition that would be absolutely intolerable. We owe something to the wishes and the sentiments of the people of our sister States struggling to maintain law and order and white supremacy....

We are engaged now in a great foreign war. It is not the proper time to change the whole electoral system... Patriotism, in my judgment, forbids the injection of this issue into national politics at this time.

Questions:

  1. Sourcing: When was this document written? By whom? What do you predict the document will say?
  2. Close Reading: According to this document, why did anti-suffragists oppose suffrage? Cite specific passages.

Kaiser Wilson Poster

Source: Photograph of Suffragist Virginia Arnold posing with banner at a 1917 protest organized by the National Woman’s Party.(Figure below).

Kaiser Wilson

Have you forgotten

Your Sympathy With

The Poor Germans

Because They Were Not

Self-Governed?

20,000,000

American Woman Are Not

Self-Governed.

Take the Beam

Out Of Your Own Eye.

Questions:

  1. Sourcing: Who created this sign? When? Who took the photograph?
  2. Contextualization: What else was going on in the world at this time?
  3. Close Reading: Who is the sign maker calling “Kaiser Wilson?” What is the sign maker’s argument? How would the words on the sign make an American in 1917 feel?
  4. Close Reading: Do you recognize the allusion made in the last sentence on the sign? Would a person living in 1917 be likely to recognize it? Would this be effective in persuading people to support suffrage?

Section Questions:

  1. Corroboration: Considering all of the documents in this section, why did some people oppose suffrage?

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