Document A: Molly Elliot Seawell (Modifed)
It has often been pointed out that women should not pass laws on
matters of war and peace, since no woman can do military duty. But
this point applies to other issues, too. No woman can have any
practical knowledge of shipping and navigation, of the work of train-
men on railways, of mining, or of many other subjects of the highest
importance. Their legislation, therefore, would not be intelligent, and
the laws they devised to help sailors, trainmen, miners, etc., might be
highly offensive to the very people they tried to help. If sailors and
miners refused to obey the laws, who would have to enforce them?
The men!
The entire execution of the law would be in the hands of men, backed
up by irresponsible voters (women) who could not lift a finger to catch
or punish a criminal. And if all the dangers and difficulties of
executing the law lay upon men, what right have women to make the
Also, there seems to be a close relationship between suffrage and
divorce. Political differences in families, between brothers, for
example, who vote on differing sides, do not promote harmony. How
much more inharmonious must be political differences between a
husband and wife, each of whom has a vote which may be used as a
weapon against the other? What is likely to be the state of that family,
when the husband votes one ticket, and the wife votes another?
Devised: designed
Executing: carrying out
Inharmonious: unpleasant
Source: Excerpt from Molly Elliot Seawell, an anti-suffragist from
Virginia who published the anti-suffrage book, The Ladies’ Battle, in
Document B: Anti-Suffrage Newspaper in New York (Modified)
The Suffragists’ ideal is a kitchen-less house. The Suffragist keeps
writing and speaking about pots and pans, and denounces
housekeeping as degrading. The Suffragists teach women to revolt
against the daily task of tending child and house, and we sadly see
the results in the nation’s poor health and lowered physique. It is the
Suffragist theory that women’s sphere in life should be the same as
the man’s. Is it not clear how this hideous feminism is sapping our
vitality as a nation? Is it too much to say that it lies at the root of half
the sickness and disease in our country?
There are many wealthy women who support Suffragism, and who do
a very dangerous thing in preaching to working women that
housework is degrading. As long as a working woman keeps her
home clean and well tended, she enjoys the high regard of her
neighbors. Yet, now the more weak-minded have been influenced by
the Suffragists’ snobbish preaching. Such feminism is destroying our
national character and warping the natural impulses and beliefs that
make a woman’s life such a beautiful work of art.
Degrading: lowering one’s character
Sphere: area of influence
Sapping: draining
Vitality: energy
Warping: twisting out of shape
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.
Document C: Tennessee Representative John A. Moon
It has been insisted that the real purpose of this amendment is to
deprive the Southern States of representation in part in Congress....
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.
Source: Representative John A. Moon of Tennessee, speech in
House of Representatives, January 10, 1918, on the issue of the
woman suffrage amendment.
Why Did Anti-Suffragists Oppose Woman Suffrage?
Date/ Author
According to this document, why did anti-
suffragists oppose woman suffrage?
Document A
Document B
Document C