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Opponents of Suffrage Previous Next
Digital History ID 3206

 

Liquor manufacturers and saloon owners opposed suffrage out of fear that women would vote to ban alcohol sales. The suffrage amendment was not ratified until a year after the country adopted prohibition. Some business interests opposed suffrage out of fear that women would vote against the use of child labor and for limitations on work hours.

Many opponents of suffrage argued that politics would debase, de-feminize, and destroy the family. At an 1894 state convention, Kansas Democrats said the vote for women would "destroy the home and family." In 1918, an Alabama representative predicted:

There will be no more domestic tranquility in this nation. No more "Home Sweet Home," no more lullabies to the baby. Suffrage will destroy the best thing in our lives and leave in our hearts an aching void that the world can never fill.
Some arguments against suffrage reflected simple gender bias. President William Howard Taft said that he opposed suffrage because women were too emotional. "On the whole," he wrote, "it is fair to say that the immediate enfranchisement of women will increase the proportion of the hysterical element of the electorate."

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