Margaret Sanger the 1920 Women and
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Margaret Sanger Women and the New Race (1920)
"When a motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race."
Born September 14, 1879 One of Eleven Children 1902 Married William Sanger 1912, a fire destroys her home and moves into the East Side slums of Manhattan Begins writing a column for the New York Call: “What Every Girl Should Know ” Also distributed a pamphlet Family Limitation to poor women 1916, “What Every Girl Should Know ” becomes published as a Little Blue Book
October 16, 1916, opens a family planning and birth control clinic in Brooklyn. It was shut down 9 days later, due to violating the Comstock Act Founded the American Birth Control League in 1921 (Formally National Birth Control League, founded in 1916. Later becomes Planned Parenthood in 1942) Known as a Free Speech advocate, champion of Birth Control and Women’s Rights Controversial. Her crusade landed her in jail numerous times, and even caused her to flee to England for awhile
The most important force in the remaking of the world is a free motherhood.
“…or she may, by controlling birth, lift motherhood to the plane of a voluntary, intelligent function, and remake the world. When the world is thus remade, it will exceed the dream of statesman, reformer and revolutionist.”
A woman’s status in society is such, due to an inability to govern her ability to bear children. Suffrage, and overall equality are inconsequential compared to her reproductivity.
“Woman’s acceptance of her inferior status was the more real because it was unconscious. She had chained herself to her place in society and the family through the maternal functions of her nature, and only chains thus strong could have bound her to her lot as a brood animal for the masculine civilizations of the world.”
The woman’s position of submissive reproduction has lead to over-population.
“No period of low wages or of idleness with their want among the workers, no peonage or sweatshop, no child-labor factory, ever came into being, save from the same source.”
This over-population is the fault of Women and has unleashed evils upon society and allowed her to incur a debt to society.
“War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while woman makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.”
There are two obstacles impeding repayment of this debt.
1. Laws prevent women from obtaining knowledge of her reproductive nature. 2. Ignorance of the extent and effect of her submission has wrought.
Woman’s submissive role is due to ignorance of her reproductive nature.
“Woman’s passivity under the burden of her disastrous task was almost altogether that of ignorant resignation. She knew virtually nothing about her reproductive nature and less about the consequences of excessive childbearing.”
For women to obtain true liberty, they must take control of their ability to bear children. They will obtain this through birth control. A woman’s freedom is dependent upon her having control over her body.
“Birth control is woman’s problem. The quicker she accepts it as hers and hers alone, the quicker will society respect motherhood.” Once freedom has been obtained, it is a woman’s duty to infuse the world with her feminine spirit. “…[A woman’s mission] is not to create a human world by the infusion of the feminine element into all its activities.
Just how powerful is birth control in considering a woman’s position in society? According to Sanger, what is a man’s responsibility in all of this? Does a woman’s ability to bear children bind her into slavery? Can this slavery compare to black slavery?