'Vote No on Women's Suffrage': Bizarre Reasons For Not Letting Women Vote

"You do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout."

Wikimedia Commons

There's a lot that's flawed about the United States' voting system: long lines at polling stations, broken machines, voter intimidation, and more. But we can at least take comfort in the fact that, in theory anyway, all citizens in good standing, men and women alike, have the right to vote. This wasn't always the case, of course. Black Americans didn't have the constitutional right to vote until 1870, and it took women even longer to gain suffrage: the 19th Amendment didn't pass until 1920, following a long debate.

One of the big voices against giving women the vote was the organization National Association OPPOSED to Woman Suffrage. In the 1910s it published this pamphlet explaining why women shouldn't be allowed to vote:

barkhorn_womenvoters1.jpg barkhorn_womenvoters2.jpg
Click on the images to enlarge

The stated reasons to "vote no" include:

BECAUSE 90% of the women either do not want it, or do not care.

BECAUSE it means competition of women with men instead of co-operation.

BECAUSE 80% of the women eligible to vote are married and can only double or annul their husband's votes.

BECAUSE it can be of no benefit commensurate with the additional expense involved.

BECAUSE in some States more voting women than voting men will place the Government under petticoat rule.

BECAUSE it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.

The pamphlet also includes a list of household cleaning tips for women. Some gems: "You do not need a ballot to clean out your sink spout" and "There is...no method known by which mud-stained reputation may be cleaned after bitter political campaigns."

[via the Jewish Women's Archive]

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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