Anti-Suffrage Book: Socialism, Feminism, and Suffragism; The Terrible Triplets, Connected by the Same Umbilical Cord, and Fed From the Same Nursing Bottle
B.V. Hubbard. Socialism, Feminism, and Suffragism: The Terrible Triplets, Connected by the Same Umbilical Cord, and Fed From the Same Nursing Bottle. Chicago: American Publishing Company, 1915.
Era: Suffrage Era | Media: Book-Non-Fiction, Commentary, Essay, Posters
Part of the NAWSA Collection of the Library of Congress, this ponderously titled book comprises about 300 pages of anti-suffrage invective. As the Library of Congress’ description puts it, “[t]his book equates feminism and woman suffrage with both socialism and atheism. According to the author, feminism and the enfranchisement of women will destroy the family. The book also suggests that pregnant women who vote run the risk of bearing ‘physically imperfect or idiotic’ children.”
The book’s dedication page offers a snapshot of its tone and worldview:
To the innumerable multitude of motherly women, who love and faithfully serve their fellowmen with a high regard for duty, with a veneration for God, respect for authority, and love for husband, home and heaven, whether such a woman is the mother of children, or whether she has been denied motherhood and bestows her motherliness upon all who are weak, distressed and afflicted.
This book is also dedicated to the man who is, in nature, a knight and protector of the weak, the defender of the good, who shrinks no responsibility, who has a paternal love of home, a patriotic affection for country, veneration for moral and religious precepts, and who has the courage to combat evil and fight for all that which is good.
Socialism, Feminism, and Suffragism is an interesting—if thoroughly dated and retrograde—screed. Though many modern readers will doubtless object to its attitude of frank paternalism, it provides worthy insight into the thinking of those who saw the push for suffrage as part of a larger and more sinister attack on the foundations of early 20th-century American society.
And Hubbard was indeed far from the only person to argue that giving women voting rights would benefit American socialists; see “The Red Behind the Yellow,” a poster attacking the suffrage movement on anti-socialist grounds.