Why shouldn’t women vote?

During the summer of 1920, the anti-suffragettes offered plenty of reasons.

“I would rather see my daughter in a coffin than at the polls,” one father exclaimed during floor debate in Little Rock.

And, the liquor industry feared the “dry” ladies who want to enforce Prohibition, Elaine Weiss reports in her book The Woman’s Hour. The railroad industry feared more regulations. In Tennessee, the railroad lobby had bought the male legislators years ago. Manufacturers were sure that women voters would be in favor of child labor laws and wage and health protections for women.

Charlotte Rowe believed that woman suffrage “was an insidious front for feminism and socialism.”

And, in the South, men feared the power of Black women voting. Herschel Candler, a senator in Tennessee argued, “Within a very few years after this amendment has passed, you will find that Congress has legislated so as to compel we people of the South to give the Negro men and women their full rights at the ballot box….

“They would drag the womanhood of Tennessee down to the level of the negro woman.”

The anti-suffragettes agreed that the Nineteenth Amendment posed danger to “the American family, white supremacy, states’ rights and cherished Southern traditions.”

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