Just who is a feminist’s enemy?

I read an interesting chapter in Failure is Impossible:  Susan B. Anthony In Her Own Words entitled The Enemy.  Just who was the enemy of the suffragette anti-biblical ideology?  I found it interesting that many strong men stood up against this new enlightenment.

To begin with, one of their enemies was President Grover Cleveland.

The year was 1905; the catalyst, an article in Ladies’ Home Journal by former President Grover Cleveland on the so called “woman question.”  Taking direct aim at the suffragists, he wrote:

To those of us who..cling to our faith in the saving grace of simple and unadulterated womanhood, any discontent on the part of woman with her ordained lot, or a restless desire on her part to be and to do something not within the sphere of her appointed ministrations, cannot appear otherwise than as perversions of a gift of God to the human race.

He went on to exalt “the old and natural order of things…when Adam was put in the Garden of Eden to dress it and keep it, and Eve was given to him as a helpmeet.”  Then he attacked Susan B. Anthony and the women’s vote.

The Restlessness and discontent to which I have referred is most strongly manifested in a movement which has for a long time been on foot for securing to women the right to vote and otherwise participate in public affairs.  Let it here be distinctly understood that no sensible man has fears of injury to the country on account of such participation.  It is its dangerous, undermining effect on the characters of the wives and mothers of our land that we fear.  This particular movement is so aggressive, and so extreme in its insistence, that those whom it has fully enlisted may well be considered as incorrigible.

It is a thousand pities that all the wives found in such company cannot sufficiently open their minds to see the complete fitness of the homely definition which describes a good wife as “a woman who loves her husband and her country with no desire to run either;” and what a blessed thing it would be if every mother, and every  woman, whether mother, wife, spinster or maid, who either violently demands or wildly desires for women a greater share in the direction of public affairs, could realize the everlasting truth that “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

Cleveland ended by calling the burgeoning woman’s club movement “harmful in a way that directly menaces the integrity of our homes.”

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And thus we can begin to understand such a political cartoon — Anthony chasing Cleveland with her umbrella.  Can  you even imagine the President of the United States saying such a thing today!


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