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November 16, 2022

Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote

Published in 1917 by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., this book compiles an exhaustive list of reasons women should not be allowed to vote. Unsurprisingly, all the book’s pages are entirely blank. Probably because, even in 1917, there were no valid reasons why women shouldn’t have been eligible to vote.

This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote (New York: National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co., 1917).

National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company was tasked with publishing pamphlets and booklets covering practically the entire field of suffrage claims and evidence. It is designed especially for the convenience of suffrage speakers and writers and for the use of debaters and libraries.

All the books pages are blank.

In 1920, three years on from the publication of the book the legislative battle for women’s suffrage was won. 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender and made voting the fundamental right for women.

However, discrimination on the basis of race and color was still prevalent. Like any other constitutional amendment, there was a great deal more required in order to give it teeth. It was only in 1965, that the Voting Rights Act culminated the fight for voting rights for all.

As an ultimate troll, Rep. Sherman Berry, an anti-women’s suffrage activist, was left with a copy of the book on her desk. Conventional wisdom held that civic duty was bad for the ovaries; she decried,

“….I also find on my desk this morning a little pamphlet, entitled, This Little Book Contains Every Reason Why Women Should Not Vote. We open the book and find blank pages within. It is only another sample of what many of you have seen, and, I might almost say, of the detestable and cheap politics practiced in this State. Gentlemen, that little book carries no more weight with it than does the picketing of the White House in this time of crisis and peril to this nation and the heckling of our President….”

This kind of humor has not lost its touch and is still relevant in today’s political sphere. During the 2020 presidential elections, book shops did a brisk trade on books like The Wit and Wisdom of Donald Trump and Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration. All are entirely blank.

(This original article was written by Kamna Kirti and published on Medium, via The Public Domain Review)


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