Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Rep. J. Thomas Heflin, uncle of the recently retired Alabama Sen. Howell Heflin, reminded women in 1913 that they were unfit for two places: college and the voting booth. An excerpt from The Post of July 28, 1913:
Astrong denunciation of the equal suffrage movement in the United States and England was voiced by Representative J. Thomas Heflin, of Alabama, in a sermon last night at the Fifth Baptist Church on "The Ideal Woman." He warned the women present not to be swept off their feet by "this craze," as he termed it, and "lured from the hallowed precincts of home by the cry of female fanaticism."
He classified suffrage workers as follows:
Suffragettes -- Unmarried female fanatics.
Suffragettars -- Unhappy, discontented married women.
Suffragettors -- The male suffragette. A feeble-minded suffrotescent creature, "suffrotescent" being Mr. Heflin's own coinage, and meaning, he said, wooden-headed.
He startled his auditors by emphatically urging that girls should not be sent to college. Referring to Vassar College, he said: "That institution is overrun by socialism and the suffrage craze, those two deadly poisons to the republic and the church. Over three-fourths of the young women graduated from Vassar are suffragettes and socialists. These are things your daughters learn in college. Don't send them."
He declared that the ideal woman is the home-loving woman, who has been the inspiration of the American man in building up the nation and bringing it to the present state of development. "Any cause which creates antagonism between the sexes and destroys and crucifies sentiment is fraught with danger to the home," he said.
"I stand here representing 90 per cent of the women of this country," continued Mr. Heflin. "I deny that they are ready to repudiate their fathers, brothers, and sons by the wholesale, in order to wield the ballot. The possession of the ballot means political warfare. It will draw woman away from the fireside. She cannot do her duty as a voter without neglecting her home. If the home is neglected, God save the nation ...
"I hope the Lord will deliver us from the curse of this craze. When Solomon described the ideal woman he did not describe her preaching from a soap box or leaving her home in quest of the ballot. I hope to see the time when the ballot for women is recalled in all those States which have equal suffrage.
"Not long ago Miss Milholland, said to be the most beautiful suffragette, challenged me to a debate. That would have meant debate seven or eight women, and what chance would I have had? I did not accept and I am here.
"Miss Milholland presided at a debate recently on socialism and democracy. In opening the meeting, she declared that the three great questions confronting the country are socialism, woman suffrage, and the higher criticism. My God, what are we coming to. If she is right, then good-by to the republic. Socialism is the enemy of our institutions, equal suffrage the enemy of the home, and the higher criticism, denying the existence of God, the enemy of the church.
"I congratulate Miss Milholland on the fact that she has taken unto herself a husband. I suppose, according to suffrage doctrine, she did the asking. I expect to hear no more from her for several years ...
"Men fight a great deal over politics. What will it be like when the women take part in politics, for they are more impulsive than we are -- and they have longer hair. I urge you women to turn your backs upon this craze. Do not be lured from your homes by the cry of female fanaticism."
This series is available at www.washingtonpost.com