Margaret Sanger, "Carnegie Hall Speech Notes," 29 Jan. 1917.
Source: "Library of Congress, Margaret Sanger Papers Library of Congress, Margaret Sanger Papers Microfilm, LCM 131:24."
A portion of a draft speech, prepared for her rally at Carnegie Hall, held to support Sanger during her trial for opening the Brownsville birth control clinic. No published version was found. For newspaper coverage of Sanger's speech, see Carnegie Hall Address, Jan. 29, 1917. At the bottom of the second page, Margaret Sanger wrote: "Part of speech at Carnegie Hall. Judges furious at reading. Perhaps for BC Review on conscripts."
Undoubtedly many of you present in this audience have heard me speak before on this vital subject of Birth Control. I don’t want to travel over old ground by any repetition of what already has been said but I must emphasize that Birth Control is the keynote of a new social program. It is interlocked with the future of our nation, in fact the future of all nations.
Interest in the Birth Control movement has arisen in response to a real need of thousands and thousands of wives and mothers, many of whom have been grievously wounded in the battle of life. Today these mothers refuse to be thoughtlessly wasteful of their more precious possessions--mother power and child life. Thinking men too realize more fully that child bearing is a costly venture -- as costly in life as it is in money. (Insert here paragraph on infant and maternal mortality figures)
Birth Control means an end of this pathetic picture. It means mothers will not be drained of vitality and happiness by incessant child bearing, particularly when parents know they cannot give the child even a fighting chance for a life of health and happiness and the development it has the right to expect. Women want to bring to the creation of children a sense of joy and the full flowering of womanhood. They demand and have a right to demand the legal application of at least as much of science and of brain possessed of thought and of intelligence in the rearing of children as the government applies to the rearing of horses, pigs and goats ↑poultry.↓ I feel that the day of smug hypocracy has passsed and that the youth of the nation, of reasoning age, has a right to look the facts of nature squarely in the face. ↑& apply↓ these facts to the happiness fulfillment of their lives ↑its life↓ [page(s) missing] a land of bondage and slavery, it steals the husband from his wife and children, it starves the poor while it fattens the rich.
Women of America, have not the offspring of womankind reddened every battlefield in history? Have we not carried the burden of universal slaughter? Have we not drunk the cup of tears to the very dregs, so that dynasties and governments the world over have prospered on the blood of our offspring?
The time has come to show that American women shall not be driven or coerced and they shall demand that the money kings may lend their ill-gotten wealth at high interest to the allied despots of Europe but that our people will not be conscripted,-- come what may!
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project