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Margaret Sanger, "Put Your House in Order," Mar 1920.

Source: " Birth Control Review, Mar. 1920, pp. 3-4 Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S70:835."

Put Your House in Order

By Margaret Sanger

The woman who reads the interview with Mr. R. C. Martens in this number and who ponders carefully its significance can hardly be in doubt as to her duty to the race and to the nation during the next five years.

Europe is already beginning to starve, and panic is imminent in the United States. Unless Mr. Martens and others almost equally well informed are in error, our people will at some time within the next two or three years feel the pinch of hunger as they have never felt it before.

The only way to meet this crisis is to cease to bring forth more mouths to be fed. Women must put the national house in order. They must stop bearing children until there is more assurance of peace within and without the country--until there is a better prospect that their children will not suffer for the necessities of life. Any other course is sheer folly.

Some of the women of America, at least, have awakened to the wisdom of this course. For the most part, these women have been such as have been closely in touch with the inner workings of our industrial and financial systems. These have recognized at once the necessity of making ready to meet the disaster which the world is facing. Men, too, have come forward to approve the suggestion that no more children be borne until the world is in a more settled condition. And almost without exception these have been men who are better informed than the average--men who know the courses of the basic currents of our national life.

That the world's present condition of shipwreck is due largely to surplus population is plainly indicated not only by what Mr. Martens has to say, but even more plainly by the observations of others, notably Frank A. Vanderlip, one of the foremost of American financiers. In a copyrighted interview with the United Press, February 6, Mr. Vanderlip said: "Just now the people of Austria and other Central European countries are exhausted and dying of starvation." In other words, the great crash is here, so far as Central Europe is concerned.

And again: "The present situation was evident a year ago. But the people who made the peace treaty paid no attention to economic data. They had not taken into consideration the fact that the populations of Europe, under the influence of an industrial age, had grown to far larger numbers than Europe's fields can feed."

Not only Europe, but the world as a whole, has more people than it can feed under the present system of production and distribution. In the face of this fact, so amply and terribly substantiated, it is not only a mistake but a crime to bring another child into being until conditions improve.

Masculine statesmanship, commercial policy, and industrial management have wholly failed to cope with the problem. The all but hopeless case must be taken in hand by the women if we are to avoid the supreme catastrophe. The one sensible, humane and wise thing to do in the face of increasing disorganization of the world's productive and distributive machinery is to curtail the number of those who are to suffer and to starve.

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project