Margaret Sanger, "Population Control and Economic Recovery Speech Notes," 1935.

Source: " Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S71:799."

For earlier drafts, see Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S71:794, S71:785, and S71:789.

No force in the world so great--

There is no subject that has so large a practical significance.

Bc is the keynote of a new social awakening

It is the conscious control of the birth rate prevent

Prevent not destroy-- not interfere (celibacy)

Control not limit-- furnace automobile traffic currency

Conscious control, intentional, deliberate. Choice not chance, reckless abandon

positive attitude, not negative

G B Shaw--revolutionary idea of the century

HG Wells most momentous fact of modern life

Dean Inge--It is here to stay, a great force for good or bad

History supports the fact that there are three ways to control population

1 Increase death rate

2 Emigration

3 decrease of the birth rate

1) Death rate controlled thru disease, famine, pestilence, crimes, floods & war

2) Emigration has been in operation

now for the third and last alternative [one word faulty-reproduction] are demigods, war thirsty militants, Medieval Dogmatists of the R C Hierarchy refuse to accept it

decrease the birth rate thru successful Bc

Bc is not a theory, it is being practiced among the well to do and intelligent

Oh say some of our opponents that's just the problem: Bc is practiced by the intelligent for "selfish" reasons

Of course it's practiced by the intelligent. Why not? For any knowledge of means which will embrace the beauty health & happiness of life will always be most readily accepted by the intelligent of all classes.

That's been the natural place for the practice of Bc to Begin

But it needs not end there!!

To say that it is practiced for selfish motives is not true. The desire for Bc knowledge on the part of all parents comes from a higher and much more permanent cause than that.

It comes from an increased respect for the sanctity of life & and increased regard & responsibility for the welfare of our children.

Such parents are inspired by the hope that having fewer children in time they can educate & properly prepare to take a place in our complex struggle for existence that may escape the grinding poverty & economic hardships they themselves have evidenced thru the accident of birth.

Two groups--low birth rate & small families

high birth rate & large families, group

low birth rate

few children

planned pregnancy


culture, music

schools, colleges

civic interest

Best positions in society

Individual problems

high birth rate




maternal mortality

deaths from abortions



child labor


social problems

15% of our population intellectual

85%= 45% subnormal

m3ntally 15% feebleminded

juvenile 25% mediocre

under 14 years

Is America safe for Democracy?

Difference between a Statesman & Politician thinker of the next generation-- Politician the next Election

By that definition how many Statesmen can we claim to have in our present relief & unemployment chaos?

Let us rid our mind that the vast extent of unemployment is only ↑a↓ transient or temporary condition.

The recent announcement by the National Emergency Council that the number of unemployed in December was 10,000,000 while another announcement by the Federal Reserve Board stated that industrial production rose to 90% of the 1923-25 average. In other words: we are almost back to what is considered normal production. Well what good is it to boast of industrial recovery when there continues to be a vast army of millions who remain unemployed. It is obvious that the problem which confronts this nation is much more complicated than turning out our set of politicians or bringing in another!!

One of the present difficulties in this nation is the stubbornness of men in power who refuse to face facts. One of the most pertinent facts of modern life is that the growth, increase & development of mechanical appliances in production is a significant factor in the present problems of unemployment.

There has been for the past decade & will continue to be less need for manual or human labor power in the production of the necessities of life. What is to become of these millions whose labor is not needed? What is to become of the millions of their children, many of whom are born of parents who have neither the physical nor mental equipment to support themselves or their children.

The birth rate among the unemployed is increasing 48% higher than in the families of the employed. From reports of the Fed Relief Administration

There are [three to four words faulty-reproduction] relief & that those families having 6 or more children were having the largest proportion of hardships that goes with unemployment distress.

And that those officials in charge of relief are directly & indirectly responsible by encouraging an increase of the birth rate in these families. They refuse to direct them to birth control clinics & offer inducements by the way of quicker relief if the woman can report a condition of pregnancy!!

Slogan: "Your Children are Starving? Produce more Children!!"

Organized labor: unemployment continues

Produce more unemployables

Suggestion-- Open the doors of the insane asylums and let the inmates take the reins on government!!

Everyone knows that we are piling up huge debts for future generations to pay. It is quite likely too that future generations like Europe--will refuse to pay them. But while financial or monetary debts may be easily cancelled--but there are other debts that will not be so easy to wipe out--I refer to the debt of ↑our↓ inferior quality of life that we are passing down to them. It will not be easy to destroy the population of morons & defectives we are handing down for our children's children to manage.

What are we doing with them today. What is to become of their increasing numbers? What nation will take the morons, imbeciles & defectives off the hands of another nation? They are not wanted even for war. No nation conscripts them and even the Roman Catholic Hierarchy who clamor for their increase (in refusing to allow for their decrease) has not provided for the care & upkeep of its own defective population. These and many more have already become heavy liabilities upon the normal & intelligent population. Get the stream from the source flows on unchecked population may not be pressing upon the means of subsistence as Malthus, a hundred years ago, declared it could & might do. But our population is certainly pressing upon our Relief Funds which is the means of subsistence to nearly 11,000,000 unemployed.

Population is pressing upon our Relief funds: upon the other fellows job: upon our Social Structure: upon our ↑natural↓ individuality: upon our natural independence: population is pressing its demands for a permanent dole: for age old pensions: for higher state and federal taxes: population is pressing upon every cultural & Educational advantage our social structure has created the existence of which is threatened by the increasing hordes fearful of hunger & want.

If twenty years ago the Bc movement had had the support of organized labor & those religions & social agencies whose mission it is to eradicate our human miseries & help solve our social problems. It is safe to say we would have had a slower growth of population: a balancing of our differential birth rate: a lessening of the defective & unfit proportion of our population: through sterilization and contraception.

The creation of a Population Bureau in State & Federal Departments to classify ↑diagnose↓ analyze & survey our human resources:

We would have followed through a policy adopted by the Fed govt on emigration & adapted it to our birth rate.

Read Act 1924 Immigration

Danger spots Japan & Italy

I agree with Shaw

Read two letters

7 reasons for Bc

3 methods

Federal & State laws

↑3 means↓

Dis. Hospitals & Clinics

Children to be conceived in love


Given heritage of sound bodies & minds

Value of bodies holy temples

Sir Arthur Keith Anthropology

Unfolding in America

Subject Terms:

Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project