Margaret Sanger, "War and Over-Population," 27 Mar 1926.
Source: " 20th Century Club Hears Mrs. Sanger, Boston Globe, Mar. 28, 1926, p. A13."
Sanger delivered this speech to the Twentieth Century Club, a women's social club, in Buffalo, New York. The other speaker that night, Professor Harry Allen Overstreet, spoke on "What Shall we do with the Older Generation?" The summary of his remarks was omitted by the MSPP editors.
There are two phases of the population question which concern the serious, scientific thought of the world--and one is the pressure of population on the food supply, which I will not attempt to take up here.
She then referred to the book by Professor East, "Mankind at the Crossroads."
The other side of the problem concerns the reconciling humanitarianism with the races of men. There are two ways of controlling population--by increasing the death rate or decreasing the birth rate. We have increased the types of men in America and we no longer think of disease and the inroads of the feeble-minded as necessary to increase and multiply.
What does it mean in our time than in 1923 we spent $8,000,000 on the diseased and defectives, this being a function of public charity? Is that expenditure, to wipe out disease? It means that 10 years from now we will double the amount to be expended in the same cause.
If we are as we consider ourselves really a very generous, big-hearted people, if we apply the same efficiency to clear up our conditions here, as we do in other matters, we should wipe out this condition in one generation. We establish milk stations, but we allow thousands of parents to remain in utter ignorance of the conditions of proper living.
People with 10 children don’t want to be told how to raise additional children. The mothers of these much prefer to be told how to keep them alive without the coming of the extra 11th child.
The speaker opposed child labor outside the family. England, Japan, Italy, and Australia have great child labor and population problems.
Mrs. Sanger then said that marriage should be preceded in all lands by education as to motherhood and the control of child-bearing be given until economic ways of preservation were fully studied and understood. We want to have young married couples accorded a year or two after marriage just to play together and develop the cultural side of their relations.
It is not an easy thing for men and women to live together now as they did 40 or 50 years ago. We are trying to leave these young people to enjoy themselves; we are trying to recreate and build up new homes and we want to make women free.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project