Margaret Sanger, "Should U.S. Soldiers Be Compelled to Marry Before Going to War?," 27 May 1917.

Source: " Salt Lake Telegram, May 27, 1917, p. 41."

This article posed several questions and invited responses from its readers. Only Sanger's response has been included here.


Should U.S. Soldiers Be Compelled to Marry Before Going to War?

Shall United States soldiers be obliged to marry before they go to the front?

Shall the young troopers be compelled to take unto themselves wives so the race shall not lose in perpetuation by their going?

This is a big new question hurled into the midst of America’s preparation for war, touching most intimately the future of every unmarried man sent to the front and beating at the heart strings of every unmarried young woman who watches the troops march away wed.

W. Cameron Forbes, former governor general of the Philippines, financier and student of sociology, has brought forward the proposal that no soldier be allowed to march away unmarried.

"The future of the race requires that these young men, the best of our youth, should be represented in future generations," Forbes says.

Forbes also says that if the 2,000,000 young men whom it is proposed to select for service are permitted to go to the front unmarried it will mean:

"Complete failure to realize the necessity of the maintenance of the race” "Two million women deprived of the privilege of marriage and the bringing up of families.”

"These young women will be left mateless,” says Forbes.

" "The offspring of soldiers will be a necessity in the next generation to carry out the social requirements of the nation."

These declarations by a man of national reputation and a former high government official have aroused men and women in all parts of the country to discussion of the issue.

Should soldiers be compelled to marry?

Should women be compelled to marry soldiers about to go to war?

If there should be compulsion, how?

Forbes is a grandson of Ralph Waldo Emerson, formerly was head of the financial department of Stone and Webster, a big electrical engineering firm, has been connected in important capacities with probably half a hundred New England corporations and is something of a poet and a writer.

But, can Forbes, financier and former arbiter of the destines of the little brown Filipinos, induce America to adopt compulsory marriage for soldiers and for young women--for it takes two to make this kind of a bargain.

What do you think about this proposal?

Here are opinions of noted persons asked by The Telegram to give their views:

Opinions written by Rev. Waldo A. Ames, Miss Helen Todd, Dr. Ira S. Wile, John A. Widtsoe, and Mrs. Joseph Fels were omitted.

By Margaret Sanger

Birth Control Advocate.

Let the women of America marry the two million soldiers who are called to the front if they desire to. The result would be mutual development and spiritual awakening.

But let the war wives think seriously before they bear children for fathers who may never return. Only women can realize the double sorrow for the loved ones gone and a little fatherless one to come which a woman would endure during those long months of waiting.


Subject Terms:

Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project


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