Margaret Sanger, "Is Modern Marriage Conducive to Happiness?," 19 Jan 1921.

Source: " Mrs. Sanger Wary of U.S. Agents, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 20, 1921, p. 22."

As the actual speech was not found, a newspaper summary was used as the copy text. For a similar speech of the same name, see "Is Modern Marriage Conducive to Happiness?" Mar. 29, 1921.


From 25 to 65 is the marrying age for man, according to Mrs. Margaret Sanger, birth control expert, who expressed her opinion on the question "Is Modern Marriage Conducive to Happiness?" in the Brownsville Labor Lyceum, 225 Sackman st., last night.

Young women who swarmed the hall in a seething mass of humanity besieged Mrs. Sanger with questions as to how birth control may be effected. Her answer was that several years ago she maintained "open house" in the Brownsville section for the express purpose of making birth control a tenet in the creed of every housewife and business girl in the community, only to find herself in jail as the outcome.

"Though it was wholly worth while," Mrs. Sanger declared, "I do not care to repeat the experiment; and as agents of the Department of Justice are always out to hear me, I shall refrain from telling you these things."

There are five "distinct reasons," the speaker pointed out, why "marriage today is almost universally a failure." These, she said, were "Marrying entirely too young in life, the coming of children too quickly, venereal diseases, fear of pregnancy and lack of birth control knowledge, and the crudeness of man." That even barbarians are more tender in their treatment of women than American men was one of the charges which Mrs. Sanger made.

Dancing, giddiness, giggling are but the natural inclinations of adolescence which run well into the twenty-second year of any girl, the speaker explained. To allow her to marry before she has completed that period, she said, was for the pent-up nature to rebel at 30, to exercise her natural inclination to dance and to play and, consequently, to set gossiping tongues in motion.

The marriage vow "to love until death do us part" was scoffed at by Mrs. Sanger. "It is as absolutely impossible for two persons to promise to love forever as it would be for them to promise to live forever. Love must be nurtured and tended as a flower," she claimed.

The third cause for marital unhappiness in her list Mrs. Sanger characterized as "that haunting dread in the lives of women," and declared that "most divorces may be traced down to this constant fear of child birth." The most important cause of all, Mrs. Sanger claims, is "man's crudeness."

The reasons for marriage, Mrs. Sanger holds, are "for convenience and sex attraction. Sex attraction plus mutual understanding is the only sure foundation for happiness," she concluded.

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Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project