The 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

In traditional societies men are the guardians of women; men being the guardians of women being pretty much universal say 200 years ago and prior. Men being the “guardian” of women means men take care of women, men protect women, men provide for women materially or financially, and men control women, are dominant over women, tell women what to do, set the terms and define what the relationship of the woman to the man is. This guardianship over women was pretty much universal among traditional cultures though there were different versions in different places; the particular version of guardianship that was practiced in England and later in early America was called Coverture, the married woman being under the “cover”, the protective cover or shielding, of her husband. You can date the particular form of guardianship called Coverture as starting in 1188 with the Tractatus of Glanvill in England and ending in England in 1870 with the Married Women’s Property Act of 1870. The early United States, being founded as an English colony originally, also had Coverture as its form of guardianship over women; Coverture in the United States being ended by state level Married Women Property Acts mostly from 1839 to 1865.

I am in favor of male guardianship over women as a general rule or as a general principle. Social statistics started to decline after 1870 in the United States; pretty much as soon as Coverture was dismantled or undone by the Married Women Property Acts; and social statistics continued to decline relentlessly all the way up to 2010, for 140 years. The big three social indicators that showed endless deterioration starting as soon as the indicator started to be tabulated are the divorce rate (starting at 2.8% in 1867, going up to 50% in 1975), the proportion of married women working (2.2% of white married women working in 1890, going up to 60.7% in 1995), and the illegitimacy ratio or the out-of-wedlock birth ratio (going from 2.0% in 1917 up to 41.0% in 2009). Very encouragingly these fundamental social indicators have been improving since 2010.

The lesson in this? Male guardianship of women works, leads to positive and sustainable very high functioning family life. As soon as Coverture ended that is when the American family started to go downhill; only in the past decade has a rebellion against this never ending social decline begun.

Women gained the right to vote 100 years ago today on August 26, 1920 when the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was certified.

It is an amazing thought, that 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote, that women were officially subordinate to men in terms of politics and the law, and then the transition occurred where it wasn’t so anymore, that at least in terms of voting women were claimed to be equal, to have an equal right and an equal say, as men.

This was the second major blow against the concept of male guardianship of women; the first attack against male guardianship being the Married Women Property Acts, the second attack being women’s right to vote.

Let’s review, what is male guardianship in the first place? Male guardianship over women is that the man takes care of the woman and the man has authority over, is dominant over, the woman; male guardianship is men providing for and protecting women and being dominant over women combined. The thing is, men contributing to women is necessarily tied to or connected to men being dominate over women because you don’t contribute to somebody else without the reassurance or incentive that your contribution to the other person will be used for the purpose the contribution was intended. You give because the gift serves a moral purpose or an emotional purpose that the giver intends. The purpose is men’s contribution to women, the means is men’s dominance or control over women; men are dominant over women in order to enable and motivate men to contribute to women. Guardianship over women therefore is the social principle that best facilitates men’s contribution to women; this being why male guardianship over women is good and why male guardianship over women was the rule in all traditional cultures before feminism got started around 1850.

The passage of Married Women’s Property Acts is seen as the end of the prior existing male guardianship based Coverture system; Married Women’s Property Acts referring to laws enabling married women to own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary independent of their husband. Another thing I will add, under Coverture a husband had a literal legal obligation to fully financially support his wife; this being referred to as the “Law of Necessaries.”

From 1870 to 1920 the divorce rate went from 3.1% to 13.4%; from 1890 to 1920 the proportion of white married women in the workforce went from 2.2% to 6.3%; this is the social deterioration that had already happened before women were granted the right to vote; already women were 4 times as likely to end up divorced and almost 3 times as likely to have to work while still married than historically was the case before Coverture was repealed by the Married Women Property Acts. This is what set the stage for men to see women as deserving of more independence, more of an independent claim to power, such that having the right to directly participate in politics through voting made sense. Already men were in the process of abandoning women and women couldn’t rely on male support and provision so much anymore; women were seen more as needing and deserving an independent right of assertion and an independent means of claiming power for themselves; therefore women were granted the right to vote. The second major blow against male guardianship of women was at hand.

Of course, worse was to come.

Modern feminism got launched in the 1960s and had gained cultural and legal dominance in the 1970s. This is when “gender equality” as a general principle or a general rule was adopted. The right to vote was a kind of formal political equality but there was no general concept that women either were or should be “equal” to men; women were definitely different from men and it was well recognized that men and women had different natural spheres and it was assumed that the man should be the breadwinner while the woman stayed at home with the kids and definitely the husband was the boss at home within his family and within his marriage; in the 1920s these forms of inequality between men and women were still well in place; but still the premise of formal political equality was established as a new norm to work its way through society and culture and the law starting in 1920 with women’s right to vote.

Now today in 2020 new cultural insanity has recently arrived; now there is the radical denial of gender complementarity or innate important differences between men and women so much so that heterosexuality itself is claimed to not have any important or unique function or meaning; that homosexuality is just as good as or functionally equivalent to heterosexuality. Even the claim that gender is simply an expression of self-identity or self-assertion is being made; that you’re male or female because you say you are, not because of the biological reality of which sex you were born as. Also there is the claim that you can be non-binary, neither male nor female.

Looking back, an interesting progression of social decline can be seen, every 50 years another advancement against male guardianship over women and the resulting weakening / destruction of family relationships between men and women can be seen:

1870 – The end of Coverture after the passage of Married Women’s Property Acts. This is married women being granted the beginnings of power and independence from their husbands; the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and earn money independent of their husbands. This is when the rise in family breakdown; the rise in divorce, the rise in married women working, and the rise of out-of-wedlock births; got started.

1920 – The passage of the 19th Amendment, women’s right to vote, was enacted. This is women being granted formal equality in the political empowerment of voting; women being granted the right to directly influence the process of law making the same as men.

1970 – Modern feminism and the generalized assertion that women are the same as men, that women are equal to men, where “gender equality” becomes a widely applied fundamental principle of how women should be viewed and treated.

2020 – The denial of innate and important differences between men and women or of gender complementarity to a radical degree; to the extreme of claiming that heterosexuality has no intrinsic unique value or purpose, that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equal to each other, and the claim that gender itself is subjective and a matter of choice or expression rather than it being an immutable biological fact.

Now here we are today at the 100 year anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. What a disaster it has all been. This endless campaign against men’s natural and good authority over women and the destruction of gender relations it necessarily and inevitably leads to.

Sources of Statistics and Related Articles:
In Defense Of Coverture
History of Family Breakdown in the United States
Marriage is Masculinity and Coverture

About Jesse Powell TFA

Anti-Feminist, MRA, Pro-Traditional Women's Rights Traditional Family Activist (TFA)
This entry was posted in Coverture, Cultural History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The 100 Year Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

  1. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Patriactionary and commented:
    A huge mistake, but as with abolition of slavery and the end of Rhodesian and South African apartheid, the logic of liberal democracy probably made it inevitable, as people will never stand for others around them having the vote while they don’t, alas.

    Though I still hold to liberal democracy, I increasingly can understand why many on the dissident right have become wary and skeptical of it. After all, if no-one has the vote, no group can be upset that others have it while they don’t. 😉

  2. Chloe says:

    Protection k

    In patriarchy, there is no obligation upon men to protect their wives. For example, if the wife was in danger, and he failed to protect her, he will receive no criminal punishment. I would argue that you are more vulnerable after marriage than when you are single considering, you lose legally obligated protection (police) and gain no protection.

    Food, Clothing, and Shelter Privilege

    I think that I have established that there is no obligation on behalf of the husband to protect the wife, leaving the only legal obligation- food, clothing, and shelter.

    As defined by the writer of this blog, food, clothing, and shelter privilege is what men get to make them feel safe and incentivize investing in women.
    Men can commit adultery either with mistress or prostitutes
    Men can force their wife to raise their illegitimate children
    Manipulating women into selling property, staying with them when they abuse them, and not allowing them to leave using their children.
    Control over the women’s contracting, earnings, and property.
    Father custody- the right of a man to make his children call his mistress mum and never let them see their mother.
    Moderate physical chastisement
    If men obtain food, clothing, and shelter privilege, to incentivize and make them feel safe to invest in women. What incentive or safety does marriage offer women?


    Boss invests food, clothing, and shelter ($12,000) in man plus excess ($28,000)
    A man invests food, clothing, and shelter ($12,000) in women.

    Is your boss not vulnerable to you, considering he is investing in you?

    Why should he not then get food, clothing, shelter, and excess privilege considering, he is legally obligated to offer you more than you offer your wife?

    For example:

    Why should your employer not be able to: moderately physically chastise you?
    Why should your employer not be able to take your wife and children away from you?
    Why should your boss not be able to imprison you in your home or asylum indefinitely?
    Why should your employer not control your contracts beyond your employment?
    Why should your boss not control your life 24/7 as opposed to 8/5?
    Why should your boss not control your property?

    Male Supremacy in the Masculine Realm

    Single women out-earn men by about 10%, so how is paid labor male-dominated and men are treating women as inferiors in the male realm if women out-earn men?

    Manual Labour and Coverture

    You continuously suggest that women working increased because of the abolishment of coverture. In 1800 the average job was 70hrs manual labor, in 1850 60hrs manual labor, in 1900 this was 56hrs. In 1950 there was a greater service industry than before as opposed to primarily manual labor. Still, manual labor was more prevalent than today.

    I think that you are being intellectually dishonest, suggesting that there are more women working now because men do not feel safe to invest in women because of the abolishment of coverture.

    As opposed to the fact that the economy in 1850 was manual labor-based and the economy now is service-based. The graph shows the shift from the economy based on primary (agriculture) to secondary (manufacturing) to tertiary (service).

    For example, I don’t think you could argue that if coverture was abolished in 1600 that the percentage of women working would be 70% in 1800.

    For the cost of food clothing and shelter, men get a slave for life and can treat their wife and their children as cruelly as they want. I’m not sure how this serves women and children but cruel male objectives. Individually a maid, nanny, surrogate, and prostitute would make more than food, clothing, and shelter so they are being paid less than the function that they are selling to the man costs him. Why would you frame the relationship as the man being the giver and the women being the receiver? If the cost of the service of a surrogate, maid, nanny, and prostitute is more expensive than food, clothing, and shelter.

  3. kristinauk says:

    Jesse – I really like your articles on Coverture, and by that I mean I find men being the guardians of women very appealing. However like Chloe I also have some reservations. In a perfect world where all men are noble I would have no problem, but going back to a time where women are completely dependent first of their father then of their husband – what happens if a husband misbehaves? For instance adultery? What happens then? The wife can’t just leave the marriage and get a job!? Would she then have to move back to her parents? Brother? Or stay with other family? What about the children? Also would she been seen as ‘damaged goods’ and not able to marry again? It makes me think of Jane Austen and how she either stayed with her parents or her brother, and may have felt a burden sometimes…. I have also been thinking – with Coverture where a woman stays with her parents until she marries – does that mean she would never work and earn her own money? What if she comes from a poor background, I suppose getting married as early as possible would be the only answer. So marrying to be taken care of rather than for love? And what about society – everything would be done by men? Wouldn’t it be rather dull for men to only come across other men in the work place, government? Or do you think men would prefer this? I would find it a concern with no female doctors. Or perhaps it would be possible for unmarried women to become doctors, etc for the benefit of married women? Something else I was wondering about with male guardianship does that mean an unmarried woman would always be accompanied by her father/brother/uncle? And if women wouldn’t be allowed to vote – what about driving a car? Before I finish, I would like to emphasize that none of what I’ve written is a put down of Coverture – I merely want to understand and learn. Thanks

  4. Thanks for commenting at my website, kristinauk. As far as a husband misbehaving, there were 4 or 5 grounds for divorce under coverture, or at least from 1867 to 1906 in the United States, and I believe adultery was one of those accepted grounds for divorce. The rule was not that women shouldn’t work under coverture, it was that married women shouldn’t work. Now in general, most single women did not work either under coverture, probably supported by a male relative instead, but there was no law or cultural expectation that a divorced woman shouldn’t work and definitely a divorced woman was allowed to work if she wanted to. In 1890 42.8% of 35 to 44 year old widowed and divorced white women worked. As far as children, under coverture father custody was the rule so that the father would determine with whom his children would live, about half of children still living with their biological mothers after a divorce but the father would decide. Also, the father was considered to be fully responsible for the support of his children after the divorce; financially the father was 100% responsible for the costs of supporting his children. Also I assume the father could not force the biological mother to continue to live with her children if she didn’t want to; and if the children continued to live with their mother the father would be expected to pay for 100% of the costs of raising the child.

    The woman might well have been considered to be damaged goods after a divorce but I don’t think there was a huge difficulty for her to be remarried; she would just need to find a man who was damaged goods himself so that they would be equal to each other on the marital market just like as happens today.

    In 1890 in the United States 36.6% of never married white women ages 35 to 44 worked. There wasn’t a rule that a single woman couldn’t work especially if she had some good reason to work like her family being poor. As far as marrying as young as possible in order to be taken care of by a man; I feel highly confident that that wasn’t a major concern in women’s minds because the woman continuing to live at home with her parents until she got married would not have been a big deal, the woman certainly could get a job if she really needed to financially, the greater incentive for women to marry young was to be at their prime and at their most attractive in order to get the best man they could get; to not be damaged goods simply because they waited too long and so were too old.

    As far as a woman marrying for love or for money; it should be kept in mind in a traditional society all husbands will be assumed to be able to financially support a wife; the man being able to financially support his wife is the bare minimum standard a man will have to meet in order to be able to get married at all. So any man a woman marries will have the obligation of financially supporting the woman in his marriage to her.

    Another thing, your concern about there being no female doctors, about an unmarried woman always having to be accompanied by a father brother or uncle, and about women driving cars; these seem to be concerns about male guardianship practices in Saudi Arabia or modern day Muslim countries; I don’t think these things were traditional practices under coverture in the United States or England or in Christian countries in general. When I advocate for coverture I am thinking about coverture as it was practiced in the United States and England before 1850, before feminism got started, before the Married Women Property Acts that were the undoing of coverture in the United States and England. It should be kept in mind, coverture is a specific historical form of male guardianship; male guardianship is the general rule of traditional societies and then coverture is a specific implementation of the general principle of male guardianship.

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