Interpreting the American Past
Margaret Sanger, from “Happiness in Marriage” (1926)
What is happiness in marriage? Many people have different ideas of what this means and the attributing factors that cause for a happy marriage. In this article, written by Margaret Sanger, she describes how many young women have been affected by premature pregnancies in which they are not ready, but were pressured to avoid using birth control in that time because it was widely believed to contribute to promiscuity. Margaret was very influential in educating women about birth control so that she could make inexpensive contraception available for the women around the world who needed it. As I talk more, I will discuss the changes Sanger described in married relations in recent generations, the changes she hoped would come about if unplanned pregnancies could be prevented, as well as if debates about birth control and unplanned pregnancies still occur in the U.S. today. Sager explains that marriage has changed in recent years, and that not too long ago marriage was considered as nothing but a preliminary to motherhood. A girl would be passed from the guardianship of her father to that of a husband, and her one and only job was to the fulfill duties imposed upon her by the man into whose care she was given. She explains that the pain, suffering, and wrecked lives of women and children proved that this type of system didn’t work successfully because the women weren’t necessarily ready and comfortable in their lives yet. Today, she describes women as much more individual, and 2
on the same plane of social equality as men. The marriage no longer means that women have to give up their wishes and fulfillments to men, but rather can establish their mutual relationship with each other and arrange lives based on their harmony and chemistry. She then explains that the coming of the first baby means that all problems...
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