Historians have tried to use social movement, organizational, and leadership markers to define the anti-suffrage movement and to explain the radical change that occurred in that movement in 1917, and they have largely failed in doing so. As an alternative, this essay explains the anti-suffrage movement through that change, and specifically through its discursive transformation. To illuminate this transformation, the essay focuses on the case of the antis' treatment of Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Woman's Bible. Before 1917, antis opposed woman suffrage on narrowly pragmatic grounds: that it would be bad for the family, for women, for progressive organizing. After 1917, the anti-suffrage movement evolved into a larger anti-radicalism movement, using the Woman's Bible to link together suffrage, feminism, socialism, and Bolshevism, and decrying them all as evil. This discursive transformation signals a shift from social movement to counterpublic.


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pp. 283-310
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