The Temptation, ‘Life Magazine,’ 1911:
Sunrise or Sunset?

Information about “The Temptation”

First, you will notice that this cartoon was published in Life Magazine in 1911, nine years prior to the beginning of the Curse of 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States was ratified, giving women the national right to vote. Here you see the scepter, the right to rule, being offered to the woman by the devil. This analogy is far more accurate than one can imagine.

What was taking place in 1911? By only 3,587 votes, an average of one vote in every precinct, women won the right to vote in California. In Arkansas, a women’s suffrage amendment failed. And in New York City, 3,000 suffrage supporters marched in their second parade.

Also in 1911, Josephine Dodge, the wife of a leading New York capitalist, formed the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, urging women to influence policy through their influence on men. Women’s involvement in politics, she insisted, would undermine their moral and spiritual role, as well as create chaos by meddling in matters that were better suited for men. It is now obvious she was right.

These were the exact sentiments expressed in 1911 by Senator J. B. Sanford, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus of California. (The full text of his argument follows.) He noted that a Sanford bill allowing women to decide first the fate of women’s suffrage was opposed by feminists because they knew that the women would vote down the amendment by a margin of ten to one. Women’s suffrage was a big-city issue.

Understanding just some of the environment of 1911, one can better understand the distinct opposition to women’s suffrage that extended beyond mere concern, but outright objection.

In this cartoon, we see a most precise depiction of what took place through the Eveonian women’s rights movement and women’s suffrage. If you have read The Curse of 1920 you will know that what took place in the Garden of Eden was repeated in America—women listened to the serpent, desired to be equal to both God and the man, and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, bringing consequential death.

The question that must now be asked is: Was women’s suffrage, as depicted in this cartoon, a sunrise or a sunset? Based on its vast dramatic detrimental effects—from dramatically increased costs of government, to the slaughter of millions of babies by abortion; from the destruction of the family, to the wholesale abandonment of moral values; and from shameful immodesty, to open homosexuality—without question, women’s suffrage brought the setting sun on many traditional moral, social, civil, and religious values, and thereby on the security and wellbeing they afford.

The comic also portends an entirely prophetic nature to it, one that the casual observer would miss but is obviously intentioned by the artist. Look at the woman’s dress and what do you see? Do you see a long dress typical of the modest attire of the women of 1911, or do you see the very thing that feminist women were in fact aspiring to achieve?

Look at the dark highlights on the dress and you will see the man’s pants, the two legs separated by the central white area. Her left shoe is protruding forward. This is precisely what the Eveonian women’s rights movement has sought all along—to take the place of the man, to wear the pants not only in the family but in the workplace and in government. Women have vehemently sought to usurp the man, not only in appearance but in authority, and they are destroying everything they touch.

By the woman taking the scepter that rightfully rests solely in the well keeping and exercise of the man (attested by the anatomical fact that he alone was given the rod, not the woman), she has effected the greatest degree of demise and destruction this nation has ever known, and will bring it to its knees!

Argument Against Women’s Suffrage, 1911

Prepared by J. B. Sanford
Chairmen of Democratic Caucus


Suffrage is not a right. It is a privilege that may or may not be granted. Politics is no place for a women consequently the privilege should not be granted to her.

The mother’s influence is needed in the home. She can do little good by gadding the streets and neglecting her children. Let her teach her daughters that modesty, patience, and gentleness are the charms of a women. Let her teach her sons that an honest conscience is every man’s first political law; that no splendor can rob him nor no force justify the surrender of the simplest right of a free and independent citizen. The mothers of this country can shape the destinies of the nation by keeping in their places and attending to those duties that God Almighty intended for them. The kindly, gentle influence of the mother in the home and the dignified influence of the teacher in the school will far outweigh all the influence of all the mannish female politicians on earth.

The courageous, chivalrous, and manly men and the womanly women, the real mothers and home builders of the country, are opposed to this innovation in American political life. There was a bill (the Sanford bill) before the last legislature which proposed to leave the equal suffrage question to women to decide first before the men should vote on it. This bill was defeated by the suffragettes because they knew that the women would vote down the amendment by a vote of ten to one.

The men are able to run the government and take care of the women. Do women have to vote in order to receive the protection of man? Why, men have gone to war, endured every privation and death itself in defense of woman. To man, woman is the dearest creature on earth, and there is no extreme to which he would not go for his mother or sister. By keeping woman in her exalted position man can be induced to do more for her than he could by having her mix up in affairs that will cause him to lose respect and regard for her. Woman does not have to vote to secure her rights. Man will go to any extreme to protect and elevate her now. As long as woman is woman and keeps her place she will get more protection and more consideration than man gets. When she abdicates her throne she throws down the scepter of her power and loses her influence.

Woman suffrage has been proven a failure in states that have tried it. It is wrong. California should profit by the mistakes of other states. Not one reform has equal suffrage effected. On the contrary, statistics go to show that in most equal suffrage states, Colorado particularly, that divorces have greatly increased since the adoption of the equal suffrage amendment, showing that it has been a home destroyer. Crime has also increased due to lack of the mothers in the home.

Woman is woman. She can not unsex herself or change her sphere. Let her be content with her lot and perform those high duties intended for her by the Great Creator, and she will accomplish far more in governmental affairs that she can ever accomplish by mixing up in the dirty pool of politics. Keep the home pure and all will be well with the Republic. Let not the sanctity of the home be invaded by every little politician that may be running up and down the highway for office. Let the manly men and the womanly women defeat this amendment and keep woman where she belongs in order that she may retain the respect of all mankind. 

J. B. Sanford, Senator
4th District.

Received by Secretary of State Frank Jordan on June 26th, 1911, for publication as part of a voters’ information manual. Document is currently filed in the California State Archives under: Secretary of State Elections Papers, 1911 Special Election.