The 1989 DBQ dealt with women’s suffrage. Students were asked to “analyze and compare the
major points of view concerning suffrage and the ways in which individual commentators
believed woman suffrage would affect the political and social order.” The authors of about
half of the documents were women, all of whom spoke in favor of women’s right to vote. Six
of the seven male voices (one is a character lampooned in a political cartoon) speak against
women’s suffrage. Did gender influence speakers’ point of view in these documents? Students
need to present three points of view to earn basic core scoring point number 5. Having
grouped the women authors in whatever ways chosen, they could suggest that the women
who held some shared opinions did so at least in part because of their experience as women.
Referring to specific inequalities or injustices would only strengthen their claim.
Count Reventlow (document 11), who spoke in 1912 against giving women the vote in Germany,
referred to Germany’s creation by “blood and iron” and claimed that it was “man’s work.”
Women want to rule and we don’t want to let them. The German Empire was created with
blood and iron. That was man’s work. If women helped, it was not women of the sort involved
in the new women’s movement, but women of the Spartan and old Germanic kind, who stood
behind their men in battle and fired them on to kill as many enemies as possible (fervent
Count Reventlow, addressing the German League for the
Prevention of the Emancipation of Women, 1912
Many students would understand the reference to blood and iron, and the date, two years
before the outbreak of World War I, might also stand out to them. They could explain that
Reventlow might hold the view he did in part because of Germany’s rather recent unification
and/or the militarism of the late prewar years. They could comment on his title and speculate
on how his class background might have shaped his conservative views.