Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly

Infobox Celebrity
name = Phyllis Stewart Schlafly

image_size = 183px
caption = Phyllis Schlafly in 2007
birth_date = birth date and age|1924|8|15
birth_place = flagicon | USA St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.cite web|title=Phyllis Schlafly|url=;col1|work=UXL Newsmakers||date=2005|accessdate=2008-08-09
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Political activist
spouse = John Fred Schlafly, Jr. (deceased)
children = John, Bruce, Roger, Liza, Andrew, Anne
religion = Roman Catholic
Web site = []
footnotes =

Phyllis Stewart Schlafly (born August 15, 1924, in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American conservative political activist known for her opposition to feminism and the Equal Rights Amendment. Her bestselling book, "A Choice, Not An Echo", was published in 1964 from her home in Alton, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from her native St. Louis. From this self-publication, she formed her Pere Marquette Publishers company. "A Choice, Not an Echo" decries the power of the "Eastern Establishment" in the Republican Party once exercised by New York Governors Thomas E. Dewey and Nelson A. Rockefeller. Schlafly supported U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater in his unsuccessful race against Lyndon B. Johnson.

Schlafly has co-authored several books on national defense and was highly critical of arms-control agreements with the former Soviet Union. [Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. 2000. "Right–Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort". New York: Guilford Press, p. 202.] In 1961 she wrote that arms control "will not stop Red aggression any more than disarming our local police will stop murder, theft, and rape." [Phyllis Schlafly, "Communist Master Plan for 1961", "Cardinal Mindszenty Newsletter", February 15, 1961]

Schlafly also maintains an active presence on the lecture circuit. In 1972, she founded the Eagle Forum, and was the founder and president of a sister organization known as the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, which also operates in the Eagle Forum's St. Louis office. As of 2007, she is still the president of both organizations. Since 1967, she has published her own political newsletter, the "Phyllis Schlafly Report".

Family background

Schlafly's great-grandfather Stewart, a Presbyterian, came from Scotland to New York in 1851 and moved westward through Canada before settling in Michigan. [profile of Andrew F. Stewart, in "Men of West Virginia", Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago: 1903. pp. 157-158.] Her grandfather, Andrew F. Stewart, was a successful master mechanic with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway. [1902-03 City Directory, Huntington, WV and 1910 Federal Census (Virginia), Alleghany County, Clifton Forge, ED126, Sheet 9A and note 1.] Schlafly's father, John Bruce Stewart, was a machinist and salesman of industrial equipment, principally for Westinghouse. He became unemployed in 1932 during the Great Depression and could not find permanent work until World War II.Critchlow, Donald. "Founding Mother-Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade." Princeton University Press. pp. 422] He was granted a patent in 1944 for a rotary engine.Felsenthal biography]

Schlafly's mother, Odile Dodge, was the daughter of the moderately successful attorney Ernest C. Dodge. Odile attended college through graduate school and, before her marriage, worked as a teacher at Hosmer Hall, a private school for girls in St. Louis. [1919 Gould’s St. Louis City Directory] With her father’s legal business suffering during the Great Depression and her husband out of work, Odile worked as a librarian and a school teacher to support both families.

John Fred Schlafly, Jr., came from a well-to-do St. Louis family. His grandfather, August, immigrated in 1854 from Switzerland as a child. Shortly after August’s arrival, his father died and the family resettled in Carlyle, Illinois. There August and two brothers worked as clerks in a local grocery store. In 1876, August’s older brother married Catharine Hubert, the daughter of a successful local businessman. [1870 Federal Census ( Illinois) Clinton Co. Carlyle, Series: M593 Roll: 196 Page: 265] Shortly thereafter, the three brothers founded the firm of Schlafly Bros., which dealt in groceries, Queensware (dishes made by Wedgwood), hardware, and agricultural implements. ["The 1881 History of Marion & Clinton Counties, Illinois"] They later sold that business and concentrated on banking and other businesses that made them wealthy.

Early life

Schlafly was christened Phyllis McAlpin Stewart and brought up as a Roman Catholic in St. Louis. According to one report, during the Depression, Schlafly's father went into long-term unemployment, and her mother entered the labor market. Mrs. Stewart was able to keep the family afloat and maintained Phyllis in a Catholic girls' school. [ Ehrenreich, pp. 152-153] ). In one of her books, "Strike From Space" (1965), Schlafly notes that she was at one time "a ballistics gunner and technician at the largest ammunition plant in the world".

She began college early and worked as a model for a time. She earned her A.B. Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis in 1944 at the age of 19. She received a master of arts in Government from Radcliffe College in Massachusetts in 1945. In 1978, she earned a J.D. from Washington University Law School in St. Louis.

In 1952, Schlafly ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Republican in a Democratic district. It was another decade, however, before she came to national attention with "A Choice, Not an Echo", millions of copies of which were distributed in support of Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign. In it, Schlafly denounced the Rockefeller Republicans in the Northeast, accusing them of corruption and globalism. Critics called the book a conspiracy theory about "secret kingmakers" controlling the Republican Party. [Berlet and Lyons. 2000. "Right–Wing Populism in America", pp. 180, 202.]

In 1967, Schlafly lost her bid for the presidency of the National Federation of Republican Women after a vigorous campaign against the more moderate candidate Gladys O'Donnell of California. Schlafly's own next-door neighbor in Alton, a housewife and active Republican, accused her at the time of being "an exponent of an extreme right-wing philosophy — a propagandist who deals in emotion and personalities where it is not necessary to establish facts or prove charges." Outgoing NFRW president and future United States Treasurer Dorothy Elston of Delaware worked against Schlafly in the campaign. [ [,8816,945990,00.html Anti-ERA Evangelist Wins Again] ; Donald T. Critchlow, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism" (Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 138-159.]

She joined the John Birch Society, but quit because she thought that the main Communist threats to the nation were external, rather than internal. In 1970, Schlafly again ran unsuccessfully for a House of Representatives seat in Illinois, losing to Democratic incumbent George E. Shipley.

Schlafly has been an outspoken critic of "activist judges", particularly on the Supreme Court. In 2005, Schlafly made headlines at a conference for the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration by suggesting that "Congress ought to talk about impeachment" of certain Supreme Court justices [Dana Milbank, " [ And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty] ", "Washington Post, April 9, 2005, p. A03.] , Justice Anthony Kennedy being the primary target.In 2006, Schlafly provided an interview which appeared in the March 30 "New York Times" in which she attributed improvement in women's lives during the last decades of the twentieth century to labor-saving devices such as the indoor clothes dryer and paper diapers.cite news|last=Bellafante|first=Ginia|title=A Feminine Mystique All Her Own|url=|work=The New York Times|date=2006-03-30|accessdate=2008-01-31]

On May 1, 2008 the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis announced that Schlafly would be presented an honorary degree at the school's 2008 commencement ceremony. This was immediately met with objection by some University students and faculty who accused her of being anti-feminist and criticized her work on defeating the equal rights amendment. [cite web |url= |title=Wash-U chancellor apologizes for controversy, but Schlafly will still get honorary degree |accessdate=2008-05-16 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |publisher=] . Fourteen university law professors wrote in a complaint letter that Schlafly's career demonstrated "anti-intellectualism in pursuit of a political agenda." [cite web |url= |title=Phyllis Schlafly Hon. Degree Sparks Wash U Spat, Law Prof Protest |accessdate=2008-07-25 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |publisher=UPI] While the Board of Trustees' honorary degree committee approved the honorees unanimously, five student members of the committee wrote to complain that they had to vote on the five honorees as a slate, in the final stage of the voting, and feel the selection of Schlafly was a mistake. cite web |url= |title=Students, faculty protest Schlafly honor |accessdate=2008-05-16 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |publisher=UPI] [ [ Brian Leiter's Law School Reports: Wash U Alumni Create Website to Oppose Award of Honorary Degree to Schafly ] ] .

In the days leading up to the commencement ceremony, Washington University Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton explained the University’s Board of Trustees decision to award Schlafly’s degree with the following statement:

At the May 16, 2008 commencement ceremony, Schlafly was awarded a doctor of humane letters degree. A protest to rescind Schlafly's honorary degree received support from faculty and students. During the ceremony, hundreds of the 14,000 attendees, including one-third the graduating students and some faculty, silently stood and turned their backs to Schlafly in protest.cite web |url=|title=Schlafly honored — and dishonored|accessdate=2008-05-18 |last= |first= |author=Kavita Kumar |date=05-17-2008 |work= |publisher=St. Louis Post Dispatch] In the days leading up to the commencement there were several protests regarding her degree award; Schlafly described these protesters as "a bunch of losers." [cite web |url=|title=Wash-U chancellor apologizes for controversy, but Schlafly will still get honorary degree] In addition, she stated after the ceremony that the protesters were "juvenile" and that "I'm not sure they're mature enough to graduate." As planned, Schlafly did not give any speech during the commencement ceremony, nor did any of the other honorees except for commencement speaker Chris Matthews. [cite web |url= |title=Students, faculty protest Schlafly at commencement|accessdate=2008-05-18 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date= |work= |publisher=UPI]

"Stop ERA"

Schlafly became the most visible and effective opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment during the 1970s as the organizer of the "Stop the ERA" movement, widely credited with stopping it from achieving passage by its legislative deadline. STOP has also been referred to as an acronym for "Stop Taking our Privileges", because Schlafly believes the amendment, if passed, would take away many Americans' privileges, especially those of women. [ Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Firebrand: Phyllis Schlafly and the Conservative Revolution." The New Yorker. Nov 7, 2005. pp. 134.]

By the time Schlafly began campaigning in 1972, the amendment had already been ratified by 30 of the necessary 38 states. However, Schlafly was successful in organizing a grassroots campaign to oppose further states' ratifications. Five more states ratified ERA after Schlafly launched her opposition campaign. The last was Indiana, where then State Senator Wayne Townsend, a Democrat, cast the tie-breaking vote for ratification in January 1977. In opposing ERA, Schlafly argued that "the ERA would lead to women being drafted by the military and to public unisex bathrooms." [ New Drive Afoot to Pass Equal Rights Amendment - ] ] Her views were opposed by Pro-ERA groups, led by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the ERAmerica coalition. [ [ History ] ] The amendment was narrowly defeated, having already been passed in 35 states.

Supporters of Schlafly argue that some of her claims have been confirmed by later state court rulings. [ [ Phyllis Schlafly Was Right, NRO: Her Predictions While Fighting The ERA Are Still Accurate - CBS News ] ] Her arguments against the ERA included her opposition to including women in the military draft. In 1981, a highly publicized lawsuit attempted to end the all-male selective service system, claiming it encouraged gender discrimination. In the absence of the ERA, the Supreme Court held by a 6-3 margin that Congress could register only men for military service. (Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, 1981). Another case often cited by Schlafly supporters is the "Harris v. McRae" decision of 1980, in which, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court held that Congress could provide funding for childbirth but not for abortion ("Harris v. McRae", 448 U.S. 297, 1980).

Some of Schlafly's critics have said that her work against the ERA, and its subsequent failure, resulted in government intervention in aspects of society such as sexual discrimination, [ Phyllis Schlafly's career as a NeoCon ] ] and convinced many women that they should be satisfied to live through the state.

According to an article in the March 28, 2007 edition of the "Washington Post", "New Drive Afoot to Pass Equal Rights Amendment," Schlafly is working towards the defeat of a new version of the Equal Rights Amendment: "Today, she warns lawmakers that its passage would compel courts to approve same-sex marriages and deny Social Security benefits for housewives and widows".


The feminist activist Gloria Steinem and the author Pia de Solenni, among others, have noted what they consider irony in Schlafly's role as an advocate for the full-time mother and wife, while being herself a lawyer, editor of a monthly newsletter, regular speaker at anti-liberal rallies, and political activist. [ [ Gloria Steinem: If Bush Wins in 2004, "Abortion Will Be Criminalized" - A BuzzFlash Interview ] ] [ [ Pia de Solenni on Phyllis Schlafly & Feminist Fantasies on National Review Online ] ] [ [,9171,945990-1,00.html Anti-ERA Evangelist Wins Again - TIME ] ] In her review of Schlafly's "Feminist Fantasies", de Solenni writes that "Schlafly's discussion reveals a paradox. She was able to have it all: family and career. And she did it by fighting those who said they were trying to get it all for her... Happiness resulted from being a wife and mother and working with her husband to reach their goals."

Schlafly has been accused of dispersing disinformation about sex education in public schools and working against federally funded day care and abortion. [ [ Phyllis Schlafly: Grand Dame Of Censorship ] ] She has described sex education classes as "in-home sales parties for abortions." [ [] ]

On August 27, 1974, activist attorney Florynce Kennedy appeared on CBS radio in Miami to promote ratification of the stalled Equal Rights Amendment. During the conversation Kennedy denounced Schlafly as a "pigocrat. . . I just don't see why some people don't hit Phyllis Schlafly in the mouth. I don't think she would be damaged seriously, but I don't think it would hurt if somebody slapped her. We're arguing with people like Schlafly who obviously aren't speaking from a rational perspective. Instead of so much argument, people should slap." Similarly, author Harlan Ellison, another ERA booster, said that if Schlafly walked into the headlights of his car, he would "knock her into the next time zone." Ellison proclaimed Schlafly a "mischievous woman who does terrible things." [Donald T. Critchlow, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism", 2005, p. 253]

Several critics of Schlafly argue she sometimes veers off into conspiracy theories. [Drake Bennett, “The Amero Conspiracy,” "Boston Globe", November 25, 2007, [] .] [Katha Pollit, “Backlash Spectacular,” "The Nation", May 26, 2008, [] ]

Opponent of UN and WTO

As a college student in 1945, Schlafly applauded the establishment of the United Nations. Over the years, however, she has long repudiated the UN. On the 50th anniversary of the group in 1995, Schlafly referred to "a cause for mourning, not celebration. It is a monument to foolish hopes, embarrassing compromises, betrayal of our servicemen, and a steady stream of insults to our nation. It is a Trojan Horse that carries the enemy into our midst and lures Americans to ride under alien insignia to fight and die in faraway lands." Accordingly, she opposed U.S. President Bill Clinton's decision in 1996 to send 20,000 American troops to Bosnia. Schlafly noted that Balkan nations have fought one another for 500 years and that the U.S. military should not be "policemen" of world trouble spots. [Donald T. Critchlow, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism", 2005, pp. 298-299]

Prior to the 1994 congressional elections, Schlafly condemned globalization through the World Trade Organization as a "direct attack on American sovereignty, independence, jobs, and economy . . . any country that must change its laws to obey rulings of a world organization has sacrificed its sovereignty." [Donald T. Critchlow, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism", 2005, p. 298]

chlafly and the GOP

Schlafly continues to exert some influence within the Republican Party. She played a key role in writing some socially conservative language in the Republican National Convention's platform, most recently in 2004.

However, Schlafly has expressed dissatisfaction with the modern GOP. Though she has not been actively involved in the neoconservative/paleoconservative schism, her positions on many issues resemble those of a paleoconservative. Like Patrick J. Buchanan, whom she supported for the 1996 GOP nomination, she contends that President George W. Bush "has muddied up the meaning of conservative." Schlafly writes, "Bush ran as a conservative, but he has been steadily (some might say stealthily) trying to remold the conservative movement and the Republican Party into the Bush Party. And the Bush Party stands for so many things alien to conservatism, namely, war as an instrument of foreign policy, nation-building overseas, highly concentrated executive power, federal control of education, big increases in social entitlements, massive increases in legal and illegal immigration, forcing American workers to compete with low-wage foreigners (under deceptive enticements such as free trade and global economy), and subordinating U.S. sovereignty to a North American community with open borders."

However, despite such criticisms, the Eagle Forum defended the party before the 2006 elections: "We cannot let our dissatisfaction and disappointment with some members of the Republican Party keep us from voting for the good guys — the ones who really are leaders for the conservative cause". [cite web|url= |title=Mid-term Elections Are Just Around The Corner |accessdate=2007-03-30 |author=Eagle Forum |authorlink=Eagle Forum |date=2006-10-27]

Schlafly has not endorsed a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but she has spoken out against Mike Huckabee, whom she says as governor left the Republican Party in Arkansas "in shambles". She has hosted at the Eagle Forum U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado, known for his opposition to illegal immigration.

Opinions on sexuality and public policy

Schlafly believes that sex should happen only between one man and a woman who is his wife. Based on this belief, Schlafly and her organizations promote abstinence-only curricula in schools, are against contraception for the unmarried, and against condom distribution as an HIV prevention strategy.


Schlafly is the author of 21 books ranging from child care to phonics education. She currently writes a weekly syndicated column that appears in over one hundred newspapers. [cite journal |last=Schlafly |first=Phyllis |date=2006-08-26 |title=What is Left? What is Right? Does it Matter? |journal=The American Conservative |url= |accessdate=2007-03-30 |quotes= ] .

Schlafly's published works include:

*"Judicial Tyranny: The New Kings of America?" - contributing author (Amerisearch, 2005) ISBN 0-9753455-6-7
*"The Supremacists: The Tyranny Of Judges And How To Stop It" (Spence Publishing Company, 2004) ISBN 1-890626-55-4
*"Feminist Fantasies", foreword by Ann Coulter (Spence Publishing Company, 2003) ISBN 1-890626-46-5
*"Turbo Reader" (Pere Marquette Press, 2001) ISBN 0-934640-16-5
*"First Reader" (Pere Marquette Press, 1994) ISBN 0-934640-24-6
*"Pornography's Victims" (Crossway Books, 1987) ISBN 0-89107-423-6
*"Child Abuse in the Classroom" (Crossway Books, 1984) ISBN 0-89107-365-5
*"Equal Pay for UNequal Work" (Eagle Forum, 1984) ISBN 99950-3-143-4
*"The End of an Era" (Regnery Publishing, 1982) ISBN 0-89526-659-8
*"The Power of the Christian Woman" (Standard Pub, 1981) ISBN B0006E4X12
*"The Power of the Positive Woman" (Crown Pub, 1977) ISBN 0-87000-373-9
*"Ambush at Vladivostok", with Chester Ward (Pere Marquette Press, 1976) ISBN 0-934640-00-9
*"Kissinger on the Couch" (Arlington House Publishers, 1974) ISBN 0-87000-216-3
*"Mindszenty the Man" (with Josef Vecsey) (Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, 1972) ISBN B00005WGD6
*"The Betrayers" (Pere Marquette Press, 1968) ISBN B0006CY0CQ
*"Safe Not Sorry" (Pere Marquette Press, 1967) ISBN 0-934640-06-8
*"Strike From Space: A Megadeath Mystery" (Pere Marquette Press, 1965) ISBN 80-7507-634-6
*"Grave Diggers" (with Chester Ward) (Pere Marquette Press, 1964) ISBN 0-934640-03-3
*"A Choice Not An Echo" (Pere Marquette Press, 1964) ISBN 0-686-11486-8

Personal life

She was married to attorney John Fred Schlafly, Jr., (1909–1993) for 44 years until his death. They had six children: John, Bruce, Roger, Liza, Andrew, and Anne.

In 1992, her eldest son, John, was outed as homosexual by "Queer Week" magazine. [ [ At 80, Schlafly is still a conservative force - The Boston Globe ] ] [ [ The gay vice squad - QW's outing article about homosexuality of John Schlafly, son of pro-life advocate Phyllis Schlafly - Editorial] ] Schlafly has declined to comment on the matter in interviews.



*Critchlow, Donald T. "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade" Princeton University Press, 2005. 422 pp. ISBN 0-691-07002-4.
*Ehrenreich, Barbara. 1983. The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment. New York: Anchor Books.
*Felsenthal, Carol. "The Biography of Phyllis Schlafly: The Sweetheart of the Silent Majority" Doubleday & Co., 1981. 337pp. ISBN 0-89526-873-6.
*Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Firebrand: Phyllis Schlafly and the Conservative Revolution." The New Yorker. Nov 7, 2005. pp. 134.

External links

* [ Phyllis Schlafly official site]
* [ Eagle Forum official site]
* [ Conservatives' first lady sparked pro-family effort]
* [ Review: 'Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade,'] (by Donald T. Critchlow)
* [ First Chapter: 'Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism'] (by Donald T. Crichtlow)
* [ Article on Phyllis Schlafly from September 2, 2004 Boston Globe]
* [ Phyllis Schlafly speaks about feminism at Mount Holyoke College]
* [ Domestic violence law abuses rights of men - by Phyllis Schlafly]

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