Her death marks a palpable loss for the conservative movement which, just last month, celebrated the grassroots heroine’s 92nd birthday.
An accomplished lawyer, activist, author, and mother of six, Phyllis Schlafly has been described as the embodiment of the ideal American woman.
As Sen. Jeff Sessions wrote in a statement submitted for the Congressional Record, “dynamic, smart, beautiful, and articulate,” Schlafly has “fearlessly” and “tirelessly… championed the American family and American values.”
In 1963, the publisher of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it this way: “Phyllis Schlafly stands for everything that has made America great and for those things which will keep it that way.”
Schlafly enjoyed a rich family life. Married in 1949, she and her late-husband, Fred, shared forty-four happy years together as well as six children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Never one to see her femininity as antithetical to her career goals, Schlafly was awarded Illinois’ Mother of the Year only a few years before being named one of the 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Revered for her steadfast judgement, Schlafly was a guiding light to many conservatives, who looked to her to determine the political battles of the day. Most recently, the “godmother of the conservative movement” led the charge against the Gang of Eight amnesty plan and President Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Unafraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful men in the nation, Schlafly was known for engaging in fights of principle all while projecting her irresistible charm, grace and wit.
Schlafly understood feminism not as an effort to erase or wipe away the unique, distinguishing features of women, but rather to embrace and encourage all of the special and wondrous things about womanhood. Whereas modern feminism teaches that a little girl is not so different from a little boy and that society should recognize no real difference between the two, Schlafly celebrated motherhood and femininity, and perceived the differences amongst the sexes as something to be extolled rather than repressed.
A vocal proponent for empowering all Americans, Schlafly fought tirelessly against the social institutions that teach the “absolutely false” narrative that “women are victims of the patriarchy and [that] it’s up to new laws in the Constitution to remedy this second-class citizenship of women.”
“American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the earth,” Schlafly proclaimed in 2012. “We can do anything we want to do.”
Schlafly’s life was truly a testament to what she preached. A child of Great Depression, she paid her way through college by putting in 48-hour work weeks as a gunner testing ammunition at the largest ammunition plant in the world, the St. Louis Ordnance Plant. Schlafly tested .30 and .50 caliber ammunition for accuracy, penetration, velocity, and aircraft function before the government would accept the ammunition for the war effort during World War II. Despite the rigors of a full-time job working the midnight to 8am shift at the ordnance plant, Schlafly still managed to finish her schooling in just three years, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis Phi Beta Kappa.
She then went on to get her master’s degree in Government from Harvard University in 1945, and her J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1978.
Schlafly was active in politics for more than one-quarter of all American history.
On the one hand it's a shame Phyllis Schlafly died, but on the other it's always heartwarming when Satan calls one of his own home.— Big Satan Jeb Lund (@Mobute) September 5, 2016
At least Phyllis Schlafly selling out to Trump got her link in red on @DRUDGE_REPORT when she died. Wonder if it was worth eternal damnation— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) September 6, 2016
Phyllis Schlafly has died. In 2008, we called her "an immeasurable force for bad." https://t.co/LLSfrbmjmB pic.twitter.com/ceLUcQxDaL— New Republic (@NewRepublic) September 5, 2016