Susan B. Anthony
Place of Birth: Massachusetts
Susan B. Anthony is one of the leading iconic figures in the history of women’s rights. She worked with Elizabeth Cady Stanton to create the National Woman Suffrage Association. Her work with the suffragette movement led to the passing of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Anthony continually campaigned for the rights of women to own property, have equal pay and be able to hold public office. Anthony was an avid believer in equality for all and also became part of the abolitionist movement to be rid of slavery. Her tireless efforts gave way to many of the benefits for women and was an inspiration to those that came after her to fight for a more equal representation of women and Black Americans.
- Susan was born in a Quaker family who believed that all people are equal, no matter the gender or color. She was incredibly smart and began reading and writing at the age of 3. There were 7 children in her family in Massachusetts and by the time that she was 6 years old they moved to Battenville, New York.
- Susan’s father was disappointed in the local school systems and chose to teach her at home. When the economy collapsed in 1837 her family lost almost everything and she was required to go to work to help with support. She began teaching and carried her ideas of equality for women, including the right to vote with her. This was unique during her day because women were considered to be second class citizens with hardly any rights. She experienced the discrimination as she was earning one fourth what the male teachers were making.
- She began getting involved in the women’s rights movement and was invited as a speaker at meetings and conventions. She and her family were strongly against slavery and she also involved herself in the abolitionist movement. She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and they both ran a newspaper devoted to civil rights called “The Revolution.”
- When the Civil War happened the two women founded the Women’s National Loyal League (WNLL) and it was the first political organization ever founded for women. The organization got 400,000 signatures and took them to Congress to ratify the 13thAmendment to make slavery outlawed. By the end of the war Anthony continued to campaign for the 14th Amendment to grant “equal protection of the laws” and to grant citizenship to all people born in the United States. This citizenship would include former slaves and children of slaves. She worked diligently to get the 15th Amendment ratified which gave Black American men the right to vote. Neither of these Amendments offered the voting rights to women and therefore neither Anthony nor Stanton stopped pushing.
- Anthony made a point of disobeying the law in the 1872 elections when she stood in line to vote. She was given a $100 fine that she refused to pay. News of her action spread quickly and more women began to join their effort. In 1869 Anthony and Stanton founded the National Women’s Suffrage Association whose goal was to get women the right to vote. They extended their interests to include the rights of Black Americans.
- Susan continued to raise awareness for women’s rights and encouraged other women to be persistent in demanding the same rights as men. In 1876 the NWSA created a Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States. It stated: “We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.”
- Anthony continued her efforts for women’s rights for the next 37 years of her life. Although she made excellent progress, she would never live to see the right to vote pass. The 19thAmendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920 to give everyone the right to vote, regardless of gender. This was the Amendment that Anthony had brought forward in 1878.
- During her time Susan B. Anthony worked tirelessly for other rights for women including the ability to own property and hold political office. She has been honored for her part in American history and women’s freedom with a commemorative $1 coin that bears her likeness, although minting was stopped in 1991. In her last speech before her death she said “I am here for a little time only, and then my place will be filled,” she said. “The fight must not cease. You must see that it does not stop. Failure is impossible.” She died one month later at the age of 86 years.
What Amendment to the Constitution was eventually ratified to give every American the right to vote, regardless of gender?
What was the name of the first organization founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton which gained fame as the first political organization for women?
Women’s National Loyal League (WNLL)
Besides getting the vote for women, what other two rights for women did Susan B. Anthony champion for women?
Owning property and holding political office
Other than the 19th Amendment, what other two Amendments to the Constitution did Susan try to get ratified?
14th and 15th Amendments
What did Susan B. Anthony do in the 1872 election that was against the law?
Stood in line and tried to vote
What religious background did Susan B. Anthony have the influenced her belief in equality?