Anthony, Susan Brownell
ANTHONY, SUSAN BROWNELL
People no longer are surprised when an American woman works outside the home, keeps her own bank account, maintains custody of her children after a divorce, or votes in a presidential election. Yet, not too long ago, these practices were uncommon, if not illegal, in the United States. Due in large part to the efforts of the remarkable Susan Brownell Anthony and other pioneers of feminism, women in the United States enjoy rights and opportunities that are simply taken for granted today.
Anthony was born in 1820, during an era when most women got married, produced children, and deferred completely to their husbands. Daniel Anthony, her father, belonged to the Society of Friends (better known as Quakers), a religious group that recognized the equality of men and women. Daniel encouraged his daughter to think independently and to speak her mind. He supported her educational pursuits and emphasized self-sufficiency.
Although Anthony's father was an admirable man and progressive for his time, her mother, Lucy Anthony, found little pleasure in her restricted, duty-bound life. She appeared overwhelmed by eight pregnancies and exhausted from running the household while keeping boarders and raising six surviving children. Historians believe that the withdrawn, careworn Lucy became a symbol to Anthony of the unfair burdens of marriage. The institution seemed weighted against women, even those with kind and liberal-minded husbands. Anthony concluded that marriage was necessary only when a strong emotional bond existed between two people. This view put her at odds with most women of her generation, who considered matrimony a requirement for social and economic security. True to her principles, Anthony—who once referred to marriage as slavery and "a blot on civilization"—rejected several suitors' offers and remained single throughout her long life.
Anthony was an intelligent young girl who received the best education available at the time. Although she attended a well-regarded boarding school in Philadelphia, she did not enroll in college. In the 1830s, only one college in the United States, Ohio's Oberlin College, accepted women. Even with a college education, Anthony would have faced a limited number of employment opportunities. As a woman, her only options were to become a seamstress, a domestic, or a teacher. Anthony chose teaching and, in 1938, began the first of several teaching jobs. In 1846, she became headmistress at Canajoharie Academy in New York. There, she discovered that male teachers were paid $10.00 a week, whereas she received $2.50. Frustrated with the low pay and a lack of respect for her work, Anthony decided to devote her energies to social reform.
Although Anthony is best known for her fight for women's suffrage, she also crusaded for other causes. In 1852, Anthony became active in the temperance movement, a national campaign to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol. When it became clear that women were not allowed full leadership in the existing temperance organizations, Anthony helped form the Woman's State Temperance Society of New York.
Like her father, Anthony also was a fervent abolitionist. She became friends with frederick douglass and attended her father's anti-slavery meetings in the family home. Before and during the u.s. civil war, Anthony devoted her organizational skills to the cause. As head of the Anti-Slavery Society of New York, she planned lecture schedules and spoke publicly against the evils of the Southern system and of the discriminatory practices in the North. During this time, she joined forces with another abolitionist, elizabeth cady stanton, who was the acknowledged leader of the fledgling women's rights movement.
"Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less."
—Susan B. Anthony
After the war, Anthony and Stanton continued to work together for social reform. They were bitterly disappointed when their fellow abolitionists refused to support their strategy for constitutionally mandating voting rights for
women. A golden opportunity for female suffrage had arisen with the drafting of the fifteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment was necessary to grant voting rights to the former slaves who were liberated by President abraham lincoln's emancipation proclamation. However, the abolitionists supported the Fifteenth Amendment only to the extent that it gave African American males the right to vote. They were not concerned about the amendment's exclusion of women. With that defeat, Anthony focused her sights on a separate constitutional amendment to grant women the franchise.
In 1868, Anthony began publishing The Revolution, a weekly newsletter advocating suffrage and equal rights for women. In 1869, Anthony and Stanton formed the National Woman's Suffrage Association. An indefatigable worker, Anthony became a fixture on the lecture circuit and headed national petition drives to establish support for female voting rights.
In 1872, Anthony decided to test the legality of voting laws that allowed only white and African American males to go to the polls. She registered and voted in the 1872 presidential election in Rochester, New York. Anthony was prosecuted for the offense and fined $100, but she refused to pay. Her defiance rallied supporters of women's rights across the nation. In time, Anthony merged her suffrage organization with another one, to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She served as president of this association from 1892 to 1900.
Not surprisingly, Anthony fought hard for the liberalization of laws for married women. During most of the nineteenth century, a wife had very little protection under the law. Any income she produced automatically belonged to her husband, as did any inheritance she received. Her husband could apprentice their children without her permission and was designated sole guardian of their children, no matter how unfit he might be. A husband even had the right to pass on his guardianship of the children by will. In Anthony's home state of New York, her petition drives and lectures were instrumental in convincing the legislature to pass laws giving married women power over their incomes and guardianship of their children.
Anthony was not afraid to flout social conventions to achieve her goals. For a time, she wore bloomers, a controversial garment named after Amelia Jenks Bloomer, the woman who popularized it. Bloomers were loose-fitting trousers gathered at the ankle and worn underneath a knee-length skirt. The costume was intended as a protest against the tight-fitting corsets and unwieldy petticoats popularly worn by women at the time. Although she withstood ridicule to make her point, Anthony stopped wearing bloomers when she concluded that they were diverting attention from the more serious issues facing women.
Anthony's message of equality often met resistance, and not just from men. Many women in the nineteenth century were frightened by or skeptical of change. In 1870, Anthony lamented their wariness when she wrote, "The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it." She urged women to recognize the inequities they faced and to speak and act for their own freedom.
When Anthony died in 1906, women did not yet have the right to vote in presidential elections. When the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution finally became law in 1920, it was called the Anthony amendment in recognition of her valiant efforts to gain suffrage.
Anthony was also honored in 1979 and 1980, when the U.S. Mint issued one dollar coins bearing her likeness. She became the first woman to be pictured on a U.S. coin in general circulation.
Barry, Kathleen. 1988. Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist. New York: New York Univ. Press.
Cooper, Ilene. 1984. Susan B. Anthony. New York: Watts.
Gurko, Miriam. 1974. The Ladies of Seneca Falls: The Birth of the Woman's Rights Movement. New York: Macmillan.
Wells, Ida B. 1970. Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Ed. Alfreda M. Duster. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
"Anthony, Susan Brownell." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/anthony-susan-brownell
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Anthony, Susan B.
Susan B. Anthony
Born: February 15, 1820
Died: March 13, 1906
Rochester, New York
American women's rights activist, abolitionist, and women's suffrage leader
Susan B. Anthony was an early leader of the American women's suffrage (right to vote) movement and a pioneer in the struggle to gain equality for women. As an active abolitionist, or opponent of slavery, she campaigned for the freedom of slaves.
Susan Brownwell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts. She was the second of seven children born to Daniel and Lucy Read Anthony. Her father, the owner of a cotton mill, was a religious man who taught his children to show their love for God by working to help other people. Susan began attending a boarding school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1837. She left and began working as a teacher after growing debt forced her father to sell his business and move the family to a farm near Rochester, New York.
Anthony continued teaching to help her family pay the bills until 1849, when her father asked her to come home to run the family farm so that he could spend more time trying to develop an insurance business. Many famous reformers, such as Frederick Douglass (1817–1895), William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), and Wendell Phillips (1811–1884), came to visit Anthony's father during this time. Hearing their discussions helped Susan form her strong views on slavery, women's rights, and temperance (the avoidance of alcohol).
Although her family attended the first women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls and Rochester, New York, in 1848, Anthony did not take up the cause until 1851. Until that time, she had devoted most of her time to the temperance movement. However, when male members of the movement refused to let her speak at rallies simply because she was a woman, she realized that women had to win the right to speak in public and to vote before they could accomplish anything else. Her lifelong friendship and partnership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), who had proposed a resolution giving women the right to vote, also began in 1851.
Anthony attended her first women's rights convention in 1852. From that first convention until the end of the Civil War (1861–65), she campaigned from door-to-door, in legislatures, and in meetings for the two causes of women's rights and the abolition of slavery. The passage of the New York State Married Woman's Property and Guardianship Law in 1860, which gave married women in New York greater property rights, was her first major legislative victory.
Formation of suffrage movement
The Civil War was fought between northern and southern states mainly over the issues of slavery and the South's decision to leave the Union to form an independent nation. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Anthony focused her attention on ending slavery. She organized the Women's National Loyal League, which gathered petitions to force passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to end slavery. When the war ended, she increased her efforts to gain the right to vote for women as well as for African American males. However, her former male allies from the antislavery movement were unwilling to help her fight for the first cause, saying the time was not yet right for women's suffrage.
Saddened by this defeat but refusing to give up the fight, Anthony worked solely for women's suffrage from this time to the end of her life, organizing the National Woman Suffrage Association with Stanton. The association's New York weekly, The Revolution, was created in 1868 to promote women's causes. After it went bankrupt in 1870, Anthony traveled across the country for six years giving lectures to raise money to pay the newspaper's ten-thousand-dollar debt.
In 1872 Susan B. Anthony and fifteen supporters from Rochester became the first women ever to vote in a presidential election. That they were promptly arrested for their boldness did not bother Anthony. She was eager to test women's legal right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment by taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Free on bail of one thousand dollars, Anthony campaigned throughout the country with a carefully prepared legal argument: "Is It a Crime for a U.S. Citizen to Vote?" She lost her case in 1873 in Rochester following some questionable rulings by the judge and was barred from appealing the result to the Supreme Court.
Susan B. Anthony spent the rest of her life working for the federal suffrage amendment—an exhausting job that took her not only to Congress but to political conventions, labor meetings, and lecture halls in every part of the country. After she noticed that most historical literature failed to mention any women, in 1877 she and her supporters sat down to begin writing the monumental and invaluable History of Woman Suffrage in five volumes. She later worked with her biographer, Ida Husted Harper, on two of the three volumes of The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony. The material was drawn mainly from the scrapbooks she had kept throughout most of her life, which are now in the Library of Congress, and from her diaries and letters.
Anthony remained active in the struggle for women's suffrage until the end of her life. She attended her last suffrage convention just one month before her death. She closed her last public speech with the words, "Failure is impossible." When she died in her Rochester home on March 13, 1906, only four states had granted women the right to vote. Fourteen years later the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was added to the U.S. Constitution.
For More Information
Barry, Kathleen. Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist. New York: New York University Press, 1988.
Harper, Judith E. Susan B. Anthony: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara, CA: ABCCLIO, 1998.
Sherr, Lynn. Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. New York: Times Books, 1995.
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Susan Brownell Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony (1820-1906) was an early leader of the American woman's suffrage movement and pioneered in seeking other equalities for women. An active abolitionist, she campaigned for emancipation of the slaves.
Susan B. Anthony was born on Feb. 15, 1820, in Adams, Mass., one of seven children. Her family had settled in Rhode Island in 1634. She attended Quaker schools and began teaching at the age of 15 for $1.50 a week plus board. When the family moved to Rochester, N.Y., in 1845, her brilliant father, Daniel Anthony, the dominant influence in her life, worked with important abolitionists. Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and other guests at the Anthony farm helped form her strong views on abolition of slavery.
Though her family attended the first Woman's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls and Rochester, N.Y., in 1848, Anthony did not take up the cause of woman's rights until 1851, when male hostility to her temperance efforts convinced her that women must win the right to speak in public and to vote before anything else could be accomplished. Her lifelong friendship and partnership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton also began in 1851, as did her temporary doffing of corsets in favor of the revolutionary "bloomer" costume—which was women's first major dress reform in the movement. Anthony attended her first woman's-rights convention in 1852; from then until the end of the Civil War she campaigned from door to door, in legislatures, and in meetings for the two causes of abolition of slavery and of woman's rights. The New York State Married Woman's Property and Guardianship Law in 1860 was her first major legislative victory.
Formation of Suffrage Movement
With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, woman's rights took second place. Susan Anthony organized the Women's National Loyal League, which mobilized the crucial petitions to force passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery. In 1865 she began her battle in the content of the 14th and 15th Amendments, hoping to gain the franchise for women as well as for African American males. But her former male allies in the abolitionist struggle brushed her aside, saying the time was not yet ripe for woman's suffrage. Saddened but not deterred by this defeat, Anthony worked solely for woman's suffrage from this time to the end of her life, organizing the National Woman Suffrage Association with Stanton. The association's New York weekly, The Revolution, was created in 1868 to promote women's causes. After its bankruptcy in 1870, Anthony lectured throughout the nation for 6 years to pay its $10,000 debt.
In the 1872 presidential race Susan Anthony and 15 Rochester comrades became the first women ever to vote in a national election. That they were promptly arrested for their boldness did not dismay her, as she sought to test women's legal right to vote under the 14th Amendment by carrying the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her case was singled out for prosecution, and trial was set for 1873 in Rochester. Free on bail of $1,000, Anthony stumped the country with a carefully prepared legal argument, "Is It a Crime for a U.S. Citizen to Vote?" She lost her case, following some dubious legal maneuvering by the judge, but was unfortunately barred from appealing to the Supreme Court when her sentence was not made binding.
Susan Anthony spent the rest of her life working for the Federal suffrage amendment—a strenuous effort that took her not only to Congress but to political conventions, labor meetings, and lyceums in every section of the country. Mindful of the nearly total omission of women from historical literature, in 1877 she forced herself to sit down with her colleagues to begin the monumental and invaluable History of Woman Suffrage in five volumes. She later worked with her biographer, Ida Husted Harper, on two of the three volumes of The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, which were drawn largely from her continuous scrapbooks (1838-1900), now in the Library of Congress, and her diaries and letters.
Up to just one month before her death in 1906, Anthony was still active: she attended her last suffrage convention and her eighty-sixth birthday celebration in Washington. She closed her last public speech with the words, "Failure is impossible." When she died in her Rochester home on March 13, only four states had granted the vote to women. Fourteen years later the suffrage amendment, the 19th, was added to the Constitution.
The most complete work on Anthony is Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (3 vols., 1898-1908). Katharine Anthony, a distant relative and noted biographer, had access to Miss Anthony's diaries and wrote the best recent biography, Susan B. Anthony: Her Personal History and Her Era (1954). Alma Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian (1959) and Created Equal: A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1940), which also contains considerable material on Anthony, are more solid accounts than Rheta Childe Dorr, Susan B. Anthony: The Woman Who Changed the Mind of a Nation (1928). □
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Anthony, Susan B. (1820-1906)
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Woman’s rights activist
Early Life. Born on 15 February 1820 in Adams, Massachu-setts, Susan Brownell Anthony was a descendant of early settlers of Rhode Island. She grew up in Battenville, New York, a small village about thirty-five miles north of Albany and about ten miles east of the Hudson River, where the family settled in 1832. In 1838 her father enrolled her at Deborah Moulson’s Female Seminary, a Quaker school in Hamilton, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, where Anthony was taught that women and men were equal in the eyes of God. After only one term she left school to work as a teacher so that she could help to pay debts her father had incurred during the Panic of 1837, and at the age of nineteen she moved away from home to take a better position at a Quaker boarding school in New Rochelle, New York. In 1846, after moving with her family to a new farm near Rochester, New York, she was hired as headmistress of the female department of Canajoharie Academy, on the Mohawk River between Schenectady and Utica. She resigned her position in 1849 and returned to her family’s Rochester farm.
Forming a Women’s Movement. Anthony’s family had been active in abolitionism, which had strong Quaker roots, and by 1849 Anthony herself had become involved in that movement as well as in the temperance crusade. She soon learned that women did not enjoy full equality in those movements—a discovery that motivated her to campaign for woman’s rights. Until the Civil War she focused on improving married women’s property rights. In 1860 she succeeded in convincing the New York State legislature to pass a law granting married women the rights to own property, conduct business, enter into legal contracts, retain their own earnings, sue or be sued, and be joint guardians of their children. Throughout the Civil War, even as she worked for the emancipation of slaves, she strongly opposed giving the vote to illiterate males ahead of educated white women.
Suffrage. After the war Anthony’s fears were confirmed. The American Equal Rights Association, of which she became a founding member in 1866, considered women’s rights to be secondary to those of former slaves. In 1869 Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) and opposed the Fifteenth Amendment, which enfranchised male former slaves. Many of her abolitionist friends saw Anthony’s position as elitist, and in the same year they formed an alternative suffrage organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), headed by Lucy Stone. Anthony at first argued for woman suffrage on the basis of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which made former slaves citizens and gave them the right to vote. The Fourteenth Amendment states in part, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States. . . are citizens,” while the Fifteenth forbids the denial of citizens’ right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous servitude.” Since neither amendment assigns a gender to “persons” or “citizens,” she contended, they also applied to women. In 1872 she tested this assumption by casting a ballot in Rochester, New York. She was promptly arrested. While the city pressed no charges against Anthony, she dramatically proved that the Constitution did not mean women when it said “citizens.”
Unifying the Suffrage Movement. Throughout I the 1870s and 1880s Anthony tirelessly worked for woman suffrage by writing and speaking across the country. In 1890 the NWS A and AWSA resolved their differences and merged as the National-American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1892 Anthony became its second president and served until 1900. During the 1890s Anthony traveled throughout the United States and Europe promoting woman suffrage. She lived to see women granted the vote in two nations, New Zealand (1893) and Australia (1902). She died on 13 March 1906 at eighty-six. While she did not live to see the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave American women the vote in 1920, she died believing that failure to reach this goal was impossible.
Kathleen Barry, Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist (New York: New York University Press, 1988).
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Anthony, Susan Brownell
Susan Brownell Anthony, 1820–1906, American reformer and leader of the woman-suffrage movement, b. Adams, Mass.; daughter of Daniel Anthony, Quaker abolitionist. From the age of 17, when she was a teacher in rural New York state, she agitated for equal pay for women teachers, for coeducation, and for college training for girls. When the Sons of Temperance refused to admit women into their movement, she organized the first woman's temperance association, the Daughters of Temperance.
At a temperance meeting in 1851 she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and from that time until Stanton's death in 1902 they were associated as the leaders of the woman's movement in the United States and were bound by a warm personal friendship. Susan B. Anthony lectured (1851–60) on women's rights and on abolition, and, with Stanton, secured the first laws in the New York state legislature guaranteeing to women rights over their children and control of property and wages. In 1863 she was a coorganizer of the Women's Loyal League to support Lincoln's government, especially his emancipation policy. After the Civil War she opposed granting suffrage to freedmen without also giving it to women, and many woman-suffrage sympathizers broke with her on this issue.
She and Stanton organized (1869) the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1890 this group united with the American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association, of which Anthony was president from 1892 to 1900. In 1872 she led a group of women to the polls in Rochester, N.Y., to test the right of women to the franchise under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. Her arrest, trial, and sentence to a fine (which she refused to pay) were a cause célèbre; other women followed her example until the case was decided against them by the U.S. Supreme Court.
From 1869 she traveled and lectured throughout the United States and Europe, seeing the feminist movement gradually advance to respectability and political importance. The secret of her power, aside from her superior intellect and strong personality, was her unswerving singleness of purpose. With Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage, she compiled Volumes I–III of the History of Woman Suffrage (1881–86), using a personal legacy to buy most of the first edition and present the volumes to colleges and universities in the United States and Europe. The History was completed by Ida Husted Harper (Vol. IV–VI, 1900–1922; Anthony contributed to Vol. IV).
See The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, ed. by I. Husted (3 vol., 1908; repr. 1969); The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, ed. by A. D. Gordon (6 vol., 1997–2013); biographies by K. S. Anthony (1954) and R. C. Dorr (1928, repr. 1970); N. E. H. Hull, The Woman Who Dared to Vote (2012).
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Anthony, Susan Brownell
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