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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 Historians believe that the withdrawn, careworn Lucy became a symbol to Anthony of the unfair burdens of marriage.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.

further readings

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.

cross-references

Fifteenth Amendment; Nineteenth Amendment; Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Temperance Movement; Women's Rights.

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Anthony, Susan B.

Susan B. Anthony

Born: February 15, 1820
Adams, Massachusetts
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.

Early influences

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 (18171895), William Lloyd Garrison (18051879), and Wendell Phillips (18111884), 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).

Women's rights

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 (18151902), 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 (186165), 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.

Later years

Susan B. Anthony spent the rest of her life working for the federal suffrage amendmentan 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.

Woman's Rights

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.

Later Years

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.

Further Reading

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)

Womans rights activist

Source

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 Moulsons 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 familys Rochester farm.

Forming a Womens Movement. Anthonys 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 movementsa discovery that motivated her to campaign for womans rights. Until the Civil War she focused on improving married womens 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 Anthonys fears were confirmed. The American Equal Rights Association, of which she became a founding member in 1866, considered womens 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 Anthonys 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.

Source

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

Anthony, Susan Brownell (1820–1906) US reformer and woman suffragist. She established the first woman's temperance association and, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she co-organized the National Woman Suffrage Association (1869). It later became (1890) the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and she acted as president (1892–1900). See also suffragette movement

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Anthony, Susan B.

Susan B. Anthony

BORN: February 5, 1820 • Adams, Massachusetts

DIED: March 13, 1906 • Rochester, New York

American suffragist

Susan B. Anthony led the women's suffrage (right to vote) movement for more than fifty years before her death in 1906. As president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), she worked tirelessly for the passage of laws, both at the state and federal level, which would grant American women their full rights as citizens. In 1872, almost fifty years before women were legally granted the right to vote by the Nineteenth Amendment, Anthony managed to both register to vote in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and cast a ballot on Election Day. However, she was arrested for what authorities called an act of civil disobedience.

"Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less."

Raised with Quaker values

Susan Brownell Anthony came from a family whose roots in America dated back to Rhode Island in the year 1634. She was born on February 5, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts, in the western Berkshire Hills part of the state. She was one of eight children born to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read Anthony, who had married against the advice of their Quaker congregation. Daniel had strong opinions about how children should be raised, and forbid toys, games, or even musical instruments in the house. Such amusements, he believed, would distract the youngsters from finding a personal spiritual relationship with God.

Daniel Anthony ran a cotton mill and employed dozens of workers, which he also housed and fed. All the children helped out, and Susan baked twenty-one loaves of bread a day at one point in her early life. Her interest in social justice issues was passed on from her parents. Quakers were known for their tolerant views. In both their services, which were known as meetings, and in private life, Quaker women enjoyed equal footing with men. The religious denomination was more formally known as the Society of Friends, and one of its core values contended that men and women were equal before God. The same held true for different ethnic groups. The Anthonys, like many other Quakers, were strongly opposed to the slavery practiced in the South before the American Civil War (1861–65). They considered it unjust to enslave another race for economic benefit. Anthony's father even tried to use only raw cotton for his mill that had not been harvested by slave labor.

The Anthonys moved to Battensville, New York, when Susan was around six years old. A teacher in the local school refused to let Susan learn long division as that subject was not considered appropriate for girls during that era. So Daniel Anthony took his daughters out of the school and found a private tutor for them at home. In Anthony's teen years, she spent time at a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then in 1839 began working as a teacher back in New York State. She learned that her salary was one-fifth of what her male colleagues earned and voiced her objection to her superiors. She also made visits to the homes of her African American students to see how they lived and to find ways she might help them do better in school. Her complaints about her salary and her home visits were frowned upon by school officials, and she eventually lost her job. She then found employment as a private school teacher at an academy in Canajoharie, in the middle of New York State. She later moved to Rochester, New York, which was where her family was then living.

Social reformer and public speaker

Anthony was drawn into the suffrage movement almost by accident. In the early 1850s, she began to devote more of her energies to the

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton spent decades fighting for women's equality. A national leader in the suffrage movement, she worked closely with Susan B. Anthony for much of her career. She was instrumental in organizing the first women's rights convention in American history, which occurred in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

Born Elizabeth Cady in 1815 in Johnstown, New York, Stanton was the daughter of a judge. As a young child, she sometimes overheard stories of women who asked her father's legal advice. They would tell the judge of the abuse they suffered at home because of alcoholic husbands. Judge Cady would show them passages from law books explaining that wives had almost no legal rights. At that time, women were under the authority of their husbands, just like they had been their father's children. Getting a divorce was extremely difficult, and a mother could lose custody, or guardianship, of her children. Stanton wanted to tear out the pages that detailed these rules, but her father told her that the only way to change the laws was through the legislature.

An excellent student, Stanton taught herself Greek and Latin by using her brother's textbooks. She graduated from a renowned academy for young women in Troy, New York. One of her cousins, Gerrit Smith (1797–1874), was active in the abolitionist (antislavery) and temperance movements. In 1840 she wed an abolitionist leader named Henry B. Stanton. In their wedding ceremony, the couple removed the vow stating that a wife was to "obey" her husband. On their honeymoon in London, England, they attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention. There, Stanton met Lucretia Mott (1793–1880), a Quaker minister from Philadelphia who was an early women's rights activist.

The Stantons eventually had seven children. In addition to performing her household duties in the early years of her marriage, Stanton wrote articles on women's rights. In 1848 she and Mott organized the historic Seneca Falls convention, held in Stanton's hometown. It was attended by more than 250 participants. For the gathering, Stanton wrote the "Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments," which borrowed language from the Declaration of Independence (1776). It included the line: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal…."

Stanton urged the delegates to adopt the Declaration's demands. After much debate, the resolution that called for women's suffrage was approved. The historic event is considered to be the starting point of the women's suffrage movement in America. Although Susan B. Anthony was not at the conference, she met Stanton in 1851 and began a partnership that would last the rest of their lives. Anthony, who was single, was able to travel the country on speaking engagements and recruit other activists, while Stanton carried out much of the written work at home. They had their first success in 1860 when the New York state assembly approved laws giving women some property and guardianship rights.

Stanton and Anthony also worked to end slavery, which was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865. In 1869 Stanton and Anthony founded a women's rights organization that merged with another two decades later to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stanton served as its first president from 1890 to 1892, but many of the members thought her views were too radical. She died on October 26, 1902, in New York City. It was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to vote nationally.

temperance movement. Like other anti-alcohol crusaders, she believed that the purchase and consumption of beer, wine, and liquor by working men brought hardship and even tragedy to their wives and children. Nearly all violent crimes were related to alcohol, as was domestic abuse in households dominated by an alcoholic. In other cases, children went without food or proper shoes when an alcoholic father spent the household income entirely on alcohol. Anthony had heard such stories firsthand from the women who worked at her father's mill, and she came to realize just how few rights women had. They could not vote, hold public office, invest their income, or even enter into legal contracts by themselves. Either their husbands, fathers, or brothers were considered their guardians. Men had legal control over everything in the woman's life, including any wages she might earn, any children she might have, and any property she might own.

In 1849 Anthony made her first speech on temperance, though she was a nervous public speaker and embarrassed because her left eye was slightly crossed. Elected president of the local Daughters of Temperance chapter, she attended a temperance convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1851. It was there she met Amelia Bloomer (1818–1894), who edited a temperance newspaper called The Lily, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), who was already a leading women's rights activist.

In 1852 Anthony attended a Sons of Temperance meeting in Albany, New York, the state capital. When she stood up to comment about a proposal, she was told that the Daughters had been invited to listen, not speak. Outraged, she left the meeting and soon formed a new group, the Woman's New York State Temperance Society. She also became an active abolitionist, someone who advocates ending slavery, during this time. In 1856 Anthony became the chief agent in the state for the American Anti-Slavery Society, run by noted reformer William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), who was a friend of Daniel Anthony. The antislavery movement, while strong in northern states like New York, still had its opponents. Anthony traveled across the state, giving speeches, but encountered hostile crowds on occasion. Sometimes an effigy, or a life-sized doll that resembled her, was hung up and burned in town by people who disliked her views. In Syracuse, New York, Anthony's image was even dragged through town.

Such hostility was also directed at women's rights advocates. They were made fun of in public, and the media offered unkind opinions from "experts" about their femininity. Single women, like Anthony, were especially targeted and thought to possess some odd flaw because society expected women of that era to be good wives and mothers, not activists. Anthony was drawn into the women's rights movement because of her association with Bloomer and Stanton. For a time, she even wore "bloomers," the Persian-style loose trousers named after Amelia Bloomer. The pants, which gathered at the ankles, were worn under a shortened skirt. These trousers were worn in place of the more traditional petticoat, the long undergarment that was placed under a woman's skirt. Bloomers were a political statement, showing its wearers to be feminists—people supporting equal rights for women. However, Anthony realized that the outfit seemed to affect her political work. Many of the people she spoke to were more fascinated by her clothing than her arguments.

Antislavery supporter

In the late 1850s, Anthony began a petition drive in New York State. It requested that the lawmakers in Albany consider a law that would give women the right to vote and own property. She traveled through sixty voting districts, speaking to women's groups and recruiting others for the cause. As a result of her work, she achieved her first genuine success, an 1860 law in New York State that allowed women to control their own earnings, sign contracts, and enjoy legal guardian rights over their own children. The idea of women voting, however, was still considered far too radical, or extreme, at that time. There was a commonly held assumption that women were too emotional to make fair and objective political judgments.

In April 1861, the American Civil War began. The war was fought between the Union (the North), which opposed slavery, and the Confederacy (the South), which favored slavery. Many in the suffrage movement temporarily turned their focus away from women's rights in order to devote their energies to the more urgent issue of abolition. In 1863 Anthony and Stanton founded the Women's National Loyal League to organize support for the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited slavery in all parts of the United States. This piece of legislation followed the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865; served 1861–65), which went into effect on the first day of 1863 and outlawed slavery in the southern states that had seceded, or separated, from the Union.

The next step was to gain full citizenship rights for former slaves and free blacks. Anthony, like many other suffragists, believed that a constitutional amendment that granted former male slaves the right to vote would do much to help the women's suffrage cause. She and Stanton formed the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, a year after the Civil War ended. They supported the Republican Party, which had been founded in opposition to slavery a decade earlier.

It came as a great disappointment to Anthony, Stanton, and other women's rights activists when the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868 and which assured full citizenship rights to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," did not mention women in its definition. That same year, Anthony started her own weekly newspaper, Revolution. It addressed various subjects that were considered quite shocking for a print publication at the time, such as divorce and prostitution (performing sexual acts in exchange for payment). On the masthead, the name plate of the paper, appeared the following words: "Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less." The publication struggled financially, however, and Anthony racked up $10,000 in debt before shutting it down in 1870. She then went on cross-country speaking tours to pay off the debt.

Arrested for voting

Anthony's many lecture engagements resulted from her increasingly prominent role in the suffrage movement. In 1869 she and Stanton founded a new group, the National Woman Suffrage Association. Its goal was a separate constitutional amendment that would guarantee American women their right to vote. On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. This gave all "citizens" the right to vote, regardless of race, but it did not specifically mention women. In November 1872 Anthony decided to test its legality. She went to the local barbershop in Rochester, where men filled out their voting registration forms, along with three of her sisters. She brought a copy of the U.S. Constitution with her, and read the Fifteenth Amendment section aloud. Agreeing that she had a point, the election official allowed all four Anthony women to register to vote. Word soon spread, and over the next few days fifty other women in Rochester also registered to vote.

Anthony was one of seventeen women who voted in Rochester on November 5, 1872. On November 28, a U.S. deputy marshal came to her house and notified her that there was a warrant for her arrest. Some of the other women had also been arrested on civil disobedience charges for voting, but Anthony's case was the only one that went to trial. She hoped that she would be able to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the trial began, she embarked upon another speaking tour, this one designed to win public support for her cause. She began by quoting from the preamble (introduction) to the U.S. Constitution, and then pointed out that its wording said "we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union." She concluded by posing the question of whether or not women were persons, and stated in response that "I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood [boldness] to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no state has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge [limit] their privileges [rights] or immunities [protections]."

The case titled United States v. Susan B. Anthony began in June 1873. The judge assigned to the proceedings, Ward Hunt, had been appointed to the bench by a politician who was well known for his opposition to women's suffrage. Ignoring judicial principles entirely, Hunt actually wrote his decision before he heard any arguments presented by lawyers for either side. Anthony was not allowed to testify, having been judged "incompetent." At the time, women were rarely allowed to give testimony under oath.

In another bold violation of the judicial system, Hunt instructed the jury to find Anthony guilty as charged, but then dismissed the jurors and declared the trial over. Anthony's attorney filed a motion to ask for a new trial, which was denied, and she was ordered to pay a $100 fine. She did not pay it, but the court took no other action on the matter. If the court had pursued payment, it would have helped Anthony move the case to a higher court as she appealed the fine.

Anthony spent the remainder of the 1870s traveling to win support for women's suffrage. She was active on an international level as well. In 1889 Anthony and Stanton's National Woman Suffrage Association merged with another organization to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). In 1892 Anthony became its president and served for the next eight years.

The 1890s marked a few notable successes in the women's suffrage movement. A small number of western states granted women the right to vote in some types of state and local elections. Anthony retired as NAWSA president in 1900, but remained active in the movement until the very last weeks of her life. She died at the age of eighty-six on March 13, 1906, in Rochester. It took another fourteen years to secure the Nineteeth Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote nationally. In 1979 Anthony became the first woman to be honored on a piece of U.S. currency. Her image can be found on the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which is in coin form.

For More Information

BOOKS

Bohannon, Lisa Frederiksen. Failure Is Impossible: The Story of Susan B. Anthony. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2002.

Ward, Geoffrey C. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. New York: Knopf, 1999.

PERIODICALS

Burns, Ken. "Our Big Time." American Heritage (November 1999): p. 98.

Kowalski, Kathiann M. "Cady Stanton and Anthony." Cobblestone (March 2000): p. 14.

Ruether, Rosemary Radford. "Fight for Women's Vote Key to Nation's Identity." National Catholic Reporter (November 15, 1996): p. 22.

WEB SITES

"Account of the Proceedings on the Trial of Susan B. Anthony, on the Charge of Illegal Voting, at the Presidential Election in Nov., 1872, and on the Trial of Beverly W. Jones, Edwin T. Marsh and William B. Hall, the Inspectors of Election by Whom Her Vote Was Received." Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/18281/18281-8.txt (accessed on June 30, 2006).

"Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony." Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). http://www.pbs.org/stantonanthony/ (accessed on June 26, 2006).

Susan B. Anthony House. http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/ (accessed on June 26, 2006).

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Anthony, Susan B.

ANTHONY, SUSAN B.

(b. February 15, 1820; d. March 13, 1906) Women's rights activist and abolitionist.

Susan Brownell Anthony, born on a farm near Adams, Massachusetts, the second of eight children, became a leader in the cause of women's rights and the abolition of slavery. Educated at home and in a district school, she then attended the Friends' Seminary near Philadelphia for four months, learning Quaker tenets of pacifism and the equality of women before God. To help her family, she began teaching at the New Rochelle Friends' Seminary and then, in 1846, at an academy close to her father's new farm near Rochester, New York. As her father often hosted abolitionists like Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, Anthony was exposed to reform causes like antislavery, temperance, and women's rights.

In 1848 Anthony attended the Seneca Falls Convention, the first meeting to promote women's rights. She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton two years later. They crusaded for temperance but felt silenced as women in male-dominated organizations. The two then focused on women's rights, attending many state and national conventions. Their lifelong friendship and the collaboration that developed shaped the women's rights movement for the next half century. Anthony applied her organizational skills and Stanton, her powerful writing and oratory. Anthony became the target of ridicule in the press, which presented her as a gaunt, bitter spinster, even as it spared the portly, maternal Stanton, who was married and the mother of seven children.

Devotion to women's rights did not keep Anthony from her antislavery activism. She abandoned Quakerism for Unitarianism when a Friends' meeting weakened its antislavery stance. Closely allied with abolitionists, she served as principal New York agent for Garrison's American Anti-Slavery Society from 1856 until the Civil War. During the Civil War, Anthony and Stanton put their concern for women's rights aside so as to concentrate on abolition. They organized the Women's Loyal National League and gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures demanding the emancipation of slaves.

After the Civil War ended, Anthony became upset when she learned that the Republican Party's reconstruction policy included suffrage for black men but not for women. She denounced the Fourteenth Amendment for ignoring women by inserting the word "male" for the first time into the Constitution. She felt this should have been "woman's hour" because of all that women did to support the Union cause and abolition. Petitions that she presented to Congress in 1866 on behalf of women's suffrage were ignored, as were her efforts to win women the right to vote in Kansas and New York.

Disillusioned, she turned to a wealthy supporter to underwrite an Anthony-Stanton speaking tour and to launch a weekly suffrage magazine, Revolution, in January 1868. It advocated support for the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, provided that they included "educated suffrage irrespective of sex and color," as well as equal pay for equal work regardless of gender, the practical education of girls, opening more occupations to women, and liberal divorce laws. Anthony also used Revolution to address women's labor problems. She organized a Working Women's Association in New York City to further unionization for higher wages and shorter hours.

Anthony and Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869, which held annual conventions. Anthony alienated more moderate women who were less willing to demand a federal law rather than a state-by-state granting of the vote. Moderates led by Lucy Stone countered by forming the American Woman Suffrage Association, creating a schism that lasted for two decades. Anthony further alienated herself from the moderates by casting a ballot

in the 1872 presidential election, which led to her conviction for breaking the law.

Anthony relinquished Revolution in 1870 because of its heavy debt and traveled the lecture circuit in the Midwest and Far West to great demand. She rejoiced when the Wyoming Territory granted woman suffrage in 1870, quickly followed by the Utah Territory. She continued to work tirelessly for women's suffrage. The divided women's movement reunited in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), pledging to work on both state and federal levels. In 1892 Anthony became its president.

Anthony settled down with her sister in Rochester in 1890 but still traveled to promote issues including unionization and race relations. By then, Anthony attracted acclaim as the matriarch of the women's movement as she triumphantly appeared at the Women's Congress of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. During the Spanish-American War, she protested women's inability to vote on matters of war and peace. She founded the International Council of Women (1888) and headed the U.S. delegation at meetings in London in 1899 and in Berlin in 1904, where she was lauded as "Susan B. Anthony of the World." While in Berlin, she and Carrie Chapman Catt formed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and she was named its honorary president. Anthony turned the NAWSA presidency over to Catt in 1900 and attended her last convention in 1906. When she died at age eighty-six a month after attending the convention, she was eulogized here and abroad.

Anthony's life illustrates the effects of war, and the events leading up to it, on social reform. As an abolitionist, she contributed to the divisions between North and South that led to war in 1861. As an advocate of rights for women and former slaves, she welcomed the expansion of liberties made possible by Northern victory, and spent the remainder of her life fighting to fulfill the cause of women's suffrage.

bibliography

Anthony, Susan B., and Harper, Ida Husted, eds. History of Woman Suffrage. Rochester, NY: Susan B. Anthony, 1902.

Flexner, Eleanor. Century of Struggle. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959.

Gurko, Miriam. The Ladies of Seneca Falls: The Birth of the Woman's Rights Movement. New York: Schocken, 1976.

Harper, Ida Husted. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony,(1898–1908) 3 vols. Manchester, NH: Ayer, 1969.

Lutz, Alma. "Susan Brownell Anthony." In Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. Vol. 1. Edited by Edward T. James, et al. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Blanche M. G. Linden

See also:Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Woman's Rights Movement; Women's Suffrage Movement.

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Anthony, Susan B.

Susan B. Anthony

Born February 15, 1820
Adams, Massachusetts

Died March 13, 1906
Rochester, New York

Activist for women's rights, abolition of slavery, and temperance

"The true republic—men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less."

Susan B. Anthony was an early and longtime activist for women's rights and a leader of the American woman's suffrage (right to vote) movement. She spoke throughout the country, was arrested once for voting, helped start a magazine, contributed to the compilation of a multivolume history of the women's suffrage movement, and supported temperance (abstaining from alcohol) and the abolition of slavery through speeches and petitions. In honor of her tireless work and achievements, Anthony's image was chosen for a new dollar coin in 1979, making her the first woman to be depicted on U.S. currency.

Outspoken teen

Susan Brownell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts, one of seven children to Daniel and Lucy Read Anthony. Her father built the town's first cotton mill. When Anthony was six, the family moved to Battenville, New York, north of Albany. Anthony's parents encouraged self-reliance and principled convictions. As members of the Quaker religion, the family lived modestly and practiced nonviolence and respect for all people, regardless of race or background.

When Anthony was four years old, she was sent to the home of her paternal grandparents with her two sisters while their mother prepared to give birth to another baby. The girls were tutored in reading by Anthony's grandfather, who insisted on long hours of practice. Anthony suffered eye-strain from the intense reading experience and her left eye remained crossed for the rest of her life.

At home, the daughters were expected to help their mother with domestic chores, keeping house for the family as well as helping to feed workers at the mill, whose numbers typically ranged from ten to two dozen at any given time. After their daily chores and homework were done, the children were free to roam the hills surrounding the family home.

When Anthony's father was able to earn good wages by managing a mill, he sent Anthony and a sister to be educated at a boarding school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, run by the Friends of the Quakers. Anthony completed her schooling at the age of fifteen and began teaching at the school for a modest salary as well as a free room. When she learned that she was making only 20 percent as much as equally qualified male teachers, Anthony protested to the school's administrators. Her protests, combined with her habit of visiting with nearby African American families, led to her dismissal from the school, and Anthony returned home.

The family moved to Rochester, New York, in 1845. Anthony's father became a leading abolitionist and regularly hosted important guests at the family farm, including journalists Frederick Douglass (c. 1817–1895; see entry) and William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879). Anthony had continued teaching and became principal of the Girls' Department at Canajoharie Academy in Rochester. At the time, teaching was the best way young women could have a career and be economically independent. She retired from teaching around 1848 and managed her parents' farm just outside of Rochester. She became acquainted with an extensive community of social reformers who lived in the area.

Activism begins

Anthony shared her family's dedication to abolition, temperance, and women's rights. Her parents attended the Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 and signed the first Declaration of Women's Rights, which was drafted at the convention. In 1851, Anthony became president of the local chapter of the Daughters of Temperance. In the spring of 1851, she traveled to Seneca Falls to attend an antislavery meeting. She stayed at the home of Amelia Bloomer (1818–1894), editor of The Lily, a temperance magazine.

Anthony and Bloomer met Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902; see box), who had also come to Seneca Falls for the convention. The meeting initiated a friendship and collaboration between Anthony and Stanton that lasted the rest of their lives. They made a good team: Anthony was a great organizer, speaker, and tireless traveler, while Stanton was better with ideas and writing.

A significant event that contributed to Anthony becoming a leader for women's suffrage occurred in 1852, when she attended a meeting of the Sons of Temperance in Albany. At one point, Anthony rose to speak but was ignored by the men of the meeting. Angered and insulted, she stormed out and soon founded the Women's State Temperance Society. The incident convinced Anthony that the right to vote was the cornerstone of women's fight for respect and equality. Anthony attended her first women's-rights convention in 1852. From then until the end of the American Civil War (1861–65), she campaigned from door to door, in legislatures, and in meetings for the abolition of slavery and promotion of women's rights. Her efforts helped lead to the passage in New York of legislation that for the first time allowed married women to own property, keep their own wages, and have custody of their children in the event of separation or divorce.

During the Civil War, Anthony focused on abolition. She organized the Women's National Loyal League, which sponsored petition drives to support the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to abolish slavery. The league gathered petitions with four hundred thousand signatures, which were presented to Congress by U.S. senator Charles Sumner (1811–1874; see entry) of Massachusetts. As the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were being drafted (providing citizenship and protecting voting rights for African Americans, respectively) during the next few years, Anthony lobbied for inclusion of women's suffrage in the amendments. The male political establishment of the time, however, wanted to focus solely on ensuring rights of freed men. Publisher and journalist Horace Greeley (1811–1872; see entry), a leading abolitionist, told the suffragettes, "This is the Negro's hour."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "I Forged the Thunderbolts and She Fired Them"

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, New York, in 1815. She had little formal education, but taught herself by using her brother's books on Greek and Latin. She developed an interest in the temperance and abolition movements. At the age of twenty-four, she married Henry Stanton, an abolitionist. The couple's belief in equality in their marriage was reflected in their marriage vows, in which Henry Stanton agreed to leave out the word "obey."

Stanton had seven children. Her responsibilities as a mother limited her participation in the reform movements, but she proved to be an excellent and impassioned writer. She helped to organize the first American women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions (similar in tone to the Declaration of Independence) that the convention adopted. She insisted, despite resistance of some delegates at the convention, that voting rights would be part of the resolution. With her victory on that issue, the women's suffrage movement was launched.

Stanton met Susan B. Anthony at an antislavery meeting in Seneca Falls in 1851. Stanton helped convince Anthony that advancement of women's rights would fuel many other reforms. Stanton and Anthony became the leaders of the women's movement. Stanton wrote speeches while Anthony, who was not married, traveled around the country drumming up support. As Stanton described their collaboration, "I forged the thunderbolts and she fired them."

Stanton and Anthony would work together for over fifty years. They agreed to leave the American Woman Suffrage Association when the group decided to delay pursuit of women's suffrage to focus on voting rights for African Americans. Anthony joined Stanton in creating a new organization in 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826–1898) wrote the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, which Anthony presented, uninvited, during the Centennial celebration in Washington, D.C., in 1876 (the one-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence).

In 1889, Stanton and Anthony merged their National Woman Suffrage Association with their old group, the American Woman Suffrage Association, to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton agreed to serve as president of the organization for two years. Elizabeth Cady Stanton died in 1902.

Anthony and Stanton responded by severing their ties with the American Woman Suffrage Association. The Association was made up of men and women seeking suffrage and rights for African Americans and for women. Anthony and Stanton then formed the women-only National Woman's Suffrage Association in 1869.

Long fight for the vote

During the late 1860s, Anthony had spent some time in Kansas with the family of her brother, Daniel, a newspaper publisher. She learned enough about publishing to help the National Woman Suffrage Association produce a weekly periodical, The Revolution, beginning in 1868. The periodical promoted women's causes and provided information and insight on such issues as divorce, prostitution, and unequal pay for women who performed jobs requiring the same responsibilities as men. When the journal went bankrupt in 1870, Anthony began a lecture tour to pay off the debts. She was popular enough to extend her speaking tour for six years, through the end of 1876.

Meanwhile, in 1872, Anthony and over a dozen others from Rochester became the first women ever to vote in a national election. When stopped at the polls, Anthony read aloud the Fifteenth Amendment, which has no wording that indicates the right to vote is restricted to men. When the women were arrested, Anthony used the case as a test of women's legal right to vote under the Fifteenth Amendment. With the trial set for 1873 in Rochester, Anthony went on a speaking tour to address the question, "Is It a Crime for a U.S. Citizen to Vote?" She lost her court case, however, after the judge refused to let Anthony testify and he directed the jury to find her guilty. Anthony was fined $100 and her attorney's motion for a new trial was denied.

Anthony continued to tour the country in support of the federal suffrage amendment. She spoke before Congress, political conventions, labor meetings, and town meetings in every part of the country. She wrote articles on women's history and lobbied for social change. Along with colleagues like Stanton, Anthony contributed to the five-volume History of Woman Suffrage during the mid-1870s. After this project, Anthony worked with biographer Ida Husted Harper (1851–1931) on two volumes of The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, with incidents and comments drawn largely from scrapbooks, diaries, and letters Anthony maintained.

In 1889, Anthony and Stanton's National Woman's Suffrage Association merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. In 1890, Wyoming became the first state to allow women to vote.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Anthony could feel some sense of triumph as women had entered professional and vocational fields and were more economically independent, and as colleges became more open to women students. In 1900, Anthony persuaded the University of Rochester to admit women.

The Fifteenth Amendment

Susan B. Anthony argued that the Fifteenth Amendment, which follows, did not contain wording that specifically restricted voting to men.

  1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
  2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

By then, in her seventies, Anthony had settled in Rochester. For the first time in her life, she had time to entertain guests in her own home. Still, she traveled often. She was on the road until a month before her death in Rochester. She had traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to attend the National American Woman Suffrage Association's annual convention, and then went to Washington, D.C. Anthony closed her last public speech on women's suffrage with the words, "Failure is impossible."

Four states (Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah) had granted women the right to vote at the time of Anthony's death on March 13, 1906. Finally, in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote in national elections.

For More Information

Books

Anthony, Susan B., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds. History of Woman Suffrage. New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881–1922. Reprint, Salem, NH: Ayer Co., 1985.

Harper, Ida Husted. Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony. Indianapolis and Kansas City: Bowen-Merrill Co., 1898–1908. Reprint, New York: Arno, 1969.

Harper, Judith. Susan B. Anthony: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1998.

Kendall, Martha E. Susan B. Anthony: Voice for Women's Voting Rights. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 1997.

Sherr, Lynn. Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1996.

Web Sites

The Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership.http://www.rochester.edu/SBA/sbaecs.html (accessed on June 16, 2004).

The Susan B. Anthony House.http://www.susanbanthonyhouse.org/ (accessed on June 16, 2004).

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