Susan B. Anthony
Born February 15, 1820
Died March 13 1906 in Rochester, New York
Susan B. Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts on February 15, 1820 and had learned to read and write by the age of three. While attending grammar school in Battensville, New York, her teacher refused to instruct her in long division. This event prompted her father to remove her from school and arrange for a woman named Mary Perkins to teach Susan along with several other children.
In 1850 Anthony met Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and famous abolitionist, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a woman who would help Anthony in her suffragist movement.
On May 12, 1859, as a member of the Anti-Slavery Society, speaking at the Ninth National Women’s Rights Convention, Susan B. Anthony asked, "Where, under our declaration of Independence, does the Saxon man get his power to deprive all women and Negroes of their inalienable rights?"
On January 1, 1868, Susan B. Anthony first published a weekly journal entitled, The Revolution. Anthony worked as the publisher and business manager, while Elizabeth Cady Stanton acted as editor. The main thrust of The Revolution was to promote women’s and African Americans’ right to vote, suffrage, but it also discussed issues of equal pay for equal work, more liberal divorce laws, and the church’s position on women’s issues. Being the mother of seven children, she sometimes included tips for raising children in The Revolution. It was funded by an independently wealthy man, named George Train, who provided $600 in starting funds.
In 1869, long time friends Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, found themselves on opposite sides of a political line. The Equal Rights Association, which had originally fought for both blacks’ and women’s right to vote, voted to support the 15th Amendment to the Constitution which only gave the right to vote to male African Americans. Anthony questioned why women should support this amendment when the black men were not continuing to show support for women’s voting rights. As a result of the decision by the Equal Rights Association, Anthony founded a new organization with membership for females only called the National Woman Suffrage Association.
In 1872 Susan B. Anthony tried to cast a ballot for the presidential election. She was arrested, convicted, and fined for voting illegally. Anthony refused to pay the fine, hoping that she would be able to appeal her case through the system to the Supreme Court. The fact that she did not pay the fine was dropped, so she was unable to pursue it through the courts.
Again, in the year of 1880, Anthony, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, attempted to vote in the national election. When they were refused the right to do so, Susan B. Anthony threw a voting box at the polling booth inspector. However, the inspector placed his hand over the ballot slot and refused to move.
In 1884, during President Chester Alan Arthur’s term, Anthony lead over 100 suffragists to speak with President Arthur to demand that he voice public support for women’s right to vote. In 1890, Anthony’s organization the National Woman Suffrage Association merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. This was an important move for both groups, which overlooked their differences concerning the success of the 15th Amendment giving black males the right to vote.
Women gained voting rights in Wyoming in 1838 and Colorado in 1893. It was 1894 when Anthony, Stanton, and Isabella Beecher Hooker spoke before a Senate committee to promote women's suffrage. Utah and Idaho gave women the right to vote in 1896.
It wasn’t until, 1920, fourteen years after Susan B. Anthony’s death on March 13, 1906 that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Decades later, Susan B. Anthony was honored in the United States as the first American woman ever to be minted on the nation’s currency, the one dollar coin issued in 1978.
- This Susan B. Anthony page is a thoughtful site by Jody Litt.
- A biography of Susan B. Anthony by the Susan B. Anthony House.