by Betty Barnes
February 15. 1820—
March 13, 1906
Susan Brownell Anthony was born
on February 15i 1820. She was reared
as a strict Quaker—a religious group
in which women spoke as readily as
men. She worked as a schoolteacher
during the early years of her life.
While teaching, Susan became actively
involved in the temperance movement.
She soon discovered that women were
not to speak but to listen and learn.
Continually confronted with the
idea that women should not speak in
public on any subject, Susan came to
feel that women's rights were inextricably interwoven into the cause
of temperance. Encouraged by such
figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
Lucretia Mott, and Lucy Stone, Susan
soon decided women's rights came
first and devoted her life to that
In 1856, Susan also became active, in the Abolitionist Movement.
She continued to speak as eloquently
asrainst slavery as for women until
the Civil War, often facing strong
abuse from mobs, for neither cause
was a popular one.
Before and during the Civil War,
the Abolitionists had been staunch
supporters of women's rights. After
the war, relations began to cool.
The former friends began to proclaim
this "the Negro's Hour."
In 1868, Susan and about 100
women left the Equal Rights Association and formed the National Woman
Suffrage Association. The Equal
Rights Association had committed itself to support the Fifteenth Amendment which excluded women from the
vote. Elizabeth Stanton, Susan's
closest friend, became president of
the new group, with Susan as a prominent worker and organizer.
In 1872, after considerable
thought, Susan decided that the
Fourteenth Amendment could be interpreted to give women the vote. She
and 15 other women registered to vote
and voted in Rochester, New York.
The women were charged with voting
illegally. Susan alone was tried.
During the trial, she was not allowed to speak. The judge ignored
all rules of law and justice and insisted that the verdict be guilty.
Susan was fined $100 which she refused to pay.
"May it please your Honor, I
shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in
trade that I possess is a $10,000
debt, incurred by publishing my paper, the Revolution, four years ago,
the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as
I have done, rebel against your man-
made, unjust, unconstitutional forms
of law, that tax, fine, imprison,
and hang women, while they deny them
the right of representation in the
Government;and I shall work on with
might and maim to pay every dollar
of that honest debt, but not a penny
will go to this unjust claim."
The judge refused to jail her
for non-payment and therefore Susan
lost any chance for appeal to the
Supreme Court, an appeal that might
have changed the course of women's
The battle lost, Susan continued
to fight the war, working for an
amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote. She
continued to circulate petitions, po
on lecture tours, and lobby in Washington for this "Sixteenth Amendment."
It was not until I89O that the
first major success was won. In
that year Wyoming, became the first
state to give women the vote. That
year women's suffrage supporters
were united into one organization.
Much to Susan's joy, the American
Woman Suffrage Association (led by
CONTINUED NEXT PAGE