Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was a prominent, independent and well-educated American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women's rights movement to secure women's suffrage in the United States. She traveled thousands of miles throughout the United States and Europe, and gave 75 to 100 speeches per year on women's rights for some 45 years. Susan B. Anthony died in Rochester, New York in her house at 17 Madison Street on March 13, 1906, and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.-----------Susan Brownell Anthony was born and raised in Adams, Massachusetts (West Grove), the second of 8 children borne to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. One of her brothers, publisher Daniel Read Anthony, would become active in the anti-slavery movement in Kansas. She was a precocious child, having learned to read and write at age three. Her father, a cotton manufacturer and abolitionist, was a stern but open-minded man who was born into the Quaker religion. Her mother was a student in Daniel's school when she and Daniel fell in love. Although Lucy readily agreed to marry Daniel in 1817, she was less sure about marrying into the Society of Friends (Quakers). She was not a convinced Quaker and claimed that she was “not good enough” for the religion. In 1826, when the Quakers split into liberal and conservative camps, the Anthonys quickly followed the liberals, known as the "Hicksite Friends" - a group named after Elias Hicks.------------Daniel wished to raise his children in a moderately strict household and did not allow Susan to experience what he perceived as the childish amusements of toys and games, which were seen as distractions from the “Inner Light”. However, Daniel was shunned by other Quakers for permitting dancing and citing a firm belief in "complete personal, mental and spiritual freedom" in his home. Together the Anthonys enforced self-discipline, principled convictions, and belief in one's own self-worth.
In 1826, when Susan was six years old, the Anthony family moved from Massachusetts to Battenville, New York. Susan was sent to attend a local district school, where a teacher refused to teach her long division because of her gender. Upon learning of the weak education she was receiving, her father promptly had her placed in a group home school, where he taught Susan himself. Mary Perkins, another teacher there conveyed a progressive image of womanhood to Anthony, further fostering her growing belief in women's equality.------------In 1837, Anthony was sent to Deborah Moulson's Female Seminary, a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia. She was not happy at Moulson's, but she did not have to stay there long. She was forced to end her formal studies because her family, like many others, was financially ruined during the Panic of 1837. Their losses were so great that they were forced to attempt to sell everything in an auction, even their most personal belongings, which were saved at the last minute when Susan's uncle, Joshua Read, stepped up and bid for them in order to restore them to the family.
In 1839, the family moved to Hardscrabble (later called Center Falls) New York, in the wake of the panic and economic depression that followed. That same year, Anthony left home to teach and to help pay off her father's debts. She taught first at Eunice Kenyon's Friends' Seminary in New Rochelle, and then at the Canajoharie Academy in 1846, where she rose to become headmistress of the Female Department. Anthony's first occupation inspired her to fight for wages equivalent to those of male teachers, since men earned roughly four times more than women for the same duties. Lucy was a progressive-minded woman. She attended the Rochester women’s rights convention held in August 1848, two weeks after the historic Seneca Falls Convention, and signed the Rochester convention’s Declaration of Sentiments.
In 1849, at age 29, Anthony quit teaching and moved to the family farm in Rochester, New York. Anthony began to take part in conventions and gatherings related to the temperance movement. In Rochester, she attended the local Unitarian Church and began to distance herself from the Quakers, in part because she had frequently witnessed instances of hypocritical behavior such as alcohol abuse amongst Quaker preachers. As she got older, Anthony continued to move further away from organized religion in general, and she was later chastised by various Christian religious groups for displaying irreligious tendencies.
In her youth, Anthony was very self-conscious of her looks and speaking abilities. She long resisted public speaking for fear she would not be sufficiently eloquent. Despite these insecurities, she became a renowned public presence, eventually helping to lead the women's movement.----------In the decade before the American Civil War, Anthony took a prominent role in the New York anti-slavery and temperance movements. In 1849, at age 29, Anthony became secretary for the Daughters of Temperance, allowing her a forum to speak out against alcohol abuse, and beginning a movement towards the public limelight.In 1851, on a street in Seneca Falls, Anthony was introduced to Elizabeth Cady Stanton by mutual acquaintance and fellow feminist Amelia Bloomer. Anthony joined with Stanton in organizing in 1852, the first women's state temperance society in America. Stanton remained a close friend and colleague of Anthony's for the remainder of their lives, but Stanton longed for a broader, more radical women's rights platform. Together, the two women traversed the United States giving speeches and attempting to persuade the government that society should treat men and women equally.
After the first American women's rights convention took place on July 19 and July 20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York, Anthony took the opportunity to attend and support the women's rights convention held in Syracuse, New York, in 1852. It was around this time that Anthony began to gain widespread notoriety as a powerful public advocate of women's rights and as a new and stirring voice for change.
In 1856, Anthony further attempted to unify the African-American and women's rights movements when, recruited by abolitionist Abby Kelley, she became agent for William Lloyd Garrison's American Anti-Slavery Society of New York State. Speaking at the Ninth National Women’s Rights Convention on May 12, 1859, 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?"-----------------------In 1869, long time friends Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony found themselves, for the first time, on opposing sides of a debate. The Equal Rights Association, which had originally fought for both blacks’ and women’s right to suffrage, voted to support the 15th Amendment to the Constitution granting suffrage to black men, but not women. Anthony questioned why women should support this amendment when black men were not continuing to show support for women’s voting rights. Partially as a result of the decision by the Equal Rights Association, Anthony soon thereafter devoted herself almost exclusively to the agitation for women's rights.
On January 1, 1868, Anthony first published a weekly journal entitled The Revolution. Published in New York City, its motto was: "The true republic — men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less." 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 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. The journal was backed by independently wealthy George Francis Train, who provided $600 in starting funds.
In the 19th century, abortion was an illegal and life-threatening procedure. Anthony occasionally wrote about abortion, which she opposed, and for which she blamed men, laws, and the "double standard", as women had no other options: "No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; But oh, thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime! … All the articles on this subject that I have read have been from men. They denounce women as alone guilty, and never include man in any plans for the remedy."Pulitzer prize winner Stacy Schiff has discussed Anthony's opposition to abortion, saying that "...[although] Anthony deplored abortion, in 19th century abortion was life-threatening [and] it is impossible to know what Anthony would make of today's debate." Schiff cautions that "...thrusting historical figures into contemporary debate is treacherous because argument can be made for anything when words are taken out of context..."
Anthony used The Revolution as a vehicle in her crusade for equality, writing passionately about a variety of subjects relating to women's rights.---------------------------For casting a vote in the presidential election held on November 5, 1872, in Rochester, New York, Anthony was arrested on November 18 and pled not guilty, asserting that the 14th amendment entitled her to vote because, unlike the original Constitution, it provides that all "persons" (which includes females) born in the US are "citizens" who shall not be denied the "privileges" of citizenship (which includes voting).
She was defended at trial by Matilda Joslyn Gage, who asserted that it was the United States that was truly on trial, not Anthony. At the trial, Anthony made her famous On Women's Right to Vote speech, which asserted that casting her vote in the previous presidential election was not a crime but the legal right of a United States citizen. Citing the Constitution, her speech was a strong attempt to persuade the federal government that she was not unlawful in her action, and if she were male, her behavior would have never been questioned.
However, her defense was all for naught. The judge, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ward Hunt, explicitly instructed the jury to deliver a guilty verdict, refused to poll the jury, delivered an opinion he had written before trial had even begun, and on June 18, 1873, sentenced her to pay a $100 fine. Anthony responded, "May it please your honor, I will never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty." She never did pay the fine, and the government never pursued her for nonpayment, for otherwise she would be able to file a habeas corpus, which would give her a chance to be heard by the appellate justices, and Justice Ward Hunt could not risk her convincing them.-------------------Susan B. Anthony, who died 14 years, 5 months and 5 days before passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, was honored as the first real (non-allegorical) American woman on circulating U.S. coinage with her appearance on the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The coin, approximately the size of a U.S. quarter, was minted for only four years, 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1999. Anthony dollars were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints for all four years, and at the San Francisco mint for all production years except 1999.---------Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home in Battenville, New York is on the National Historic Register 2007, and the New York State Historic Register in 2006 because of Helise Flickstein. Flickstein also contacted the bank after it's foreclosure in 2006 to donate the house to the New York State Parks Department. The acquistion of the house was finalized in August of 2006. It's acquistion was completed by Steven Englebright & Roy Mc Donald, two Assemblymen from New York State. Englebright was originally contacted about the Susan B. Anthony Childhood Home from Helise Flickstein's mother, Hedi Flickstein in 2005. Helise Flickstein is now in the process of making a "Women's Rights & Suffrage Museum" an idea that came from the great great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Contact Flickstein: firstname.lastname@example.org