Susan B. Anthony
There was a time when women in the United States were not allowed to vote. They could not participate in politics, and did not have the same rights as men. Susan B. Anthony devoted 50 years of her life to the struggle for women’s voting rights. A busy reformer, Anthony also championed the abolition (outlawing) of slavery in the years before the Civil War (1861-1865).
SUSAN B. ANTHONY’S EARLY LIFE
Susan Brownell Anthony was born in Massachusetts on February 15, 1820. She was one of eight children. From the age of 7, she lived in New York State. At age 15, she became a schoolteacher.
Anthony dedicated her life to political and social reform. From 1848 to 1853, she supported the temperance movement, which opposed the drinking of liquor. She also worked tirelessly to end slavery. After the Civil War Anthony spoke out against attacks upon African Americans.
ANTHONY BEGINS THE FIGHT FOR RIGHTS
Anthony joined the battle for women’s rights in 1851, when she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a woman active in the movement. Together they worked to reform New York State laws that discriminated against women. Both Stanton and Anthony felt women would not gain other rights, or achieve other reforms, until they possessed the right to vote. Women needed a say in government in order to change things.
ANTHONY WORKS FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS
In 1869, Anthony and Stanton organized the National Woman Suffrage Association. Suffrage is the right to vote. Their goal was an amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting women the vote. Stanton became the eloquent writer for the movement. Anthony organized meetings and gave speeches. To make her point, Anthony voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested! She refused to pay her $100 fine.
Anthony worked for women’s rights outside the United States, too. In 1888, she helped form the International Council of Women, which represented 48 countries.
Anthony served as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association until she was 80 years old! She continued speaking at the association’s conventions until her death in March 1906.
Anthony stands as a great American reformer and, along with Stanton, a giant in the fight for women’s rights. Neither woman lived to see their dream achieved. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not passed until 1920. With this amendment, women had finally won the right to vote!