History Podcasts

Susan B. Anthony and the Long Push for Women's Suffrage

Susan B. Anthony and the Long Push for Women's Suffrage

Translations, Editions, and Secondary Sources

Barry, Kathleen. Susan B. Anthony: A Biography of a Singular Feminist. New York: New York University Press, 1988.

DuBois, Ellen Carol. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America, 1848–1869. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.

——-. Woman Suffrage and Women’s Rights. New York: New York University Press, 1998.

——, ed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992.

Edwards, G. Thomas. Sowing Good Seeds: The Northwest Suffrage Campaigns of Susan B. Anthony. Portland, Ore.: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1990.

Gordon, Ann D., ed. The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: In the School of Anti-Slavery, 1840 to 1866. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

Harper, Ida Husted. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony. 3 vols. 1899, 1908 reprint edition, Salem, N.H.: Ayer, 1983.

Lutz, Alma. Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian. Boston: Beacon Press, 1959.

Sherr, Lynn. Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. New York: Times Books, 1995.

——, ed. The Trial of Susan B. Anthony. Amherst, Mass.: Humanity Books, 2003.

Ward, Geoffrey C. Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: An Illustrated History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Susan B. Anthony place setting), 1974&ndash79. Mixed media: ceramic, porcelain, textile. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Place Setting Images

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Susan B. Anthony plate), 1974&ndash79. Porcelain (may be stoneware), overglaze enamel (China paint), 14 1/4 × 15 × 4 1/4 in. (36.2 × 38.1 × 10.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: © Donald Woodman)

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Susan B. Anthony runner), 1974&ndash79. White silk satin, cotton/linen fabric, felt, muslin, cotton twill tape, silk, synthetic gold cord, velvet, appliquéd quilting, silk, fringe, metal pins, silk thread, ribbon, metallic cords, 53 3/8 × 29 3/4 in. (135.6 × 75.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Susan B. Anthony plate), 1974&ndash79. Porcelain (may be stoneware), overglaze enamel (China paint), 14 1/4 × 15 × 4 1/4 in. (36.2 × 38.1 × 10.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago. Study for Susan B. Anthony plate, 1978. Ink on paper, portion of larger drawing approx. 24 × 36 in. (61 × 91.4 cm). © Judy Chicago. (Photo: © Donald Woodman)

Judy Chicago. Drawing for Susan B. Anthony Illuminated Letter on runner, 1978. Mixed media on paper, approx. 9 × 12 in. (22.9 × 30.5 cm). © Judy Chicago. (Photo: © Donald Woodman)

Weaving Susan B. Anthony runner, 1978. © Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Susan B. Anthony place setting), 1974&ndash79. Mixed media: ceramic, porcelain, textile. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

With the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment approaching, a look back at the surprising history of giving women the vote

If you look at black-and-white photographs of suffragists, it’s tempting to see the women as quaint: spectacles and undyed hair buns, heavy coats and long dresses, ankle boots and feathered hats. In fact, they were fierce—braving ridicule, arrest, imprisonment and treatment that came close to torture. Persistence was required not only in the years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, in 1920, but also in the decades that followed. “It’s not as though women fought for and won the battle, and went out and had the show of voting participation that we see today,” says Debbie Walsh, director of the nonpartisan Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “It was a slow, steady process. That kind of civic engagement is learned.”

This forgotten endurance will be overlooked no more, thanks to “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” a major new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery through January 5, 2020, that features more than 120 artifacts, including the images and objects on these pages. “I wanted to make sure we honored the biographies of these women,” says Kate Lemay, a Portrait Gallery historian and the curator of the exhibit, which portrays the suffragists as activists, but also as students, wives and mothers. “I wanted to recognize the richness of their lives,” Lemay says. “I think that will resonate with women and men today.” The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, intended to be the nation’s most comprehensive effort to compile and share the story of women in this country.

Founding suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton (left) and Susan B. Anthony met in 1851. In 1902, Anthony wrote to her friend, “We little dreamed. that half a century later we would be compelled to leave the finish of the battle to another generation of women.” (Courtesy National Portrait Gallery)

The suffrage movement began in the 1840s, when married women still had no right to property or ownership of their wages women were shut out of most professions, and the domestic sphere was considered their rightful place. The idea of women casting ballots was so alien that even those who attended the landmark 1848 Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights found it hard to get their heads around it. The delegates unanimously passed resolutions favoring a woman’s right to her own wages, to divorce an abusive husband and to be represented in government. A resolution on suffrage passed, but with dissenters.

Twenty years later, just as the movement was gaining traction, the end of the Civil War created a new obstacle: racial division. Though many white suffragists had gotten their start in the abolition movement, now they were told that it was what the white abolitionist Wendell Phillips called the “Negro’s hour”: Women should stand aside and let black men proceed first to the polls. (Everyone treated black women as invisible, and white suffragists marginalized these allies to a shameful extent.) The 15th Amendment gave African-American men the right to vote differences among suffragists hobbled the movement for 40 years.

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) championed racial equality and women’s suffrage, saying she belonged to “the only group in this country that has two such huge obstacles to surmount.” In 1912, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs endorsed the suffrage movement two years before its white counterpart. (Courtesy of the Oberlin College Archives) Journalist Ida B. Wells helped found the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and crusaded against lynching and other forms of oppression, including disenfranchisement. (Courtesy National Portrait Gallery) Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938), a member of the Lakota nation and an essayist and librettist, founded the National Council of American Indians in 1926 to advocate for cultural recognition and citizenship rights for Native peoples. (Courtesy National Portrait Gallery)

Even after a new generation took up the cause, one faction favored incrementalism—winning the vote one state at a time—while another wanted a big national victory. In 1913, young radicals, led by Swarthmore graduate Alice Paul, kicked off a drive for a constitutional amendment with a parade down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue featuring more than 5,000 marchers as well as bands, floats and mounted brigades. Tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets, many of them men in town for Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration the next day.

“No one had ever claimed the street for a protest march like this one,” Rebecca Boggs Roberts writes in her book Suffragists in Washington, D.C.: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote. Spectators started hurling slurs and more at the marchers—scores ended up in the hospital—but the headline-making fracas played into the women’s desire for publicity.

The suffrage parade in Washington received little police protection—the chief was no fan of the movement. Secretary of War Henry Stimson arranged for a Virginia National Guard presence, which proved foresighted when spectators began attacking marchers. (Courtesy Robert P.J. Conney Jr.)

Radical suffragists began picketing the White House by the hundreds, even in the freezing rain that attended Wilson’s second inauguration four years later—“a sight to impress even the jaded senses of one who has seen much,” wrote Scripps correspondent Gilson Gardner. As the pickets continued, women were arrested on charges like “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” Nearly 100 of them were taken to a workhouse in Occoquan, Virginia, or to the District of Columbia jail. When some of them went on a hunger strike, they were force-fed via a tube jammed into the nose. “Miss Paul vomits much. I do too,” wrote one, Rose Winslow. “We think of the coming feeding all day. It is horrible.”

Lucy Burns (1879-1966) was arrested and jailed six times for picketing on behalf of women’s suffrage. She was one of several women who went on hunger strikes at the Occoquan, Virginia, workhouse and endured force-feeding. (National Woman's Party, Washington, D.C.)

But on January 10, 1918, Jeannette Rankin, a Republican House member from Montana—the first woman elected to Congress—opened debate on the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which would prohibit states from discriminating against women when it came to voting. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify it, and the 19th Amendment was promulgated on August 26.

Susan B. Anthony and the Struggle for Suffrage

Susan B. Anthony devoted more than fifty years of her life to the cause of woman suffrage. After casting her ballot in the 1872 Presidential election in her hometown of Rochester, New York, she was arrested, indicted, tried, and convicted for voting illegally. At her two-day trial in June 1873, which she later described as "the greatest judicial outrage history has ever recorded," she was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $100 and court costs.

After Anthony's arrest, which occurred two weeks after the November 5 election, there was a hearing to determine if she had, in fact, broken the law. The three young men who registered her as a voter on November 1, 1872, and accepted her ballot at the polls on Election Day were interviewed at the hearing.


U.S. vs. Susan B. Anthony, Record of Conviction, 06/28/1873 Susan B. Anthony Criminal Case File, 01/1873 - 07/1873 Criminal Cases Heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, compiled 1870 - 1968 Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2004 National Archives Identifier 278304

Discussion Questions:

  • According to the indictment, for what crime was Susan B. Anthony being charged?
  • According to the transcript, how did Susan B. Anthony protest her lack of suffrage? How does it compare and contrast to other protesters in history?
  • How did Susan B. Anthony specifically justify her claim to suffrage, according to the testimony of Beverly Jones?
  • How would you describe Susan B. Anthony's own testimony? How does she describe her reasoning for voting?

Extension Activities

  • Connections to Today: Beyond voting rights, what are other rights and freedoms that women have fought and continue to struggle to achieve?
  • Sequencing Skill: Make a timeline that lists the 10 most important events in the suffrage movement between the Seneca Falls Convention and the passage of the 19th Amendment. Explain your choices.
  • Creative Writing Activity: Using information from this case, write a journal entry from the point of view of Susan B. Anthony or one of the other participants. How do you think they felt about the facts of the case?


    National History Standards
  • Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)
    • Standard 1C: The student understands the limitations of Progressivism and the alternatives offered by various groups.
      NY Standards
  • SS1.C.1. The study of New York State and United States history requires an analysis of the development of American culture, its diversity and multicultural context, and the ways people are unified by many values, practices, and traditions.
  • SS1.C.3. Study about the major social, political, economic, cultural, and religious developments in New York State and United States history involves learning about the important roles and contributions of individuals and groups.
    • NJ Standards
    • 6.1.12.A.6.b Evaluate the ways in which women organized to promote government policies (i.e., abolition, women's suffrage, and the temperance movement) designed to address injustice, inequality, workplace safety, and immorality.
    • 6.1.12.D.6.c Analyze the successes and failures of efforts to expand women's rights, including the work of important leaders (i.e., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Lucy Stone) and the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment.

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    Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906) is known primarily for her leadership in the women's suffrage movement, a cause to which she devoted most of her life. The Nineteenth Amendment, which guarantees the right of women to vote, has been called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment because of her efforts to achieve its passage. [2] She was raised by abolitionist Quaker parents, later attending Unitarian churches and becoming an agnostic. [3] As a young woman she also worked in the temperance movement and as a speaker and organizer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1979 she was honored as the first American woman to be represented on U.S. currency, the Susan B. Anthony dollar. [4]

    In 1982, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Papers project was initiated at Rutgers University to collect and document all available materials written by Anthony and her co-worker Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Under the leadership of Ann D. Gordon, it gathered some 14,000 documents, more than doubling the sources that previously had been available. Gordon said she noticed in 1989 that some anti-abortion organizations were stating that Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion. [5]

    Rosemary Bottcher, an anti-abortion activist with Feminists for Life (FFL), wrote in June 1989, "The early feminists believed that by enhancing the status of women, they could greatly reduce the incidence of abortion. Susan B. Anthony wrote that 'We must reach the root of the evil. ' " [6] Two months later, Rachel MacNair, the president of FFL, was quoted saying, "Susan B. Anthony didn't think there was a contradiction" in the idea of being a feminist who is against abortion rights. [7] FFL, a feminist anti-abortion organization that was founded in the early 1970s, [8] said in its mission statement that it, "continues the tradition of early American feminists such as Susan B. Anthony, who opposed abortion". [9] The Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), which was founded by MacNair in 1992 as a political group with the goal of ending abortion in the United States by supporting anti-abortion politicians, especially women, described Anthony as "an outspoken critic of abortion". [10] Some conservative anti-abortion organizations, such as Concerned Women for America, have made similar statements. [11]

    Gordon said the belief that Anthony opposed abortion was "far-fetched", [5] describing it as "what historians call an 'invented memory' — history without foundation in the evidence but with modern utility". [12] She and others began to challenge this idea in public forums such as the Washington Post. [13] Anti-abortion leaders such as Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List, used that newspaper and other forums to support their side of this issue. [14]

    A 2006 article by Allison Stevens for Women's eNews said "a scholarly disagreement . is growing into a heated skirmish over the famous suffragist's position on reproductive rights." [15] Stevens said pro-choice activists were "outraged over what they say is an unproven claim and concerned that their heroine is being appropriated by a community led by the very people Anthony battled during her lifetime: social conservatives". [15]

    A week after the Stevens article appeared, author and columnist Stacy Schiff wrote, "There is no question that [Anthony] deplored the practice of abortion, as did every one of her colleagues in the suffrage movement", [16] but Schiff criticized the practice of using "history plucked from both text and time" to create "Anthony the pro-lifer". [16] Schiff said that abortion in the 19th century, unlike today, was a very dangerous and unpredictable procedure. [17] She concluded, "The bottom line is that we cannot possibly know what Anthony would make of today's debate" over the abortion issue, because "the terms do not translate". [16]

    Gordon and others strongly disagreed with the idea that Anthony opposed abortion. Gordon, who published a six-volume collection of the works of Susan B. Anthony and her co-worker Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote that Anthony "never voiced an opinion about the sanctity of fetal life . and she never voiced an opinion about using the power of the state to require that pregnancies be brought to term". [10] [15] Gordon said that, for Anthony, the issue of abortion was "a political hot potato", one to avoid it distracted from her main goal of gaining women the vote. [15] Gordon said the suffrage movement in the 19th century held political and social views—"secularism, the separation of church and state, and women's self-ownership" (women's autonomy)—that do not fit with the modern anti-abortion platform. [10] [15]

    In 1999, Ken Burns released a film about the lives of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton called Not for Ourselves Alone. The SBA List objected in a press release to Burns' portrayal of these two women, saying that "to document Anthony's and Stanton's important work for women's rights without mentioning their abhorrence of abortion is incredibly unjust, considering how passionate they were on the subject." [12] Gordon responded, "It is reasonable to ask, if these nineteenth-century women were passionate and outspoken in their abhorrence of abortion, why did they never do anything about it?" [12]

    Christine Stansell, a professor of history at the University of Chicago and author of a book on the history of feminism, said, "neither Anthony nor any other nineteenth-century women’s rights reformer led an anti-abortion movement, proposed or supported laws to criminalize abortion, or saw abortion as a political problem." [18]

    Gloria Feldt, a former head of Planned Parenthood, said of Anthony that "there's absolutely nothing in anything that she ever said or did that would indicate she was anti-abortion." [15]

    In early 2007, Cat Clark, an editor of FFL's quarterly magazine, acknowledged that Anthony spent little time on the subject of abortion, but cited FFL researcher Mary Krane Derr who said Anthony's "stance on abortion" was integral to "her commitment to undo gender oppression". [19]

    Law professor Tracy Thomas, writing in the Seattle University Law Review, said the "strategy of creating a narrative of feminist history against abortion" [20] was developed by Feminists for Life in the early 1990s. Thomas published a lengthy analysis of what she considered to be inaccuracies in that narrative, saying, ". the narrative is simply not true. Sound bites that have been excised from history are taken out of context to convey a meaning not originally intended." [20] She quoted Annette Ravinsky, a former vice president of the FFL, as saying in published comments, "I really wish my former colleagues would stop twisting the words of dead people to make them mean something they don't . The early leaders of the women's movement were not against women controlling their bodies." [21]

    In May 2010, Sarah Palin addressed a meeting of the SBA List, saying Anthony was one of her heroes, and that Palin's own opposition to abortion rights was influenced by her "feminist foremothers". [13] She said "Organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List are returning the woman's movement back to its original roots, back to what it was all about in the beginning. You remind us of the earliest leaders of the woman's rights movement: They were pro-life." [13] In response to this, journalist Lynn Sherr, author of Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, joined with Gordon to write an opinion piece for The Washington Post. They said: "We have read every single word that this very voluble—and endlessly political—woman left behind. Our conclusion: Anthony spent no time on the politics of abortion. It was of no interest to her, despite living in a society (and a family) where women aborted unwanted pregnancies." [13] Sherr and Gordon said that their argument "is not over abortion rights. Rather it is about the erosion of accuracy in history and journalism." [13]

    SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser published her response to Sherr and Gordon, saying that their conclusion "that abortion was nowhere on [Anthony's] radar" was "unfounded on many levels". [14] She said that in Anthony's day, "abortion wasn't even a hot political issue . Abortion simply wasn't up for debate at a time when society itself was firmly against the practice." [14] Thomas disputed Dannenfelser's assertion that abortion was not a political issue during that period, and she disputed the idea that society firmly opposed abortion. Thomas cited three academic histories, including a history of abortion by James Mohr, who discussed what he called the doctrine of quickening, the belief that it was legally and morally permissible to terminate pregnancy prior to the perception of fetal movement. [20] Mohr said this belief was almost universal during the first decades of the 1800s [22] and was pervasive through the 1870s. [23] As a result, he said, "women believed themselves to be carrying inert non-beings prior to quickening", [24] and if a woman missed her period, an early sign of pregnancy, either she or her doctor could take steps to "restore menstrual flow". [25] Mohr said there was a surge in abortions after 1840 and that a study of abortion in New York City published in 1868 concluded that there was approximately one abortion there for every four live births. [26]

    Dannenfelser said that while the anti-abortion cause was not "the issue that earned Susan B. Anthony her stripes in American history books, historians would be wrong to conclude that Anthony was agnostic on the issue of abortion". [14] She quoted Anthony's business partner, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as saying, "When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." [14] Attempts to authenticate this quote, however, have been unsuccessful. After Thomas notified the FFL in 2011 that she could not locate the source for this alleged quote, [20] the FFL acknowledged the problem by saying that, "Earlier generations of pro-life feminists informed us that these words were written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in a letter tucked into Julia Ward Howe's diary on October 16, 1873," but that they could not locate the letter. [27] The FFL said that Howe's diary entry for that date indicated that she had argued about infanticide with Stanton, who, according to Howe, "excused infanticide on the grounds that women did not want to bring moral monsters into the world, and said that these acts were regulated by natural law. I differed from her strongly". [27] Thomas added that the disagreement occurred during public discussion at a women's conference in New York City. [20]

    Thomas said it is a mistake to believe that the views of Anthony and Stanton are compatible with those of the modern anti-abortion movement. She called attention to the case of Hester Vaughn, who was sentenced to hang for killing her newborn child in 1868. [20] An editorial in The Revolution, a newspaper owned by Anthony and co-edited by Stanton, described Vaughn as a "poor, ignorant, friendless and forlorn girl who had killed her newborn child because she knew not what else to do with it" and said that Vaughn's execution would be "a far more horrible infanticide than was the killing of her child". [28] The Revolution launched a campaign in Vaughn's defense, which was conducted largely by the Working Women's Association (WWA), an organization formed in the offices of The Revolution with Anthony's participation. [29]

    The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, located in Anthony's former home in Rochester, New York, expressed concern about the association of Anthony's name with what it considered to be misleading political campaign material produced by the Susan B. Anthony List. In a press release the museum said, "The List's assertions about Susan B. Anthony's position on abortion are historically inaccurate." [30] Deborah Hughes, president of the museum, said, "People are outraged by their actions, causing harm to Anthony's name and the mission of our Museum." [30] Harper D. Ward, in a research article published by the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, said, "Anthony's long career of public speaking provided many occasions for her to speak about abortion if she chose to do so. The plain fact, however, is that Susan B. Anthony almost never referred to abortion, and when she did, she said nothing to indicate that she wanted it banned by law." [31]

    Quotes Edit

    Anthony wrote very little about abortion. [19] The few existing quotes that are cited by anti-abortion organizations have been disputed by Anthony scholars and other commentators who say the quotes are misleading, taken out of context, or misattributed. [15]

    "Guilty?" Edit

    Some anti-abortion groups cite as Anthony's own words an anonymous [13] essay entitled "Marriage and Maternity" published in 1869 in The Revolution, a newspaper owned for two years by Anthony and edited by fellow women's rights activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury. [14] The essay is against abortion and the societal problems which cause it, but the author believes any proposed law prohibiting abortion would fail to "reach the root of the evil, and destroy it". [32] The cited text includes this admonition against abortion:

    Guilty? Yes, 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. [32]

    The piece was signed simply "A." Because it was published in The Revolution, Dannenfelser wrote that "most logical people would agree, then, that writings signed by 'A.' in a paper that Anthony funded and published were a reflection of her own opinions." [14] Gordon, whose project at Rutgers has examined 14,000 documents related to Stanton and Anthony, [33] said, "Susan B. Anthony has become their unwitting antiabortion poster child based largely on an article she did not write . For the occasional articles Anthony wrote, she signed 'S.B.A.,' just as she signed the postscripts in her vast correspondence. 'Marriage and Maternity' is signed only 'A,' a shorthand Anthony never used." [34] Derr said Anthony was known to sign "S.B.A." and was affectionately referred to as "Miss A." by others. [35]

    In support of her opinion that Anthony wrote this article, Dannenfelser said, "Anthony published many articles under a simple pseudonym, 'A.'" in The Revolution. [36] Ward disputed this, saying, "That statement is completely false. There are only eight items in The Revolution that were signed that way, and none of them can reasonably be attributed to Anthony." [31] Ward listed issue and page numbers for over sixty items in The Revolution that were signed "S.B.A." or "Susan B. Anthony" and provided links to scans of articles by "A." Ward said that one of the articles by "A." disagreed with an editorial in The Revolution, and, in a later issue, the editors addressed its author as "Mr. A.", making it clear that this "A." was not Susan B. Anthony. Ward analyzed the other seven articles by "A." and concluded that in all cases their contents do not match Anthony's known beliefs or interests, including two that deal with a technical point of machinery and one that challenged the competence of the U.S. Patent Office.

    Ward said the fact that the article by "A." that disapproves of abortion "includes fervently religious language ('. thunder in her ear, "Whoso defileth the body defileth the temple of the Holy Ghost!"')" is a sure sign that it was not written by Anthony, who avoided such religiosity." [31] Ward cited Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony's close friend, who described Anthony as an agnostic. Saying that The Revolution "published a large number of articles that were contributed by its readers on a variety of topics, many of whom signed themselves anonymously, often with a single initial", [31] Ward listed a sampling of articles that were signed with single letters in addition to "A", such as "The Working Women's Convention" by "B", "Woman as Soldier" by "C", and so on through much of the alphabet.

    Responding to the equating of Anthony's beliefs with those voiced in The Revolution, Gordon said that people "have a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that The Revolution was a paper of debate—presenting both sides of an issue". [5] Ward emphasized this point by quoting The Revolution's editorial policy on this matter: "[T]hose who write for our columns are responsible only for what appears under their own names. Hence if old Abolitionists and Slaveholders, Republicans and Democrats, Presbyterians and Universalists, Saints, Sinners and the Beecher family find themselves side by side in writing up the question of Woman Suffrage, they must pardon each other's differences on all other points." [37]

    Referring to the "Marriage and Maternity" article, which identifies uncaring husbands as the "thrice guilty" party, [38] Schiff says "what is generally not mentioned [by anti-abortion organizations] is that the essay argues against an anti-abortion law its author did not believe legislation would resolve the issue of unwanted pregnancy." [16] Gordon, referring to the article's many scriptural quotes and appeals to God, says that its style does not fit with Anthony's "known beliefs". [15]

    Speaking for the FFL, Clark said, "Feminists for Life is cautious about the attribution of 'Marriage & Maternity.' In FFL materials, it is simply said to have appeared in Susan B. Anthony's publication, The Revolution." [19]

    "Sweeter even" Edit

    Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.
    —Susan B. Anthony

    The woman who fought for the right to vote also fought for the right to life. We proudly continue her legacy.

    Frances Willard, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, gave a speech on October 4, 1888, in which she described a conversation that included Anthony's reaction to a "leading publicist" who asked her why she, with such a generous heart, had never been a wife or mother. Willard said that Anthony replied "after this fashion": [39]

    I thank you kind sir, for what I take to be the highest compliment, but sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so that their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them. [1] [39] [40]

    These words have been presented by both the SBA List and FFL to indicate Anthony's stance on abortion. Dannenfelser of the SBA List connected these words to abortion in 2010: "in case there's still lingering doubt about where Susan B. Anthony's convictions lie, her words to Frances Willard in 1889 speak for themselves". [14] Tracy Clark-Flory disagreed, writing on Salon.com that they constitute "a statement that can conveniently be taken to mean any number of things". [10]

    Anti-abortion feminist Derr contextualized Anthony's words not to abortion but to Anthony's opposition to a law which held that, if a child was unborn at the time of its father's death, custody of the newborn infant could be taken away from the mother if there was a guardian appointed in the father's will. [1] Ward similarly said that Anthony was referring not to abortion here but to laws that enabled the father to "will away" the children of the family to someone other than their mother after his death. Ward supported this with a quote from Matilda Joslyn Gage, one of Anthony's co-workers, who criticized existing laws by which, "the father is assumed to be the sole owner of the children, who can be bound out, willed or given away without the consent or even the knowledge of the mother." [41] [31]

    Ward said that in any case these words cannot be characterized as a quote because Willard made it clear that she was not attempting to reproduce exactly what Anthony had said. Ward said that Willard's reconstruction of the conversation is unrealistic because Willard, "has Anthony speaking in a sentimental and ingratiating way that is completely unlike the way she actually spoke". [31]

    After these words were published by Derr in a 1995 book [42] and in FFL's own journal in 1998, they were used in 2000 by FFL in a promotional poster, one of eight produced for college campuses, alongside an assertion that Anthony was "another anti-choice fanatic", leading the reader to an abortion-related interpretation of them. [8]

    Social Purity Edit

    "Social Purity" was the name of an anti-alcohol and pro-suffrage speech given repeatedly by Anthony in the 1870s. After naming alcohol abuse as a major social evil and estimating that there were 600,000 American men who were drunkards, Anthony said that the liquor traffic must be fought with "one earnest, energetic, persistent force". [43] She continued with a sentence that mentioned abortion:

    The prosecutions on our courts for breach of promise, divorce, adultery, bigamy, seduction, rape the newspaper reports every day of every year of scandals and outrages, of wife murders and paramour shooting, of abortions and infanticides, are perpetual reminders of men's incapacity to cope successfully with this monster evil of society." [43]

    Later in the speech, Anthony mentioned abortion again:

    The true relation of the sexes never can be attained until woman is free and equal with man. Neither in the making nor executing of the laws regulating these relations has woman ever had the slightest voice. The statutes for marriage and divorce, for adultery, breach of promise, seduction, rape, bigamy, abortion, infanticide—all were made by men. They, alone, decide who are guilty of violating these laws and what shall be their punishment, with judge, jury and advocate all men, with no woman's voice heard in our courts. [43]

    Clark described this speech as one in which Anthony was "more explicit" about abortion. [19] She said that "this speech clearly represents abortion as a symptom of the problems faced by women, especially when subjected 'to the tyranny of men's appetites and passions. ' " [19]

    Ward said this speech cannot reasonably be interpreted as an indication that Anthony opposed abortion, saying, "Listing abortion as one of the consequences of alcohol abuse is not the same as calling for it to be outlawed." [31] Ward said that Anthony also included divorce in that list of consequences and yet later in the speech "spoke caustically of those who opposed it, saying, 'We have had quite enough of the sickly sentimentalism which counts the woman a heroine and a saint for remaining the wife of a drunken, immoral husband. ' " [31]

    "She will rue the day" Edit

    According to Gordon and Sherr, the only clear reference to abortion in writings known to be Anthony's came in her diary in a passage that was discovered by Gordon. [13] Anthony wrote in 1876 that she visited her brother and learned that her sister-in-law had aborted her pregnancy. [19] "Things did not go well", say Gordon and Sherr, and her sister-in-law was bedridden. [13] Anthony wrote, "Sister Annie in bed — been sick for a month — tampering with herself — & was freed this A.M. what ignorance & lack of self-government the world is filled with." [44] Three days later, Anthony wrote, "Sister Annie better — but looks very slim — she will rue the day she forces nature". [45] According to Gordon, the phrase "tampering with herself" refers to "inducing an abortion". [44]

    Gordon and Sherr wrote, "Clearly Anthony did not applaud her sister-in-law's action, but the notation is ambiguous. Is it the act of abortion that will be regretted? Or is it being bedridden, the risk taken with one's own life?" Moreover, Gordon and Sherr wrote, there is no indication in the quote that Anthony considered abortion a social or political issue rather than a personal one, that she passionately hated it, or that she was active against it. [13] Ward, noting that women who induced their own abortions did so with primitive and dangerous techniques, said this passage, "in no way indicates that Anthony was in favor of laws to prohibit medical professionals from providing abortions". [31]

    "Active Antagonism" Edit

    In 2016 Dannenfelser wrote an article called "'Active Antagonism' on International Women's Day" that was published in The Hill, a political newspaper and website. In it, she wrote, "Susan B. Anthony, the founding mother of the movement for women's rights, said that abortion filled her with 'indignation, and awakened active antagonism.'" [46]

    Calling this another instance in which "Dannenfelser has disregarded the facts", Ward responded by saying, "Anthony said nothing of the sort. Elizabeth Blackwell wrote those words, which appear on page 30 of her memoirs." [31] Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. On page 30 of her memoirs, Blackwell said, "The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism." [47]

    In August 2006, Carol Crossed, an anti-abortion feminist and advisory board member of the SBA List, purchased the house in Adams, Massachusetts, where Anthony was born. [48] The house was to be managed by Feminists for Life of America. [48] Crossed transformed the house into the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, which opened in 2010. [49] The museum's mission includes "raising public awareness" of Anthony's "wide-ranging legacy" including her being "a pioneering feminist and suffragist as well as a noteworthy figure in the abolitionist, pro-life and temperance movements of the 19th century" [50] (emphasis added.)

    A local newspaper said the "she will rue the day" quote is displayed in the museum, though none of the others are. [51] Among the exhibits is one on 19th century activism against Restellism, a euphemism for abortion, in reference to Madame Restell, one of many who sold abortifacients in the 19th century. [51] Anthony's newspaper, The Revolution, refused to publish advertisements for abortifacients. According to the local reporter, the display implies that the rejection of advertisements frames Anthony's personal views about abortion, though she "never specifically states her position". [51]

    At its opening, the museum was leafleted by protesters who said the museum's leadership was "inferring upon [Anthony] an unproven historical stance". [52] The protesters said that the directors were using the museum to put forward an anti-abortion agenda. [51] Crossed responded by saying, "the pro-life views expressed in Anthony's newspaper, The Revolution, will not be excluded from the exhibition. This vision represented a very small part of Anthony's life, and while it will be presented, it will not be an overwhelming theme of the birthplace. Anthony's own anti-abortion stance is mentioned in just one of the museum's ten exhibits." [49]

    On January 14, 2017, Saturday Night Live broadcast a skit in which Susan B. Anthony, portrayed by Kate McKinnon, says "Abortion is murder!" [53]

    On February 15, 2018, the White House issued a Susan B. Anthony Day proclamation, claiming that she was anti-abortion. [54]

    No room for fourth bust on suffragette statue?

    Portrait Monument in U.S. Capitol was dedicated in 1921

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    The "Portrait Monument" in the Capitol Rotunda features the busts of leading women suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Standon and Lucretia Mott. The 7-plus ton monument - made of marble from Carrara, Italy, and carved by sculptress Adelaide Johnson - was intentionally left unfinished. Photo taken April, 2010. (Photo: Denise Goolsby/The Desert Sun) Buy Photo

    A 7-and-a-half ton, white marble statue is displayed prominently in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., but unless you've taken a tour of this legislative hall or have studied the women's suffrage movement at length, there's a good chance you've never heard of the "Portrait Monument," featuring the chiseled busts of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.

    The monument -- fashioned by sculptress Adelaide Johnson out of a massive slab of marble quarried in Carrara, Italy -- was unveiled at the Capitol rotunda on Feb. 15, 1921, on the 101st anniversary of Anthony's birth. Anthony, Stanton and Mott were among the leaders of the women's right to vote movement -- a decades-long fight that culminated in victory on Aug. 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified by Congress.

    Aside from the fact it's the only monument to women on display in the rotunda, there's something else that's unique about this work. It appears unfinished. Most notably, Johnson left a large piece of rough-hewn marble in the back of the statue. Her motive has been debated over the decades. Did she want her monument to represent the unfinished quest for women's equality? Was it representative of future, yet-to-be women's rights leaders, "a kind of an unknown soldier of the woman's movement?"

    I'd never heard about this piece until I took a tour of the U.S. Capitol in April 2010, when our guide walked over to the odd-shaped memorial and shared stories about its history.

    While the guide tossed out the possibility that the unfinished marble could be sculpted into the likeness of the first US woman president, that's a fact that has not been confirmed. A Senate bill in 2004 seeking to add the face of African-American civil rights activist Sojourner Truth died in Congress. An official with the office of the Architect of the Capitol told The Desert Sun no bust is planned for the unfinished marble because there's not enough room for one.

    Regardless, the history of this piece is fascinating and is truly symbolic of the unfinished business of the centuries-long push for women's equality.

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves to the crowd as she arrives on stage during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The monument was presented to the U.S. Capitol as a gift "from the women of the U.S." by the National Woman's Party - an American women's organization formed in 1916 with a singular focus: To secure an amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensuring a woman's right to vote. The presentation coincided with the NWP's national convention in Washington D.C. Once the 19th Amendment was ratified, the group tackled other equality-of-life-issues, including advocating for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, drafted by women's movement leader Alice Paul in 1923.

    The historic presentation was captured in the pages of the Des Moines Register in its Feb. 21, 1921 edition:

    "The women of America wrote the final chapter in the history of their struggle for the ballot tonight when the memorial statue of the three great suffrage pioneers – Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth C. Stanton and Lucretia Mott – was installed in the capitol rotunda.

    Delegates representing every state and more than fifty national women’s organizations, participated in the ceremonies.

    With music, flowers and pageantry, the statue of the suffrage pioneers – the first memorial commemorating the work of women for women was presented to Congress tonight by American women and dedicated in the rotunda of the capitol.

    Miss Jane Addams of Chicago presided over the ceremonies."

    Addams was one of the most prominent activists/reformer of her era.

    “The placing of this memorial is a significant milestone on the long road to self-government," Addams said in the Des Moines Register story. "It commemorates much more than a great achievement in the history of the United States although as such it deserves an honored place in the rotunda, because these pioneer suffragettes, whom we are meant to honor, all Americans as they were, were the first women in any country to form a definite organization for the sole purpose of securing for women ‘the sacred right of the elective franchise.’ They, therefore, became the pioneers of a great movement not only for their own countrywomen, but forward looking women of the world.”

    From left, Adelaide Johnson, sculptor, Mrs. Lawrence (Dora) Lewis, and Jane Addams with the Portrait Monument at the U.S. Capitol, Feb. 15, 1921. (Photo: Library of Congress National Photo Co., Washington, D.C.)

    For the ceremonies that night, the memorial was placed between the statues of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, directly opposite the entrance to the rotunda and against a background of purple draperies.

    "Suffragists and antisuffragists, teachers, mothers, artists, nurses and working women in a long processional carried wreaths which they placed at the base of the statue. Beside the representative of each organization walked flower girls and banner bearers robed in purple, white and gold."

    Leading the entire processional were descendants of the pioneers themselves.

    Delivering the presentation address, Sara Bard Field of San Francisco declared the memorial statue was presented to the nation not merely as the “busts of three women who have fought the good fight,” but as an offering of the “body and blood of a great sacrificial host,” who struggled with and after them to achieve the cause now won.

    Scuptor Adelaide Johnson (third from left), Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 1921. (Photo: Library of Congress)

    “I do not feel that I arrogate to my faith in women too much,” Field said, “when I say that with the dedication of these busts of our pioneers there is presented tonight a renewed dedication of the women to the vast work of a greater freedom which lies before us.”

    To the surprise of the many women gathered at the ceremony, Field remarked that “it made her heart glad” that the first gift of women to the nation’s gallery represents no military heroes, “but those who gave life, not took it, and through their likenesses we are dedicating the women’s protest against war.”

    “With the right to vote goes the right to representation in the “Hall of Fame,” say the suffragists.”

    The "Portrait Monument" in the Capitol Rotunda features the busts of leading women suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Standon and Lucretia Mott. The 7-plus ton monument - made of marble from Carrara, Italy, and carved by sculptress Adelaide Johnson - was intentionally left unfinished. Photo taken April, 2010. (Photo: Denise Goolsby/The Desert Sun)

    Frederick Gillett, Speaker of the House of Representatives, accepted the memorial on behalf of Congress, which, ironically, was the first Congress ever elected by the women of the country as a whole.

    In his address of acceptance, Gillett described the occasion as “symbolic of a change of tremendous significance – the admission of women in our electorate as equal partners in the great business of government.”

    The Feb. 16, 1921 edition of The Washington (D.C.) Herald set the scene:

    "Following the Speaker’s remarks of acceptance, lights were turned low and as strains of the “Recessional” lost themselves in the shadowed arches of the lofty dome, the drapery was removed from Mrs. Adelaide Johnson’s sculptured group. Suddenly, the statue was enveloped in a blaze of light, and the figures were revealed … between the marble figures of Washington and (Lee), Carrara white against the somber walls . a soloist in the gallery sang softly and a chorus of fifty voices sang during the recessional of the women who had remained grouped around the statue."

    Coming to the Capitol

    The sculptress experienced great difficulty in securing Italian assistants to help carve the marble and workmen to move the sculpture to the SS Dante Alighieri, the Italian oceanliner - named after Dante, the Italian poet of the Middle Ages - that would deliver Johnson's monument to the U.S.

    Adelaide Johnson standing in front of marble which would be used for Women's Pioneer Statue, Italy, circa 1919 - 1920. (Photo: Library of Congress Edmonston, Washington, D.C.)

    Once it was ready for shipment, it was almost an insurmountable challenge for Johnson to get the massive piece from Carrara to the port in Genoa. It was decided that shipping it by freight would be too slow.

    When the monument was crated - it stood about seven-and-a-half feet tall - "the oxen were driven right into my studio and hauled it to the road," Johnson recounted at the time. "The laborers went on strike when it was but half way to the vessel and the monument remained there for thirty hours. When the laborers again began moving it toward the sailing vessel, the sea was bad and it was decided to secure a freight train which was to run as far as Genoa. It was only when, after repeated delays, I was able to see the monument hoisted onto the liner in Genoa that I was able to breathe freely once more."

    Adelaide Johnson with her crated Portrait Monument, circa 1920 - 1921. (Photo: Library of Congress)

    After a transatlantic voyage, Johnson arrived in the U.S. with her suffrage memorial statue on Jan. 31, 1921.

    Reports from that time said the statue would be placed in the Capitol Rotunda for the ceremony, then moved temporarily to the Capitol Crypt - the room below the rotunda, where it would remain on display. It's not actually a crypt - it was so-named because a tomb built below this room was to be the final resting place of President George Washington and his wife Martha. However, Washington's last will expressed his desire to be buried at his home in Mount Vernon in Virginia.

    But the crypt - which features 40 Doric columns and statues of prominent individuals from the nation's original 13 colonies - was considered the basement of the Capitol at the time, and the massive marble tribute was pushed up against a wall where it collected dust until it was moved to a "place of honor" at the center of the crypt on Sept. 23, 1921.

    But some hanky-panky had taken place between that time and Oct. 1, 1921, when Johnson returned to Washington, D.C. from her home in New York to see the new placement.

    Marble statue of three suffragists by Adelaide Johnson in the Capitol crypt, Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 1965. (Photo: Library of Congress United States. Architect of the Capitol)

    She was shocked to find that the inscription she placed at the back of the monument had been erased! It wasn't entirely unexpected, because the words she wrote caused a stir and sparked controversy prior to the dedication of her monument. Johnson, who had intended to chisel the inscription into the marble, was running out of time to complete her work, so it was stenciled onto the surface in gold lettering.

    By the end of the second paragraph - after Johnson had described her three subjects in the context of history - she wrote about how the women, "guided the only fundamental universal uprising on our planet: The Woman's Revolution."

    She continued, "Principle not policy justice not favor men, their rights and nothing more women, their rights and nothing less, was the clarian call to the most astounding upheaval of all time .

    "Woman, first denied a soul, then called mindless, now arisen declared herself an entity to be reckoned.

    "Spiritually, the woman movement . represents the emancipation of womanhood. The release of the feminine principal in humanity, the moral integration of human evolution come to rescue torn and struggling humanity from its savage self."

    There's more, but you get the point. It was too much for the men on the Hill. The Joint Committee on the Library - the group that oversaw the statuary of the Capitol, was adamant that the inscription be covered during the dedication, which it was. When it was later moved from against the wall and the inscription could be seen by the public, there was great haste in getting it removed for good.

    Seventy-six years after the statue was relegated to the "basement," it took an act of Congress - House Concurrent Resolution 216 was passed in September 1996 - to get the monument moved back to the Capitol Rotunda, where it was relocated in May 1997.

    Did you know?

    The National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol is comprised of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. The entire collection now consists of 100 statues contributed by 50 states, two from each. Thirty-five statues are displayed in National Statuary Hall while others have been placed in other parts of the Capitol including the Crypt, the Hall of Columns, and the Capitol Visitor Center.

    California statues:

    Father Junipero Serra (Miguel Jose Serra), Spanish missionary

    “I revolted in spirit against the customs of society and the laws of the state that crushed my aspirations and debarred me from the pursuit of almost every object worthy of an intelligent, rational mind.”
    Emily Collins

    These words summed up the sense of protest evoked in a significant number of women by the status allotted to them during the early part of the nineteenth century. Young Elizabeth Cady learned Greek and acquainted herself with law in her father’s office. Instead of winning his praise, he only lamented “Elizabeth, if only you were a boy.” Young middle-class women of the time watched their brothers depart for college while they stayed at home, lost all rights to property when they married (William Blackstone had said in his famous Commentaries, “Husband and wife are one and that one is the husband”), and, in some cases, were subjected to legally permissible physical punishment at the hands of their spouses to ensure their “obedience.” If they spoke in public, they were denounced by the churches for “promiscuous activity.” Most important, women were denied any voice in enactment of laws by which they were governed.

    Declaration of Sentiments

    To correct all of this, Elizabeth Cady Stanton met with Lucretia Mott and Jane Hunt over teacups in Waterloo, New York, on July 13, 1848, to plan a women’s convention to be held in Seneca Falls, New York.

    The style and format chosen by these ladies of Seneca Falls for their Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions was that of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men and women are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.” The Sentiments proclaimed, “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man towards woman.” They went on to specify female grievances in regard to property, access to education and professional careers, and the lowly status accorded women in most churches. And in both the Sentiments and historical “Resolution 9,” they demanded the right to vote, a right which they complained was given “to the most ignorant and degraded men.”

    In the colonial past when the right to vote was linked to property, some women enjoyed the franchise. The right, as applied to women, had been revoked in New York in 1777. The spread of Jacksonian democracy beginning in the 1820s had meant universal white male suffrage, without regard to property or other qualification, but sensitive, intelligent, and publicly concerned women were still deprived of it.

    Anthony and Stanton Meet

    Susan B. Anthony did not attend the Seneca Falls convention. When she learned of it, she regarded the proceedings with amusement (WHY?). She herself was a temperance worker, but when she attended a New York State temperance convention and attempted to speak, she was rebuked and told, “The ladies have been invited to listen and learn and not to speak.” She immediately formed a female temperance society and perhaps became more amenable to the feminist cause.

    In the spring of 1851, William Lloyd Garrison and George Thompson, an English abolitionist, conducted an anti-slavery meeting in Seneca Falls. Susan attended, staying at the home of Amelia Bloomer. They met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in company with Garrison and Thompson on the street. Immediately, Anthony and Stanton began their historic friendship.

    Anthony was described as the “Napoleon” of the suffragist movement. Hers was the organizational and tactical genius. She displayed her skill by appearing before every Congress between 1869 and 1906 on behalf of women’s suffrage.

    Stanton’s role was that of thinker and writer. She worked unremittingly for women’s movement in all its phases, including divorce reform, birth control, the challenge to religious assumptions which opposed legal rights for women. At the same time, she managed a household of seven children. Anthony often went to Stanton’s home and helped take care of these children in order to free her fellow suffragist for the intellectual work of which the latter was so capable.

    Together they fought the women’s battles of the late nineteenth century. Although many of the early suffragists ardently worked for abolition, they were told after the Civil War to wait until after blacks were enfranchised before passing their own claims for the vote any further. Appeals were made for the downtrodden ex-slave. Horace Greeley exhorted women, “Remember that this is the Negro hour and your first duty is to go through the state and plead his claims.”

    Nonetheless, suffragists believed that they saw a constitutional door open to them to exercise the franchise. This was in the language of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave due process and equal protection under the law to “persons” without qualifications as to gender. Under this legal claim, some women tried to vote but were refused or their ballots were put in separate boxes and not counted.

    Anthony is Arrested

    In Rochester, New York, in November 1872, Susan B. Anthony herself and her sisters succeeded in casting their votes. Acting under legal advice given by Anthony’s lawyer, Henry R. Selden, they had convinced the registrars of the propriety of their claims and had been allowed to deposit their ballots.

    Two weeks later, they were arrested. At her arraignment, Susan B. Anthony refused to deposit bail when set. Selden deposited it for her. But when learned that if sent to jail, she could challenge the proceeding under federal habeas corpus, she attempted belatedly to have bail canceled.

    The venue was transferred to Canandaigua for trial, where the judge was less open to Anthony’s claims and Selden’s arguments. He directed a verdict of guilty and imposed a fine on Anthony — although when she refused to pay, he shrewdly refrained from imprisoning her and therefore exposing his ruling to federal challenge.

    Anthony had emerged a heroine. An idealistic reformer, she had shown herself willing to submit to the unappealing and unfamiliar conditions of a nineteenth-century jail for the sake of her convictions. Her case had pointed up the need for a new constitutional amendment.

    19th Amendment

    Susan B. Anthony did not live to see the consummation of her efforts to win the right to vote for women. She died at the age of 86 in 1906. She showed her strength and optimism until the end. Her final public utterance was, “Failure is impossible.” She and Stanton had been succeeded as heads of the suffrage movement by Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt.

    A change was taking place in public perception of the movement. In the nineteenth century, social critic Orestes Bronson echoed the fears of sufficiently large, even if hysterical, segment of the population when he warned that women’s suffrage would bring about “the destruction of the family.”

    By the early twentieth century, suffragists had successfully convinced an increasing number of people that the interests of the family itself extended beyond the four walls of the home and had to be protected in public by voting wives and mothers. They claimed that women would bring a purifying influence to politics and public life.

    William Howard Taft had cautiously told women to collect more signatures on their petitions before he would take up their cause. Theodore Roosevelt did not include women in his ‘progressive” campaign of 1912. Neither did Woodrow Wilson in his agenda. When the latter president ran for re-election 1916 on the slogan “He kept us out of war,” suffragists retorted “He kept us out of suffrage.” Female demonstrators surrounded the White House in 1917. They were arrested on charge of obstructing traffic. When jailed, they asserted rights of political prisoners and went on a hunger strike.

    The suffrage amendment was reintroduced by Jeannette Rankin of Montana on January 20, 1918. She herself was from the first region to grant the vote to women and was the first woman to be elected to Congress. The amendment passed amidst the cheers of women who sat knitting in the galleries. Other women gathered on the steps of Capitol were described by the New York Times as “cheering like collegians after a football victory.”

    The vote was indeed close, only one more than the required two-thirds. One congressman left the deathbed of his suffragist wife to cast his vote and then returned to her funeral. Two congressmen came from hospitals to cast affirmative votes. Tennessee was the thirty-sixth state to ratify the amendment. On August 26, 1920, final passage was achieved. Times had changed.

    Adapted from a publication produced for the 95/75 Celebration by Eastman Kodak Company, K2-Design—Monica Guilian, and Millennia Communications—Catherine Samson, 1995.

    River Campus (mailing address): 500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd., Rochester, NY 14627

    River Campus (GPS/maps): 252 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY


    In the early 1960s, as the price of silver rose, Treasury Department vaults were depleted of silver dollars by the public. [1] No silver dollars had been minted in the United States since 1935, [2] and a shortage developed in the Western United States, especially in areas in which gambling was common. As a result, Congress voted to authorize the production of 45 million new silver Peace dollars on August 3, 1964. [3] However, the move drew strong condemnation from critics and the public who believed that the issuance of the coins was a waste of resources and influenced by special interests, and that they would be quickly removed from circulation. [4] A total of 316,076 1964-D Peace dollars were struck before production was ordered suspended. The coins were melted soon afterwards. [5] and the Coinage Act of 1965, enacted on July 23, 1965, forbade all production of dollar coins for a period of five years. [6]

    On May 12, 1969, the Joint Commission on the Coinage, a panel of 24 individuals organized by the 1965 Coinage Act, [7] recommended resumption of dollar coin production following a study conducted by a Congressional task force. [8] On October 1 and 3, 1969, a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives discussed the proposed legislation to authorize the coin, in a copper-nickel clad composition, with the 1.5-inch (38 mm) same diameter of the former silver dollars. [9] A provision was added requiring the coin to depict former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had died earlier that year, on the obverse and a design "emblematic of the symbolic eagle of Apollo 11 landing on the moon" on the reverse. [10] [a] President Richard Nixon signed the bill into law on December 31, 1970. [10] Both the obverse and reverse designs were created by Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. [2]

    As with previous dollar coins, the new Eisenhower dollar proved unpopular with the public, and very few of the coins were found in circulation. [12] In 1976, the Research Triangle Institute conducted a survey of United States coinage. Among other things, they recommended the half dollar, which also saw little use, be entirely eliminated from production, and the size of the dollar be reduced. [13] Their report read in part:

    A conveniently-sized dollar coin would significantly broaden the capabilities of consumers for cash transactions, especially with machines. Members of the automatic merchandising industry have expressed a strong interest in a smaller dollar, indicating their willingness to adapt their machinery to its use. [13]

    Numismatic historian David L. Ganz suggested that Eisenhower, a Republican, was chosen as a means of balancing the half dollar, depicting Democrat John F. Kennedy. [14] In a 1977 paper, he agreed with the findings of the institute, suggesting that both coins should be eliminated the half dollar production ceased entirely, and the dollar replaced by one of smaller diameter and with a different design. [14] Treasury officials desired the small dollar coin as a cost-saving measure Mint Director Stella Hackel estimated that replacing half of the issued dollar bills with small dollars would save $19 million ($75.4 million today) in annual production costs. [15] [b]

    Liberty design Edit

    The Mint began preparation for the reduced-diameter dollar coin in 1976. Although no legislation had yet been introduced, Treasury officials anticipated a positive reception from Congress, and the coin had near unanimous support from the Mint and the vending machine industry, an influential lobby in the area of coin design and creation. [17] In 1977, Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal publicly endorsed a smaller dollar coin and suggested that an allegorical representation of Liberty would be a suitable subject for the coin. [18]

    Chief Engraver Gasparro was tasked with creating a design for the proposed coin. His obverse design depicted a bust of Liberty, while his reverse depicted a soaring eagle. [19] The bust was pictured along with a pole, atop which sat a Phrygian cap, a symbol used to represent freedom. [19] Gasparro's Liberty design was based on a similar obverse that he created for a 1969 American Numismatic Association convention medal. [19] The reverse, depicting an eagle flying above a mountain against the rising sun, was originally created by Gasparro in 1967 for a proposed commemorative half dollar. [20] Describing the reverse design, Gasparro stated that it was meant to symbolize "a new day being born". [21]

    The design was reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts, and in an April 29, 1976, letter, Commission member J. Carter Brown praised the design:

    I believe this would be a superb design for United States Coinage, rooted as it is in a great tradition, being based on the 'Liberty Cap cent' of 1794, following Augustin Dupré's Libertas Americana medal commemorating Saratoga and Yorktown (1777–1781). [22]

    A bill to reduce the diameter of the dollar from 1.5 inches (38 mm) to 1.043 inches (26.5 mm) and the weight from 22.68 grams to 8.5 grams was introduced to the House of Representatives on May 1, 1978. [23] The bill was introduced to the Senate on May 3, and the proposed weight was reduced from 8.5 grams to 8.1 grams. [24] The Mint conducted experiments involving eight-, ten-, eleven- and thirteen-sided coins, [19] but it was decided that the dollar would be round, as costly modifications would be required to update vending machinery to accept other shapes. [25] Instead, the bill prescribed an eleven-sided inner border, which was intended to aid identification by sight and by feel for the visually handicapped. [26]

    Selection of Susan B. Anthony Edit

    Treasury officials officially recommended Gasparro's design, which they referred to as a "modernized version of the classic Liberty design". [27] On May 3, 1978, Wisconsin's William Proxmire introduced legislation in the Senate which was identical to the Treasury proposal, except for mandating a design which was altered to social reformer Susan B. Anthony in place of the allegorical Liberty. [28] On May 15, Representatives Mary Rose Oakar and Patricia Schroeder introduced similar legislation to the House of Representatives. [23] Anthony was also recommended by members of the National Organization for Women, the Congresswomen's Caucus, the National Women's Political Caucus and the League of Women Voters. [29] In support of the proposed legislation, the League addressed a letter to Walter E. Fauntroy, chairman of the Subcommittee on Historic Preservation and Coinage, reading in part:

    The League believes that the time has come, and is indeed long past, for the likeness of a prominent American woman to be placed on a denomination of U.S. currency. We believe strongly that the likeness should be that of an actual woman and not that of an imaginary or symbolic figure. Susan B. Anthony contributed immeasurably to the advancement of human dignity in this nation. It is entirely fitting and appropriate that her memory be honored through this measure. [30]

    In addition, officials tallied suggestions sent to the Mint by the general public as to the subject of the dollar coin, and Susan B. Anthony had received the most support. [31]

    Gasparro began work on his Susan B. Anthony design in June 1978, before the legislation was authorized by Congress. [32] He enlisted the help of a friend in conducting research on Anthony, which he felt was necessary before creating the design. [33] He referenced approximately six different images while creating the portrait of Anthony, but it was based largely on just two. [34] Gasparro created several different designs before receiving final approval. One of his portraits, depicting Anthony at age 28, was shown to Anthony's great-niece, Susan B. Anthony III, who rejected it on the grounds that it unnecessarily "prettified" her great-aunt, and she criticized another design depicting Anthony at age 84, which she believed made her appear too old. [35] [36] Gasparro made several alterations with the intent to depict her at age 50, at the peak of her influence as a social reformer, but no photographs of Anthony during that period are known to exist. [34] He eventually received approval after modification, later stating his belief that he had accurately portrayed Anthony. [34]

    Initially, Gasparro expected that Congress would retain his soaring eagle reverse design to accompany the Susan B. Anthony obverse. [34] However, a late amendment introduced by Utah Senator Jake Garn altered the legislation to maintain the Apollo 11 design in use on the Eisenhower dollar reverse. [37]

    The bill was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 10, 1978, [38] and production of Eisenhower dollars ceased during that year. [39] After he signed the bill into law, Carter issued a statement, saying in part that he was confident that "this act—and the new dollar—will substantially improve our coinage system as well as cutting Government coin production costs". [40] He went on to declare his approval of the decision to depict Anthony on the coins:

    I am particularly pleased that the new dollar coin will—for the first time in history—bear the image of a great American woman. The life of Susan B. Anthony exemplifies the ideals for which our country stands. The 'Anthony dollar' will symbolize for all American women the achievement of their unalienable right to vote. It will be a constant reminder of the continuing struggle for the equality of all Americans. [40]

    Design criticism Edit

    Gasparro regarded the Anthony design as the most important of his career. Remarking on the public perception of the coin, Gasparro related that "it's become part of a social movement. This new dollar's more than a coin it's an issue." [32] The decision to use a portrait of Susan B. Anthony in place of the allegorical Liberty was met with criticism by most numismatists, who believed that the Liberty design had far greater artistic merit. [32] Art critic and numismatist Cornelius Vermeule was highly critical of the obverse design replacement, as well as the decision to continue use of the Apollo 11 design. [41] Vermeule noted that although Eisenhower's administration established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Anthony had no connection to the Moon landing or the U.S. space program. [42] Commenting on the obverse and reverse pairing, he stated his belief that it was "a hasty marriage and a bad one". [43] Although he believed that Gasparro's Anthony design was well executed, sculptor Robert Weinman criticized the decision to depict Anthony. [44] Concerned about the possibility of other groups seeking representation on the coinage in response to its passage, Weinman characterized the Susan B. Anthony dollar legislation as a "billboard or campaign button approach to a national coin". [44]

    The first Susan B. Anthony dollars were struck at the Philadelphia Mint on December 13, 1978. [45] First strikes at the Denver and San Francisco Mints followed on January 9, 1979 and January 29, respectively. [46] Mint officials feared that the coins would be hoarded upon release, so they ordered the creation of a stockpile consisting of 500 million coins prior to the release date in July 1979. [47] The dollars all bore a mint mark denoting their place of origin: 'P' for the Philadelphia Mint, 'D' for the Denver Mint and 'S' for the San Francisco Mint. The Anthony dollar was the first coin to bear a 'P' mint mark since the Jefferson nickel issued during World War II other coins struck there were left without a mintmark to note their place of origin. [48] In 1980, the 'P' mint mark was added to all other circulating coins, except the cent, struck in Philadelphia. [48]

    The Treasury Department, in cooperation with the Federal Reserve, undertook a $655,000 marketing campaign to educate bank employees and members of the public about the new coin, [49] and the vending industry engaged in a $100 million effort to retrofit machines to accept the coins. [50]

    Despite the marketing attempts, the coin received an overwhelmingly negative reception from the public. [51] [52] Less than two millimeters in diameter larger than the quarter and struck in the same copper-nickel composition, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was widely confused for that denomination in transactions. [52] Mint Director Hackel noted the difference in weight and design between the two coins and expressed her belief that the dollar would eventually find favor with the public, suggesting that the coin would become "customary to the American people in time". [52] In the months following its release, complaints mounted and public transportation and many establishments throughout the country began refusing to accept them in payment. [50] On July 13, 1979, California Representative Jerry Lewis introduced a bill to the House of Representatives with the intent to increase the size of the coin to aid identification. [53] Discussing the bill, which was never passed, Lewis remarked that the Anthony dollar had come to be known derisively as the "Carter quarter", due to its size and association with the President. [54]

    In total, 757,813,744 dollar coins dated 1979 were struck for circulation at the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints. [55] Demand remained low through 1980, and the circulation strikes for that year totaled 89,660,708. [55] Due to its persistent unpopularity, production of Anthony dollars for circulation was suspended, and 9,742,000 1981 dollars were struck across all three Mints exclusively for sale to collectors this mintage marked the end of production. [55] At the close of production, the Treasury encountered a dilemma: the Mint struck a large number of dollars in anticipation of great public demand, resulting in a surplus of 520,000,000 coins in 1981. [56] Melting the coins was impractical the cost of manufacture was approximately 2 cents, and the 98 cents earned from seignorage was applied to the national debt. [56] [57] Had the coins been melted, their seignorage would have been added to the debt. [57] Accordingly, the coins were placed in government storage, to be dispensed as needed. [56]

    The coin's design did have repercussions north of the border when Canada introduced its new one-dollar coin in 1987, its dimensions were made similar so that vending machine specifications could be common between the two nations. [58]

    When the Baltimore, Maryland Metro Subway opened in 1984, it used the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin as tokens with which to buy tickets. It became the largest single user of Susan B. Anthony dollar coins in its history. [59]

    Despite their unpopularity in transactions, Anthony dollars began to see heavy use in over 9,000 stamp-dispensing machines situated in United States Postal Service buildings across the country beginning in the early 1990s. Additionally, the coins finally began to be used regularly with many mass-transit systems and vending-machine operations. [60] Various propositions were discussed in Congress since the last dollars were produced in 1981, but no action was taken to issue a new coin until the Treasury's stores of Anthony dollars became depleted by the mid 1990s. [60] In February 1996, the vaults totaled approximately 229,500,000 coins, but that number was reduced to approximately 133,000,000 by the end of 1997. [60] Faced with the necessity of striking more Susan B. Anthony dollars to fill the demand, the Treasury supported legislation authorizing a new dollar coin that would not be confused with the quarter. Legislation authorizing a dollar coin in a gold-colored composition and with a plain edge was introduced to the House and Senate in 1997, where it eventually received approval with a provision calling for it to depict Native American guide Sacagawea. [60] On December 1, 1997, President Bill Clinton signed the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act into law. The Act, which authorized the creation of the 50 State Quarters program, included a section entitled "United States $1 Coin Act of 1997". [61] That section officially authorized what became the Sacagawea dollar. [62]

    Following passage of the act, a series of test strikes depicting Martha Washington were carried out to test various gold-colored alloys. [63] Although the act provided for creation of the new coin, it also allowed for resumption of striking the Anthony design as a stop-gap measure until production began on the gold-colored dollar. [61] Nearing depletion of Treasury stockpiles, on May 20, 1999, the U.S. Mint announced that production of the Susan B. Anthony dollar would resume. [64] In total, 41,368,000 Anthony dollars dated 1999 were struck for circulation at the Philadelphia and Denver mints. Proof strikes were carried out at the Philadelphia mint no 1999 dollars were struck at the San Francisco mint. [55] The Anthony design was officially retired in 2000, when the new Sacagawea dollar entered production. [65]

    As few Susan B. Anthony dollars circulated, many remain available in uncirculated condition and are worth little above face value. [66] However, some date and mint mark varieties are relatively valuable. The 1981 coins, having been issued only to collectors, are valued above the other circulation strikes in the series. [67] In addition, a well-known variety of the 1979 circulation strikes on which the date appears nearer to the rim commands a higher price than the regular issue. [68]

    All dates of the dollar also exist in proof finish. The 1999 coins were sold as standalone proof strikes, rather than as part of a larger proof set, as the 1979, 1980 and 1981 issues were offered. [69] The 1999 proof was minted exclusively at the Philadelphia Mint, and bears a 'P' mint mark, while all other proof Anthony dollars were minted at San Francisco and bear the 'S' of that Mint. [55] Some 1979 and 1981 proofs bear a mint mark which was applied to the coinage dies with a different punch, causing them to have a more legible appearance. They are considered scarce and are valued considerably higher than normal proofs of the series. [55]

    In 2020, the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote, will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Center and community partners will be hosting a series of events to celebrate.

    The resolution calling for woman suffrage had passed, after much debate, at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, convened by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. In The Declaration of Sentiments, a document based upon the Declaration of Independence, the numerous demands of these early activists were elucidated.

    The 1848 convention had challenged America to social revolution that would touch every aspect of life. Early women’s rights leaders believed suffrage to be the most effective means to change an unjust system.

    By the late 1800s, nearly 50 years of progress afforded women advancement in property rights, employment and educational opportunities, divorce and child custody laws, and increased social freedoms.

    The early 1900s saw a successful push for the vote through a coalition of suffragists, temperance groups, reform-minded politicians, and women’s social-welfare organizations.

    Although Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton devoted 50 years to the woman’s suffrage movement, neither lived to see women gain the right to vote. But their work and that of many other suffragists contributed to the ultimate passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

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    Susan B. Anthony: Women’s Right to Vote

    The National Archives is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment with the exhibit Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, which runs in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives in Washington, DC, through January 3, 2021. Today’s post comes from Michael J. Hancock in the National Archives History Office.

    More than any other woman of her time, Susan B. Anthony recognized that many of the legal disabilities women faced were the result of their inability to vote.

    Anthony worked tirelessly her whole adult life fighting for the right to vote, and she was instrumental in bringing the issue to the forefront of American consciousness.

    She spoke publicly, petitioned Congress and state legislatures, and published a feminist newspaper for a cause that would not come to fruition until the ratification of the 19th Amendment, 14 years after her death in 1906.

    Despite this, she found satisfaction in casting a ballot (albeit illegally) in Rochester, New York, on November 5, 1872. What followed was a trial for illegal voting and a unique opportunity for Anthony to broadcast her arguments for woman suffrage to a wider audience.

    Anthony had planned to vote long before 1872. She reasoned that she would take the first opportunity as long as she met the New York state requirement of voters residing in their homes for at least 30 days prior to the election in the district where they cast their vote. Anthony’s logic was based on the recently adopted 14th Amendment that stated that “all persons born and naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the United States.” Anthony reasoned that that since women were citizens, and the privileges of citizens of the United States included the right to vote, states could not exclude women from the electorate.

    The 15th Amendment’s reference to the “right of citizens of the United States to vote” suggested women’s right as citizens to vote. Fundamentally, woman suffragists’ objective was to validate their interpretation through either an act of Congress or a favorable decision in Federal courts.

    On November 5, 1872, in the first district of the Eighth Ward of Rochester, New York, Anthony and 14 other women voted in an election that included choosing members of Congress. The women had successfully registered to vote several days earlier but, a poll watcher challenged Anthony’s qualification as a voter.

    Taking the steps required by state law when a challenge occurred, the election inspectors asked Anthony under oath if she was a citizen, if she lived in the district, and if she had accepted bribes for her vote. Anthony answered these questions to their satisfaction, and the inspectors promptly placed her ballot in the boxes.

    Nine days after the election, U.S. Commissioner William Storrs, an officer of the Federal courts, issued warrants for the arrest of Anthony and an order to the U.S. Marshal to deliver her to county jail along with the 14 other women who voted in Rochester. Based on the complaint of Sylvester Lewis, a poll watcher who challenged Anthony’s vote, the women were charged with voting for members of the U.S. House of Representatives “without having a lawful right to vote,” a violation of section 19 of the Enforcement Act of 1870.

    Anthony’s attorneys researched a way to appeal her arrest and detention to the Supreme Court of the United States. They decided that a petition to the district court for a writ of habeas corpus would ensure it would reach the Supreme Court, even though Congress in 1868 had repealed the provision for appeals on writs of habeas corpus from the lower Federal courts to the Supreme Court. Attorney John Van Voorhis argued that Anthony had a right to vote and petitioned the district court for a writ of habeas corpus that would bring Anthony before the court so that the judge could rule if she were properly held in custody.

    Judge Nathan Hall of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York granted the petition. The U.S. attorney announced that he was unprepared for argument, and the judge rescheduled the hearing for January in Albany.

    At the district court session in Albany, Anthony’s attorney Henry Selden broadened the argument he made previously and insisted Anthony had a right to vote. He acknowledged that the question of women’s right to vote was still unresolved and that the government had no justification for holding her as a criminal defendant. Anthony’s release from custody was eventually denied.

    Anthony’s trial began in Canandaigua, New York, on June 17, 1873. Before a jury of 12 men, Richard Crowley stated the government’s case and called an inspector of election as a witness to confirm that Anthony cast a ballot for congressional candidates.

    Henry Selden had himself sworn in as a witness and testified that he advised Anthony that the Constitution validated her capacity to vote. In transcripts of Susan B. Anthony’s testimony in her own defense, it is clear that she was thoughtful and deliberate in her account of how she made the progression from interpretation of the Constitution to affirming her perceived rights under its principles.

    Judge Hunt declared that “The Fourteenth Amendment gives no right to a woman to vote, and the voting by Miss Anthony was in violation of the law.” He rejected Anthony’s argument that her good faith prohibited a finding that she “knowingly” cast an illegal vote and stated that “Assuming that Miss Anthony believed she had a right to vote which was illegal, and thus is subject to the penalty of law.” He surprised Anthony and her attorney by directing the jury deliver a verdict of guilty.

    In her sentencing, Susan B. Anthony was given the opportunity to address the court, and what she said stunned everyone in the courthouse:

    Your honor, I have many things to say for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural right, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.

    Ultimately, Anthony was fined $100 and the cost of prosecution. In steadfast defiance, she declared that she would never pay a penny of her fine, and the government never made a serious effort to collect. In the end, Susan B. Anthony’s protest echoed the old revolutionary adage that “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

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    Watch the video: SUSAN B ANTHONY (January 2022).