On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted in the Presidential election at a precinct in New York state. Two weeks later, she was arrested. She would go on trial and be found guilty despite arguments that the recently ratified 14th amendment guaranteed her the right to practice the act for which she had been arrested, voting for the next President of the United States. A very bloody war had recently been fought to make sure these rights were extended to all black men in the U.S., but women were continually turned back in their quest for equal rights.
Anthony was fined $100. She refused to pay. The judge refused to sentence her to jail time. Thus, ending any chance she had to appeal the conviction. An appeal would likely have taken the issue of women’s right to vote all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Anthony’s Quaker family had long been activist for causes such as the antislavery and temperance movements. Susan B. Anthony was born in 1820 in Massachusetts. Her family would move to New York state, where they got involved in the antislavery movement. She would first get involved in equal rights activism when she worked as a school teacher. She got involved with a teacher’s union when she realized male teachers made significantly more per month than female teachers performing the same job.
She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and she became more involved in woman’s rights, but it wasn’t until the Syracuse Convention in 1852 that she fully committed herself to the cause. Around the same time, she also began working for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Anthony received harsh reactions to her work with the group in the field.
She and Stanton founded the American Equal Rights Association which would lead to the creation of the National Women’s Suffrage Association by Anthony, Stanton, and others. This new organization was focused on the issue of promoting women’s suffrage across the U.S.
Stanton’s arrest would be a significant point of a campaign she would continue all her life. She, Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage would author the History of Women’s Suffrage.
Susan B. Anthony died in Rochester, New York in 1906. Women still didn’t have the right to vote nationally. They wouldn’t for another fourteen years. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women the right to vote in elections was named the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. Anthony would go on to be the first actual woman to appear on coin currency in 1979 when she appeared on the $1 coin.
141 years after she was arrested in the city, on November 5, 2013, the city of Rochester, New York elected its first female mayor.
A&E Television Networks. “Susan B. Anthony.” History.com. http://www.history.com/topics/susan-b-anthony (accessed November 6, 2013).
National Parks Service. “Women’s Rights National Historic Park.” National Parks Service. http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/susan-b-anthony.htm (accessed November 5, 2013).