Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony!

Good morning everyone, hope you’re all doing well. First off I just want to say that my heart goes out to everyone involved and affected by the devastation that happened in Turkey and Syria last week, reading the daily news reports is utterly heartbreaking that I hope we (the world) as a community can help those in need of supplies and support. Moving on to other things that happened this week, which in our household hasn’t been much as I’ve been very unwell to do anything, but I did manage to do some coursework and ace my tests that I am required to do at the end of each module, even with being under the weather, so I’m pretty happy that I managed to do that! Other than coursework, I haven’t really got any news to report, unlike Rihanna who confirmed on Sunday at the Super bowl halftime show whilst on a high platform stage that she’s expecting her second baby and then proceeded to do one hell of a performance and rocked the show. What an iconic lady!

Speaking of iconic women let’s move on with this weeks post…Susan B. Anthony Day is celebrated on February 15 every year. This day marks the birth of Susan Brownell Anthony, who was one of the most influential women in American history. She was an important women’s rights activist who played a crucial role in the women’s suffrage movement. Although she was not able to see her dream of women being given the right to vote before her death in 1906, her work contributed to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 that gave women that right. Read on to find out more about the lady who started the movement for women to vote.

Early Life:

Born Susan Brownell Anthony on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of Daniel Anthony, a cotton mill owner, and his wife, Lucy Read Anthony, the second-oldest of seven children. She was named for her maternal grandmother Susanah, and for her father’s sister Susan. In her youth, she and her sisters responded to a “great craze for middle initials” by adding middle initials to their own names. Anthony adopted “B.” as her middle initial because her namesake Aunt Susan had married a man named Brownell. Anthony never used the name Brownell herself, and did not like it.

Anthony was reared in the Quaker tradition in a home pervaded by a tone of independence and moral zeal. She was a precocious child and learned to read and write at the age of three. After the family moved from Massachusetts to Battensville, New York, in 1826, she attended a district school, then a school set up by her father, and finally a boarding school near Philadelphia. In 1839 she took a position in a Quaker seminary in New Rochelle, New York. From 1846 to 1849 she taught at a female academy in upstate New York.

She grew up in a politically active family who, as part of the abolitionist movement, worked to end slavery. Her brothers Daniel and Merritt moved to Kansas to support the anti-slavery movement there. Merritt fought with John Brown against pro-slavery forces during the Bleeding Kansas crisis. Daniel eventually owned a newspaper and became mayor of Leavenworth. Anthony’s sister Mary, with whom she shared a home in later years, became a public school principal in Rochester, and a woman’s rights activist.

In 1846, Anthony moved to Canajoharie to be headmistress of the female department of the Canajoharie Academy. Away from Quaker influences for the first time in her life, at the age of 26 she began to replace her plain clothing with more stylish dresses, and she quit using “thee” and other forms of speech traditionally used by Quakers. She was interested in social reform, and she was distressed at being paid much less than men with similar jobs, but she was amused at her father’s enthusiasm over the Rochester women’s rights convention. When the Canajoharie Academy closed in 1849, Anthony took over the operation of the family farm in Rochester so her father could devote more time to his insurance business. She worked at this task for a couple of years but found herself increasingly drawn to reform activity. With her parents’ support, she was soon fully engaged in reform work.

Family Farm In Rochester, New York

Women’s Rights:

Anthony subsequently settled in her family home, now near Rochester, New York. There she met many leading abolitionists, including Frederick Douglass, Parker Pillsbury, Wendell Phillips, William Henry Channing, and William Lloyd Garrison. Soon the temperance movement enlisted her sympathy and then, after meeting Amelia Bloomer and through her Elizabeth Cady Stanton, so did that of women’s suffrage. Anthony and Stanton soon became close friends and co-workers, forming a relationship that was pivotal for them and for the women’s movement as a whole.

Temperance was very much a women’s rights issue at that time because of laws that gave husbands complete control of the family and its finances. A woman with a drunken husband had little legal recourse even if his alcoholism left the family destitute and he was abusive to her and their children. If she obtained a divorce, which was difficult to do, he could easily end up with sole guardianship of the children. While teaching in Canajoharie, Anthony joined the Daughters of Temperance and in 1849 gave her first public speech at one of its meetings. In 1852, she was elected as a delegate to the state temperance convention, but the chairman stopped her when she tried to speak, saying that women delegates were there only to listen and learn. Anthony and some other women immediately walked out and announced a meeting of their own, which created a committee to organize a women’s state convention.

Susan B. Anthony Speech

At the organization’s convention the following year, however, conservative members attacked Stanton’s advocacy of the right of a wife of an alcoholic to obtain a divorce. Stanton was voted out as president, whereupon she and Anthony resigned from the organization. Years later, Anthony observed, “No advanced step taken by women has been so bitterly contested as that of speaking in public. For nothing which they have attempted, not even to secure the suffrage, have they been so abused, condemned and antagonized.” After this period, Anthony focused her energy on abolitionist and women’s rights activities.

Anthony’s work for the women’s rights movement began at a time when that movement was already gathering momentum. Stanton helped organize the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, a local event that was the first women’s rights convention. In 1852, Anthony attended her first National Women’s Rights Convention, which was held in Syracuse, New York, where she served as one of the convention’s secretaries. A major hindrance to the women’s movement was a lack of money. Few women at that time had an independent source of income, and even those with employment generally were required by law to turn over their pay to their husbands. When she presented the petitions to the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee, its members told her that men were actually the oppressed sex because they did such things as giving women the best seats in carriages. The campaign finally achieved success in 1860 when the legislature passed an improved Married Women’s Property Act that gave married women the right to own separate property, enter into contracts and be the joint guardian of their children.

Anthony stayed with her brother Daniel in Kansas for eight months in 1865 to assist with his newspaper. She headed back east after she learned that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been proposed that would provide citizenship for African Americans but would also for the first time introduce the word “male” into the constitution. Anthony was good at strategy. Her discipline, energy, and ability to organize made her a strong and successful leader. Anthony and Stanton co-founded the American Equal Rights Association. In 1868 they became editors of the Association’s newspaper, The Revolution, which helped to spread the ideas of equality and rights for women. Anthony began to lecture to raise money for publishing the newspaper and to support the suffrage movement. She became famous throughout the county. Many people admired her, yet others hated her ideas.

When Congress passed the 14th and 15th amendments which give voting rights to African American men, Anthony and Stanton were angry and opposed the legislation because it did not include the right to vote for women. Their belief led them to split from other suffragists. They thought the amendments should also have given women the right to vote. They formed the National Woman Suffrage Association, to push for a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting. She was tried and fined $100 for her crime. This made many people angry and brought national attention to the suffrage movement. In 1876, she led a protest at the 1876 Centennial of our nation’s independence. She gave a speech—“Declaration of Rights”—written by Stanton and another suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage.


Anthony spent her life working for women’s rights. In 1888, she helped to merge the two largest suffrage associations into one, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. She led the group until 1900. She traveled around the country giving speeches, gathering thousands of signatures on petitions, and lobbying Congress every year for women. Anthony died in 1906, 14 years before women were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. At the time of her death, women had achieved suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho, and several larger states followed soon after. Legal rights for married women had been established in most states, and most professions had at least a few women members. 36,000 women were attending colleges and universities, up from zero a few decades earlier.

The Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited the denial of suffrage because of sex, was colloquially known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. After it was ratified in 1920, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, whose character and policies were strongly influenced by Anthony, was transformed into the League of Women Voters, which is still an active force in U.S. politics. Anthony’s papers are held in library collections of Harvard University and its Radcliffe Institute, Rutgers University, the Library of Congress, and Smith College. She is the author of a 6 volume work History of Woman Suffrage.

  • When Anthony was six years old, her family moved to Battensville, New York, where her father managed a large cotton mill. Previously he had operated his own small cotton factory.
  • Her family was financially ruined during an economic downturn known as the Panic of 1837. Because of this they were forced to sell everything they had at an auction, but were rescued by her maternal uncle, who bought most of their belongings and restored them to the family.
  • In 1837, at age 16, Anthony collected petitions against slavery as part of organized resistance to the newly established gag rule that prohibited anti-slavery petitions in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • In 1851, Anthony was introduced to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who had been one of the organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention and had introduced the controversial resolution in support of women’s suffrage.
  • After the Stanton’s moved from Seneca Falls to New York City in 1861, a room was set aside for Anthony in every house they lived in.
(L) Elizabeth Cady Stanton & (R) Susan B. Anthony
  • Because Stanton was homebound with seven children while Anthony was unmarried and free to travel, Anthony assisted Stanton by supervising her children while Stanton wrote.
  • In 1856, Anthony agreed to become the New York State agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society with the understanding that she would also continue her advocacy of women’s rights.
  • Largely organized by Anthony, a convention of 500 women met in Rochester in April and created the Women’s State Temperance Society, with Stanton as president and Anthony as state agent.
  • Anthony and her co-workers collected 28,000 signatures on a petition for a law to prohibit the sale of alcohol in New York State. She organized a hearing on that law before the New York legislature, the first that had been initiated in that state by a group of women.
  • Anthony and Stanton organized the Women’s Loyal National League in 1863 to campaign for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would abolish slavery. It was the first national women’s political organization in the United States.
  • In the largest petition drive in the nation’s history up to that time, the League collected nearly 400,000 signatures to abolish slavery, representing approximately one out of every twenty-four adults in the Northern states.
  • The petition drive significantly assisted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery. Anthony was the chief organizer of this effort, which involved recruiting and coordinating some 2000 petition collectors.
  • Anthony and Stanton began publishing a weekly newspaper called The Revolution in New York City in 1868. It focused primarily on women’s rights, especially suffrage for women, but it also covered other topics, including politics, the labor movement and finance. Its motto was “Men, their rights and nothing more: women, their rights and nothing less.”
  • Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to appear on a U.S. coin. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Act, which replaced the existing dollar coin with one bearing Anthony’s image. She is the first woman to have her likeness emblazoned on a coin. Famous American women who appeared on coins following Anthony are Sacagawea on the dollar coin and Helen Keller on a special-issue quarter in Alabama.
  • Having lived for years in hotels and with friends and relatives, Anthony agreed to settle into her sister Mary Stafford Anthony’s house in Rochester in 1891, at the age of 71.
The house that Susan B. Anthony shared with her sister in Rochester.
  • Her energy and stamina, which sometimes exhausted her co-workers, continued at a remarkable level. At age 75, she toured Yosemite National Park on the back of a mule.
  • She played a key role in raising the funds required by the University of Rochester before they would admit women students, pledging her life insurance policy to close the final funding gap.
  • In 1896, she spent eight months on the California suffrage campaign, speaking as many as three times per day in more than 30 localities.
  • During the six remaining years of her life, Anthony spoke at six more NAWSA conventions and four congressional hearings, completed the fourth volume of the History of Woman Suffrage, and traveled to eighteen states and to Europe.
  • Her 80th birthday was celebrated in the White House at the invitation of President William McKinley.
  • Anthony did not live to see the achievement of women’s suffrage at the national level, but she still expressed pride in the progress the women’s movement had made. At the time of her death, women had achieved suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho, and several larger states followed soon after.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited the denial of suffrage because of sex, was colloquially known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. After it was ratified in 1920, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, whose character and policies were strongly influenced by Anthony, was transformed into the League of Women Voters, which is still an active force in U.S. politics.
  • Since 1970, the Susan B. Anthony Award is given annually by the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women to honor “grassroots activists dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in New York City.”
  • Anthony’s home in Rochester is a National Historic Landmark called the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.
  • In 1950, Anthony was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. A bust of her that was sculpted by Brenda Putnam was placed there in 1952

Anthony is an inspiration for women — young and old — across the nation. This day is a reminder for us all to raise our voices against gender-biased ideologies and laws. In memory of this visionary activist, you might want to share a post about her life and accomplishments on social media, or make a trip to Rochester and pay a visit to Anthony’s house, which has now been transformed into a national historic site. Whatever you do let Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday inspire you to take the pledge to uphold women’s rights.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post, I hope you all enjoy the rest of the week and managed to stay warm as it has turned very foggy/misty the past couple of days. Until next time, bye for now.

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