Friday, March 31, 2017

Women's History Month Celebrates: Susan B. Anthony

Metamora Herald Susan B. Anthony
By Sarony & Co., photographers, 680 Broadway, N.Y. [ca. 1870] (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Yes, sir, I have heard of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony. I have researched and spent a lot of time feeling grateful to courageous women like them that have fought to secure freedom for everyone. The work they did was crucial to abolishing slavery and eventually after many, many years of battling women’s suffrage won. Unfortunately, both women had passed away before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, but because of the work they had done women finally got the right to vote (42 years after the bill was introduced) in 1920.


Susan B. Anthony began her political career very young. At the age of 17, she was collecting petitions for anti-slavery. She eventually, became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. By working with Tubman as a supporter of the cause and a man Frederick Douglas who also supported abolishing slavery and women’s suffrage, the 15th Amendment was passed. She decided that because of this amendment she could vote. But she was arrested in her hometown of Rochester, New York for voting illegally. Can you imagine?

In 1873, Anthony said, "An oligarchy of wealth, where the rich govern the poor; an oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant; or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but surely this oligarchy of sex, which makes the men of every household sovereigns, masters; the women subjects, slaves; carrying dissension, rebellion into every home of the Nation, cannot be endured." She was very upset that the 15th Amendment did not cover women. Only men. Women were feme coverts to the eyes of the law and government officials. Anthony was a feme sole all of her life.

“A feme sole had the right to own property and make contracts in her own name, while a feme covert was not recognized as having legal rights and obligations distinct from those of her husband in most respects. Instead, through marriage a woman's existence was incorporated into that of her husband, so that she had very few recognized individual rights of her own.” according to Wikipedia’s definition. It was thought by many women didn’t need to vote or have an opinion because their husband had them covered.

Susan wanted to be able to speak and write for herself. Being able to own a business or property or to be able to speak your mind, was something only single women could do. She was actually accused of “trying to destroy the institute of marriage,” by women and men. She was trying to be independent. Because of her independence, she was able to own her paper "The Revolution", and she was able to write bills and amendments. She gave speeches all over and was paid pretty well for them. She was able to support herself until she died in 1906. In those days this was not an ordinary thing.

I am proud to be able to share this story of a hero. I am not sure how things would be right now for women in America if it weren’t for the acts of brave individuals like Ms. Anthony. Thank you, for not giving up and fighting for equal rights for everyone in my country and others. I am forever grateful and will do my best to spread the word of equality for all.


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