WANTED: Susan B. Anthony

As we near the 2012 election, ads and peers have been bombarding us to “get out there and vote.” But what about a time where you could get arrested FOR voting?

This was the case with Susan B. Anthony. Always one to champion the cause for women’s equality, Anthony registered to vote on November 1, 1872 for the upcoming election. If you noticed the year, this was decades before the passing of the 19th Amendment (which officially granted women the right to vote). Several days later on November 5th, Anthony voted and even remarked about her feat in a letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. On November 18th, only two weeks after casting her ballot, Anthony was arrested by a U.S. Deputy Marshall for “illegally voting.”

Anthony capitalized on her upcoming trial and went on a local speaking tour where one of her main points was, “Is it a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?” She believed that under the 14th Amendment, no state could bar the rights of natural-born citizens, which included to Anthony the right for women to vote. In June of 1873, Anthony was brought to trial. She was unable to testify herself, as the judge barred her on account that “she is not a competent as a witness on her own behalf.” Her lawyer, Judge Selden, argued for her case, citing the 14th Amendment and calling the arrest gender discrimination.

She lost the case and was sentenced a $100 fine (in addition to the costs of the persecution) to which she declared, “I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” True to her words, Anthony never paid the fine for the rest of her life.

4 Responses to “WANTED: Susan B. Anthony”

  1. Lexi says:

    Very Useful information…Thank you!!!

  2. NWHM says:

    Hi Lexi,

    Thank you for your enthusiasm and glad we were able to provide useful information!

  3. Laila says:

    Thanks for your valuable information on Susan B. Anthony! I am participating in the National History Day competition with my topic as Susan B. Anthony! Your sources and information helped a lot!

  4. NWHM says:

    Dear Laila,

    Thank you for your comment! Glad the post was able to help with your project!

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