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Susan B Anthony Essay, Research Paper
Susan B. Anthony
Instructors: Mrs. Reynolds
Classes: American Literature
Susan B. Anthony
What individual is on the silver dollar? Unfortunately, Susan B. Anthony is most
commonly known for being on the silver dollar. Because of the new golden dollar, even less there
people who know what she is about. They don’t realize that she is the reason women have rights.
On February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts, a woman by the name of Susan Brownell
Anthony was born to parents Daniel and Lucy (Read) Anthony. She was the second born of a
strongly rooted Quaker family of eight (Hist.Bio.-1). Because they lived in a Quaker
neighborhood, Susan was not heavily exposed to slavery. The family made anti-slavery talks an
almost daily conversation over the dinner table. She also saw men and women on the same level
(Stoddard 36). “A hard working father, who was not only a cotton manufacturer, but a Quaker
Abolitionist also, prevented his children from what he called childish things such as toys, games
and music. He felt that they would distract his children from reaching their peak of performance.
“With a strong household influence like her father, Anthony became a very bright student.
She knew how to read and write at the very tender age of three. She was put in a home school
type school setting at the age of six because her teacher refused to teach her how to do long
division. Because the school was run by a very strong-willed group of women, Anthony received
a new image of womanhood by being taught not only arithmetic and grammar, but also manners
and self-worth. Upon leaving this school, Susan B Anthony attended a boarding school in
Philadelphia where she remained until two years before her father’s business was lost
At the age of fifteen, Susan B. Anthony began teaching (Holland). At the age of nineteen
she had already taught at the boarding school which she had attended, been a governess at in the
home of a merchant in Fort Edward, New York, then helped her family move to Rochester. Once
her family got settled she began doing work around the house. At the house, her father had daily
conversations about the current issues of the day. She would shuffle back and forth between the
kitchen and dining room to participate in these discussions which she so passionately loved. She
was then appointed principal over the girls’ department Canajoharie Academy and would maintain
at that stature until she reached the age of thirty (Holland).
It was at her school where principal Anthony became exposed to the Daughters of
temperance. This group of women went right along with Susan B. Anthony’s Quaker moral
standards. They fought for prohibition. They fought to prevent abuses towards themselves or
their children. She made her first speech in 1849. A few years later, Anthony met Elizabeth Cady
Stanton and Amelia Bloomer at a convention for anti-slavery. Together they published “The
Revolution”, a New York liberal weekly magazine. This magazine would soon parish and put
Susan B. Anthony in debt of 10,000 dollars (Boynick)!
According to author, Hope Stoddard, Susan B. Anthony was a firm, upright person. She
wasn’t afraid to show it to anyone and everyone who wanted to know how she felt. One day,
during a marriage custody conference, an abolitionist by the name of Rev. A. D. Mayo asked
Anthony, in modified words, by what means could she take part in discussions on marriage when
she was not married herself. She responded to this by saying, in revised words, that he was not a
slave, so maybe he should not be taking part in discussions on slavery. It was this kind of
determination that led Susan B. Anthony towards gaining women the right to have equal
guardianship of their children (Dorr 55).
In a period of about twenty years, Anthony supported the United States over the
Confederate States of America before and during the civil war. Her reason for taking a side
during the war was not only to see the slaves be free. Anthony wanted to see all men equal. She
had a plan (Hist. Works).
A couple years after the Civil War had ended, African American men were given the right
to vote and the right to attempt to live the American dream. With this information, Anthony took
off. She felt that women should be granted at least the same rights that had been bestowed upon
those African Americans who had so recently been set free. During the war however, the Equal
Guardianship right faded away into nothing.
Once the Civil War was over, Susan Brownell Anthony got up and went about tending to
the important business of giving women a voice in the government. She began to lecture
whenever and where ever she could get a crowd. This limited her speaking to Roughly.. the
United States of America. Eventually, this area would broaden (Dorr 59).
One day, Susan B. Anthony was feeling good. She walked down to the polls and made a
vote which was already pre-registered. None of the officials at the poll took her seriously because
the vote was already registered. But later on that day, she walked into a neighborhood polling
area and cast her vote. This time it was serious. The officials escorted Ms. Anthony to the court
house. The trial was fixed so that she did not even have a remote chance of coming off innocent.
She was then charged a fine of one hundred dollars to which she responded to by saying:
Your denial of my citizen’s right to vote is the denial of my right of consent as one of the
governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed,… the denial of my sacred
right of life, liberty, property …. A commoner in England, tried before a jury of lords, would have
had far less to complain, than I, a woman, tried before a jury of men (Stoddard 43).
May it please your Honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. All the stock in
trade that I possess is a 10,000 dollar debt, incurred by publishing my paper, The Revolution, four
years ago, the sole object of which was to educate all women to do precisely as I have done, rebel
against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, that tax, fine, imprison, and hang
women, while they deny them the right of representation in the government; and I shall work on
with might and main to pay every dollar of that honest debt; but not a penny will go to this unjust
claim. And I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical
recognition of the old revolutionary maxim, that ‘resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.’
(qtd.. in Stoddard 43-44).
Susan Brownell Anthony never became retired. She was always there, fighting that race,
trudging on to achieve voting rights for women. Little did she know, that fourteen years after her
death at the age of eighty-six, the nineteenth amendment would be passed. This amendment, also
known as the “Anthony amendment”, gave women the right to vote.
Susan Brownell Anthony has left many marks in the present day world we live in. If it
were not for her, many minorities would not have the benefits that they have right now. If she
had not lived the life she lived, women might still be fighting for the rights they have now. If it
were not for her, we would have never had her printed on the silver dollar. The world would not
be as good of a place.
Boynick, David K. Women Who Led the Way: Eight Pioneers for Equal Rights.
New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. 1959.
Dorr, Rheta Louise. Susan B. Anthony, the Woman Who Changed the Mind of a Nation.
New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1928.
Holland, Patricia G. “Anthony, Susan B(rownell)”. Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. CD-ROM.
New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1994.
Stoddard, Hope. Famous American Women. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
“Untitled”. Online. Internet. www.history.rochester.edu/class/sba/bio.html.
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