Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was a prominent,
independent and well-educated American civil rights leader, who, with
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led the effort to secure women's suffrage in
the United States. Anthony was born and raised in Adams, Massachusetts,
the daughter of Quakers. Susan B. Anthony was the second born of eight
children in a strict Quaker family. Susan was a precocious child and
she learned to read and write at the age of three. Her father, Daniel
Anthony, was a stern man, a Quaker Abolitionist and a cotton manufacturer.
He believed in guiding his children instead of directing them. He did
not allow them to experience the childish amusements of toys, games,
and music, which were seen as distractions from the “Inner Light”. Instead,
he enforced self-discipline, principled convictions, and belief in one's
own self-worth. In 1826, the Anthonys moved from Massachusetts to Battensville,
N.Y. where Susan attended a district school.
When the teacher
refused to teach Susan long division, Susan was taken out of school
and taught in a "home school" set up by her father. A female teacher
named Mary Perkins ran the school. Perkins offered a new image of womanhood
to Susan and her sisters. Ultimately, Susan was sent to boarding school
near Philadelphia. Anthony was independent and educated and held a position
that had traditionally been reserved to young men. She taught for 15
years and worked at a female academy, called Eunice Kenyon's Quaker
boarding school, in upstate New York from 1846-1849. After, she settled
in her family home in Rochester, New York. It was here that she began
her first public crusade on behalf of temperance. While in Rochester,
she attended the Unitarian Church. Anthony was very self-conscious,
both of her looks (one eye always pointed slightly outwards) and of
her speaking abilities. She long resisted public speaking for fear her
speech would not be good enough. However, throughout her lifetime, Anthony
thousands of miles each year throughout the United States and Europe
giving speeches on suffrage (75 to 100 speeches per year for 45 years).
She traveled by carriage, wagon, train, mule, stagecoach, ship, submarine,
ferry boat and sleigh. Anthony died at Rochester, New York, on March
13, 1906 and is buried there in Mount Hope Cemetery.
activism Susan Brownell AnthonyIn the decade preceding the outbreak
of the American Civil War, Anthony began and took a prominent part in
the anti-slavery and temperance movements in New York, joining with
Elizabeth Cady Stanton in organizing in 1852 the first woman's state
temperance society in America. In addition, she attended her first women's
rights convention in Syracuse in 1852. In 1856 she became the agent
for New York state of William Lloyd Garrison's American Anti-Slavery
Society. In 1851, Anthony was introduced to Stanton, on a street in
Seneca Falls, by mutual acquaintance Amelia Bloomer, also a feminist.
The two women were to remain close friends and colleagues for the remainder
of their lives, although unlike Anthony, Stanton wanted to push a broader
platform of women's rights than suffrage. Together, the two women traveled
the United States giving speeches about women's rights and attempting
to persuade the government that women should be treated equally to men
Anthony devoted herself almost exclusively to the agitation for women's
rights, and became recognized as one of the ablest and most zealous
advocates of complete legal equality, and as a public speaker and writer.
She was also active in zealously opposing abortion, regarded by her
as an imposition of men onto women: "No matter what the motive, love
of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the
woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience
in life, it will burden her soul in death, but oh, thrice guilty is
he who ... drove her to the desperation that impelled her to the crime!"
(The Revolution, IV, No. 1 (July 8, 1869), 1) From 1868 to 1870, Anthony
was the proprietor of a weekly paper, The Revolution, published in New
York City, edited by Stanton, and having as its motto: "The true republic
— men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing
less."  National suffrage organizations In 1869, Anthony and Stanton
founded the National Woman's Suffrage Association, an organization dedicated
to gaining women the right to vote.
vice-president-at-large of the National Woman's Suffrage Association
(NWSA) from the date of its organization until 1892, when she became
president. Susan B. Anthony in her later years.In the early years of
the NWSA, Anthony made attempts to unite women in the labor movement
with the suffragist cause, but with little success. Along with Stanton,
she was a delegate at the 1868 convention of the National Labor Union.
Anthony alienated the labor movement, not only because suffrage was
seen as a concern for middle-class rather than working women, but because
she openly encouraged women to achieve economic independence by entering
the printing trades, where male workers were on strike. Anthony was
part of the National Labor Union for a while but then was expelled over
this controversy. For casting a Republican vote in the presidential
election held on November 5, 1872, in Rochester, New York, Anthony was
served a warrant on November 18 and was actually fined $100 on June
18, 1873. She never paid the fine, asserting the Fifteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution entitled her to vote.
She was defended
at trial by Matilda Joslyn Gage, who asserted that it was the United
States that was truly on trial, not Anthony. At the trial, she made
her famous "On Women's Right to Vote" speech. Being a citizen of the
United States and having the lawfully given right to vote as a citizen,
Anthony was faced with the constraint of a gender-biased society when
it came to legal issues when presenting this speech. Her speech mainly
focused on the fact that casting her vote in the previous presidential
election was not a crime, simply a legal right of a United States citizen.
Her speech was an attempt to persuade the government that she was not
unlawful in her action, in the fact that if she were to have been a
male, her action would have never been questioned. By not having the
government and not having men in general in her favor, Anthony presented
a strong defense to her speech through the use of statements from the
Constitution to support the fact that her actions were in fact not wrong.
In collaboration with Stanton, Gage, and Ida Husted Harper, Anthony
published The History of Woman Suffrage (4 vols., New York, 1884–1887).
Anthony was also a friend of Josephine Brawley Hughes, an advocate of
women's rights and of alcohol abolition from Arizona.
In 1890, Anthony
orchestrated the merger of the NWSA with the American Woman Suffrage
Association, creating the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Anthony's strategy for suffrage was to unite the suffrage movement where
possible, and to focus on the goal of gaining the vote, leaving aside
other women's rights issues. Her pursuit of alliances with conservative
suffragists created long lasting tension between herself and more radical
suffragists such as Stanton. Stanton criticized this stance, writing
that Anthony and Lucy Stone, leader in the more conservative American
Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), "see suffrage only. They do not see
woman's religious and social bondage."
to Stanton, "We number over 10,000 women and each one has opinions...we
can only hold them together to work for the ballot by letting alone
their whims and prejudices on other subjects." The controversial merger
occurred after Anthony created a special National Woman Suffrage Association
executive committee to decide whether they should unite with the AWSA
(using a committee instead of a full NWSA vote went against the NWSA
constitution). Gage (a prominent member who opposed the merger) was
denied funds to enable her to attend the NWSA convention leading to
these decisions, motions to make it possible for members to vote by
mail were strenuously opposed by Anthony and her adherents, and the
committee was stacked with members who favoured the merger (two who
decided against it were asked to resign). The union of the two organizations
effectively marginalized radical elements of the movement, including
Stanton. Anthony pushed for Stanton to be voted in as the first NAWSA
president, and stood by her as Stanton was belittled by the large conservative
factions within the new organization. Throughout her life, Anthony fought
social injustice, including attacking the injustice women of the period
faced from their fellow man.
It was difficult
for an outspoken woman in 1800s society to live as secondary to men
in society. Anthony was a constant target of abuse from political leaders,
media representatives and private individuals. But as a leading advocate
of abolition, women's rights, a founder of the National Woman Suffrage
Association, and New York State's agent for the American anti-slavery
Association, Susan B. Anthony led an effective and challenging life.
Susan B. Anthony
was honored as the first real (non-allegorical) American woman on circulating
U.S. coinage with her appearance on the Anthony dollar. The dollar coin,
approximately the size of a U.S. quarter, was minted for only four years,
1979, 1980, 1981, and 1999. Anthony dollars were produced at the Philadelphia
and Denver mints for all four of these years, and at the San Francisco
mint for all production years except 1999.
Anthony (1820-1906) was the chief organizer and strategist of the nineteenth-century
movement for woman suffrage. From the time she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton
in 1851, until her death, Anthony worked full time to mobilize a political
movement dedicated to gaining women's equality. Her intensity and endurance
made her the symbol of woman suffrage.
Born on 15
February 1820 in South Adams, Massachusetts, Anthony was the daughter
of Lucy Read and Daniel Anthony. Her father's early success as the operator
of small textile mills came to an end in the financial crash of 1837.
She received a Quaker education and taught school for a decade, joining
the many poorly paid young women who taught in district schools and
academies, before she found her vocation as a reformer. She returned
to Rochester, New York, where her family settled in the 1840s. When
she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851, she had discovered her talent
for political organization in conducting agitational tours and petition
campaigns to abolish slavery and outlaw liquor. In Stanton's vision
of women's rights, Anthony found new motivation to pioneer as an organizer
of women working in their own interest. In the decade after they met,
when Stanton's life was limited by her seven children, Anthony was the
more visible and mobile partner. She visited the Stanton household often
to consult and babysit while Stanton took the opportunity to write a
speech or a position paper. Then Anthony would set off again for meetings
of Quakers, teachers, abolitionists, women's rights advocates, or the
state legislature. Anthony's extraordinary skill at recruiting new supporters
for reform and goading audiences into action was recognized widely.
movement relied on her help, and other reformers called on her as needed.
In short order Anthony set a standard of commitment to her cause that
no one could match. Her personal life was dominated by political activities.
After the Civil War, Anthony and Stanton launched a national effort
to mobilize women to win suffrage for themselves. They began publishing
a weekly newspaper, the Revolution, in 1868. They founded the National
Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. Their style was confrontational.
To demonstrate that no political party could take women for granted,
they shocked their Republican allies by appealing for a woman suffrage
plank to the Democratic National Convention in 1868.
alliances with labor unions, free-love advocates, Marxists, marriage
reformers, and spiritualists. Their politics and their alliances contributed
to the formation late in 1869 of the rival, respectable, and soundly
Republican, American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone.
The National association focused on national suffrage, in the belief
that states did not have the constitutional power to deprive American
citizens of their right to vote. After 1876, the National pushed hard
for passage of a sixteenth constitutional amendment that would prohibit
disfranchisement on account of sex. With its eye on Congress, the National
met annually in Washington, D.C. where Susan B. Anthony and her co-workers
became proficient and familiar lobbyists. Anthony's strength in the
1880s was to build bridges between suffragists and the burgeoning woman's
movement. She courted the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, oversaw
the founding of the International and National Councils of Women, and
pursued the merger in 1890 of the National and American associations
into the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The expanding
movement called for strong leadership. Anthony mediated differences
over cooperating with Mormon women, clashes between white southerners
and northern blacks, and collisions between secularists and evangelical
She also tried
to keep the National focused on winning suffrage from the federal government
rather than from each state. Anthony was eighty years old when she retired
from the presidency of the National. She nonetheless crossed the United
States one more time by train to lend support to western suffragists,
and she attended her last national suffrage meeting one month before
her death. She died at home in Rochester in March 1906.
Susan B. Anthony
(February 15, 1820 - March 13, 1906) Susan Brownell Anthony Also see:
Susan B. Anthony Quotations Also see at bottom of this biography: links
to Susan B. Anthony articles, writings, and iimages and to related articles
on this site Image of Susan B. Anthony - Courtesy Library of Congress
Susan B. Anthony was raised in New York as a Quaker. She taught for
a few years at a Quaker seminary and from there became a headmistress
at a women's division of a school. At 29 years old Anthony became involved
in abolitionism and then temperance.
with Amelia Bloomer led to a meeting with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who
was to become her lifelong partner in political organizing, especially
for women's rights and woman suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, married
and mother to a number of children, served as the writer and idea-person
of the two, and Susan B. Anthony, never married, was more often the
organizer and the one who traveled, spoke widely, and bore the brunt
of antagonistic public opinion. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony (click image for a larger version) Courtesy of the Library of
Civil War, discouraged that those working for "Negro" suffrage were
willing to continue to exclude women from voting rights, Susan B. Anthony
became more focused on woman suffrage. She helped to found the American
Equal Rights Association in 1866, and in 1868 with Stanton as editor,
became publisher of Revolution. Stanton and Anthony founded the National
Woman Suffrage Association, larger than its rival American Woman Suffrage
Association with which it finally merged in 1890. In 1872, in an attempt
to claim that the constitution already permitted women to vote, Susan
B. Anthony cast a test vote in Rochester, New York, in the presidential
election. She was found guilty, though she refused to pay the resulting
fine (and no attempt was made to force her to do so).
In her later
years, Susan B. Anthony worked closely with Carrie Chapman Catt, retiring
from active leadership of the suffrage movement in 1900 and turning
over presidency of the NAWSA to Catt. She worked with Stanton and Mathilda
Gage on a History of Woman Suffrage.
In her writings,
Susan B. Anthony occasionally mentioned abortion. Susan B. Anthony opposed
abortion which at the time was an unsafe medical procedure for women,
endangering their health and life. She blamed men, laws and the "double
standard" for driving women to abortion because they had no other options.
("When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that,
by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged." 1869)
She believed, as did many of the feminists of her era, that only the
achievement of women's equality and freedom would end the need for abortion.
Anthony used her anti-abortion writings as yet another argument for
Some of Susan
B. Anthony's writings were also quite racist by today's standards, particularly
those from the period when she was angry that the Fifteenth Amendment
wrote the word "male" into the constitution for the first time in permitting
suffrage for freedmen. She sometimes argued that educated white women
would be better voters than "ignorant" black men or immigrant men. In
the late 1860s she even portrayed the vote of freedmen as threatening
the safety of white women. George Francis Train, whose capital helped
launch Anthony and Stanton's Revolution newspaper, was a noted racist.
In 1979, Susan B. Anthony's image was chosen for the new dollar coin,
making her the first woman to be depicted on US currency. The size of
the dollar was, however, close to that of the quarter, and the Anthony
dollar never became very popular. In 1999 the US government announced
the replacement of the Susan B. Anthony dollar with one featuring the
image of Sacagawea.