Friday, 3 June 2011

Susan B. Anthony

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Do you really know what you believe in? If so why do you believe that way? Would you stand up for yourself and your beliefs? How important is it to you? Just how far would you go to fight for what you believe in? Susan B. Anthony, a well known abolitionist and women’s rights supporter, knew exactly what she believed in. Not only did she believe in it, but stood up for her self and what she believed in. She felt the need to represent other women in fighting for these rights. Susan had a tremendous impact on the world during her life in the 1800’s. She held women’s rights conventions, gathering women to inform them of her beliefs and the importance of education. She began the Women’s National Loyal League to tie together women’s rights of the 1850’s and of the post war. Susan Anthony, along with the help of her good friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton, also formed the Woman Suffrage Association of American to fight for woman suffrage.

In the mid-nineteenth century, most Americans concentrated on the religious, moral, abolitionist, and women’s rights movements. Americans were presented with so many different ideas from different parties or groups of people that they set out to discover for themselves certain issues. Anthony believed this would be the best way to spread new ideas. At the conventions anyone who wished to express an opinion could speak. And important issue that Susan stressed was that of public education for women. Susan was presented with the opportunity to speak at the State Teachers’ Association. Anthony was encouraged by her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton who helped her write a speech. Feeling stressed by the different preparations she had to make before her other meetings, she looked to Stanton for help by stating, “No woman but you can write from my standpoint for all would base their strongest argument on the unlikeness of sexes.” On her outline to Stanton she states her reasoning as to why sexes should be educated together as, “Because by such education they get true ideas of each other….Because the endowment of both public and private funds is ever for those of the male sex, while all the Seminaries and Boarding Schools for Females are left to maintain themselves as best they may be means of their tuition fees consequently cannot afford a faculty of first-class professors….Not a school in the country gives to the girl equal privileges with the boy….No school requires and but very few allow the girls to declaim and discuss side by side with the boys. Thus they are robbed of half of education. The grand thing that is needed is to give the sexes like motives for acquirement. Very rarely a person studies closely, without hope of making that knowledge useful, as a means of support….” This was just the beginning of Anthony’s beliefs and stirs. After being turned down of the resolution by the New York State Teachers’ Association the controversial issues were reported to the press. Soon after, resolutions were passed allowing women to be admitted into Harvard and Yale.

Anthony and Stanton decided to take things a step further by organizing a Women’s National Loyal League. This organization is dedicated to patriotic and political missions while still focusing on women’s rights. This petitioned Congress to approve a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the freedom of African Americans. This was the most successful campaign for the abolition movement. The first discussed with New York abolitionists and also Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, Theodore Tilton, Robert Dale Owen. “These men were in touch with Charles Sumner and other antislavery members of Congress. All agreed that the Emancipation Proclamation must be implemented by an act of Congress, by an amendment to the Constitution, and that public opinion must be aroused to demand a Thirteenth Amendment. If women would help, so much would be better.” Susan then came up with the goal to present Congress with the largest petition ever. Anthony proposes that peace can never be restored until the civil and political rights of Negroes and women are established. Many women objected to that resolution. Officers of the National Loyal League were Susan as secretary and Mrs. Stanton, as Susan liked to call her, as President. Susan began printing petitions and rented a place to work at. Her petitions stated her plea, “There must be a law abolishing slavery….Women, you can’t vote or fight for your country. Your only way to be a power in the government is through the exercise of this one, sacred, constitutional right of petition and we ask you to use to now to the utmost.” As those signed the petition she asked for them to donate a penny to her cause. She ended up raising $,000. As postage for the petitions increased, Anthony began to collect funds to keep it going. She gained the support of Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, Horace Greeley, and George William Curtis who spoke about her beliefs and began to gain funds for her. When the Senator Sumner discovered how important her petitions were about the thirteenth amendment he saved her postage by sending them out frank. By the end of one year she had 100,000 signatures which rose to 400,000 just a few months after. On April 1864 the Thirteenth Amendment was passed by the Senate. This part of Anthony’s work was finished so she disbanded the Women’s National Loyal League and returned home to her family.

During the 1880’s Anthony became a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. At the first convention in Washington D.C. on February of 180, Anthony was elected vice president at large. She always acted as the mastermind and extraordinaire just as she always has. At the 18 election she was elected president until she retired in 100. During this time Anthony hand picked Chapman Catt to be her successor after her retirement. On August 6, 10 the women suffrage reached its final victory with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

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Susan B. Anthony seems to be a hero to the women not only in her lifetime but now also. Her example of not only talking the talk but walking the walk is clearly seen in her way of life. Her caring about women and their education, rights, and suffrage displayed the love and unselfishness in her life shown in the many groups and associations that she not only was a member of but started and led. Not only did she state what she believed was wrong in the world but she did something about it, and for that she was and still is greatly admired.

Alma Lutz. Susan B. Anthony. Boston; Beacon Press, 15. p.68

Lutz, p.6

Lutz, p.101

Lutz, p. 10

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