Susan B. Anthony and women’s suffrage

November 5, 1872 – in defiance of the law, suffragist Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time, and is later fined $100.

Anthony and nearly fifty other women in Rochester, New York attempted to vote in the presidential election of 1872. Fifteen of them convinced the election inspectors to allow them to cast ballots, but the others were turned back. There had been earlier cases of women attempting to vote, and even some cases of success, but the reaction of the authorities had been muted. When Anthony voted, however, the reaction was different, and her case became a national controversy.  Anthony was arrested on November 18, 1872, by a U.S. Deputy Marshal and charged with illegally voting. The other fourteen women were also arrested but released pending the outcome of Anthony’s trial.

Anthony did not live to see the achievement of women’s suffrage at the national level, but she was proud of the progress the women’s movement had made. At the time of her death, women had achieved suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho, and several larger states followed soon after. Legal rights for married women had been established in most states, and most professions had at least a few women members. 36,000 women were attending colleges and universities, up from zero a few decades earlier.”  Two years before she died, Anthony said, “The world has never witnessed a greater revolution than in the sphere of woman during this fifty years”.

Part of the revolution was in ways of thinking. In a speech in 1889, Anthony noted that women had always been taught that their purpose was to serve men, but “Now, after 40 years of agitation, the idea is beginning to prevail that women were created for themselves, for their own happiness, and for the welfare of the world.”  Anthony was sure that women’s suffrage would be achieved, but she also feared that people would forget how difficult it was to achieve it, as they were already forgetting the ordeals of the recent past.  (from Wikipedia)

On August 26, 1936, the United States Postal Service issued a 3-cent stamp commemorating Anthony and the Women’s Suffrage Movement (Scott No. 784):

susan_b_anthony-3c-usa

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