Susan B Anthony

Women's Rights Activist


Birth Date & Place: February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts


- Susan's parents had been raised in different religions- Lucy as a Baptist & Daniel as a Quaker

- Susan was raised in a Quaker family

- Susan and her sisters received the same education as their brothers, since Quakers valued education for both boys & girls

- Her family had activist traditions where she was encouraged to be self-reliant, self-confident and concerned about social issues, in particular temperance, or the movement against drinking alcohol/ the fight against slavery

- Her mother, Lucy never joined the Quakers but did adopt their simple lifestyle

- Susan had eight siblings (one was stillborn)- 5 sisters and 2 brothers

- Susan's mother did not have any regular household help so she enlisted the older children's help for domestic tasks such as cooking and taking care of the younger children

- Daniel, her father, owned a small textile mill in Adams that made cotton cloth

- Around 1826 Daniel moved the family to Battenville, NY where he could manage a larger textile mill (the first of many moves)


- At the religious affiliations Susan attended, the members who had a gift for hearing and speaking about god's message were recognized as elders, including women such as Lucretia Mott who inspired Susan


- After teaching for fifteen years, she became active in temperance. Because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join the women's rights movement in 1852

The Activist

  • Susan B Anthony held 4 positions, the one she is most known for is being a campaigner for women's rights
  • The Abolitionist: After her family moved to Rochester in 1845, members of the Anthony family were active in the anti-slavery movement. Anti-slavery Quakers met at their farm almost every Sunday, where they were sometimes joined by Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

  • In 1863 Anthony and Stanton organized a Women's National Loyal League to support and petition for the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery.

  • In 1856 Anthony became an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society, arranging meetings, making speeches, putting up posters, and distributing leaflets. She encountered hostile mobs, armed threats, and things thrown at her. She was hung in effigy, and in Syracuse her image was dragged through the streets.

  • The Educational Reformer: Anthony called for equal educational opportunities for all regardless of race, and for all schools, colleges, and universities to open their doors to women and people who had been enslaved. In the 1890s Anthony raised $50,000 in pledges to ensure the admittance of women to the University of Rochester. In a last-minute effort to meet the deadline she put up the cash value of her life insurance policy. The University was forced to make good its promise and women were admitted for the first time in 1900.

  • The Labor Activist: Susan B. Anthony's paper The Revolution, first published in 1868, advocated an eight-hour work day and equal pay for equal work. It promoted a policy of purchasing American-made goods and encouraging immigration to rebuild the South and settle the entire country. Publishing The Revolution in New York brought her in contact with women in the printing trades.

  • Suffragist: Susan B. Anthony was convinced by her work for temperance that women needed the vote if they were to influence public affairs. Susan B. Anthony died in 1906 at her home on Madison Street in Rochester. All American adult women finally got the vote with the Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, in 1920.
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"Men- their rights and nothing more; Women- their rights and nothing less."

Susan in the Twenty-First Century

- In the 21st century many people would argue that discrimination against women is ancient history, however women are still not fully equal to men

- Susan B. Anthony would fall into the category of women's empowerment shared with Emma Watson, the appointed UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador

More Examples:

- Along with Disney's animated characters Elsa from Frozen and Merida from Brave that represent modern feminism (the boundless female spirit- strong and graceful, with the power to change the world)

- Anthony would have been the type of girl who would have tried out for the football team in comparison to attempting to vote during the 1820s

- With the ambition that Susan B. Anthony depicted, she would easily achieve to reduce gender barriers, especially with the aid of technology (the power of social media)

- However, I believe Susan B Anthony would not have been as successful as she had been due to the large proportion of women who are recognized today for fighting for feminism such as Malala Yousafzai

- If I had acquired the skills of Susan B. Anthony, I would advocate for feminism as well- to create a safety net for women around the globe who are struggling to rise up against their communities' norms.

Parallels/ Conclusions

- It was an age where the impact of the industrial revolution caused a sharp differentiation between the gender roles, especially of the upper and middle classes

- Men and women were thought to have completely different natures, owing largely to Darwin's work in biological determinism, and people saw those differences as dictating separate and different functions in society

- Men were thought to have natures suited to the public world, women to the private
- In Susan's time period women were severely oppressed as demonstrated by the following:

  • Girls' activities were limited to "ladylike" endeavors
  • Girls and women were considered naturally weaker and inferior to boys and men
  • It was considered shocking, outrageous and scandalous for a woman to give a speech in public
  • Women who dared to speak were threatened, ridiculed and sometimes even attacked
  • Women were expected to confine their activities to a "separate sphere" of their homes and exhibit the virtues of wifely submission and motherly domesticity
  • Always had to be escorted outside their home by a man
- Susan in comparison to the women of her time, had a luxurious childhood where her parents raised her in an environment that promoted equality between men and women; she was literally shielded from the influence of society when her father built a school to educate his children

- With this background Susan was able to gain the confidence to speak up for women and fight for equal rights

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"Old Friends Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony Made History Together" - The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities - by Katie June-Friesen

Katie June-Friesen in her article wishes to portray how the advocacy for women's rights of Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are intertwined. Campaigning in the antislavery and temperance movements from their activist beginnings (participial phrase), Elizabeth and Susan met in 1851 at the Seneca Falls convention. Each woman had a particular skill set that contributed towards the making of a powerful team—Anthony as an on-the-ground organizer and strategist and Stanton as a writer, thinker, and commentator (periodic sentence). Their involvement in these movements cultivated a shared interest towards broader equality issues. Both women combined forces to act on a mutual passion - the right of women to participate in the governing process ,"we the people....". Elizabeth and Susan faced many struggles such as the one resulting from the Spanish-American war as the U.S. gained new territories and set up governments that limited women's rights. However, their cause for equality never wavered and the lasting impact that they created, allowing women to vote today is forever remembered.

Works Cited