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Susan B. Anthony: Was a Pioneer Civil Rights Activist leader and Her Political Activities

Updated on September 26, 2012
Susan B. anthony at age 28
Susan B. anthony at age 28 | Source

Young Life

Susan B. Anthony was born in February 15, 1820 to a Quaker family in West Grove (near Adams) New York. She was raised in that religion. She was the next to oldest of   seven children. Her sister Mary Stafford Anthony became a teacher and a women’s rights activist, while her brother Daniel Reed Anthony became an editor and active in the Kansas anti-slavery movement.

Daniel, her father, was a cotton manufacturer and and abolitionist. He was stern but open minded and a member of the Quaker religion. No toys or amusements were allowed in the house on the basis that such things would distract the soul from the “inner light.” Her mother, Lucy, was less enthused about the Quaker religion Both parents enforced self-discipline; principled convictions and belief in one’s own self worth..

Susan learned to read and write at the age of three.  When her family moved to Battenville, N>Y> when she was six years old a teacher at the local school refused to teach her long division because she was a girl. When her father heard about that he took her out of school and enrolled her in a group home school where he taught her himself. Another teacher, Mary Perkins, gave her a progressive image of womanhood.

. In August 1848 she attended the Rochester women’s rights convention, which was two weeks after a historic Seneca Falls Convention

President Grover clevelan chased by susan Anthony with an Umbrella
President Grover clevelan chased by susan Anthony with an Umbrella | Source

Teaching

 In 1837 she went to Deborah Moulson’s Female seminary, a Quaker boarding school in Philadelphia. Her education was cut short because her family was ruined financially by the panic of 1837.

 Two years later the family moved to Hardscrabble, N.Y. Susan went to work as a teacher at Eunice Kenton’s Friends Seminary and later at the Canahane Academy in 1846. She became the headmistress of the female department. She helped to pay the family debts.

She quit teaching and went back to the family in Rochester where she became active in the temperance movement and started attending a Unitarian church. She  drifted away from the

Quakers and later drifted somewhat away from organized religion and received criticism from Christian groups.

Susan Anthony
Susan Anthony | Source

Social Activism

Susan became interested in abolition and temperance movements when she was 29 years old. She met lifetime partner in political activity Elizabeth Cady Stanton through her friend Amelia Bloomer. Elizabeth became the writer and idea contributor while Suzan’s energies went into traveling, giving lectures and organizing. She was the one in the public eye; who took the brunt of criticism and antagonism.

When she was young she was self conscious about her looks and her speaking abilities. Despite these misgivings she became a popular public figure and leader in the women’s movement.

Susan took an active and prominent role in the New York anti-slavery and temperance movements. In 1836 when, at age 16, she collected two boxes of petitions opposed to slavery in response to a gag rule that prohibited such petitions in the House of Representatives. At age 29 she became secretary for Daughters of Temperance. Which started her exposure to public attention.

In 1850 she read a detailed account of in the New York Tribune of the first women’s rights convention in Worcester, MA. Horace Greeley in this article wrote a very admiring description of the final speech given by Lucy Stone. That speech convinced Susan to devote her life to women’s rights. She met both Stone and Greeley in Seneca Falls in the summer of 1852.

With Cady Stanton she started the first state temperance society in America. They traveled the United states together giving speeches and persuaded the government that men and women should be treated alike. She and Mitilda Jocelyn Gage both made speeches for women’s rights at the National women’s rights Convention. After that She became prominent in Women’s rights.

In 1856 she tried to unite the African-American and women’s rights movement and became an agent for William Lloyd garrison’s American Anti-Slavery Society of New York. After the Civil War she was disappointed that those working for suffrage for Blacks seemed not concerned with the vote for women so she drifted away from that cause and concentrated on working for women’s suffrage.

Along with Stanton she started the National Women’s Suffrage Association (NWSA). She was vice-president of the organization until 1892 and then became its president.

She was active in national suffrage organizations but was criticized by the more radical women.

Anthony silver dollar
Anthony silver dollar | Source

Notes on sources:

Much information for this article was extracted from Wikipedia article on Susan B. Anthony. I have also used About.com Women’s History for information. On the abortion issue some information came from Women’s enews article “Susan B. Anthony’s Abortion Position Spurs Scuffle.”

The Revolution

The weekly publication The revolution started January 1, 1868. Its motto was ‘The true republic—men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.” It was published to promote women’s suffrage and African-American rights. It also discussed issues like equal pay, for equal work, more liberal divorce laws and the church’s position on women’s rights.

  

 Abortion

She was against abortion, which in her day was a dangerous procedure. She felt that if men took responsibility for the pregnancies they caused women would not feel the need to get abortions.

In her publication The Revolution, was written:

"Guilty? Yes. 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 which impelled her to the crime!"

Abortion was referred to as "child murder."
The Revolution, 4(1):4 July 8, 1869

"We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil...It is practiced by those whose inmost souls revolt from the dreadful deed."
The Revolution, 4(1): 4 July 8, 1869

"All the articles on this subject that I have read have been from men. They denounce women as alone guilty, and never include man in any plans for the remedy."
The Revolution, 4(1): 4 July 8, 1869

Susan died in 1906 of heart disease and pneumonia and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery In Rochester.

Comments

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    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting.. I believe she was important.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      The abortion issue remains the same today. It is murder. The article is great and I learned some things I didn't know, like the African American rights.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      wba, It was a different world. Heck, it was a different world when I grew up, although maybe for different reasons. I think even non-religious people often had such strict rules in the old days though. Thanks for commenting.

    • wba108@yahoo.com profile image

      wba108@yahoo.com 5 years ago from upstate, NY

      Boy, it was a different world back then! It was a hard time to live, it sounds like her Quaker religion made it even harder.

      "No toys or amusements were allowed in the house"

      As a woman, it was especially difficult to make a living, so it was rare that Susan B Anthony was able to rescue her family from debt. I live here in Johnstown NY and right down the street is the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, it says on a plague that Susan B Anthony often came to visit at the Stanton residence.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'm certainly glad that you find it useful.

    • profile image

      Grace 7 years ago

      Wow im studying this and im getting good information!!!!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'm glad you liked it. I appreciate the comment.

    • profile image

      miranda 7 years ago

      i really liked it

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for the supportive comment,

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Susan B. Anthony certainly was a fascinating person. I enjoy your historical pieces, you make these people ccome alive.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      I learned a new few facts about Susan B. Anthony I didn't know before. Good article and good information

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading it and commenting.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Enjoyed this Hub. It's always great to remember the brave women who made a difference. Thanks.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for reading it and commenting.I think there is always something to be learned from the past.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for filling in some details that I did not know about the life of Susan B. Anthony. She certainly was a well known pioneer in her day and age.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      At least in the United states I think they have been linked.Thanks for commenting.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      I had no idea there was a link between the temperance movement and women's rights. This is interesting.

      The movement towards wider rights goes back a long ways - but we tend to think of it as a 20th century movement.

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for the comment. It seems to me that a lot of people think that civil rights started in the 1960's. The early pioneers get forgotten.

    • kirutaye profile image

      kirutaye 7 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting woman and with an interestng history. She was definitely a pioneer. Imagine writing this pertinent quote so long ago:

      "Guilty? Yes. 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 which impelled her to the crime!"

      Great hub!

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I am glad you enjoyed it. The pioneer reformers seem at times to be forgotten.thanks for commenting.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Wonderful Hub about a wonderful woman! Thank you. I have long known a little about Susan B Anthony but this Hub filed in a lot of detail that I did not know. I have always been interested in her, and not only because her last name is my first!

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • dahoglund profile image
      Author

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I appreciate your support and comment.

    • esatchel profile image

      PDGreenwell 7 years ago from Kentucky

      I enjoy your Hubs that focus on historical persons and topics. Susan B Anthony was one brave woman, to confront the issues concerns women and human rights. And all of this before women could even vote!

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