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The Susan B. Anthony Trial
Transcript of The Susan B. Anthony Trial
Susan B. Anthony was one of the most prominent women’s civil rights leaders of her time. She advocated for gender equality and women's suffrage. Anthony was fearless and outspoken. She encouraged other women to fight back against the constraints placed on women during the time and to become more active and independent in society.
The Susan B. Anthony Trial
Susan B. Anthony was born in Massachusetts on February 15, 1820. From an early age, she taught the importance of women. She was a member of the Quaker faith, one of the few Christian denominations of the time that encouraged participation by women. Anthony was also a supporter of the anti-slavery movement and involved in the temperance movement starting in 1851. It was at this time that Anthony was inspired to campaign for women’s rights.
The Issue of Suffrage
When the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870, it only gave men the right to vote. The amendment elicited many complicated emotions from those involved in the women's rights movement. On the one hand, they were glad that freedmen now had the right to vote. On the other hand, they felt the amendment did not go far enough because it did not include women. After the amendment was ratified, Susan B. Anthony decided to take matters into her own hands.
Anthony Decides To Vote
In 1872, Anthony and another activist named Cady Stanton urged women all throughout the country to go to the polls and attempt to vote. On November 5, 1872 Anthony, along with fourteen other women convinced the election inspectors in Rochester, New York to allow them to register. The women primarily cast their votes for Ulysses S. Grant and other Republicans. Grant would be reelected and be president during the upcoming trial.
An Unjust Trial
The first day Anthony's trial was on June 17, 1873. The presiding judge of the case was Justice Ward Hunt, a staunch opponent of women's suffrage. Hunt would not let Anthony speak during the trial and did not permit the jury to even deliberate on the case. After Hunt issued the verdict of guilty, the courtroom was shocked and even those who disagreed with Anthony's vote called this an unfair trial.
(The U.S Courthouse in Canandaigua, New York was the site of Anthony's trial)
Before issuing his sentence, Hunt asked Anthony if she had anything to say before the court. She responded with a lengthy objection, noting that the verdict "trampled every vital principal of our government." Anthony also added that "resistance to tyranny is obedience to God." Hunt ordered Anthony to stop but she continued with her impassioned speech. Hunt eventually interjected and sentenced Anthony to pay a $100 fine (about $2000 today). Anthony refused to pay and said that the ruling was unjust.
By Khoa Huynh and Keith Campbell
Even though Anthony had technically lost her case, the woman's suffrage cause gained a large amount of publicity and respect. She was not made to pay the $100 fine because the courts feared she would ask for a retrial. The courage she displayed in her speech brought women's rights to the national forefront. Anthony's trial led to the creation of many more women suffrage groups across the country. As her message spread, more people became involved and the time period from 1890 to 1920 became known as the progressive era because of how much the women's rights movement was gaining steam.
(Quakers had very progressive views regarding women in the nineteenth century
(The 15th amendment only gave men the right to vote.)
Over the next forty years, many more economic and education opportunities opened to women and they gained certain legal rights such as the right to own property. In 1920, congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, which finally granted women the right to vote. These advancements in women's rights may not have happened as fast as they did if had not been for the actions of Susan B. Anthony.
Bradwell v. Illinois
Advancement of Women's Civil Rights
(Susan B. Anthony said that she was robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship)
( Speaker of the House, Frederick H. Gillett, signing the 19th constitutional amendment)
Anthony was very outspoken about her vote which became a symbol that women would not stand for political discrimination. About three weeks her vote was cast, U.S marshals arrested Anthony along with the fifteen other people who voted. Bail for each individual was set at $100. All of the women paid their bail except Anthony, who hoped to get her case heard before the Supreme Court. Her attorney, Henry Selden, disagreed with Anthony and posted bail for her. This meant that the case would not be able to be brought to the Supreme Court. Anthony was extremely frustrated by this because she felt that her opinion would not reach as large an audience or have as much impact if it was not before the Supreme Court.
(A New York Times article detailing the arrest of Susan B. Anthony)
(After Susan B. Anthony's trial, many more people became involved in the women's rights movement)
Agency Honors Historic Voting Locations in US - DC." Democracy Chronicles. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. <http://www.democracychronicles.com/agency-honors-historic-voting-locations-in-us/>.
"BRADWELL v. ILLINOIS." Bradwell v. Illinois. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1851-1900/1872/1872_0>.
"Electronic Edition: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony: Stanton and Anthony Papers Online." Electronic Edition: The Trial of Susan B. Anthony: Stanton and Anthony Papers Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. <http://ecssba.rutgers.edu/pubs/EEtrial.html>.
"The Female Voter." The Female Voter. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. <http://thefemalevoter.org/tag/suffrage/>.
"LOUIS D. BRANDEIS SCHOOL OF LAW." Women's Suffrage. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. <https://www.law.louisville.edu/constitution-day/gallery/suffrage>.
"Ontario County Courthouse in Canandaigua." Panoramio. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. <http://www.panoramio.com/photo/19897733>.
"Susan B. Anthony Arrested for Voting..." - RareNewspapers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://www.rarenewspapers.com/view/561852>.
"Susan B. Anthony Dares to Vote!" Scholastic Publishes Literacy Resources and Children's Books for Kids of All Ages. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4973>.
"Susan B. Anthony House." Susan B. Anthony House. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. <http://www.fmschools.org/webpages/pwebsites/index.cfm?subpage=19395>.
"TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY." TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://everyhistory.org/1648-2.html>.
"The Trial of Susan B. Anthony." The Trial of Susan B. Anthony. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2014. <http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/anthony/sbaaccount.html>.
Ward, Geoffrey C., Martha Saxton, Ann D. Gordon, and Ellen Carol DuBois. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: An Illustrated History. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1999. Print.
"Welcome to OurDocuments.gov." Welcome to OurDocuments.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. <http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=63>.
Bradwell v. Illinois was another noteworthy women's rights case in the 1870s. The case was brought to the Illinois Supreme Court after Myra Bradwell sued for being denied a law license in Illinois in 1872. Bradwell said that she was protected under the Fourteenth Amendment and was allowed to be issued a license. The court saw differently, however, and ruled against Bradwell. Like the Anthony trial, this would cause an uproar among the women's rights community. Susan B. Anthony may have seen how Bradwell's case brought women's rights to national attention and wanted to do the same when she was on trial.
Susan B. Anthony
( A polling place in the 1800s)