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Who Is The Most Influential American?-Honors US History-1st Semester

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Megan Dempsey

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of Who Is The Most Influential American?-Honors US History-1st Semester

Megan Dempsey

Honors Project-US History
Who Is The Most Influential American?
Susan B. Anthony
Why do I say she is the most influential American?
Actually, I don't believe there is in fact a MOST influential American. There are, however, many different people which were influential in many different fields.

For example:
Mark Twain was influential in writing, therefore also influencing politics to some extent.
Einstein was influential to science and knowledge.
James Madison was influential within politics, creating the constitution and creating a base for the US.


Susan B. Anthony was the most influential American within her field of what she was aiming to reach.
She was an active Civil Rights Leader, as well as a feminist.
She was the first woman to place a pivotal movement in introducing Women's right to vote in the United States.
She decided, around 1851, after being denied the chance to speak at a temperance convention, that no one would take women seriously in politics unless they had the right to vote.
From then on, she fought for women's suffrage in the United States.
Along with Elizabeth Stanton (another very influential women for women's rights in the United States) she established the Women's New York State Temperance Society, in 1852
Later, they also formed the Women's Right's Committee
The two, traveled extensively, delivering 75 to 100 speeches per year, urging everyone to fight for Women's equal rights within the US.
During this time, she also began to see relevance in the abolition of slavery within the US.
She fought for Civil Rights, and worked as an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
After the Civil War ended, she focused on Women's Rights.
She created the American Equal Rights Association, in 1866, again, along with Stanton.
Together, they created and published "The Revolution": a weekly journal that urged for equal rights for everyone no matter their race and/or sex.
The motto of their journal was:

"Men their rights, and nothing more; women their rights, and nothing less."
In 1872, she voted illegally in the presidential election.
She was arrested for her crime, and charged $100, which she never payed.
Even in her absence, Stanton still fought for her, and even published various books and articles on her life.
Even at the end of her life, she still fought for equal rights for women.
A year before she died, she met with President Theodore Roosevelt (1905) to fight for an amendment which gave women their right to vote.
When she died, it is said that her last words to her friend, Anna Shaw, were: "To think I have had more than 60 years of hard struggle for a little liberty, and then to die without it seems so cruel."
It wasn't until 14 years after she died that women were finally granted their right to vote. However, her efforts in making this happen were crucial. If it weren't for her, it would have taken so much longer.
This is why I believe, Susan B. Anthony was one of the most influential Americans within this time period, at least within the topic of Women's and Civil Rights.
Is Influential synonymous with famous?
In some cases, yes, however, being famous doesn't necessarily mean you will be in fact, influential to the world. Being influential means that you add something of importance to the world, leave something good behind. Especially today, most of the people who are considered famous, aren't usually influential because they aren't leaving anything of importance behind.
However, you can be influential and famous at the same time, like Mark Twain or Einstein for example. So, these two are in fact synonymous in some cases, it just depends on the situation.
My choice is a relatively famous American, as many people know who she is because of school. But tragically, it isn't as likely that people would know her name if I asked them as it is likely that they will know Justin Bieber, for instance.
She does however, have her birthday celebrated in the states of Florida and Wisconsin, (February 15th) as well as having a US postal stamp with her picture on it.
The idea of who is the most famous American has changed, overtime, in the sense that, today, we think the most famous people are those who we listen to, who we watch on TV and in the movies. Today, the people who become famous names aren't the biologists and the mathematicians, but the people whom create the art we watch everyday. This happened, because before, people valued education, they valued knowledge. These days, the only thing we seem to value is who has the best hairstyle, and where we can get that dress that Angelina Jolie wore on the red carpet last night.

As what society valued changed, the definition of who became famous Americans changed as well.
"Anthony, Susan Brownell." Encyclopedia of American Studies. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. Credo Reference. Web. 16 December 2013.
"Susan B. Anthony Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://www.biography.com/people/susan-b-anthony-194905?page=2>.
Lewis, Jone. "Susan B. Anthony." About.com Women's History. About.com, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013. <http://womenshistory.about.com/od/anthonysusanb/a/anthony.htm>.
"The Trial of Susan B. Anthony." The Trial of Susan B. Anthony. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013. <http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/anthony/sbaaccount.html>.
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