12 Interesting Facts about Susan B. Anthony
Here are 12 interesting facts about Susan B. Anthony that make her stand out as one of America’s most prominent social reformers:
- On February 15, 1820, Susan B. Anthony was born in Adam, Massachusetts to parents – Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. Her father was a cotton mill owner. Her mother’s family attained some level of prominence owing to their involvement in the American Revolution
- The Anthonys had seven children, including Daniel, Mary, and Meritt. Susan was the second oldest.
- The “B” in her name was adopted during her youth. She chose the letter “B” in order to distinguish herself from her namesake aunt.
- The Anthonys were devout Quakers and temperance advocates. Owing to their beliefs, they were strongly committed to the values of social equality, believing that the light of God shines equally in every human being. Susan’s brothers on a number of occasions traveled to other states to stand with anti-slavery activists. Merritt is believed to have even fought side by side with radical abolitionist John Brown (the leader of the Harper’s Ferry Raid) during the Bleeding Kansas turmoil.
- After John Brown’s execution in 1859, Anthony and some of her friends mourned his death. She even donated some money to Brown’s family.
- Anthony first met her life-long friend and co-worker Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851. Mrs Stanton was part of the organizing committee of the famed Seneca Falls Convention (in July 1948 at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York). Anthony and Stanton were introduced to each other by another famous women’s rights activist called Amelia Bloomer.
- Securing funding for her activism was quite challenging. The various women’s suffrage associations had very few members that were actively employed. And those lucky enough to have a job were mandated by some laws to give their wages to their husbands. Although it was considered the norm back then, Anthony found this phenomenon absolutely ridiculous.
- Stanton and Anthony formed one of the most formidable partnerships in women’s rights activism in American history. The two women spent hours and hours of their day with each other, planning and strategizing ways to have more impact in the society. They also had complementary skills and abilities, which helped them to go down as America’s most influential crusaders of women’s rights. Anthony had a knack for delivering speeches while Stanton preferred writing intellectually charged articles. Anthony was also skilled at collecting petitions and the organizing-side of things.
- Stanton once likened her relationship with Anthony to the Greek mythical beings – Zeus and the Cyclops. She stated that “I forged the thunderbolts, she fired them.”
- On several occasions, Susan B. Anthony was shut down by some hostile audience as she attempted to give a speech. This came as no surprise; it was the 19th century after all. For example, Anthony and her fellow women delegates walked out of a state temperance convention in 1852 after participants prevented her from giving her speech. The participants derogatorily castigated her and insisted that she listened and learned. A similar incident almost occurred at the New York State Teachers’ Association meeting in 1853.
- Anthony and Stanton’s relationship of over 50 years soured slightly after both started to grow apart in ideologies. Anthony became increasingly conservative while Elizabeth gravitated into more radical approaches of securing women’s suffrage. The latter even penned down “The Woman’s Bible” – a publication that heavily criticized the manner in which the Bible spoke about women. Owing to this and many more others, the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) jettisoned Stanton from its ranks.
- On March 13, 1906, Susan Anthony passed away at a ripe age of 86 at her Rochester, New York home. The cause of her death was a heart failure mixed with pneumonia. America’s jewel in the women’s suffrage movement was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester. She never got married.
Legacy of Susan B. Anthony
Over a career that spanned more than half a century, Susan B. Anthony basically lived on the road, participating in several conventions on social reforms across the nation. Along with her trusted colleague Elizabeth Stanton, Anthony made it a habit of attending several conventions on women’s rights and voting rights.
In 1852, she was present at the National Women’s Rights Conventions in Worcester, Massachusetts. In some of those conventions, she served in several roles, sometimes even being a member of the organizing committees.
Initially, she was actively involved in the creation of the Women’s State Temperance Society. A big admirer of Temperance, she stressed on the negative effects a drunken husband had on the his entire family. She did not shy away from sharing how actions of those drunk could ruin the family as a result of abuse and violence against the women and children.
Fourteen years after her death, the U.S. ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The Amendment came to fruition to a large extent due to tireless works and campaigns of Susan B. Anthony – America’s greatest women suffragist.
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