Susan B. Anthony: Timeline of the Life of One of America’s Greatest Social Reformers
Susan B. Anthony was a renowned women’s suffrage and labor activist famous for establishing the National Women Suffrage Association. Her life work went way beyond women’s rights; it included other social reform pursuits in the abolitionist and civil rights movement. She is best known for devoting her career to the pursuit of a constitutional amendment that would give women the rights to vote in the United States.
This timeline outlines key moments and events in the life and illustrious career of Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906).
1820: In Adams, Massachusetts, Susan Brownell Anthony is born to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. Susan was the second-oldest of child of her parents.
1826: Susan and her family moves to Battenville, New York.
1837: Susan enrolls at the Friends seminary near Philadelphia
1838: Susan and her sister temporarily drop out of school as the family goes through severe financial difficulties (even declaring bankruptcy and losing their Battenville house) owing to the 1837 economic depression.
1839: Begins a teaching a job at Eunice Kenyon’s Friends Seminary, New Rochelle, New York
1845: Susan B. Anthony and her family settle at Rochester, New York. The family’s farm quickly becomes a meeting point for a number of women’s suffragists and abolitionist. America’s most famous abolitionist and civil rights activist of the 19th century, Frederick Douglas features prominently in those meetings.
1846: Anthony gets appointed as the headmistress of the Female Department in Canajoharie Academy, Rochester, New York
1848: She becomes a member of the Daughters of Temperance in Canajoharie, New York
1849: Becomes Presiding Sister of the Montgomery Union, No. 29 of the Daughters of Temperance in Canajoharie
1851: An anti-slavery convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York. The convention is attended by the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Blommer and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
1852: Anthony partners with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other women’s rights activists. They establish the Women’s New York State Temperance Society.
1953: Susan B. Anthony organizes the Whole World’s Temperance Convention.
1853: Intensifies her push for fair wages and better working conditions for seamstresses from Rochester, New York
1854: Collects signatures and support on petitions for woman suffrage and a fairer Married Woman’s Property Law in New York
1854: The Smithsonian in Washington and Capitol Hill turns down her request to give a speech. Anthony channels her energy into woman suffrage campaigns in Mayville, Chautauqua County.
1856: Susan B. Anthony becomes the principal agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society in New York
1857: Anthony is invited to the New York State Teachers’ Convention in Binghamton. At the convention she gives a brilliant speech that calls on the state to allocate money for education for women and Blacks.
1861: Under the slogan “No Union with Slaveholders. No Compromise”, Anthony begins an anti-slavery campaign that would take her from Buffalo to Albany.
1863: Sets up the Women’s Loyal National League (she gets help from a number of women activists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton). The League pushes to end slavery through the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
As the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) rips through the country, Anthony and Stanton pens “Appeal to the Women of the Republic”.
1866: Becomes the Corresponding Secretary of the American Equal Rights Association.
1866: Continues to dialogue with the U.S. Congress in order to secure universal suffrage in the U.S.
1868: Teams up with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury to begin weekly publication of The Revolution. The trio also establishes the Working Women’s Associations to aid women in the publishing and garment industries.
1869: Anthony intensifies her work in the suffrage movement by calling for the first Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington D.C.
1870: Much to the delight of suffragists and abolitionists like Anthony, the U.S. ratifies the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which makes it illegal to disenfranchise American citizens “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”.
1872: She is arrested and put on trial for voting in a national election. Albany indicts her and processes her for court.
1873: Court proceedings end and Anthony is found guilty. She is slapped with 100 -dollar fine. She stands her ground and vehemently refuses to pay the fine.
1875: The U.S. Supreme Court releases its verdict (in the case – Minor v. Happersett) that sustains disfranchisement of female citizens of the United States.
1876: At the Centennial Exposition, Susan presents a woman’s Declaration of Rights
1878: A senator from California introduces to the floor the 16th Amendment that would have given women the right to vote. The amendment, which was called the Anthony Amendment, does not pass. It did however form the bases of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1881-1902: Teams up with Elizabeth Cady Staton and Matilda Joslyn Gage to come out with the first three volumes of History of Woman Suffrage. The trio was later supported by Ida Husted Harper to come out with volume four of the book.
1887: The proposed 16th Amendment fails in U.S. Senate
1888: Establishes the International Council of Women
1890: Relocates to Rochester, New York. She also takes up the position of vice president at the National American Women Suffrage Association.
1892: Appointed trustee at the State Industrial School in Rochester, New York
1892-1900: Susan Anthony is appointed President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
1895-1896: Anthony pushes for women’s suffrage in the state of California.
1895: The Woman’s Bible (New York: European Publishing Co. 2 vols.) is published by Elizabeth Cady Staton
1896: Elizabeth Cady Staton’s publication doesn’t go down well with NAWSA. The organization distances itself from Staton.
1898: After teaming up with Ida H. Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, A Story of the Evolution of the Status of Women is published. Anthony is relentless in her push for women’s suffrage as she sets up a press bureau that distributes articles on woman suffrage to various local and national publishing houses.
1900: Goes into retirement. The NAWSA gets a new president – Carrie Chapman Catt.
1900: Anthony successfully meets the financial requirement for women’s admission into the University of Rochester, New York. She uses her life insurance as a pledge.
1903: Delivers a speech at the New York State Nurses Convention, where she highlights on the need for a standardized training and registration of nurses. That same year, the state passes out the Nurses Practice Act.
1904: Establishes the International Women Suffrage Alliance.
1905: Anthony is invited to the White House to meet with President Theodore Roosevelt. She has an extensive discussion with Teddy about the suffrage amendment in Congress. That same year, she gets involved in several suffrage campaigns in Washington, D.C. It was in the nation’s capital, and on her 86th birthday, that she gave her famous speech, “Failure is Impossible”.
1906: Susan B. Anthony dies on March 13 at her home on Madison Street, Rochester, New York. The renowned suffragist and labor was 86.
1920: Fourteen years after Susan B. Anthony’s death, our nation ratifies the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment which grants voting rights to all women citizens in the U.S. came to be called the Susan B. Anthony amendment. It was a testament to her decades and decades of struggle to getting women on an equal footing to men under the law.