Susan B. Anthony Biography and Career

Susan B. Anthony was born and raised in the small town of Adams, Massachusetts. Her parents, Daniel and Lucy Anthony, brought her into this world on February 15, 1820. Susan was a natural born leader; she was smart, passionate, and courageous in her efforts to spread the word and help make changes for the better in the things she believed in. With her passion to not only join activist groups but to lead and form them, her influences from her parents and friends she met along the way, Anthony was able to mold herself into one of the most prominent women’s rights activists we all know her as today. Susan B. Anthony’s parents played a large role in helping shape her into whom she is known as today. They influenced her positively and motivated and supported her in everything she did and believed in. Her father Daniel was an agriculturalist during Susan’s early childhood. Later Daniel became a manager and owner of a cotton mill.

Her mother, Lucy, came from a family that fought in and played a big role in the American Revolution and served as members of the Massachusetts state government. Anthony was also raised in a Quaker household; Quakers are a religious group stemming off Christianity who holds a strong belief system in the equality. Anthony’s father also pushed her and her siblings to be in school and get their education. Their father always made sure they were getting the best education that she and her 8 siblings could. She started off attending a local village school. She was later hired a private tutor by her father and when she was 17 began to attend a Quaker boarding school with her sister. Things didn’t stay that easy for Anthony as she got older. When business debt began to increase, Anthony’s father was forced to sell his mill, his house, furniture, and quite a few personal belongings and move them to a small farm in Rochester, New York. In response to the family crisis, Susan Anthony left boarding school, secured a teaching position, and began sending half of her two-dollar weekly salary home to the family. For the next decade, Anthony remained in the classroom, instructing her pupils in the three R’s, even as she augmented her own education with extensive reading and study. In 1849, at her father’s request, Anthony resigned from teaching to take over management of the family farm near Rochester.

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This relocation enabled Daniel Anthony to devote his full attention to a new business venture (an insurance agency that eventually made him prosperous again). This move allowed Anthony to take part in more reform activities. After working 12 years as a teacher to help with family expenses, she threw herself headlong into a career as a reformer. Like her father, Anthony was a reformer who yearned for a society free of slavery and alcoholism. An idealist but not a dreamer, Anthony worked actively in these reform efforts, serving during her twenties as president of the Canajoharie Daughters of Temperance. This is a group of women who came together to draw attention to the rising problem of drunkenness and alcoholism and its effect on families. A gifted orator, she supported herself on her speaking fees. In 1851, Anthony met Elizabeth Stanton. Anthony and Stanton became great friends after meeting each other. They worked together for over 50 years spreading the word of woman’s rights and letting the entire country know how they felt and what they believe in and what they stand for. Elizabeth and Susan worked hard together to spread the word with Anthony being the strong speaker and Elizabeth being the mastermind behind all the ideas and how they were to go about achieving their goals.

In 1852, Anthony attempted to speak at a temperance meeting in Albany. When she was denied speaking she quickly responded by forming Woman’s New York State Temperance Society, of which Stanton became president, and pushed Anthony farther in the direction of women’s rights advocacy. In a short time, she became known as one of the cause’s most zealous, serious advocates, a dogged and tireless worker. By 1860 they had lobbied successfully for legislation granting married women improved rights in New York State. Several years later the duo established the American Equal Rights Association. Anthony was good at strategy. Her discipline, energy, and ability to organize made her a strong and successful leader. In 1868 they became editors of the Association’s newspaper, The Revolution, which helped to spread the ideas of equality and rights for women. Anthony began to lecture to raise money for publishing the newspaper and to support the suffrage movement. She became famous throughout the country. Many people admired her, yet others hated her ideas. In that same year, Anthony became a representative of the Working Woman’s Association of New York at the National Labors Union convention. This being another way that Anthony brought light to woman’s rights on a huge public stage. Anthony’s mission wasn’t only to earn women’s rights. Much like her father she also worked very hard to abolish slavery. While campaigning for a liberalization of New York’s laws regarding married women’s property rights, an end attained in 1860, Anthony served as a chief agent of Garrison’s American Anti-Slavery Society.

During the beginning of the Civil War, she helped organize the Women’s National Loyal League, which urged the case for emancipation. After the war, she campaigned unsuccessfully to have the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment altered to allow for African Americans and women to have the right to vote. This enraged her and led them to leave several of the suffrage groups that they were affiliated with. While this did bring her down a bit, it did not kill her passion and drive to get what she wanted for women across the nation. Anthony along with her friend Stanton formed a convention in D.C. which led to the creation of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA). Susan led this large group as it became one of the most prominent women’s rights groups to be formed. This group did have some people branch off in attempts to bring Anthony down and gain steam for their own personal beliefs, but Anthony’s stayed just as strong as its leader and banded together. Anthony began to tour around the country with her group and kept pushing for the rights of women. In 1872 she made a bold and defiant move of that time. She cast a vote in the 1872 presidential election.

Once she was caught, she was arrested and put on trial and forced to pay a 100 dollar fine. This outraged her supporters and led to many protests. But this act of bravery wasn’t so foolish. After her arrest, Susan began to gain the respect and support of people who weren’t supporters at first. In 1876 during the 100th anniversary of our independence, Susan led a protest calling for woman’s rights. Anthony again found herself using a grand stage in order to bring light to her beliefs. She gave one of the most famous speeches called “Declaration of Rights”, which was in fact written by her long-time friend and partner Elizabeth Stanton and another woman’s rights activist. This shocked the nation and again helped Susan gain the support of many more people. In 1888 Anthony was able to use the NWSA and combine it with another large rights group and led to the formation of the largest and most prominent woman’s rights group called the National American Women’s Suffrage Association. Just like in everything else she did Anthony was the President and main spokesperson for the group. Susan did the same thing she did with every other group, she traveled the nation, but this time going after Congress. She was giving speeches and getting thousands and thousands of signatures on petitions, lobbying Congress. She did this until 1900, after two years of leading the group, until she finally retired from her position. After passing the torch to a young activist in her group Susan lived a simpler life in her later years.

She did make two trips in 1905, one to Berlin and one to the Lewis and Clarke Exposition. She made the trip to Berlin as head of U.S. delegation to the International Council of Women (which she helped found in 1888). A year later, in 1906, Susan B Anthony passed away. Fourteen years later the 19th amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote in America. Susan B. Anthony died an American hero. She will be one that is talked about for generations to come. She didn’t live to see the fruits of her labor, but she put the foundation down for us to live in the equal and free world that we live in today. She will forever be celebrated and her legacy will live on in our history books for us to appreciate the rights we have today.

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Susan B. Anthony Biography and Career. (2022, Feb 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/susan-b-anthony-biography-and-career/