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Write a paper about Susan B. Anthony who had an impact on US History. The research paper will be 4 pages (do not include the title page or bibliography, reference page), in Courier New font size 12, double spaced, with 1 inch margins.
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Susan Brownell Anthony
Susan Brownell Anthony was born on 15 February, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts. Her father was a strict Quaker who had been condemned and disowned for marrying a non-Quaker. Apart from her father’s values, Anthony was also influenced by her mother’s liberal views (Dorr 120). Meanwhile, a strictly religious upbringing greatly contributed to her character. Anthony is renowned for fighting for women’s rights in America during the nineteenth century. In 1872, she took the bold step of voting illegally in an attempt to promote women’s voting rights, an action for which she was arrested. She is recognized as one of the America’s greatest leaders in the fight against gender discrimination. This paper sets out to examine her life, involvement in politics, and the circumstances under which she was able to achieve tremendous goals in promoting gender equality and women’s voting rights in America.
Firstly, Susan Anthony lived at a time when women were being discriminated against both at the workplace and in politics. Despite these challenges, she managed to join politics and to address numerous issues affecting women. Her charismatic character enabled her to command attention as a leader. Some of the achievements she secured for women are still being enjoyed today not just in America but across the world. Her famous statement “failure is impossible” is a reminder of the possibilities she believed in and the mentality that enabled her to fight for women’s causes with zeal (Sherr 98).
To understand Anthony’s strong personality and sense of justice, it is imperative to examine her upbringing and the values her parents stood for. One aspect of this influence relates to her father’s religious inclination. He was a leader in the Temperance Movement and an abolitionist. As a radical Quaker, he raised all his children under strict religious values. Moreover, he emphasized the need for them to embrace social and financial independence. At his small cotton factory, he often took time to teach them basic financial management skills as a way of encouraging them to become responsible citizens.
One of Susan Anthony’s major challenges was on the side of education. Upon joining a Quaker boarding school, she encountered a harsh environment of gender discrimination and financial constraints. The latter problem was greatly contributed to by the depression of 1837 and led to her dropping out of school. Her family moved to New York after suffering serious financial losses. While there, they made friends with various Quaker social reformers and ultimately got exposure to the First Unitarian Church of Rochester and the Seneca Falls Convention. The latter group operated as a women’s rights convention (Lunardini 89).
Before this transition, Anthony had already become a female headmistress at Canajoharie Academy. During her time away from her family, she became more liberal to the point of questioning and ultimately abandoning distinctive Quaker practices such as conservative and minimalist dressing and social mannerisms. Moreover, her interest in reforms gradually took shape. She felt that women had always been treated unequally in all spheres of life. At the outset, her major concern was that women received a lower pay than men for the same amount of work.
Moreover, Anthony’s transformation towards activism was heavily influenced by reform leaders such as Elizabeth Cady. She studied works carefully particularly aspects of leadership and public speaking. Eventually, she met Elizabeth Cady and they formed a close, functional relationship through which they sought to promote women’s empowerment and freedom. Cady had been one of the organizers and participants of the Seneca Falls Convention; thus, she had an in-depth understanding of the politics of reforms. Additionally, she was a skilled writer who used her time at home writing about their shared opinions and publishing them (Davis 157). With no family commitments to hold her back, Anthony travelled widely and used her charismatic leadership style and social skills to talk to diverse groups of reformers.
Moreover, she was very close to Elizabeth Cady’s family and spent a great amount of time in their residence. Accordingly, the working collaboration between Anthony and Cady led to the formation of the New York Women’s State Temperance Society in 1852. This organization was established at a time when the two had been prohibited from speaking at temperance movements solely because they were women. This movement attracted tremendous support particularly from women whose husbands were alcoholics. Eleven years later, the two formed the Women’s Loyal National League with the aim of contributing to the end of the American Civil War (Davis 123). They collected over 300, 000 signatures to support an Amendment to the Constitution that would end slave trade b(Davis 123). Moreover, they established the American Equal Rights Association(AERA) whose goal was to promote equal rights for all Americans by fighting racial and gender discrimination. This movement was very instrumental at a time when black women faced all forms of discrimination. In 1867, AERA’s campaign focused on women’ suffrage and other challenges that confronted African Americans. Unfortunately, it led to discontentment between two groups of reformers: one group focused on women’s rights while the other prioritized African Americans’ rights. Eventually, the organization broke into two rival women’s groups.
This rift seems not to have deterred Anthony and Cady in their goals. They seem to have understood the dynamics of gender movements to be quite different from those of racial rights movements (Lunardini 56). They adopted a revised strategy by using their literary presence to create The Revolution, a magazine that was published weekly and concentrated on women’s suffrage. Attempts to promote women’s suffrage were quite ironical for Anthony who had initially not been interested in voting earlier on in her life. The magazine was funded by Laura Curtis, a wealthy businesswoman and women’s rights activist. Despite its short lifespan of about five years, the publication placed Anthony and Cady at a strategic leadership position as respected women’s rights activists. Moreover, it re-activated the issue of women’s rights, making it a national concern. More importantly, it attracted the attention of open-minded men who not only supported gender equality but also confronted its opponents.
Consequently, Susan Anthony may be said to have played a significant role in resolving the greatest leadership crisis that affected the women’s rights movement during the nineteenth century. Her efforts have culminated in the formation of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890. Although Anthony was not able to achieve her goal of securing women’s right to vote before her retirement from activism in 1900, her organization was in spearheading the enactment of the Nineteenth Amendment which granted women the right to vote in 1920.
As demonstrated in this essay, Susan Brownell Anthony played a significant role in promoting gender equality particularly the women’s right to vote. Nevertheless, she encountered numerous challenges ranging from financial difficulties, separation from her family, and rifts from within her movement. Her charismatic personality and social skills have greatly enabled her to excel in activism. Meanwhile, the opportunities she provided to women and black people are so immense that they continue to exist even today. Most importantly, her fight for women’s voting rights won her admiration both locally and internationally. Many countries have emulated America’s move by allowing women to get involved in politics and to vote.
Davis, Sue. The Political Thought of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Rights and the American Political Traditions. New York: New York University Press, 2008. Print.
Dorr, Rhetta. Susan B. Anthony: The Woman Who Changed the Mind of a Nation. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1928. Print.
Lunardini, Christine. Women’s Rights. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1996. Print.
Riegel, Robert. American Feminists. Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 1968. Print.
Sherr, Lynn. Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words. New York: Times Books, 1996, Print.