Little Bits of History

One Woman – No Vote

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 18, 2011

Susan B. AnthonyJune 18, 1873: Susan B. Anthony is found guilty of willfully casting a ballot in the 1872 presidential election and fined $100 [about $1,700 in today’s currency]. Anthony was an abolitionist, educational reformer, labor activist, temperance worker, suffragist, and women’s rights campaigner. She attended her first women’s rights convention in 1852 at the age of 32.

On November 1, 1872 after threatening to sue if not permitted to register for the upcoming vote and after quoting the Fourteenth Amendment and relevant New York laws, Anthony and several friends were permitted to register for the upcoming election. This event led to headlines in the local papers and much debate among the male constituency. The local paper carried an editorial that proclaimed, “Citizenship no more carries the right to vote that it carries the power to fly to the moon… If these women in the Eighth Ward offer to vote, they should be challenged, and if they take the oaths and the Inspectors receive and deposit their ballots, they should all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The women voted on November 5. Sylvester Lewis, a Rochester salt miner, filed a complaint and Anthony was arrested on November 14 because she voted “without having a lawful right to vote.” After months of press, her trial was held in June. She was found guilty and fined, but refused to pay the fine. She was not imprisoned.

Universal suffrage is the right for all adults to vote. This right is sometimes limited by restrictions imposed because of gender, race, religion, or economic status. New Zealand was the first to grant women the right to vote in 1893. It took nearly a decade before any other country jumped on the bandwagon, but in 1902, Australia stepped up. The United States did not pass the Nineteenth Amendment which granted suffrage to women until 1920. There are still places where women’s [and men’s] suffrage is denied or conditional. In some areas, there is no suffrage and in others women are under stricter conditions than those that are applied to men.

“I have many things to say. My every right, constitutional, civil, political and judicial has been tramped upon. I have not only had no jury of my peers, but I have had no jury at all.”

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

“Resolved, that the women of this nation in 1876, have greater cause for discontent, rebellion and revolution than the men of 1776.”

“May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty.” – all from Susan B. Anthony

Also on this day:
Mental Institutions and Being Governor – In 1959, Governor Earl Long was committed to a mental institution.
Taxi! – In 1923, the first Checker Cab rolled off the assembly line.

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