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INJUSTICE/CIVIL RIGHTS/SOCIAL JUSTICE: U.S. v. Susan B. Anthony

Women's Voting Rights

The United States v. Susan B. Anthony is a milestone in women's history, a court case in 1873. Susan B. Anthony was tried in court for illegally voting. ... The jury found Anthony guilty, and the court fined Anthony $100.

Anthony founded the National Women's Suffrage Association in 1869 along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The association:

  • condemned passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments unless they were changed to include women
  • supported a federal Constitutional Amendment for women's suffrage
  • became involved in other women's rights issues beyond suffrage, including the rights of working women (discrimination and pay), reform of marriage and divorce laws.
  • had a top down organizational structure
  • men could not be full members although they could be affiliated

Their motto read: "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!"

Library of Congress

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The trial of Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony was arrested in Rochester, NY on November 18, 1872 by a U.S. Deputy Marshall for voting two weeks earlier in the 1872 Presidential Election. She had planned on voting years before the actual election and stated that she would do so after she had resided in the area for the required 30 days of residency. The trial and conviction came seven months later even though she had argued the 14th Amendment that was recently adopted (July 9, 1868 after re-ratification by the former Confederate states of North Carolina, Louisiana and South Carolina in June). The 14th Amendment gave everyone the right to vote that was born or naturalized in the United Stated; this amendment did not specify gender.

Anthony went to trial on June 17 and 18 in 1873 and between the time she was released on bail and the time of the trial, she made every attempt possible to educate everyone on the rights of women. She was charged with unlawful voting with a guilty verdict and was sentenced to a fine of $100 along with the cost of prosecution. After receiving her sentencing, she refused to pay and never did pay her fine for the rest of her life.