HomeThis week in historyEarly campaigner for women's rights, Susan B Anthony was born 15 February...

Early campaigner for women’s rights, Susan B Anthony was born 15 February 1820


Susan B Anthony, was born on this day more than 200 years ago in Massachusetts, USA. Anthony was an early advocate of equal rights and social reform. She was an early member of the women’s suffragette movement, as well as actively petitioning against slavery. Although her name may be unfamiliar to some, Anthony’s work helped pave the way for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in the USA, giving women the right to vote. She was arrested in 1872 for illegally voting, at a time when only men were allowed to do so.

Early life and career

Anthony was born into a Quaker family, the second of seven children. Her parents were both progressive, and her father brought up Susan and her six brothers and sisters to be independent. Growing up in a household that valued human rights- her father was an abolitionist- instilled strong moral values in Susan. In fact, many of her siblings grew up to support social justice, and the emancipation of slavery. Her father’s early lessons on being independent and self-sufficient also made a mark on her. Anthony never married, instead carving out a career as a teacher. She would eventually work her way to being a headmistress in 1846, at the age of 26.

In addition to being a teacher Anthony dedicated her time to social justice. She campaigned on many different issues related to social justice, particularly as an abolitionist activist. Anthony argued that black people should be allowed to vote, and admitted to schools and colleges. She was heavily invested in equal rights, and equal pay between men and women. She and her good friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed a friendship and working relationship that lasted over 50 years. Together they travelled the country making speeches, about equal rights, women’s rights and abolishing slavery. They co-founded the American Equal Rights Association and created a paper called The Revolution, that promoted ideas of rights and equality for women.

Anthony was active in her role as an activist for most of her life. Two years before her death in 1906 she said:

“The world has never witnessed a greater revolution than in the sphere of woman during this fifty years”.

At the time of her death, women had received the vote in several states, including Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho

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