Anthony deserves more than $1 coinPublished 9:05pm Wednesday, February 15, 2012
This is the month of birthdays. There is Lincoln, Washington and Anthony. Now I know that you appropriately celebrate all of these birthdays. Our country declares President’s Day to honor Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, both very fine presidents and important in the story of our country. We learn about both men in history books in school and they have been represented with their portraits on a number of famous paintings.
Washington and Lincoln are both honored with their likeness on American paper money but Anthony was also honored with her likeness on a monetary representative.
Now Anthony was not a president but an important figure nevertheless. Her likeness appears on the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.
Who in the heck was Susan B. Anthony?
Miss Anthony is credited with championing the cause of women. Anthony was born in 1820, grew up in a Quaker household which instilled the importance of work, self-reliance, self-discipline and self-worth. Her parents stressed a moral life with strong support for abolitionist (antislavery) and temperance (avoidance of alcohol).
Because teaching was similar to motherhood, women of Anthony’s day were allowed to teach school however, wages for women were equal to one-fifth of that received by males colleagues. When she protested, she lost her job.
In 1849, after teaching for more than 10 years, she focused her energies on social improvements and local temperance. At a temperance meeting 1851, Anthony met women’s rights leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together they formed the National American Women Suffrage Association.
In 1860, she collected signatures for a petition to grant women the right to vote and own property. During the Civil War Anthony and her friends worked toward emancipation of the slaves. The 15th Amendment in 1870 gave the black men the right to vote but not to women of any color.
The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868, had declared that all people born in the United States were citizens and that no legal privileges could be denied to any citizen. Anthony decided to challenge this amendment.
Saying that women were citizens and the amendment did not restrict the privilege of voting to men, she registered to vote in Rochester, N.Y., on Nov. 1, 1872. Four days later, she and fifteen other women voted in the presidential election. All 16 women were arrested three weeks later, but only Anthony was brought before a court. Her trial, United States v. Susan B. Anthony, began on June 17, 1873. The presiding judge opposed women’s suffrage and wrote his decision before the trial even had started. Refusing to let Anthony testify, he ordered the jury to find her guilty, then sentenced her to pay a $100 fine. She refused, and no further action was taken against her.
Anthony died in 1906 and she never lived to see women able to vote. It wasn’t until 1920 that Congress adopted the Nineteenth Amendment finally giving women in America the right to vote.
Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony! Thanks for giving me the right to vote. Maybe someday they will put your portrait on something more lasting than a dollar coin. Has anyone seen one lately?