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Susan B. Anthony and Women's Right to Vote

November 22, 2019

Susan B. Anthony silver dollar

Many of the rights that we take for granted today—like women’s rights to vote, study, work, and spend their own money—are guaranteed in part due to Susan B. Anthony’s leadership, determination, and her power to persuade. 

Born in Massachusetts in 1820, Susan Brownwell Anthony entered a world in which women were not allowed to vote. In much of America, women were not allowed to own property, sign a contract, or keep money they earned from working. Women and girls were discouraged from pursuing education, professional careers, or even sharing their opinions in public. Law and society forced most women to be dependent on the men in their lives.

Ms. Anthony sought to change that.  She organized the suffrage movement by co-founding and leading many key suffrage groups. She also courageously fought on the front lines. Between the end of the Civil War and her death in 1906, Ms. Anthony crisscrossed the United States delivering passionate speeches demanding women’s right to vote, often facing angry crowds opposed to women’s rights. In 1875, Ms. Anthony debuted her famous speech “Social Purity” at the Grand Opera House in Chicago. Opening the eyes of her audience to the error and problems of making women dependent on men, she boldly stated: “Independence is happiness.” 

Ms. Anthony’s organizations, speeches, and growing legend inspired generations of women, young and old, poor and rich, from all walks of life, to join the suffragist movement. Fourteen years after her death, the suffrage movement finally claimed victory. On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteed women’s right to vote. Ms. Anthony’s life-long efforts to organize the suffrage movement and inspire activists were instrumental in this important achievement. Each Election Day, women proudly place their “I voted” stickers on Ms. Anthony’s tombstone to thank her for her remarkable life’s work.

Our Susan B. Anthony Hero Quote T-Shirt celebrates Ms. Anthony’s determination, leadership, and ability to persuade and inspire others. Purple has a long association with the suffrage movement. Ms. Anthony and her colleague Elizabeth Cady Stanton incorporated the gold color and sunflower imagery while fighting for women’s right to vote in Kansas in 1867. The banner design resembles protest signs suffragists carried as they marched to demand their rights and bears Ms. Anthony’s famous quote: “Independence is happiness.”

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