Susan B. Anthony was Arrested for Voting when Women Couldn’t. Now Trump will Pardon HerHistorians in the News
tags: suffrage, pardons, Donald Trump, Susan B. Anthony, pandering
On Election Day in 1872, nearly 50 years before women gained the right to vote, Susan B. Anthony walked into a polling site in Rochester, N.Y., and cast her ballot. A federal marshal later showed up at her door to arrest her for wrongfully and willfully voting. She was ultimately tried and fined $100.
On Tuesday, the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote, President Trump announced he would pardon Anthony.
One of the most prominent leaders in the fight for women’s suffrage, Anthony spent decades traveling the country, giving speeches, petitioning Congress and publishing a suffragist newspaper. Alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association and organized the first Woman Suffrage Convention in Washington. When the 19th Amendment passed, more than 14 years after her death, it became widely known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
Other aspects of Anthony’s legacy have stirred debate among historians and advocates. Conservatives have long celebrated Anthony, saying she was fervently antiabortion. The Susan B. Anthony List, a nonprofit organization in her name, focuses on promoting and supporting antiabortion politicians. But others reject this interpretation of the suffragist’s views, claiming the Susan B. Anthony List “hijacked Anthony’s name and fame to promote their own cause.”
After appearing at Tuesday’s event at the White House, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, celebrated the “sweet moment,” tweeting that Anthony “fought for the rights of all, including the unborn.”
But historians who have closely studied Anthony’s life say the suffragist would not have wanted to be pardoned. Anthony’s conviction was a point of pride for her, a symbol of the lengths to which those in power would go to prevent women from voting, said Ann Gordon, a former Rutgers University professor and editor of “The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.”
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