In the 2012 Presidential Election, the group that decided the vote was the women. As politicians are starting to realize, women pay attention to politics and are capable of influencing the vote. Less than one hundred years ago, women were not able to vote. Though they make up 50% of the population, they could not vote under the Bill of Rights or the 14th Amendment that allowed men of any color to vote. Then a woman by the name of Susan B. Anthony united women and led the women suffrage movement.
Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. Though most women did not receive a formal education in the early 1800’s, her Quaker parents believed in equal treatment for boys and girls. When she was denied from learning long division because of her gender, Anthony realized that not all people believed in equality. After her father’s business failed, she moved with her family to Rochester, New York to become a teacher. As a teacher, she demanded that female teachers receive better pay. She also became involved in the abolitionist movement; her family’s farm served as a meeting place for abolitionists. Anthony joined the Daughters of Temperance to limit the sale of alcohol since some women were stuck in marriages to alcoholic men. When she was refused to speak at the state convection because of her gender, Anthony began to focus her time on women’s rights.
At an anti-slavery conference in 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton through mutual friend Amelia Bloomer. Anthony and Stanton would spend the rest of their lives as friends fighting for women’s rights since they knew if they were to influence public affairs, they needed to vote. In 1852, Anthony attended her first women’s rights convection in Syracuse. Stanton wrote the speeches and Anthony traveled across the country, giving the speeches. When the 15th Amendment passed, giving the black man a right to vote, Anthony was upset that women still could not vote. In 1968, she wrote The Revolution, a newsletter that advocated better working conditions and equality for all races and genders. In 1869, she and Stanton founded the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. This organization focused on getting the federal government to allow women to vote.
On November 5, 1872, Anthony became the first person to be arrested, put on trial, and fined for voting in the presidential election. In 1878, Anthony, Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote “The History of Woman Suffrage.” In 1887, the National Woman’s Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Though both groups differed on several issues, the only issue that brought all the women together was voting. It was Anthony who realized that the women needed to concentrate on getting the right to vote before demanding more rights in work, marriages, and court. In 1900, University of Rochester admitted women for the first time because of Anthony.
In 1878, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which later became the 19th Amendment. It stated that all sexes were given the right to vote in the United States. When asked if women would ever be able to vote, she replied, “It will come, but I Shall not see it…It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation.” Anthony died on March 13, 1906. 14 years later, on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed – 41 years after Anthony first wrote the Amendment.
In 2012, 53% of the voters were women – it was these women who decided who would become president. Besides choosing the president in 2012, a historic number of women were voted into U.S. Congress. 53% of the voters were women. Women are now able to influence public affairs– an event Susan B. Anthony knew would one day happen after women received the vote. Now, the government knows it can no longer control women as long as women continue to make their voices heard by enforcing their right to vote.