The Trial of Susan B Anthony (Classics in Women's Studies)

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9781591020998: The Trial of Susan B Anthony (Classics in Women's Studies)

On January 24, 1873, Susan B. Anthony was indicted by a grand jury for voting, "knowingly, wrongfully, and unlawfully ... the said Susan B. Anthony being then and there a person of the female sex."

The subsequent trial, in which Anthony was convicted of breaking the law by casting a vote, became one of the most famous trials of the nineteenth century. Far from defeating the fledgling movement for women's suffrage, the trial brought more publicity to the issue than it had ever received before. This was largely due to Anthony's clever stratagem of publishing a one-volume edition of the trial proceedings, then shrewdly using it as a public relations ploy for a campaign to rally women to "The Cause."

This new paperback edition of the original volume includes an engrossing introduction by former ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr (author of Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words), who puts the trial in historical context. As Sherr points out, perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the proceedings was the peremptory manner in which the judge came to his decision. After reading a prewritten statement that was clearly in favor of the prosecution, he concluded, "[T]he jury should be directed to find a verdict of guilty." He thereby prevented the jury from exercising its duty to render a decision.

Anthony later called the judge's action "The greatest outrage History ever witnessed." When given the opportunity of making a final statement, she responded: "Your denial of my citizen's right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty, property."

Despite repeated attempts to silence her, she went on and on delivering the most passionate and eloquent speech of her life.

No musty historical document, The Trial of Susan B. Anthony is alive with the drama of an exciting time, when the hard-fought gains that women enjoy today still hung in the balance.

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From the Publisher:

"This is a living document that was put to persuasive use, and in reading it today you can share the drama that much of America followed daily. Susan B. Anthony's trial made headlines across the nation and elevated her crusade to a grander stage." -- Lynn Sherr

About the Author:

American reformer Susan Brownell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts. The daughter of Quakers, Anthony taught school in New York State from 1839 to 1849. She returned home, now Rochester, New York, where she met many of the leading abolitionists at that time, including Frederick Douglass and Wendell Phillips. She joined the temperance movement, where, in 1851, she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a leader of the women's rights movement.

Stanton and Anthony became lifelong friends and co-workers in the struggle for women's suffrage. Both supported abolition before and during the Civil War. After Black men were given the right to vote by the Fifteenth Amendment, Anthony campaigned for the same rights for women. In 1869 she helped to organize the National Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony published a weekly women's rights journal, "The Revolution," from 1868 until 1870.

In 1872 at Rochester, New York, Anthony voted in the presidential election to test her status as a citizen. She was tried and fined $100, but refused to pay the fine.

From 1881 to 1886 Stanton and Anthony coedited the six-volume HISTORY OF WOMAN SUFFRAGE. When the National Woman Suffrage Association merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890 to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Anthony served as its president from 1892 to 1900.

Anthony died on March 13, 1906, in Rochester, New York, fourteen years before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

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