For my international friends, . .please, bear with me. This is an important day.
In 1920, on August 26, the United States finally passed the 19th Amendment to its Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. It was long overdue,
As early as the political career of John Adams, Abigail, his wife, had been pushing for this in her letters to her husband. She told her husband to ‘Remember the ladies” and to not give unlimited power to men, for they were tyrannical by nature.
In her writings, Jane Addams, a Progressive from Chicago, argued that women have to vote so as to properly raise and care for their children. It is women who know the home, the family, and the needs of these entities better than anyone, and therefore, they should vote to protect and care for their families’ needs. If they cannot have a say in the world outside the home, how could they properly care for those inside the home?
And of course, Susan B Anthony, who despite it being illegal, registered to VOTE in the presidential election of 1872. When at first she was denied the registration, she quoted the 14th Amendment to the men. Finally, she was given the oath to vote. She and 8 other women cast their votes for president.
But, four days later she was arrested, and brought to court. She could have been fined $500 for committing fraud in an election. After it had been decided she probably violated the law—although she argued she had not—she began making plans to take it to the Supreme Court. This was quashed when her bail was paid; the case had to be tried at home.
Anthony began a lecture tour to influence the court. But, when the case reached the court, the Judge had already decided the fate. He had already prepared his statement AND judgment BEFORE the trial had started. Before sentencing, the Judge asked if Anthony had any remarks, she did. But, as she spoke, the Judge began to cut her off. Finally, interrupting her and sentencing her to $100 fine. Anthony promptly answered that she would never pay a penny of it. She never did.
Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.
Thanks to all these women, who fought for our right to vote. I know there are women in the world who cannot vote, and I hope, that one day, you, too, will be granted this fundamental right as a citizen.
And ladies, if you are not voting and can, DO IT!
Anthony was found guilty and fined $100.. She refused to pay the fine.