Of Men, For Men, By Men: Susan B. Anthony

Monday, July 20, 2015

from Lapham's Quarterly...

After forming the National Woman Suffrage Association with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1869, Anthony went to the polls in November 1872 and was arrested a few weeks later for violating federal law. She held that the Fourteenth Amendment gave her, a U.S. citizen, the right to vote. The court disagreed, and Anthony was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred dollars; she declined to do so.

Judge Hunt: The court cannot listen to a rehearsal of arguments the prisoner’s counsel has already consumed three hours in presenting.

Anthony: May it please your honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. 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, and—

Judge Hunt: The court can not allow the prisoner to go on.

Anthony: But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights. May it please the court to remember that since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury—

read more of her response here


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I teach them all the good I can, and recommend them to others from whom I think they will get some moral benefit. And the treasures that the wise men of old have left us in their writings I open and explore with my friends. If we come on any good thing, we extract it, and we set much store on being useful to one another. - Socrates, Memorabilia
What we maintain is that in none of the problems of life can men afford to lose sight of the storehouse bequeathed to them by the ancients. In the complexus of everything which differentiates man from the brute creation, the voice of antiquity must be heard...

-H. Browne, quoted in "Classics and Citizenship" The Classical Quarterly, 1920