Yesterday marked an important milestone: the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the women’s vote.
At a White House celebration, President Trump added to the historic moment by granting a presidential pardon to one of the leading ladies of the suffrage movement: Susan B. Anthony. Famously, Anthony’s only “crime” was that of voting while female. Anthony had talked her way into registering to vote in the 1872 presidential election. After her crime came to the light, she was brought to trial and fined $100, a fine she never paid.
Anthony was kept from defending herself during the trial but, after the verdict was handed down, Real Clear Politics reports that she stood up to denounce the verdict:
‘It was ‘We, the People,’ not ‘We, the white male citizens’…who formed this Union,” she told the court. “and we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them. Not to the half of ourselves and half of our posterity, but to the whole people — women as well as men.’
At a time when civil disobedience has become a popular means of protest, some have decried the President’s pardon. Such individuals argue that part of the strength of Anthony’s stand was that she never paid her fine and by pardoning her, the President has somehow disrupted her peace. But others, however, highlighted that Anthony had petitioned Congress to rescind the fine because she firmly believed that she had not committed a crime by voting.
Regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, the centennial should be celebrated as a remembrance of a historic step forward for women’s rights. Women throughout the country enjoy unprecedented freedom and opportunities. We should take a moment to thank those women who fought so hard for the freedoms that we enjoy every day.
Watch the White House Event:
And read Susan B. Anthony’s story, and the stories of many other suffragettes in IWF’s new book: “The Women Who Won The Vote.”